(Bloomberg) -- The Portuguese government said remote working will be mandatory in the week of Jan. 2-9 as it tries to prevent a spike in coronavirus infections after the Christmas and New Year holiday break.

Schools will reopen on Jan. 10, a week later than previously planned, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Thursday at a press conference in Lisbon. Until that first week of January, remote working will be recommended when possible.

From December, the use of masks will become mandatory in closed spaces, digital certificates will be needed to access restaurants and negative tests will be required for nightclubs and bars. Masks are currently already required on public transport. Negative Covid-19 tests will be required for all flights arriving in Portugal and the government will increase fines for passengers without tests.

The new measures are being announced almost two months after the government ended most restrictions as the country recorded a high vaccination rate. Portugal is now joining other European countries in taking steps to face the latest surge in coronavirus infections in the region, which has prompted countries like Austria to impose a lockdown.

  • About 86% of the country’s population has now completed vaccination, among the highest rates in the world. Portugal is currently administering a third vaccine dose to people age 65 and older, as well as to some specific groups such as healthcare workers. It aims to reach a target of having 2.5 million people with a third dose in January. So far, more than 900,000 people have received the additional dose.
  • Portugal reported 3,773 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the highest number of daily cases in four months. The number of patients in intensive-care units is at 103. The latest figures on new confirmed cases are still less than a quarter of the daily record of more than 16,000 cases reported at the end of January, when the country faced one of the world’s worst outbreaks and the number of patients in intensive-care units was around 900, forcing the government to impose strict confinement measures.

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