Close to 100% of people over the age of 50 have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Portuguese government. For those between the ages of 25 and 49 it is 95% and from 12 to 17 it is 88%. Some 89% of Portugal’s entire population of 10 million has had at least one vaccine dose, not far behind the rate in the world-leading United Arab Emirates, compared with 65% in the U.S. and 73% in the U.K., according to Oxford University’s Our World in Data.
On Oct. 1, Portugal ditched most of its Covid-containment rules, but in many ways life in Lisbon is a throwback to the deepest days of the pandemic. Hand pumps dispensing disinfectant gel are ubiquitous and some churches still rope off seats to ensure social distancing even though it is no longer obligatory. The Covid-19 certificate is required at large events and masks are still mandatory on public transportation, in schools for students 10 and older, and for employees in shops, restaurants and bars.
At the same time, subways are full. Lisbon’s fleet of rickshaw taxis, known by the Thai term tuk-tuk, whisk tourists along the narrow streets of the city’s old town. Nightlife pulsates in various parts of the city all week, tram lines popular with tourists skip stops because they are bursting with passengers and almost every day finds a new massive cruise ship docked at the harbor.