Archive for 2020

Government rejects to stopping the country again

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

The Government has ruled out the return to the past in which the country stopped, according to the Minister of Health, Marta Temido. The almost door-to-door knowledge of the current epidemiological situation can lead health authorities to choose local confinements, as is the case, for example, in some neighbourhoods in the Spanish capital.

In March, the country closed with fear of the covid-19, bent to the unknown. “We were in a phase where, in some way, we could support, even from a social and psychological point of view, more restrictive measures”, recalled the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, discarding going back, to that time with closed doors and empty streets.

“We already realized that confinement is less effective than in the past,” added the minister, in an interview with RTP’s “Telejornal” on Monday night. “Today all countries are trying to move away from that line, regardless of whether there may be surgical measures locally”, such as those adopted in Spain.

The region of Madrid has decided, since Monday, to restrict freedom of movement affecting more than 850 thousand people, 13% of the total inhabitants, in areas of the city where there was a great increase in the contagions of covid-19. The affected population may leave the neighbourhood to go to work, to the doctor or to take their children to school, and the number of people who can meet is reduced from 10 to 6.

On the day that the Health Plan for the autumn-winter of 2020-21 was presented, the Minister of Health highlighted the pertinence of the epidemiological risk map, which appears in the document prepared by the DGS. “This is very important. In some regions of the country, we have already been able to say what the risk is almost door-to-door. This allows for more incisive and more effective action by public health, social security, security forces,” he explained. .

One more reason for the minister’s optimism. “We face this phase with confidence. We have more means, more human and technical resources, more organization and more knowledge,” said Marta Temida .

“We currently have 700 more ventilators than we had in March,” said the minister, also reporting the increase in testing capacity, defended as one of the important vectors of the Health Plan for the fall-winter of 2020-21. “In terms of laboratory capacity, we were doing about 3,000 tests a day in March and now we are doing 23,000 tests a day,” he said.

The NHS has 21 thousand hospital beds, seven thousand in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region “Of the 500 beds that the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region has kept – in quotation marks – in this phase to respond to the covid, 300 are currently occupied “, said the minister. “There are 300 of the 500 that are part of the seven thousand”, he stressed, referring that the advantage of the SNS “is to work in a network” and that if necessary, it can mobilize more beds, even from the private sector.

Still in this interview, Marta Temido acknowledged that the SNS 24 Health Line does not always answer the phone, and admitted that this is largely due to a problem with the telephone networks. “We are trying to resolve, to invest in technological modernization,” he said, stressing that “the strengthening of telephone lines and the service capacity” is being carried out.

Addressing the shortage of water in the Algarve

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

The Minister of the Environment warned today that “there is no point in multiplying dams when there is no water”, pointing to the reuse of wastewater as the most immediate solution to guarantee greater water availability in the Algarve, which is in severe drought.

“The problem cannot be solved by building dams”, said João Pedro Matos Fernandes during the presentation of the Regional Water Efficiency Plan for the Algarve, in Faro.

He added in terms of funding for the next Community Support Framework, that the use of treated wastewater “will be right at the forefront of projects that may be financed”.

On the contrary, the minister said, in the “taxonomy of community financing” there is no “desalination or any dam”, but solutions “for the resilience of water supply”.

In this sense, João Pedro Matos Fernandes defends the reuse of treated wastewater for the irrigation of golf courses, which already happens in specific cases, in public green spaces or for street washing.

The Minister for the Environment and Climate Action said he believed that “it is only a few years before the majority of golf courses in the Algarve will be watered exclusively from waste water”.

In addition to the presentation of the plan, the session, which took place at the University of Algarve, included the signing of protocols with the 16 municipalities in the Algarve, for priority interventions in the water efficiency plan and a protocol between Águas do Algarve and Associação dos Campos of Golf.

The plan lists 57 measures, the implementation of which corresponds to an investment of 228 million euros, the majority of which are destined to the agriculture sector, in the amount of 79 million euros, although the urban component is the one that requires greater investment (122 million euros).

During the presentation of the Regional Water Efficiency Plan, potential solutions were pointed out to reinforce the water supply in the region, namely, the abstraction of water in the Guadiana River, upstream of the Pomarão, the desalination of sea water and the construction of a dam in ribeira da Foupana, in the eastern Algarve.


Marcelo praises health professionals and National Health Service marking 41 years

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

The President of the Republic today praised health professionals and defended a strengthening of the SNS resources, in a message that marks the 41 years of this network of public establishments and services.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa “reminds everyone that it is necessary to go further, reinforce and provide the National Health Service (SNS) with the appropriate means to respond to the great challenge of the times to come” and evokes in this note the founder of the PS and former minister António Arnaut, who died two years ago and is considered the “father” of the NHS.

“The President of the Republic marks today, September 15, the 41 years of the NHS, saluting and thanking the health professionals who over the years, and in particular in this exceptional time of the pandemic of covid-19, with great dedication and , often, with enormous personal and family sacrifice, true heroes as they have repeated, they have dedicated the best of themselves to taking care of the Portuguese “, the note reads.

According to the head of state, this year, “more than ever”, we must “remember that the SNS is one of the main achievements of the 25th of April, it is a pillar of the democratic rule of law and a key piece for human and for social justice “.

“The President of the Republic is honored to have voted on the Constitution of the Republic, which paved the way for the creation of the SNS”, writes Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who was a constituent deputy for the PSD.

In the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic of 1976, which had only votes against the CDS, it was established that “the right to health protection is realized by the creation of a universal, general and free national health service” and that among the tasks of the State in this The subject was “to discipline and control the entrepreneurial and private forms of medicine, articulating them with the national health service”.

The creation of the SNS was accomplished three years later with Law No. 59/1979 approved by PS, PCP and UDP, with the votes against PSD and CDS, which provided that the creation of this “network of organs and services” in the within the Ministry of Social Affairs, through which “the State guarantees the right to health protection, under the terms of the Constitution”.

“Recalling António Arnaut, who awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Liberty on April 25, 2016, the President of the Republic reminds everyone that it is necessary to go further, reinforce and provide the SNS with the appropriate means to respond to the great challenge of the coming times. We all have to fight, with courage and determination, for a better NHS, an essential condition for better health at the service of the Portuguese “, adds Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Last June, regarding the death of a doctor with covid-19 in Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa published a note to defend that the effort of health professionals “deserves the appropriate means and the appropriate careers within the NHS”.

The covid-19 pandemic, a disease caused by a new coronavirus detected in December last year in China, affected 196 countries and territories.

In Portugal, where the first cases were confirmed on March 2, more than 1,800 people have died in a total of close to 65,000 cases of infection accounted for, according to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

GNR starts operation to inspect dangerous goods transport

Monday, September 14th, 2020

The National Republican Guard (GNR) will carry out an inspection operation for the transportation of dangerous goods throughout the country as of today 14th September, they announced.

The operation, which will continue until Sunday, involves means of the territorial commands and the National Traffic Unit and the inspection will focus on violations in the scope of the transport of dangerous goods, among them the lack of a transport document, circulation without a certificate approval or without the driver having a training certificate.

Access to the transport activity, non-compliance with the rules regarding the installation and use of the tachograph, the circulation of vehicles without having undergone mandatory periodic inspection, driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics and the non-use of the seat belt and / or restraint systems are other infractions that GNR will inspect.

“In road freight transport, dangerous goods are of central importance in the economies of modern societies and deserve increased attention from economic agents and authorities with responsibilities in this area, due to the risk associated with loading and unloading actions, packaging and transport of this type of material ”, remembers the GNR, in a statement.

The National Republican Guard also says that these types of operations, “aimed at risk factors, groups and places, are intended not only to provide better road safety, but also to increase the efficiency and quality of the services provided by GNR to road users” .

Council of Ministers – Measures Presented by the Prime Minister

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

The Council of Ministers discussed on Thursday the measures to be implemented from next Tuesday, the 15th, when schools begin to reopen for classes and the country enters a contingency situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. .

The measures were presented by the Prime Minister and are as follows:

  • Gatherings limited to 10 people
  • Commercial establishments cannot open before 10 am (with exceptions)
  • Closing hours of establishments between 8 pm and 11 pm, by municipal decision
  • In shopping centre catering areas, maximum limit of 4 people per group
  • Prohibition on selling alcoholic beverages at service stations and, from 8 pm, in all establishments (except meals)
  • Prohibition of alcohol consumption on public roads
  • Return to classes in person, between 14 and 17 September
    • Upgrading the functioning of schools to the new health reality, with attention to gatherings with schools, namely in the surrounding commercial establishments and in the hours of departure
    • Contingency plans in all schools
    • Distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Reference framework for suspected cases, positive cases or outbreaks
  • In restaurants, cafes and pastry shops 300m from schools, maximum limit of 4 people per group
  • District rapid intervention brigades to contain and stabilize outbreaks in care homes
  • Sports venues remain without public


More details

With the new measures, gatherings are again limited to 10 people across the country.
From the 15th, the whole country will enter a contingency state.
“This means, that many of the rules that have already been in force in the Metropolitan Area of ​​Lisbon, will come into effect across the country”, explains António Costa.In this way, the Prime Minister announces that gatherings are now limited to ten people across the country and commercial establishments, with the exception of pastry shops, cafes, hairdressers and gyms, should only open after 10 am, “in order to ensure the differentiation of schedules and circulation ”.

The operating limitations of establishments are also extended to the country. The closing time of the establishments is between 20h and 23h, by municipal decision.

Regarding the areas of restoration of shopping centers, António Costa makes it clear that “there cannot be more than four people per group in order to avoid large concentrations in these eating spaces”.

Prohibition of alcoholic beverages from 20h

A ban on alcoholic beverages was also decreed at service stations and, starting at 8:00 pm, in all establishments, except drinks to accompany meals in catering establishments.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages on the public road is also prohibited, “because it is absolutely essential to be able to ensure that the situations of informal gathering of consumption and parties” that have been denounced do not multiply.

Cafes 300m from schools with maximum customer limit

“A major contagion factor does not develop at school, but on the way from home to school and from school to home. Therefore, I appeal to everyone to be aware that the risk of contagion outside school is not less than the risk of contagion at school “, underlined Costa.

In this way, the Prime Minister also announces the maximum limit of four people per group in restaurants, cafes and pastry shops 300 meters from the schools.

District rapid intervention brigades to contain and stabilise outbreaks in homes
Regarding the situation in homes and in order to respond to outbreaks in these establishments, the Government decreed that “district rapid intervention brigades will be created to contain and stabilize” these outbreaks.These brigades, explains António Costa, involve “doctors, nurses and diagnostic technicians who can act very quickly in the face of any outbreak that occurs in any home in order to allow the diagnosis as early as possible, to avoid that cases come to be known when there are already dozens of cases ”.

The Prime Minister says, therefore, that around 400 people will be involved in the 18 brigades.

Sports venues remain without public

“The decision we have at the moment is not to allow the public to exist in sports venues in order to avoid risks of contamination,” announced Costa.

The Prime Minister justifies this decision by stating that “we all know that our behaviour in the cinema is very different in a football stadium and, therefore, this imposes restrictions on the existence of audiences in these spaces”.

Concrete measures for the Metropolitan Areas of Lisbon and Porto

“We cannot ignore that the incidence of this pandemic is concentrated in particular in the two Metropolitan Areas of Lisbon and Porto, which is natural to happen”, says António Costa. “Higher population density necessarily increases the risk of transmission”, he explains.

Thus, the Prime Minister underlines that, in these areas, “it is necessary to make an increased effort to avoid the concentration of people, both in public transport and in the work areas”.

Thus, in the Metropolitan Areas there will be teams working in mirror, with “rotation schedules between telework and face-to-face work”.

For those who are in person, there will be a mandatory time difference, with different entry and exit times, as well as breaks and meals.


Thursday, September 10th, 2020

The Council of Ministers will meet today and in discussion there will be measures to be implemented from Tuesday, when the country enters into a contingency situation due to the covid-19 pandemic, as already announced for the government.

In late August, precisely at a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of State and the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, justified this Government’s decision to impose new rules from September 15, in a preventive manner , with the “significant change in routines” that will happen.

“The Government considers that this significant change in routines, in the use of transport, the return to school and a more significant return to the labour market may require additional measures”, said Mariana Vieira da Silva.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed today however that a situation of confinement “is a non-scenario”, because the country would not support it, and asked everyone to be “extremely disciplined” in complying with the rules.

“The best way to not stop again, is to be extremely disciplined in complying with the rules. We have to keep this pandemic in check and that requires enormous discipline on the part of all of us”, stressed António Costa, on the eve of the Council of Ministers taking decisions on the contingency situation that will be in effect from Monday 15th September.

The Head of Government recalled that it is not because the “sun is shining and the weather is hot” that behaviours should be relaxed, namely people walking together, stop washing their hands or having “big dinners”, because if they do, the country risks losing everything it has achieved over the past few months.

“If there is something that we all have in mind, it is that the country does not support it, families do not support it, companies do not support it and individually, each one of us does not support going through a situation of confinement”, he said.

“This is not a scenario, we cannot stop again”, he reinforced.


Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

The Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes (iMM) announced this Tuesday, the start of the largest national serological study done so far to assess the population’s immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, six months after the start of the pandemic and in a when a critical phase is anticipated. 12 thousand volunteers from 102 municipalities on the continent and islands will be tested for free.

The sample of the “Covid-19 National Serological Panel” was defined by specialists from Pordata and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon to be representative of the population. There are vacancies for 2200 children and young people (under 18 years old), 5500 people between 18 and 54 years old and 4300 with 55 years old or more. The number is limited by what “interested parties must register as soon as possible”, warns Bruno Silva Santos, project coordinator and deputy director of iMM.

Registrations can be made starting today, through the website “National Serological Panel Covid-19” or at one of the 314 collection stations Germano de Sousa, a partner company for this project that is fully funded by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos and Jerónimo Martins Group . There is also a helpline (808100062) for more information about the study. The counties that are going to be studied can be consulted in the next infographic.

Once enrolled, volunteers receive a code on their mobile phone with which they must go to the nearest collection station to do the blood test. The result is sent to the participants and the data, confidential, is used only for statistical purposes, guarantees Bruno Silva Santos . The code will expire after seven days, so that “vacancies are not blocked” and can be filled, the investigator added. The study will run until October 7 and the results will be released at the end of the same month.

Earlier Survey

In July, the National Institute of Health Ricardo Jorge released the preliminary results of the national serological study, carried out in May with a sample of 2300 participants, which indicated a prevalence of infection of 2.9%. “We had the holidays, people were more exposed and we are about to open schools, it is a critical period”, stressed Bruno Silva Santos . The aim is to make an “X-ray” of the epidemic to help the country to balance the efforts necessary for the social and economic recovery with the protection of life.

The results are “unknown,” but taking into account some national and foreign indicators, the project coordinator believes that the population’s immunity will be less than 20%, a far cry from the desired group immunity that will only be achieved when around 70% population has developed antibodies to SARS-Cov-2.

The iMM study will continue beyond October. A subsample will be chosen to “follow the participants’ immunological status for a year, with analyzes every three months, to see how the infection is developing in the country”, explained the researcher. The volunteers with positive tests will be followed to determine the durability of the immune response, a question that still has no scientific answer.

Covid-19: Epidemic situation has worsened in Portugal since mid-August

Monday, September 7th, 2020

The epidemiological situation of covid-19 in Portugal has worsened since mid-August, revealed today by experts from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and the National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA ), returning from meetings between experts and politicians.

In the auditorium of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, Pedro Pinto Leite, from DGS, explained that in the period analyzed between 17 and 30 August, 3,909 new infections were registered. In terms of transmission, 49% of those who reported having had contact with the virus did so in a family context, with only 16% indicating the work context.

Despite the weight of the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region and the North region in the current epidemic situation, the cumulative incidence of cases for 14 days showed the weight of some outbreaks in other counties, namely Mora, with 215 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, Sernancelhe ( 149), Armamar (121), Arouca (120), Vila Verde (102) and Arraiolos (86).

However, Pedro Pinto Leite said that the “growing trajectory” of the epidemic situation since mid-August is based on the “main contribution of the municipalities of Odivelas, Amadora, Sintra and Lisbon”. In fact, the cumulative incidence of cases in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo still remains above the national incidence in the period observed in the analysis.

“It seems to be necessary to reinforce the non-pharmacological measures known to everyone – from physical distance, hand hygiene, the use of masks or other personal protective equipment, the aeration of spaces, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and disinfection of sites. All of them must be reinforced, especially in the group of 80 or more years old, whose incidence is above the remaining ages, as in the group of 20-29 years old, who leads these incidences ”, he explained.

As for deaths, the DGS specialist highlighted the existence of 43 deaths between 17 and 30 August, for a total of 1822. As for the age distribution, the age group over 80 concentrated 67% of deaths, the group 70-79 registered 28% and under-70s represented only 5%; at the demographic level, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo concentrated 74% of deaths and the North had 26%.

Regarding the national lethality rate, which reflects the weight of deaths over the number of cases, Pedro Pinto Leite noted that there has been an increase “until the beginning of June, remaining stable or decreasing” since then. “On August 30, the national lethality is estimated at 3.1% and is mainly due to the group aged 80 or over and the group 70-79 years old”, he summarized.

On behalf of INSA, Ausenda Machado started by giving an international contextualization of the pandemic in the last month, highlighting the unfavorable progression in several regions of Spain, as well as in some central and eastern European countries.

Crossing the effective transmissibility index (Rt) – which currently stands at 1.12 in Portugal – with the incidence of cases, the INSA specialist highlighted “a worsening of the situation in Spain, France and Portugal, which is already in the quadrant higher incidence, despite the fact that the epidemic situation is not as harmful as in other countries ”.

At the same time, Portugal has had an average of more than 80 thousand tests per week since June, and in terms of the percentage of positives “there has been growth in recent weeks, in line with the epidemic trend”. On the other hand, Ausenda Machado stressed the positive evolution in the speed of notification since the onset of symptoms, which went from 11 days in March to four in late April, and has remained at that value since then.

The INSA specialist concluded with a look at hospitalizations, which remain stable for now, although she has noticed an increase in the number of consultations in primary health care and emergency rooms due to covid-19. “We are accompanied to see if it is a sustained increase or a usual variation”, he summarized.

Today’s meeting between experts and politicians is the first since July 8 and the first to be broadcast, after ten closed sessions. The Prime Minister, António Costa, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, once again join party leaders and social partners to hear technicians and specialists on the situation of the pandemic in Portugal.

GNR operation Travelling Safely concludes today

Sunday, September 6th, 2020

Lisbon, 06 Sep 2020 (Lusa) – The GNR operation “Travelling safely”, which underwent increased patrolling and inspection on Portuguese roads to ensure safety during summer travel, ends today.

During the operation, which started on June 26, GNR prioritised “preventive action” on the main roads, such as highways, main routes, complementary routes and national roads, through an “effort for the most critical roads”, with the objective of “combating road accidents, guaranteeing the free flow of traffic and supporting all road users, providing them with safe travel”.

In recent months, GNR’s action has focused on risky behaviours that jeopardize road safety.

The GNR military was alert to dangerous overtaking maneouvers, driving under the influence of alcohol and psychotropic substances, driving without a legal license, speeding, wearing a seat belt and a mobile phone while driving.

The latest report by the National Road Safety Authority (ANSR) states that July was the month that this year recorded the highest number of deaths and serious injuries in road accidents, with fatalities increasing almost 50% compared to the same month of 2019 ,

According to the ANSR, in July 49 people died on Portuguese roads, 48.5% more than in the same month of 2019, when 33 died, and 212 people suffered serious injuries, the same number as last year.

In total and in the first seven months of 2020 there were 14,217 accidents with victims on the Portugal mainland, resulting in 216 deaths occurred at the accident site or during transport to the health unit, 991 seriously injured and 16,493 minor injuries.

The ANSR indicates that, compared to the same period in 2019, there were 5,705 fewer accidents with victims (-28.6%), 43 less fatalities (-16.6%), 269 less serious injuries (-21.3% ) and less 7,590 minor injuries (-31.5%).

“Between January and July 2020, there was a reduction in all accident indicators, compared to the same period of 2019, with the month of April having the most significant decreases, partly due to the state of emergency that was in force between March 19 and May 2, imposing strong containment measures with the consequent reduction in traffic”, emphasizes the report.

Portugal was in a state of emergency due to the covid-19 pandemic in March and April.

Marcelo expected 100 cases of covid-19 or less per day in early September

Saturday, September 5th, 2020

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said this Friday that he had the expectation that Portugal would register only 100 cases of covid-19, or less, per day, in early September, but considered the situation “controlled and stable”.

“My expectation, in June and July, I do not hide it, was that we would arrive now [at the beginning of September] with 100 cases or less per day”, he said, on the side lines of a visit to the village of Castro Marim, as part of the travel to all municipalities in the Algarve.

The head of state considered that ” the situation is controlled and stable, in the good sense of the term, in terms of hospitalizations and intensive care “, but that he expected ” a downward trend, tending to decrease progressively ” in the national number of cases.

“Unfortunately, that is not what happened. We are, on some days of the week, with ups and downs: on weekends, [the numbers] are low – between Saturday and Monday – and during the week they are much higher”, he added.

“There are several statements by members of the Government that say that there is something of concern or that the situation is serious. When the Government, a few weeks in advance, admits to going into a state of contingency, it is not because it is unconcerned, but it did not announce the state contingency.

The President of the Republic recalled that the return of meetings on the evolution of the covid-19 is scheduled for Monday in Porto, with the presence of all political parties with parliamentary seats.

“I hope that this session will also be useful for this, for all political parties to understand why the Government, in advance, pre-emptively, said that it intended to, in a few weeks, come to resort to the state of contingency. I hope that this session, in addition to clarifying the Portuguese in the open part, clarifies the political parties with seats in the Assembly of the Republic”, he stressed.

Asked about the presence of the public in the stadiums, a claim claimed by the Portuguese Professional Football League in recent weeks, the head of state said that “the definition of rules and monitoring of the evolution of the situation” is at stake and that the management of the pandemic it goes through “a balance between defending life and health and not killing the economy or society”.