Lisbon's Metro trains are regularly disinfected
OCTOBER 2021 UPDATE
- Portugal is open to travelers from all over the world (including the UK, the United States, Canada, and the European Union), except for India, Nepal, and South Africa (passengers from these three countries are only permitted for essential travel, and must have a negative COVID-19 test carried out within 72 hours before departure time). All travelers need to show a valid negative test to COVID-19 (RT-PCR test or similar NAAT test carried out within 72 hours before boarding, or a Rapid Antigen Test carried out 48 hours before boarding) or a certificate proving that they’ve been vaccinated. That certificate can be from the EU or from outside the EU, as long as the vaccines were those approved in the EU (they are the Pfizer–BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford–AstraZeneca and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson), and as long as the traveler's country also accepts the EU certificate. There will be no need to quarantine. A negative test or vaccination certificate is no longer required at hotel check-ins. Children under the age of 12 do not need to present a test or vaccination certificate.
- Travellers from the UK: As mentioned above, Portugal is open to travellers from the UK. PCR tests are no longer required for fully vaccinated travellers returning to England, and they don't have to self-isolate when returning from a holiday in Portugal.
- All travelers: All passengers need to fill a Passenger Locator Card (individually) before departure to Portugal or on board at portugalcleanandsafe.pt/en/passenger-locator-card
- Museums, monuments, palaces, art galleries and other tourist attractions, as well as markets, gyms, restaurants, shops and malls are now open in Lisbon and throughout Portugal.
- Masks are currently required in public transportation and in big public indoor spaces, such as shopping malls and theaters.
Portugal is slowly returning to pre-pandemic life, as it became the world's most vaccinated nation -- practically all adults have been vaccinated.
The first case of the 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 over 95% 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 had an impact in Portugal in January 2021, leading to increased hospitalizations and death rates.
Evolution of the Virus in Portugal and Restrictions
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. When arriving at Lisbon’s and other Portuguese airports, each passenger’s temperature was checked, and if it was 38 degrees or over, they were 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 a reopening was eventually scheduled for April 5th. These measures were meant to guarantee that the national health service continued to have capacity to respond to every case.
Is it Safe to Travel to Lisbon, Portugal?
As COVID-19 is still spreading and massive vaccination hasn't happened in most countries, 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.