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25 Mar 2020 | 08:09 AM UTC

Portugal: Authorities report 2362 COVID-19 cases as of March 25 /update 7

Health authorities report 2362 COVID-19 cases in the country as of March 25; take precautions against disease

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Event

On Wednesday, March 25, health authorities report 2362 confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Portugal, including 33 associated fatalities and 22 recoveries.

Health authorities announced on Friday, March 20, that all travelers arriving from overseas will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The measure is due to enter into effect during the week of Monday, March 23, though a specific date has yet to be provided. Regional authorities will be permitted to make exemptions in lower-risk situations.

On Thursday, March 19, stricter containment measures were announced, implemented for a period of 15 days. Individuals infected with the virus will be required to undergo mandatory self-isolation. The government has reiterated that violation of this requirement will constitute a "crime of disobedience." During the state of emergency, declared on Wednesday, March 18, security forces will be permitted to send home anyone who breaches self-isolation requirements. All commercial establishments will also be closed except for bakeries, supermarkets, gas stations, and pharmacies. Schools have also been closed from Monday, March 16, through Thursday, April 9, as a precautionary measure.

As of Wednesday, March 18, flights to countries outside the European Union/European Economic Area, except for the UK, US, Canada, Venezuela, South Africa, and Portuguese speaking countries have been suspended. Flights to Brazil have been limited to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, while flights to and from Italy remain suspended. Tighter border controls on Portugal's land border with Spain remain in place as of Monday, March 16, until Wednesday, April 15. Only cross border workers, goods traffic, and individuals returning to their place of residence are allowed to travel across the border.

Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.