Archive for April, 2020

Announcement of State of Calamity by the Prime Minister

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

“After listening to the experts, social partners and parties and after listening to the President of the Republic, the Council of Ministers approved the state of calamity”, declared António Costa.

António Costa revealed that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa agreed “there is no need to continue in a state of emergency” and that it is possible to lower the level of containment from a state of emergency to a state of calamity. However, he warned that the danger has not yet passed. “The risk remains high and the pandemic remains active,” said António Costa. “Every day the numbers vary and that is why what is important to look at is the long trend that we are having”.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that the vast majority of infected patients are being treated at home, which leaves some room for response from the National Health Service. Therefore, “and with all the precautions that safety demands”, the Government believes it is possible to mitigate the restrictions imposed.

António Costa recalled that for this there are conditions that must be guaranteed: it is the case of disinfectant gel, masks, a strategic consolidation of the SNS, and the guarantee of a good distribution network.

In Portugal, 307.302 tests have already been carried out, announced the Prime Minister. “The number of tests that are carried out is much greater than the number of people who are actually infected”, he said.

The prime minister also said that the decrease in the number of people hospitalized in intensive care “has been consistent over the past few weeks”. There is also a “stabilization” in the number of deaths.

“If we look at the list of recovered patients, it has been steadily increasing. This means that we have gone through a phase of exponential growth, in which it was possible to control the risk of growth”, explained the Prime Minister.

The transition from a state of emergency to a state of calamity “has risks”, says António Costa. “Each of us has to adopt hygiene and distancing rules, in order to protect ourselves and others. As we reopen some activities, we are aware that the risk will increase”, explains the Prime Minister.

The situation will be assessed every 15 days. “I will not be ashamed to take a step back if necessary. This is a route that we have to take with confidence and together”, he added.

“The state of emergency is over, but the virus remains the same,” says the prime minister, adding that it will continue to be necessary to avoid unnecessary trips as much as possible.

“We are all aware that until there is a vaccine available on the market and accessible to all of us, or until there is treatment, we will have to continue to live and continue without our normal lives”, insists the Prime Minister.

“We must make this effort so that the path is a step forward and not a step back. I am not one to take steps back, but I guarantee that I will do it if necessary. This is what we owe to all who have already lost their lives, to those who are infected, to the families of those who have lost loved ones, to those who know infected people and to health professionals who do their best”, said Costa.

“We will not lose in the next month what we have achieved so hard in the past two months,” appealed the prime minister.

 

WHAT CHANGES

Regarding the rules to be adopted, there will be a mandatory confinement duty for sick people and those under active surveillance, with a civic duty of home confinement continuing. There cannot be gatherings of more than ten people and funerals will be held only with the presence of family members.

Regarding religious celebrations, the DGS will also create a set of rules for them.

The prime minister warned that “it will continue to be mandatory” that all functions that can be carried out in teleworking thus remain, at least throughout the month of May.

From June 1, there will be partial teleworking, with irregular shifts. The priority, explains the prime minister, is to reopen companies and businesses that cannot function remotely.

In public transport there will be mandatory use of masks, a maximum capacity of two thirds and the mandatory hygiene and cleaning of transport.

António Costa announced that on Monday, the 4th of May, deconcentrated customer service counters will open by appointment. On June 1, the citizen’s stores will open.

In terms of commerce and restaurants, stores up to 200 square meters may be reopened as of May 4, such as bookstores and car trade. Hairdressers, aestheticians and barber shops will reopen but with appointments, complying with the rules of hygiene and individual protection”, explained the Prime Minister.

From May 18, stores up to 400 square meters will be able to reopen. Restaurants, cafes and pastry shops can have a capacity of up to 50%. As of June 1, commercial spaces over 400 square meters and stores inserted in shopping centres will be reopened.

With regard to schools, the 11th and 12th year students will start face-to-face classes, and from June 1st day care centers, ATL’s and pre-school will be able to reopen. In culture, libraries and archives will reopen from May 4. From the 18th, museums, monuments, palaces, art galleries and exhibition rooms will reopen. On June 1, cinemas, theaters and concert halls will be able to return to business.

In relation to sport, starting on Monday, individual sports may be resumed (without the use of changing rooms) and at the end of the month, the 1st football league and the Portuguese Cup may be resumed.

Armed Forces start cleaning operations in schools

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

The Armed Forces have already started cleaning operations at schools that may reopen to receive 11th and 12th year students and the process should be completed within the next few weeks, said the minister of National defense.   João Gomes Cravinho, today accompanied the Minister of Education, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues in one of these actions, at the Amadora Secondary School, where around 50 operational assistants participated in an awareness campaign.   “Planning is almost complete. As for this week and for the next few weeks, planning will make it possible to reach all schools where there may eventually be face-to-face classes”, said the Minister of National Defense, adding that about 520 schools are signaled.

During the awareness campaign, aimed at cleaning professionals who will ensure the daily hygiene work when the face-to-face classes are resumed, Army personnel transmitted some indications about the correct use of personal protective equipment, waste management, and cleaning procedures, which should be reinforced.   According to a guideline of the Directorate-General for School Establishments (DGEstE), with the guidance of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and the Armed Forces, published today, classrooms, for example, must be cleaned whenever there is a change classrooms and cafeterias right after using one group and before another enters the space.

During the visit of the government to the Amadora Secondary School, the Army also demonstrated the disinfection actions, which will be carried out whenever there is a case of infection or suspicion of infection by the new coronavirus in educational establishments.  “The Armed Forces had 15 chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense teams and adapted very quickly to this challenge, first downgrading it because, in reality, they were prepared for another type of danger in their interventions, and, second, multiplying the teams”, underlined the Minister of National Defense.   According to João Gomes Cravinho, the Armed Forces will have 82 teams by the end of the week, with another 15 receiving training from the Army.  Source – Lusa

One-third of health professionals do not perform daily self-monitoring

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

One third (33.4%) of the more than 5,000 health professionals who participated in a study by the National School of Public Health (ENSP), related to covid-19, does not comply with the daily self-monitoring requested by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

“Carrying out daily self-monitoring should be the rule in terms of both protecting the health of the professional and reducing the likelihood of the risk of contagion, as recommended by the guidance of the Directorate-General for Health since March 21, 2020”, highlighted in a statement Florentino Serranheira, executive coordinator of the study.

The “Occupational Health” questionnaire of the Barómetro Covid-19, from the ENSP of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, with the contribution of 5,180 health professionals and whose results were released today, also shows that 36.6% of the respondents are without a system covid-19 risk management system, that is, the protection and surveillance of your health in your workplaces during the pandemic.

 

Psychosocial area self- monitoring

The researchers stressed that “the risks for health professionals go far beyond the virus”, as, in addition to the risk of contracting covid-19, anxiety, insufficient sleep hours, fatigue and back pain have an influence in health and in the performance of the activity of health professionals.

“When characterizing the professional risk factors to which health professionals are exposed, it is clear that they are not exhausted by the SARS CoV-2 virus, agent of covid-19. Contact with patients (or suspected cases) of covid -19 has repercussions at a psychological level, showing that almost three quarters of respondents have high or very high levels of anxiety in response to the stress situations they experience “, stressed the ENSP team.  Furthermore, according to the survey, almost 15% of respondents have moderate or high levels of depression.

It has been found from the above survey that almost half of health professionals (44.8%) report that they sleep less than six hours a day.  “This fact, associated with the feeling of fatigue, which has worsened for almost 90% of health professionals since the last survey, can have repercussions on their health and professional performance. In fact, almost four out of five health professionals (78.7 %) considers their (physical) fatigue level to be much worse, compared to the previous week “, pointed out Florentino Serranheira.

Then, 44.8% of health professionals reported that they had not practiced physical activity in the last week and only 2% reported exercising every day.  “This may possibly be related to the high number of allusions to the presence of musculoskeletal pain (or discomfort) at the level of the spine that they did not previously have and which may be related, in addition to the demands of the work, for example with overload caused by the PPE [personal protective equipment] they use “, stressed the investigator. One-third of health professionals do not perform daily self-monitoring – barometer

GNR identifies nearly 24 thousand situations for failure to clean land

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

The National Republican Guard (GNR) identified 23,968 situations of non-compliance with the cleaning of forest land and installed 290 administrative offenses for burning and burning, of which eight people were arrested and 44 were identified for the crime of fire. forestry.

In response to the Lusa agency, GNR reiterated that the inspection phase of forest cleaning works is scheduled to start on “May 1st”, that is, on Friday, with the owners, in case of non-compliance, subject to administrative offenses, with fines ranging between 280 and 120,000 euros.

“The inspection phase has not yet started, as the deadline for carrying out the fuel management works has been extended until April 30,” stated the GNR.

At issue is the deadline for carrying out land clearing operations, which ended on March 15, but was extended until April 30, by decision of the Government on April 2, following the decree-law that established exceptional measures and temporary covid-19 disease pandemic.

Within the scope of Operation Safe Forest 2020, GNR carried out “an extensive plan to monitor / raise awareness of the 1,114 priority parishes” due to the high risk of fire, which involved 670 non-priority parishes, culminating in the “identification of 23,968 situations in non-compliance ”in relation to the cleaning of forest land.

Thus, of the 3,092 parishes in Portugal, GNR monitored the cleaning work in 1,784 parishes, which resulted in around 24 thousand non-compliances, situations that risk administrative proceedings starting on Saturday, following the inspection phase.

Non-compliance with the cleaning of forest land was “already communicated to the respective municipalities”, said the GNR, without mentioning which areas are more problematic.

In addition to these situations, this security force registered “eight detainees and 44 identified for the practice of forest fire, and 290 administrative offenses were also prepared, for violation of the burning and burning rules”.

In the case of administrative offenses, punishable by a fine, from 280 to 10,000 euros, in the case of a natural person, and from 1,600 to 120,000 euros, in the case of legal persons, “the procedural process is independent of the extension of the deadline for carrying out cleaning operations “, explained the GNR.

On April 2, more than two weeks after the date of March 15, the Government announced the extension until April 30 of the deadline for the owners to ensure the cleaning of the forest land, in the scope of the renewal of the state of emergency due to the Covid-19.

“It is important not to forget that the country has an enormous risk of forest fire and that this risk requires a major cleaning effort”, emphasized the Prime Minister, António Costa, explaining that the decision to extend the deadline aimed “to create better conditions so that people can fulfill this obligation, taking into account the strong movement limitations that exist “.

In view of the non-compliance by the owners with the deadline for cleaning land, city councils must ensure, until May 31, that all fuel management works are carried out.

In case of non-compliance by the municipalities, “the following month, 20% of the twelfth of the current transfers from the Financial Equilibrium Fund (FEF) are retained”, according to the Exceptional Regime for the Secondary Networks of Fuel Management Bands.

Rural Fire Prevention – Deadline today to clean land

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

The deadline for clearing forest land ends today, after being extended due to the covid-19 pandemic, so the owners, in case of non-compliance, are subject to infractions, with fines between 280 and 120,000 euros.

In this context, the National Republican Guard (GNR) begins, as of Friday, the phase of inspection of the forest cleaning works, already accounting for the “identification of 23,968 situations in default”.

In response to Lusa, GNR indicated that the breaches identified in the cleaning of the forest are the result of “an extensive monitoring / awareness plan for the 1,114 priority parishes” due to the high risk of fire, which involved 670 non-priority parishes.

At issue is the deadline for carrying out land clearing operations, which ended on March 15, but was extended until April 30, by decision of the Government on April 2, following the decree-law that established exceptional measures and temporary covid-19 disease pandemic.

In addition to this extension of the deadline for cleaning the forest, the model for preventing and fighting forest fires may undergo “new adjustments”, as the covid-19 pandemic evolves, said the Secretary of State for Internal Administration, Patrícia Gaspar, at a parliamentary hearing on April 16 at the Assembly of the Republic in Lisbon.

“There is no clear model to tell us how the situation will be on the ground in 15 days or a month from now, so we may still have to make further adjustments as the situation evolves,” said Patrícia Gaspar, within the scope of the parliamentary hearing to provide clarification on land clearing and fire prevention in this exceptional period of covid-19.

Despite the extension of the deadline, “around 24,000 non-compliance situations have already been identified”, said the Secretary of State for Internal Administration, explaining that this information was transmitted to the municipalities, “so that there can be a work of proximity, to raise awareness of these people, for the imperative need to clear the land “.

“As of May 1, GNR will begin inspection in priority areas”, including in 1,114 parishes with a high risk of fire, pointed out the minister, noting that “what matters is not passing fines”, but rather signaling land that needs to be cleaned, so that this can be ensured together with the municipalities.

On April 2, more than two weeks after the date of March 15, the Government announced the extension until April 30 of the deadline for the owners to ensure the cleaning of the forest land, in the scope of the renewal of the state of emergency due to the Covid-19.

“It is important not to forget that the country has an enormous risk of forest fire and that this risk requires a major cleaning effort”, emphasized the Prime Minister, António Costa, explaining that the decision to extend the deadline aimed “to create better conditions so that people can fulfill this obligation, taking into account the strong movement limitations that exist “.

According to the law of the National System for the Defense of the Forest Against Fires, after the deadline to ensure the management of forest fuel, the owners are subject to fines, in case of non-compliance, ranging between 280 and 120,000 euros.

In view of the non-compliance by the owners with the deadline for cleaning land, city councils must ensure, until May 31, that all fuel management works are carried out.

In case of non-compliance with the deadline by the municipalities, “the following month, 20% of the twelfth of the current transfers from the Financial Equilibrium Fund (FEF) are retained”, according to the Exceptional Regime of the Secondary Networks of Fuel Management Bands.

GOVERNMENT PLAN FOR A PHASED RE-OPENING OF THE ECONOMY

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

The phased plan for reopening the economy was presented by the Government to the social partners this Wednesday, the 29th April. The measures presented by the Prime Minister to social consultation and political parties are part of a basic document prepared by the Government and an indicator of the calendar and strategy.

But it is natural that in the Council of Ministers there are fine-tuning and changes, even as a result of the several meetings that took place this Wednesday.

During the meeting, António Costa stressed that this is a forecast plan, which will be adjusted if Covid-19 spreads faster than anticipated by health authorities.

May 4th

The first stores to open will be the smallest, up to 200 square meters, already on Monday, May 4. At the same time, services such as hairdressers, barbers or beauticians (with only half capacity and by appointment) will open, as well as individual sports spaces, such as tennis courts, as long as changing rooms remain closed. As for the reopening of gyms, a date has not yet been set.

Also from Monday, public services such as finance offices will be open to the public, but not citizen’s bureaus, to avoid the risk of big gatherings.

May 18th

As for cafes and restaurants, the plan drawn up by the Government indicates that it will be possible to have a coffee or have a meal, at the table, from 18 May. There will be limits on the number of people who can do this, at any given moment, and the Hotel and Restaurant Association is developing a framework of good practices to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Also on the 18th of May day care centers will open for part of the children. A maximum number is not defined, since the decision will be up to the parents: at least during the first phase of this opening, parents can choose to stay at home receiving family aid (entitled to 66% of the remuneration). Such support will be cut from June 1, the day when day care centers will be available to everyone, as pre-school education also reopens, if the pandemic allows it. On May 18, occupational activity centers for people with disabilities will open, several sources confirmed to PÚBLICO.

Still on the 18th of May, stores of up to 400 square meters open their doors. The last step will be shopping centers, on June 1st.

The reopening of trade will have limits on the number of people allowed to be inside an enclosed space. It is expected to be the same as what is already imposed on bakeries, of four people per 100 square meters. That is, as of Monday, there cannot be more than eight people in the same store at the same time.

Also among the protection measures for workers and customers will be the mandatory use of a mask and the provision of hand sanitizer at the entrance. The most sensitive point will be the changing rooms of clothing stores: they will either be closed or will have to be disinfected after each use. The clothes themselves will have to be disinfected after they are tried on.

President and Prime Minister Meeting ahead of tomorrow’s Council of Minister’s meeting

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

The prime minister is meeting with the President of the Republic today after receiving the parliamentary parties in São Bento, to analyse the new framework of measures to contain the covid-19 pandemic after the end of the state of emergency.

A source from the Presidency of the Republic confirmed to the Lusa agency that this meeting was taking place, stating that this is the usual weekly meeting, but in the form of a dinner.

António Costa’s dinner with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa takes place after the President of the Republic has already announced on Tuesday that he will not extend the state of emergency, which ends on the 2nd of May.

On Thursday, April 30, after the Council of Ministers, the Government announces the new legal framework following the end of the state of emergency, being likely to resort to the declaration of a state of calamity due to the covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Basic Law for Civil Protection, the Council of Ministers resolution that decrees the situation of calamity may establish “limits or constraints on the movement or permanence of people, other living beings or vehicles”, as well as “sanitary and safety fences”.

After the Council of Ministers, on Thursday, António Costa will meet with the President of the Republic.

Regarding the timetable for the return to economic activity, the Prime Minister said that this Thursday it will be known which commercial sectors will resume their activity with safety standards on the 4th and 18th of May and 1st of June. According to António Costa, “the confinement release rules will come into force every 15 days, the first on 4 May, the second on 18 May and the other on 1 June”, although they do not yet include all sectors of activity.

“Therefore, after the Council of Ministers, we will announce the activities that the 4, the 18 or the 1 of June might resume – and always with restrictions on capacity and in terms of protection of individual equipment, whether for those who are attending, or in some cases for customers”, he stressed.

António Costa added that the executive’s objective, with this phased reopening calendar, “is to measure the impacts of the previous measure every 15 days, seeing if it is possible or not to take another step” in terms of lifting restrictions.

Covid-19: Patients should be aware of adverse drug effects – Infarmed

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

Infarmed warned covid-19 patients today that they should be aware of any adverse effects to the medications they take for the symptoms of the disease, remembering that many of the reactions that may occur are still unknown.

In a note published on its website, the National Authority for Medicines and Health Products warns patients with suspected or confirmed covid-19, who must warn the authorities of adverse effects that occur with taking not only the medicines for the symptoms of the disease as of others that they habitually use for other pre-existing chronic diseases.

Recalls that currently there are no authorized medicines to treat covid-19 and that, in the context of the pandemic, several authorized medicines are being used for other diseases.

Infarmed explains that “the knowledge about the new virus is still incomplete, and unknown drug interactions that may be occurring with the therapy of these patients are unknown”.

By reporting any suspected adverse effects related to drugs used in the context of covid-19, patients and healthcare professionals “can help to gather valuable evidence for making informed decisions about the safe and effective use of drugs as they the pandemic is evolving ”, he stresses.

The information provided by patients and health professionals “will contribute to increase the knowledge generated by clinical trials and other studies, which reinforces the importance of being directly notified of any suspicion directly to the National Pharmacovigilance System”, he adds.

This notification can also be made to the marketing authorization holder of the associated drugs, following the instructions in the respective information leaflet, or even directly to the doctors, nurses or pharmacists who follow the patient, who will forward the information to Infarmed.

The National Medicines Authority also reminds that, when reporting any adverse effect, the patient or health professional “must provide accurate and complete information”, namely the description of the reactions, if the information by covid-19 is confirmed through tests or if is based on clinical symptoms, the name of the drug suspected of causing the reaction, the dose and duration of treatment, the batch number and the names of all other drugs the patient is taking, including those without a prescription, herbal or contraceptive products.

The latest data from the authorities indicate that Portugal registers 948 deaths associated with covid-19 and 24,322 cases of infection.

The new coronavirus, responsible for the covid-19 pandemic, has already claimed more than 215,000 deaths and infected more than three million people worldwide. More than 840,000 patients were considered cured by health authorities.

Crime has halved since the covid-19 pandemic began,

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

Crime has halved since the covid-19 pandemic began, with pickpocketing theft being one of the crimes that fell the most, while the fraud with bank fraud that grew the most, according to a report from the government.

The report of the second period of the state of emergency and delivered to the Assembly of the Republic indicates that the PSP recorded 7,852 crimes between March 13 and April 17, 50% less than in the same period of 2019, when 17,458 occurred.

The data also shows that arrests made by the Public Security Police dropped 60.4% in the same period, from 2,780 in 2019 to 1,104 this year.

The period from March 13 to April 17 corresponds to the date on which the alert situation was declared due to covid-19 until the end of the second period of the state of emergency.

The report, signed by the Minister of Internal Affairs, states that the crimes that fell the most during that period, according to the PSP, were pickpocketing theft (-91.9%), driving for excess alcohol (-82.9%) , offenses to simple voluntary physical integrity (-67.2%), theft in a motor vehicle (-58%) and theft of opportunity (-82.5%).

In turn, the crimes that rose the most in the area of ​​PSP, which operates in urban centers, were disobedience (94.3%), fraud with bank fraud (67.6%), other thefts (114.3%) and resistance and coercion on employees (12.8%).

In the report, in which the Government gives a detailed account of the measures adopted during the state of emergency, the PSP mentions that “there is an increased interest in the monitoring of certain specific crimes”, namely domestic violence and fraud.

According to the PSP, between March 13 and April 17, 1,105 crimes of domestic violence were registered, 34.7% less than in the same period last year, when 1,692 complaints were made.

The number of detainees for domestic violence also dropped, with 27 fewer, from 88 to 61.

The PSP states that in crimes against property in general, which includes fraud, there is a decrease of 16%, noting that there was a “substantial increase in fraud with bank fraud” and a slight increase in the number of complaints of computer fraud and communications.

In the report, GNR says that during the emergency period there was an increase in scams, thefts and thefts, but it does not specify.

During the meetings of the State of Emergency Monitoring Structure, the GNR drew attention to the difficulties in communicating the lists made available by the health authorities of people subject to mandatory home confinement, stating that “not all lists were received”.

The PSP also indicates that “44.5% of the identifications in the listings are incomplete, thus inhibiting the continuation of active surveillance measures”.

It is up to the PSP and the GNR to inspect people who are in mandatory home confinement, resorting to a crime of disobedience if they go out on the street.

The report on the application of the second period of the state of emergency, between 03 and 17 April, due to the covid-19 pandemic, will be discussed in the Assembly of the Republic on Thursday.

Portugal accounts for 948 deaths associated with covid-19 in 24,322 confirmed cases of infection, according to the daily bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) on the pandemic released today.

STATE OF EMERGENCY ENDS 2ND MAY MIDNIGHT.

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

President of the Republic: “It is hoped that it will not be necessary to resort to a state of emergency in the future”

The President of the Republic said that the state of emergency will no longer be renewed on 2 May. “It is hoped that it will not be necessary to resort to a state of emergency in the future, if it will be considered,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, at the end of the meeting with public health specialists.

“After the second phase, which corresponds to the month of April, which runs until the end of the state of emergency, ends, the third phase, which is to control the situation, cannot be seen as normal,” he said, adding that there will be “resumption” or “reopening by small steps”, a phase that “is no longer closing” but the use of “other instruments” to control the outbreak. “And so the state of emergency will cease to be in force on the 2nd midnight, “he declared.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa stressed that in the new phase, the combination of “restraint is still important” as well as “control of the situation” and that is why his “constant evaluation” is also important. “This is the key to the success of the third phase,” he said.

In the fourth phase, he said, it is expected that there will be “the end of the outbreak as it was born”.

“The end of the state of emergency is not the end of the outbreak or the need for control,” he said, rejecting any “facilism”. “That is why each small step will be evaluated by experts and politicians,” he added.

Asked about the legal framework for the next phase, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa considered it “premature” to talk about this subject.