Portugal says goodbye to the use of masks in the street

The Portuguese are not required to wear a mask on the street from this Monday, a measure that comes at what many consider the right time, due to the advance of vaccination in the country and the fact that the figures of the pandemic seem to be stabilized.

The image in the streets of Lisbon this Monday was similar to that of recent weeks, with people wearing masks and others with their faces uncovered, although many continue to wear it at least on their wrist or elbow. But, legally, it is no longer mandatory to use it.

“It was the ideal moment,” says Mário Félix, a Portuguese who, walking alone through the streets of the Portuguese capital, goes without a mask, but puts it on when he stops to talk to someone. “Right now we have 75-85% of the vaccinated population, in terms of numbers the pandemic is basically controlled,” he believes.

The advance of vaccination was the main argument used by the parties of the Portuguese hemicycle not to extend the measure, which required the use of a mask whenever it was not possible to ensure the recommended social distance of two meters from October 2020.

Almost a year later, compulsory use has fallen, when in the country about 80% of the population already has the full regimen and more than 85% have received at least one dose.

“I think it is justified,” Helena considers, just before entering the subway, who still advocates “always wearing and using a mask in places with people less than two meters away.”

Vaccination is also the reason why Sophie, a young Swiss woman who lives and works in Portugal, thinks it was a good idea to stop forcing people to wear the mask. “When we are outdoors there is not as much risk of spreading the virus, so I am not surprised by this decision,” she says.

The first day without a mandatory mask outdoors has coincided with a day of minimums in terms of the coronavirus figures in the country.

The health authorities reported 458 new infections on Monday, the lowest number since June 7, and five deaths, a minimum since July 20.

The improvement in the situation is also reflected in the incidence at 14 days, which fell to 208.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and in the Rt index, which measures the number of people infected by an infected person, which fell to 0.85.


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