View the Country Report for Portugal in the Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to Covid-19

As of 19 April 2021, in Portugal there has been an aggregate total of 831,221 infected and 16,946 deaths from Covid-19. The number of active cases is 25,059.

The first two cases of Covid-19 were reported on 2 March 2020, but Covid-19 first entered Portugal on 21 February 2020, imported from Spain and Italy. On 12 March 2020, the Government announced the closing of schools until the Easter holidays. At that time, there were only a little more than 100 cases in Portugal. The first death occurred on 16 March 2020. A day later, Covid-19 was confirmed to have officially arrived in all regions of Portugal. On 18 March 2020, the first state of emergency in Portuguese democracy was declared. The most critical week of this first wave of the pandemic was observed between 30 March and 5 April 2020, with over 700 new daily cases. At the end of April, and with numbers declining sharply, the Government presented a three-part plan to ease the lockdown. The situation stabilized during the summer 2020, except for the Lisbon and Tajo Valley region, where several outbreaks worried the Government.

The second wave arrived in October 2020 and lasted until the beginning of December 2020. On 19 October 2020, Portugal surpassed 100,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and on 7 December, the country reached 5,000 pandemic-related deaths. Vaccination against Covid-19 started on 27 December 2020 in hospitals and immunised many health professionals from the most critical services.

The third wave, which started after Christmas 2020 and lasted through February 2021, reached its peak of 16,432 new cases and 303 deaths in a single day on 28 January, dwarfing all the figures of the previous waves and bringing the Health Care System to the brink of collapse. The number of people in hospitals, with a high of 6,869 people admitted on 1 February and 904 patients in intensive care on 5 February, forced Portugal to accept aid from other European countries, such as Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg. Only the new general confinement declared on 21 January 2021 managed to stop an escalation that made Portugal one of the countries most affected by Covid-19 worldwide. The number of daily deaths from 12 January until February 2021 exceeded, on average, that of countries such as Spain or the United States.

After the end of the third wave, the number of daily cases declined sharply. As of April 2021, Portugal is one of the European Union (EU) Member States with the fewest new cases per million inhabitants. The country is currently experiencing fewer deaths per day than the average of its European counterparts. Since the start of the pandemic, around 8% of the population living in Portugal has been diagnosed positive for SARS CoV-2.

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