Portugal’s ‘Safe Destination’ Reputation Under Threat as 19 of Lisbon’s Neighbourhoods Back in Lockdown

Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa has announced this evening that several of Lisbon’s neighbourhoods are under lockdown again to contain a coronavirus outbreak.

RESIDENTS in 19 of Lisbon’s districts will be confined at home and only allowed to leave to buy essential products, such as food or medicine, and go to work. The restrictions on movement will take effect from June 29 to July 12 and will be revised accordingly. “There will be more police patrolling the streets to ensure rules are followed and those who disobey will be fined,” stated Prime Minister António Costa at a press conference today.

Costa said anyone flouting this second period of confinement could be slapped with fines of up to €5,000. “The only effective way to control the pandemic is to stay home when possible, maintain social distance at all times, and always comply with protection and hygiene measures,” he added. The restrictions, however do not affect the centre of the Portuguese capital.

To date, Costa’s management of the pandemic has been praised internationally as a success story. He wants to keep the country’s ‘safe destination’ reputation intact, particularly as UEFA has confirmed that this season’s Champions League final matches will take place in Lisbon (between August 12-23).

In total, the country’s death tally from the disease hovers arounds 1,549 with around 40,415 people infected since the pandemic began. Portugal lifted the lockdown measures on May 4, but outbreaks in depressed neighbourhoods and industrial centres, as well as along the coast caused by parties and raves, have led to a rise in cases. Lisbon is now the area with the most cases, since the pandemic began. The region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley are reported to have accumulated the most cases in the whole of the country. The capital accounted for around 87 per cent of the 367 new Covid-19 cases over Tuesday and Wednesday this week, according to local health authority figures. Today’s move follows yesterday’s 8pm curfew and restrictions announcement, after a spike in new coronavirus cases were reported.

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Pepi Sappal

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