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Portugal to reopen border, further ease coronavirus curbs


LISBON (AFP) – Portugal will on Saturday (May 1) reopen its land border with Spain and start the fourth and final stage of its programme to ease Covid-19 restrictions, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Thursday.

The final stage of the country’s deconfinement plan would begin 48 hours earlier than planned, he said.

“On May 1, we will go into the next phase of deconfinement, with the reopening notably of the border with Spain,” he told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.

As well as the lifting of the border controls, the final phase of easing the national restrictions would allow the weddings and other gatherings, albeit in venues limited to 50 per cent of their capacity.

Sporting activities – both outdoors and indoors – would also be allowed once more.

In addition, cafes, restaurants and cultural venues will see their opening hours extended, in particular at weekends.

On April 19, Portugal reopened shopping centres, high schools and universities and allowed indoor dining, as part of the third phase after new infections eased off.

Secondary schools reopened at the start of April along with outdoor service for cafes and restaurants.

Travel restrictions will be maintained with visitors to Portugal still required to show a negative Covid-19 test or to quarantine, Mr Costa said.

Some restrictions will remain however in areas with larger numbers of infections.

Portugal was hit at the start of the year by an explosion in cases which overwhelmed hospitals and pushed the death toll to around 17,000 for a population of some 10 million.

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