Portugal to impose coronavirus curfew from Monday

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People wearing face masks wait for watching a movie at the Cinema IDEAL in Lisbon on June 1, 2020.
People wearing face masks wait for watching a movie at the Cinema IDEAL in Lisbon on June 1, 2020.

Portugal will introduce a curfew across most of the country from Monday in an effort to combat surging coronavirus case numbers, Prime Minister Antonio Costa has announced.

The measures will be in effect all weeknights and from 1pm on weekends for at least two weeks, Costa said after an emergency cabinet meeting late Saturday.

It comes a day after the country declared a state of emergency over the pandemic, with the daily number of new infections tripling to 6,000 since early October.

"The only way to control the pandemic is to avoid social interaction," said Costa, adding that the measures were necessary to avoid the reintroduction of the stricter lockdown authorities imposed during the spring.

Costa said the restrictions would apply to around 70 percent of the population.

Several European countries have introduced new movement restrictions in an effort to control a fierce second wave of infections across the continent.

Greece became the latest European nation to enter lockdown on Saturday, with people there only allowed to leave home if they receive authorisation from a mobile phone request.

Poland was also imposing fresh measures on the weekend with the closure of most shopping centres.