As the new Omicron variant reaches Portugal in December, new rules in a calamity state are set. Find out more about Covid-19 in Portugal.

Last Updated on December 2, 2021 by Lea Melo

The new coronavirus pandemic has come to change history. It hit the whole world and united us against an invisible enemy. Covid-19 in Portugal was no different.

Fortunately, the country’s trajectory against the virus has been one of the most peaceful in the world, and today Portugal is the country with the greatest adherence to vaccination in Europe.

As the mood for travel and relocations is apprehensive, it is normal to have many questions about the pandemic in Portugal. Are there good hospitals in Portugal? Did the government manage the crisis? Is it safe to travel to Portugal? How can I get into the country?

Follow the article and get access to the most recent and relevant data about life in the new normal in Portugal.

Covid-19 in Portugal: how’s the situation and is it safe to travel?

What’s the covid-19 situation in Portugal like?

Like many countries around the world, Portugal has had to deal with a new pandemic, public fear, and an economical crisis since March 2020. 

Until December 2021, Portugal had registered 1,151,919 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 18,458 deaths as a result of the virus. The resident population in Portugal in 2021 is around 10 million people.

In the same month, however, around 85% of the Portuguese population was fully vaccinated. One of the highest percentages in the world.

Vaccination rates are very high in Portugal

According to the latest data collected by “Our World in Data”, a program at the University of Oxford that monitors vaccination data released by each country, Portugal is the European country with the highest adherence to vaccination against Covid-19, ahead of Iceland and Malta, reports the Portuguese newspaper Público.

Is it safe to travel to Portugal?

Due to the low number of cases of Covid-19 in Portugal per resident and the high-quality healthcare, Portugal is one of the safest countries to travel to in the world. That, and of course, the fact that it also has a very low crime rate.

To ensure the safety of travelers and the local population, the Portuguese government has launched a series of protection measures against the spread of the new coronavirus, especially to the tourism and food industries.

Travel to Portugal during Covid-19

Portugal needs tourism, so it is making sure to be a safe and Covid-free country as soon as possible. This way, the local economy can start growing again.

The summer of 2021 in Portugal, the peak holiday season, was already much busier than that of 2020. Portugal received many tourists, mainly from other European countries and the Portuguese themselves, which helped to rekindle the economy a little.

Read also our article: Should we postpone our plans to Portugal because of COVID?

Who is allowed to travel to Portugal?

According to what was disclosed by the Portuguese Government on November 30th 2021, only passengers who come from flights from the following countries are allowed to travel to Portugal:

  • Countries that make up the European Union;
  • Countries associated with the Schengen Area (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland);
  • The United Kingdom;
  • Brazil;
  • The United States of America.

In addition to these countries, it is possible to travel to Portugal subject to reciprocity from the following destinations: Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Kuwait, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, People’s Republic of China, Rwanda, Singapore, Ukraine and Uruguay, special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao and Taiwan territorial authority/authority.

If your country is off these lists, you can only travel to Portugal for essential reasons (professional reasons, study reasons, family reunion, health reasons, or humanitarian reasons).

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There is, however, a list of countries with flights suspended, that is, made impossible by the closure of the border. They are:

  • Botswana;
  • Essuatini;
  • Lesotho;
  • Mozambique;
  • Namibia;
  • Zimbabwe.

Documents you need to present

Besides the country of origin, to enter Portugal you will need to prove your health condition.

On the borders, ports, and airports, travelers must present an EU COVID Digital Certificate, proving that they are immune to the Coronavirus or at least not infected.

Not only that, but now you will also need to show proof of a negative SARS-COV2 infection test before boarding.

The test must be a laboratory rapid antigen test (TRAg) and must have been performed within 72 or 48 hours prior to boarding the aircraft. This applies until at least January 9, 2022.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from this rule.

Foreign citizens without legal residence in Portugal, that is, without a residence visa or residence card, who board without the test will be prohibited from entering Portuguese territory.

Is it necessary to be quarantined when I arrive in Portugal?

No, unless you come from one of the following countries:

  • Mozambique;
  • Passengers who have checked out within the previous 14 days via South Africa, Botswana, Essuatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Once entering Portugal, they must comply with a period of prophylactic isolation of 14 days, at home or in a place indicated by the health authorities.

How can I get an EU COVID Digital Certificate?

In Portugal, the EU COVID Digital Certificate can be obtained through the National Healthcare website, and it’s free for every resident – or people who are registered in the public healthcare system.

The purpose of the EU COVID Digital Certificate is, according to the Portuguese government, to facilitate the freedom of movement of citizens within the European Union.

Covid EU Passport

To be eligible for the EU COVID Digital Certificate, you must either:

  • Have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days;
  • Have had a negative result for the coronavirus in the last 3 days;
  • Have recovered from covid-19 by following a positive result, under more than 11 days and less than 180 days.

With this certificate, you are authorized to enter Portugal and any other country in the European Union or Schengen Area (considering you have the required visa if that’s the case).

In addition, it also grants its holder the authority to attend weddings and restaurants that, from Friday at 7 pm until Sunday evening, only allow people with a COVID EU certificate to enter the premises.

How was the pandemic managed by the Portuguese government?

Several lockdowns occurred throughout the pandemic, and to this day Portugal is one of the last European countries to encourage the use of masks on the street.

The last peak of cases of Covid-19 in Portugal, the second wave, occurred in January 2021, after the Christmas and New Year festivities, when celebrations took place across the country.

This year, the Portuguese government has already decreed a State of Calamity that will last from December 2021 to March 2022.

In addition, classes will be suspended nationwide until January 10, to avoid possible encounters during the festive season and a possible Covid spike.

Covid cases in December 2021

A good public health system, strict restrictive measures, and population compliance helped to keep infection case numbers low.

In the summer of 2021 cases were few and vaccination rates kept going up. These were good indications that made popular opinion optimistic about the future of Portugal.

What to expect of Covid-19 in Portugal?

The current atmosphere in Portugal is one of apprehension, but calmly and orderly.

The country went through peaks of disease in which many people lost family members, Portuguese people were left without a job and fear was a real thing.

Thankfully, Portugal did not face a terrible end and managed to impress the world with its high vaccination rate. However, the pandemic is not over yet and there still is much to be done and a lot to recover.

What we, expats in Portugal, can see is that the government has kept united since the beginning of the pandemic. Foreigners were never discriminated against by those in charge and the country managed to pass as much peace and trust as possible to its citizens.

Of course, there are exceptions to this scenario but, overall, Portugal did pretty great managing this Covid’s new contagion wave.

I am grateful to have passed the pandemic in Portugal, safe and at home. Now we await a healthy return to the rhythm of the world economy.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to follow Viv Europe on Social Media and keep up with the latest Portugal news and info, from expats to expats.

This article was originally published on August 30, 2021, and later updated and republished on December 2, 2021.

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