Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa urged people to stay at home as he announced on Wednesday that the country would enter another national lockdown following record rates of Covid-19 deaths and new cases.

“We are at the most dangerous moment [of the pandemic]. The rule is simple: all of us should stay home,” Costa told reporters during a briefing at the Ajuda Palace in Lisbon.

On Wednesday, the Portuguese authorities reported a record daily increase of 156 deaths, taking total fatalities to 8,236, which Costa said was “not acceptable.”

The country also recorded a further 10,556 new Covid-19 infections – a record increase that takes the total caseload to over 500,000.

The PM announced that the country would enter its ninth state of emergency of the pandemic, to run from 12am on January 16 until 11.59pm on January 30.

The measures are similar to Portugal’s original six-week Covid-19 lockdown between March and April 2020, though this time, public and private schools will be allowed to remain open.

All non-essential businesses must close, however, with restaurants allowed to run only a takeaway service.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said on Tuesday that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and is now self-isolating.

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