On Wednesday, April 1, Portugal's government announced that it was set to extend its current state of emergency by 15 days until Friday, April 17, to prevent further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Lawmakers will vote on the extension on Thursday, April 2, with a majority having indicated support for the measure. The state of emergency was originally enacted on Thursday, March 19, and is currently due to end on April 2.
As of Wednesday, the following containment measures remain in effect:
- The suspension of most international flights to and from Portugal and the suspension of some domestic flights.
- All individuals in Portugal are requested to limit their movement throughout the country to only trips that are deemed essential.
- All air and land borders with Spain are closed to tourism and leisure travelers.
- A bar on the entry of foreign cruise ship passengers.
- The closure of public and private schools and universities.
- The closure of bars, discos, beaches, and similar establishments.
To date, there are more than 8250 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 187 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
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.
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.