The Portuguese government is introducing new nighttime curfews from 11pm tonight in 19 municipalities, including the capital Lisbon and the city of Porto, in a bid to limit the spread of Covid-19, a minister has said.

For very high-risk areas, curfews, as well as restrictions on hospitality and shopping, will be imposed, Cabinet Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva said on Thursday.

The updated measures will come into force as soon as Friday, local media reported.

“We are not in any circumstances to claim that the pandemic is in control,” the minister told a news conference as she outlined the new health measures.

The announcement comes after a meeting of the country’s Council of Ministers on Thursday to discuss Portugal’s recent Covid-19 surge, caused by the more transmissible Delta variant.

On Thursday, Portugal posted 2,449 new infections – its largest daily increase in infections since mid-February.

Health chiefs are particularly concerned about Lisbon, where the majority of new cases of the virus are being recorded. 

In response to the health situation in the capital, restrictions will remain on all travel in and out of the Lisbon metropolitan area at the weekend.

A total of 19 areas in Portugal are now classed as being at “very high risk of infection,” meaning their case rates are more than 240 per 100,000 people over the past 14 days.

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