The use of a mask on the street will no longer be compulsory in Portugal as of this Monday, after the advance of vaccination has made it possible to alleviate some measures in a country that, however, will maintain restrictions before the school year that will begin in the next days.
The mask in public spaces was mandatory from the end of October 2020 whenever it was not possible to maintain the recommended social distance, according to a law approved by Parliament and renewed on several occasions.
However, no party in the House proposed a new extension of the measure beyond this Sunday, the last day in force, so its use in public spaces will no longer be mandatory from Monday morning.
Even so, the General Directorate of Health (DGS) continues to recommend its use in certain situations where the risk of contagion of coronavirus is greater, such as events, crowds or during school breaks.
New course with masks
The mask will continue to be mandatory indoors , also for the nearly 1.2 million students who start the school year as of next Tuesday.
According to the DGS guidelines for this new school year, its use is mandatory from the second cycle of basic education (10 years) and “strongly recommended” for students in the first cycle (between 6 and 9 years).
Compared to the previous year, only the rules to apply in the case of low-risk contacts have been relaxed , to avoid that entire classes are forced to stay at home when there is a positive case.
Students considered low-risk contacts may leave quarantine if they test negative for Covid-19 , but close contacts are required to isolate themselves for 14 days.
Low incidence and advance vaccination
Portugal maintains the pandemic stabilized, with the 14-day incidence of 240.7 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and the Rt index, which measures the number of people infected by an infected person, at 0.87.
In the last week, the country registered an average close to 10 daily deaths and has nine consecutive days below 2,000 infections.
Since the pandemic began, Portugal, with 10 million inhabitants, has added 1,054,673 confirmed cases and 17,853 deaths .
The latest vaccination report from the DGS, with data up to last Sunday, shows that 78% of the population has the complete schedule and 85% have received at least one dose.
In recent weekends, minors between 12 and 17 years old have been vaccinated , to increase protection before the start of the school year.