LISBON, June 17 (Reuters) - Residents of the Lisbon region
will not be allowed to leave the area at weekends as authorities
scramble to control a spike in COVID-19 infections, the
government said on Thursday.
People living in the 18 municipalities of Lisbon's
metropolitan area will be banned from leaving from 3 p.m. on
Friday until 6 a.m on Monday. Those living outside the area will
not be allowed in.
Coronavirus cases in Portugal, population 10 million, jumped
by 1,350 on Wednesday, the biggest increase since late February.
Most new cases were reported in and around Lisbon.
"The government made this decision so the situation in
Lisbon does not spread to the rest of the country," Cabinet
Minister Mariana Silva Vieira told a news conference.
The jump in infections comes less than a month after
Portugal opened to visitors from the European Union and Britain.
Vieira da Silva said the situation could be worse in Lisbon
than other areas due to the Delta coronavirus variant, which was
first identified in India but is rapidly spreading in Britain.
Foreign tourists visiting Lisbon are exempt from the weekend
rule and can still travel to and from the area.
The number of people in need of hospital care has slightly
increased in recent days.
Two of Lisbon's biggest hospitals, Santa Maria and Pulido
Valente, opened an additional COVID-19 ward last week.
(Reporting by Catarina Demony and Sergio Goncalves;
Editing by Giles Elgood)