Lisbon, Jan 8 (IANS) The Portuguese government decided on Thursday to keep the most restrictive measures in force to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, extending the state of emergency for another eight days, until January 15.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said that on the weekend of January 9-10, movement between the country's municipalities will be banned, with a mandatory curfew starting at 1 p.m. Twenty-five "low risk" municipalities will be exempted from this rule, the Xinhua news agency reported.
According to Costa, the aim is to curb the recent exponential rise in virus cases. Last week, the number of coronavirus infections broke the country's daily record.
Costa said he was considering enacting "even more restrictive measures starting next week" if the number of new Covid-19 cases does not decrease.
"We will probably adopt measures similar to those we had in March (beginning of the pandemic) but without jeopardizing the school year, as experts advise, with the normal functioning of schools," he said.
As of January 8, Portugal will enter its eighth state of emergency as proposed by the president of the Republic and approved by parliament.
Portugal reported 9,927 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 4,56,533. On Thursday, 95 coronavirus-related deaths were reported, Since the start of the pandemic, 7,472 people have died in the country of Covid-19-related causes.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorised coronavirus vaccines, including Portugal.
Meanwhile, 235 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 63 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.