Nordic countries such as Denmark, Finland and Norway have taken the lead, but also the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands have lifted or eased restrictions in recent days.
Denmark on Tuesday became the first of the European Union countries to lift most restrictions aimed at fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
The most visible restriction that has disappeared is the use of masks, whose use is now recommended only in hospitals, healthcare facilities and nursing homes.
It will also no longer be required to present a vaccination certificate to enter clubs, bars and restaurants.
In Norway, anti-Covid measures, such as mandatory teleworking or restrictions on the sale of alcohol ended today and the recommended limit on the number of guests in each house or people at sporting events was also lifted.
It is no longer necessary to carry out a test at the border to enter Norway, but some restrictions remain, such as wearing a mask where social distance cannot be respected, such as in shops and on public transport.
In Finland, they have been more cautious, the border controls with the other Schengen countries ended on Tuesday, continuing, at least until February 14, for travellers from outside the European Union.
Also from Tuesday, establishments that serve meals can be open until 21:00, instead of having to close at 18:00, and can sell alcohol until 20:00.
The Government is negotiating with the parties regarding the timetable for lifting other measures, with some relating to "low risk" places, such as museums and cinemas, falling within the competence of regional and local authorities.
The UK has lifted almost all domestic restrictions, keeping self-isolation after a positive Covid-19 test as the only legal requirement.
The use of a mask is no longer mandatory, vaccination passes are not required to enter establishments and the recommendation to work from home is no longer there.
Ireland – Netherlands - France
Ireland lifted most of its restrictions and the Netherlands eased them too, although bars and restaurants still have to close at 10pm.
France, which continues to report the highest number of daily cases on the continent, plans to lift or review some restrictions from today, namely regarding the use of masks outdoors and limits on concentrations of people.
But masks must continue to be worn in many public places, nightclubs are closed and eating or drinking is not allowed in cinemas, stadiums or on public transport.
Neighbouring Switzerland, on the other hand, believes that the Covid-19 crisis is about to enter an endemic phase and plans to lift all restrictions by mid-February.
“Of course, the pandemic is not over, but we see light on the horizon”, declared the president of the Swiss confederation, Ignazio Cassis, at a press conference today.
As for EU countries, not all are moving in the same direction. Italy, for example, has increased the situations in which it requires the presentation of the certificate.
A recent measure is the need for at least one negative test taken on within the previous 48 hours to enter banks and post offices, and anyone over 50 who has not been vaccinated risks a fine of €100.
Germany decided a week ago to maintain several restrictions due to the increase in infections.
In Portugal Covid-19 restrictions remain in place, including the mandatory use of a mask in closed spaces and a reduction of capacity in commercial establishments (1 person /5m2).
The mandatory EU Covid-19 Digital Certificate, in all modes or a complete vaccination certificate or negative RT-PCR test or Rapid negative antigen test, must also be presented when accessing:
- Tourist establishments and local accommodation;
- Cultural shows;
- Events with reserved seats;
A mandatory negative test or recovery certificate is also needed, except for those who have already been vaccinated with a booster dose of the vaccine for at least 14 days, when accessing:
- Bars and clubs (from 14th January);
- Big events;
- Visits to care and nursing homes and health facilities.
Currrently, entry into Portugal by air or sea requires:
Mandatory negative test for all flights arriving in Portugal, even for those who have a digital vaccination certificate, regardless of the point of origin of the flight or the passenger's nationality
A mandatory passenger locator form
Entry in to Portugal by land requires:
Citizens from EU countries considered to be at low or moderate risk must hold a COVID EU Digital Certificate, in the form of vaccination, testing or recovery.
Citizens from countries outside the EU and from EU countries considered to have a red or dark red risk level must present:
- EU Covid-19 Digital Certificate in test or recovery modes, or
- Negative RT-PCR test performed in the last 72 hours, or
- Laboratorial Rapid negative antigen test performed within the last 48 hours