Covid-19: several European countries lift most of their health restrictions

Portuguese people line up to board the funicular in Lisbon on February 17, 2022. AP - Armando Franca

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Several European countries are successively lifting most of their anti-Covid restrictions.

The Portuguese government announced this Thursday, February 17 that it will soon no longer be necessary to present a health pass to be able to stay in hotels or a negative test to enter nightclubs.

Portugal is thus following in the footsteps of other countries such as Austria and Switzerland.

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Since this Thursday, the Swiss can once again enter a store or restaurant without wearing a mask or presenting a Covid certificate.

The federal authorities speak of a rapid normalization of social life, while almost 70% of the population is fully vaccinated.

A normalization which is also looming

in Austria where vaccination has become compulsory

.

But from March 5, you no longer need the vaccination pass for cultural or gastronomic outings.

Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein spoke of “

 a paradigm shift 

” thanks to the Omicron variant, while calling for “

 flexibility

 ” in the face of an unpredictable virus.

Germany will also relax its anti-Covid restrictions by March 20, despite more than 200,000 new contaminations per day.

But " 

the culmination of the Omicron wave is over

 ," wants to believe the German Minister of Health, Karl Lauterbach.

Wearing a mask will however remain compulsory in public transport and enclosed spaces because according

to Chancellor Olaf Scholz

, “ 

the pandemic is not over yet 

”.

No date set in Portugal yet

This is also the opinion of the Portuguese government, which announced on Thursday the lifting of most restrictions, but without specifying a date.

The presentation of the digital Covid certificate - the European equivalent of the French health pass - will no longer be compulsory to enter restaurants, hotels or cultural places.

This certificate will still be required to enter the country by air, sea or land.

Nor will a negative test be required to attend large public events or to enter sports stadiums, bars and nightclubs.

Portuguese authorities plan to drop all anti-Covid restrictions only if the country drops below 20 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

For now, " 

we are still far from 

it," said the government spokeswoman. 

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  • Coronavirus

  • Health and medicine

  • Portugal

  • Germany

  • Austria

  • Swiss

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