Lisbon's Metro trains are regularly disinfected
FEBRUARY 2021 UPDATE
The first case of the new COVID-19 coronavirus in Portugal was detected on March 2nd, 2020, in the city of Porto. The first diagnosis in the Lisbon region was announced a day later. The Portuguese government immediately implemented measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and declared a State of Emergency on March 18. Public events were cancelled, non-essential movement was restricted, and schools, restaurants and shops, as well as access to the beaches, were closed. Only grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, and bakeries were allowed to remain open, but with a limited number of people inside at a time. Thanks to these early, strict measures, the spread of the virus was slowed, and Portugal was cited as a positive example in Europe.
Number of COVID-19 Coronavirus Cases in Lisbon and Portugal
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Portugal has been relatively low, and about 75% of patients have now recovered. Most cases are in the densely-populated suburbs around Porto and the capital, where there have been outbreaks. No part of Lisbon itself has had an outbreak. Portugal has been able to maintain one of the lowest pandemic mortality rates in Europe , despite having the continent’s third-highest population of 80+-year-olds. Self-discipline of the Portuguese population has been credited for that, after news of the high numbers of cases and deaths in the neighboring countries.
However, the new UK strain has had an impact in Portugal since January 2021, leading to increased hospitalizations and death rates.
Travel Restrictions in Portugal
Portugal closed its borders early in March 2020, and, on the 18th of the month, all European Union countries closed their borders to non-EU nationals. Commercial flights to most countries were suspended. The mandatory lockdown was lifted on May 4th, and small businesses reopened. Restaurants and museums reopened on May 18, and shopping malls, gyms, and theaters on June 1st. Beaches also reopened but with a mandatory distance between sunbathers. Masks are currently required in public transportation, as well as outside on the streets, and in public indoor spaces, such as shopping malls, supermarkets, barber shops and beauty salons.
When arriving at Lisbon’s and other Portuguese airports, each passenger’s temperature is checked, and if it’s 38 degrees or over, they’re referred to the local health authorities.
Due to the second wave of the virus in Europe in October, the Portuguese government ordered a partial lockdown in 121 municipalities, including Lisbon, starting on November 4th, advising people to stay home except to go to work, school or shopping (shops and restaurants remained open, but had to close by 10pm and 10:30pm respectively). In January 2021, due to the higher number of infections and deaths, a new national lockdown was declared, starting on the 15th, for an undetermined length of time, but can last until the end of March. These measures are meant to guarantee that the national health service continues to have capacity to respond to every case.
Who Can Travel to Portugal?
Portugal reopened its borders to tourists from European Union countries on June 15. In July, a number of other nations had restrictions lifted, but the EU still has a temporary ban on travelers from the United States and many other countries. Flights from Brazil and the UK are currently banned. Citizens from Canada, Australia and New Zealand may already travel to the EU and, of course, Portugal. Below is a complete list of countries whose citizens may currently enter Portugal without a COVID-19 test (if you’re landing in the islands of the Azores or Madeira, you still need to present a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure). Passengers from countries not on this list are only permitted for essential travel, and must have a negative COVID-19 test carried out within 72 hours before departure time.
COUNTRIES WHOSE CITIZENS MAY CURRENTLY TRAVEL TO PORTUGAL
EUROPE: European Union countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden) and other Schengen Space countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), plus Georgia.
NORTH AMERICA: Canada
SOUTH AMERICA: Uruguay
AFRICA: Morocco, Rwanda, Tunisia
ASIA: China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand
OCEANIA: Australia, New Zealand
Is it Safe to Travel to Lisbon, Portugal?
As COVID-19 is still spreading and vaccination has only now started, the travel risk remains moderate. If you’re traveling, regularly wash your hands with soap and water, or with an alcohol-based sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose, and always cover your mouth and nose with your elbow (not with your hands), every time you cough or sneeze. Keep a safe distance (2 meters, or 6 feet) from other people. If you develop respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) and/or a fever, postpone your trip, stay at home, and immediately seek medical help.
If you’re able to travel to Lisbon, it’s required that you maintain the social distance, even at the beaches, where parasols and towels must be kept 2 meters (6 feet) apart. Buses and metro trains are regularly disinfected, but you must remain distant from other passengers, when possible.
Keep checking this page for regular updates and advice on traveling to Lisbon and Portugal this year.