Portugal's COVID-19 cases hit record as New Year's restrictions kick in

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FILE PHOTO: A man runs near Tagus river during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Lisbon

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal's daily number of coronavirus cases reached a record high of 7,627 on Thursday as the country prepared for a subdued New Year's Eve with an 11 p.m. curfew and no travel between municipalities.

The country, which has so far registered 413,678 cases and 6,906 deaths from the virus, eased restrictions around Christmas but has cracked down again on New Year's Eve with a ban on travel between municipalities and public gatherings, an 11 p.m. curfew and a 1 p.m. curfew from Jan. 1-3.

Cases had risen abruptly to 6,049 on Wednesday from 3,336 on Tuesday, but Prime Minister Antonio Costa said it was too early to say if this was as a result of the Christmas easing of rules.

"In the second week of January we will be able to evaluate the impact of Christmas," he said. "We happily lightened the restrictions but now we need a period of containment to evaluate the results."

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Frances Kerry)