Archive for September, 2020

TWELVE THOUSAND PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO KNOW IF THEY ALREADY HAD COVID-19

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”.

Safe Communities Crime Prevention and Enforcement Report 4th September 2020

Friday, September 4th, 2020

Proposed National Strategy to Combat Corruption 2020-2024

The Council of Ministers approved, for public discussion, the National Strategy to Combat Corruption 2020-2024. The Minister of Justice, Francisca Van Dunem, presented her at a press conference in Lisbon.

The Strategy “starts from the fact that prevention is the key to the system, because it has a social and cultural dimension that cannot be solved by repressive systems”, he said, adding that “the response times of justice systems are very long” in cases of corruption and «this ends up generating in people the idea of ​​the inefficiency of the system».

The Strategy, in addition to recognizing the need to adjust some aspects of the repressive system, considers it essential to strengthen and enhance the mechanisms for the prevention and detection of crimes of corruption and related crimes.

This Strategy, which resulted from the reflection of the working group set up for this purpose, identifies 7 priorities to reduce the phenomenon of corruption in Portugal:

  • improve knowledge, training and institutional practices in matters of transparency and integrity;
  • prevent and detect corruption risks in the public sector
  • commit the private sector to preventing, detecting and suppressing corruption
  • strengthen the link between public and private institutions
  • ensure a more effective and uniform application of the legal mechanisms in the area of ​​repression of corruption, improve the response time of the judicial system and ensure the adequacy and effectiveness of the punishment
  • periodically produce and disseminate reliable information on the phenomenon of corruption; and
  • Cooperate at the international level in the fight against corruption.

 

 Abandoned warehouse in Glória do Ribatejo was a cannabis greenhouse

An abandoned warehouse in Glória do Ribatejo, in the municipality of Salvaterra de Magos, served as a greenhouse for cannabis plantation. The man responsible for it, a 48-year-old man, was detained on Tuesday, August 25, by the Criminal Investigation Nucleus (NIC) of the National Republican Guard (GNR) of Coruche.

According to a GNR source, the man was detained caught in the act, inside the warehouse when dealing with plants, and after the arresting officer carried out a search of the suspect’s home.

The action resulted in the seizure of eight adult cannabis plants. The detainee, who already had a criminal record, was charged and the evidence was handed to the Benavente Judicial Court, where he will be held responsible for the crime of cultivating narcotics.

Fines for vehicle registration infractions risen since January

There was an increase in administrative offenses due to vehicle registration violations in the first six months of the year, in regards to the new licence plates for cars

A total of 2,136 drivers were fined until June, that is, 248 more offenses compared to the same period last year, and most of the fines were registered in the districts of Lisbon, Porto and Setúbal.

PSP cannot find a concrete reason for this increase. Adding also that there is no way to know if the fines have increased due to more inspections or greater circulation of cars.

They also clarify that the most common type of offense is failure to comply with the terms of the law, which defines the size of the numbers and letters and the space between them on the plates themselves.

This increase in infractions coincided with the entry into force of the new registration model, however, it is not mandatory to change the registration plate, as explained by DECO.

Five million contraband cigarettes seized in Vila do Conde

GNR seized more than five million contraband cigarettes on Friday in Vila do Conde. The 260,000 packs of tobacco were found in a truck on the A28.

The 50-year-old driver did not have any documents for the marketing of those products.

The value of the seized tobacco is more than one million euros and if it had been sold to the public, the state would have been injured by around 900 thousand euros.

One of the biggest online piracy groups in the world taken down

On 25 August, an alleged criminal network of copyright infringing hackers, mainly responsible for pirating movies and hosting illegal digital content worldwide was dismantled in a coordinated action between US authorities and their counterparts in 18 countries around the world, with Europol and Eurojust support. Sixty servers were taken down in North America, Europe and Asia and several of the main suspects were arrested.

The Sparks Group obtained DVDs and Blu-ray discs of unreleased content and compromised the copyright protections on the discs to reproduce and upload the content publically to online servers. It is believed that the piracy group, under investigation since September 2016, had successfully reproduced and disseminated hundreds of movies and TV programmes prior to their retail release date, including nearly every movie released by major production studios in the US. The Sparks Group has caused tens of millions of US dollars in losses to film production studios, mainly to the US movie, television, and supporting industries, from the copyright infringement.

To get ahead, members of the Sparks Group made several material misrepresentations and omissions to wholesale distributors. On many occasions, they claimed to be DVD and Blu-ray discs retailers and promised not to sell the content prior to the retail release date. Once they received the products, the members of the group used special software to crack the copyright protections to then reproduce and encode the content in high definition. The content was then disseminated and reproduced on streaming platforms, peer-to-peer and torrent networks from their platforms.

The servers were located around the world in Canada, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These were taken down in yesterday’s action and in the days preceding it, with the help of national authorities from these countries. Other measures were also taken in Italy, Romania and Canada. One of the members of the alleged criminal network was arrested over the weekend in Cyprus and another suspect was arrested yesterday in the US.

Daughter lives with father’s corpse to withdraw his pension

Amália Mendonça, 63, was arrested, considered unstable, and dangerous and suffering from chronic paranoid schizophrenic psychosis.

The woman who lived six months with her father’s corpse at home, in Caldas da Rainha,  withdraw his 1176 euros / month pension, was arrested  by the PSP in a hospital in Lisbon and was taken to the prison hospital in Caxias to begin serving the 8 years of psychiatric internment to which she is sentenced, a source reported.

Her father, Jorge Mendonça, 87, died of natural causes. The daughter never said anything to the family. She lay her fathers covered body on the kitchen floor, covered him with coffee and chocolate powder to cover up the smell of decay.

She lived for 6 months, off her dead fathers’ pension, a former CTT employee and was only discovered when a granddaughter was concerned after not hearing from her grandfather for months and alerted the family.

The former kindergarten teacher was tried in the Court of Leiria and sentenced in March of this year to 8 years of internment for the crimes of desecration of a corpse and tax fraud.

PSP officers saves child on the 25 of Abril Bridge

An officer of the Police Division of the Metropolitan Command of Lisbon of the PSP saved a three-year-old child, in respiratory arrest, on the 25 de Abril Bridge.

PSP source revealed to Notícias ao Minuto that this happened at 7:40 pm on Sunday, August 30, when a light passenger vehicle, which was driving from the South Bank to Lisbon, stopped next to one of the agents assigned that day to the operation summer safety 2020.

Inside the vehicle were a couple and their son, allegedly, “choking, unconscious, unable to breathe and his face was already turning purple”.

The parents, desperate, asked the police for help, who, after checking if the child had anything obstructing the airways and confirming that he did not, performed the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Although the first attempt failed to rectify the situation, the agent managed to save the child by performing the procedure once again. The child regained consciousness and began to breathe again to the relief of his parents and all those present.

PSP dismantles group that stole car components in Lisbon

The Public Security Police (PSP) dismantled a group that, since 2019, “stole vehicle components” in Lisbon, having detained two men who were in preventive detention, a source reported on the 27th August.

Since the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (AML), there has been an increase in the number of thefts of vehicle parts and components, and this group is strongly suspected of having the highest involvement, “the police force said in a statement.

According to the report, the alleged group stole several parts, mostly wheel rims, “which were used to put in their own vehicles that had been the involved in accidents”.

In addition, PSP hypothesized that parts were placed in other vehicles “for the purpose of resale in the automotive market”

According to the police force, the group in question also “started stealing from homes, as well as ongoing works, with the aim of obtaining construction materials for their own use”.

In view of these crimes and after an investigation, the PSP detained two men aged 20 and 36, and carried out seven search warrants, which resulted in the seizure of seven vehicles, four tablets, two kitchen robots, construction materials various and “several vehicle parts”.

“Following these arrests, steps were taken to deliver the seized goods back to their rightful owners, and with the material and goods seized from the defendants, they deduced that the men had been involved in a considerable number of thefts over a period of time”, the PSP informed.

Covid-19: GNR identifies dozens of young people in Viana do Castelo

Since at least the 20th of August, groups of young people have come together every morning to drink and dance in the parking lots of different beaches and leisure areas.

GNR identified, in eight days, dozens of young people who participated in gatherings on the beaches of Caminha and Viana do Castelo, in violation of the rules defined to combat the covid-19, a source from that police force told Lusa today.

Contacted by the agency Lusa, source of the Territorial Command of the GNR of Viana do Castelo, said that in the early hours of the 27th August “between 20 to 30 young people, the vast majority aged 15/16 years” were identified, in “two groups that were located in Moledo and in the Santo Antão viewpoint, in the municipality of Caminha “, for participating in gatherings with more than 20 people and were not wearing masks.

According to that source, “the vast majority of young people identified are from the district of Viana do Castelo, but there are also people from Braga, Porto and other parts of the country who are in the region on holiday”.

Questioned by Lusa, that GNR source reported that the meetings, scheduled for relatively isolated locations, were arranged via WhatsApp.

“The route is not always the same and, when we demobilize them from one location, they move to the next meeting point. As a rule, young people get together after the closing of bars and cafes, with gatherings ending around 6:00 am, in Caminha, where we have detected some concentration near a pastry shop “, it was reported

That source said that at Arda beach, in Afife, in the municipality of Viana do Castelo, where in the last week dozens of young people were identified who were participating in a gathering of about 200 to 300 people, several infrastructures to support the beach were vandalized as well as structures in the car park.