Archive for 2021

Prime Minister addresses the Nation following Council of Ministers Meeting

Thursday, April 29th, 2021

Prime Minister Addresses the National Following Council of Ministers Meeting

April 29, António Costa revealed to the country the decisions taken at the Council of Ministers meeting, where the fourth and final phase of de- confinement was discussed.

Recalling that the President of the Republic did not renew the state of emergency, António Costa says that Portugal will enter a Situation of Calamity which will be in effect as of 00h00 on May 1st.

“Today, making the evaluation of the pandemic, we were able to take the decision to take the step forward to the next stage of deconfinement,” António Costa announced. Contrary to initial plans, the country will enter the last phase of deconfinement as early as Saturday, May 1.

This is how the last phase of the deconfinement will be, in a nutshell:

  • Restaurants, cafes and pastry shops open until 22h30
  • Weddings and christenings with 50% of the venue capacity
  • Cinemas, theatre, shows until 22h30
  • Land borders open
  • All shops and shopping centers open until 21h00 during the week and 19h00 at the weekend and holidays.

 

The deconfinement measures are advancing in the vast majority of the municipalities on the mainland, togheter with Rio Maior and Moura, as well as Alandroal, Albufeira, Figueira da Foz and Penela.

There is a list of municipalities on alert and there are three municipalities that will continue in the third phase of deconfinement: Miranda do Douro, Paredes and Valongo.

The municipalities at risk are:

  • Alijó
  • Alpiarça
  • Arganil
  • Batalha
  • Beja
  • Boticas
  • Cabeceiras de Baixo
  • Castelo de Paiva
  • Celorico de Basto
  • Cinfães
  • Coruche
  • Fafe
  • Figueiró dos Vinhos
  • Lagos
  • Lamego
  • Melgaço
  • Oliveira do Hospital
  • Paços de Ferreira
  • Penafiel
  • Peniche
  • Peso da Régua
  • Ponte da Barca
  • Póvoa de Lanhoso
  • Tábua
  • Tabuaço
  • Vidigueira
  • Vila Real de Santo António

 

There are still two municipalities that are going back to the first phase: Aljezur and Resende and  Carregal do Sal and Portimão remain on the first phase.

In Odemira, two parishes are under sanitary fence. “Odemira is the largest municipality in mainland Portugal, larger than some districts. All public health surveys identify that the main focus of the infection is concentrated in two of these parishes and clearly associated with the migrant population that works in the agricultural sector. We decided to immediately decree a sanitary fence to the parishes of São Teotónio and Longueira/Almograve”, said António Costa, adding that there will be facilities to put the positive cases in prophylactic isolation. All the other parishes of Odemira will move forward to phase 4.

As it was foreseen, gyms will be able to hold group classes again. According to the prime-minister, physical activity can also be resumed without restrictions.

The evaluation of the incidence of the municipalities is no longer be fortnightly, the Prime Minister revealed. “We have moved to a weekly assessment. We are now in a framework where there is no state of emergency and there are fewer restrictive measures. We need to act as quickly as possible when we are in situations of rapid growth, in order to avoid excessive growth. Or, on the other hand, to allow a faster reopening of activities and people freedom of movements as soon as possible,” he detailed.

Alcoholic beverages will be allowed to be sold until 21h00, but the restriction of prohibition of consumption on public roads will remain in effect, confirmed António Costa.

Regarding the beach rules, now that some municipalities will be opening the beach season, the same regime that existed for the 2020 bathing season will be in force, with limited capacity defined by the Directorate General of Health (DGS).

People arriving from Brazil, South Africa, India and European countries with a high incidence rate will have to go through quarantine to enter Portugal.

Safe Communities Portugal has prepared a full translation into English of the Government PowerPoint in Portuguese released about an hour ago as well as the official Communique in English These can be downloaded:

PowerPoint

https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Government-Deconfinement-Phase-4.-pdf.pdf

Communique of Council of Ministers

https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/communique-council-of-ministers-29th-april-2021/

“I preferred to stay for Portugal, there is more security and discipline”

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

Many foreigners have their second home in Portugal, some even make this home their first. They chose Cascais, a village they did not leave this year due to the pandemic.

This article by Diário de Notícias carries interviews with those affected and their experience as well as with Safe Communities Portugal

Many foreigners have their second home in Portugal, in general they are retired Europeans who come here to spend great seasons during the year: English, French, Swedish, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, etc. Some even make the Portuguese residence the first, often visiting the countries of origin. The pandemic changed this reality and many chose to remain in the Portuguese home. Air transport restrictions and containment measures forced it, but there are those who remain because they feel more protected against the covid-19.

“This year, we chose not to travel, we stayed much longer in Portugal. Not only because travel is complicated but because we feel good and safe. The Portuguese government took good measures and applied them well, ” said DN Eva Wigren , 67 years old.

Eva is a Swede from Stockholm who settled in Cascais five years ago with her husband after retiring from her management position. He travelled to Stockholm five to six times a year. His case is identical to many other foreigners who bought a house in Portugal to enjoy the climate and the landscape, regular visitors to the Quinta da Marinha golf course, in Cascais.

The players focus on the swing to ensure the best shot in the Weekly League, the women’s tournament. One of the groups is made up of Swedes and a Japanese. Madalena Algotsson, 60, praises not only public authorities but the attitude of the population. “We are doing very well, we feel very safe. The Portuguese behave very well, they always wear the mask, they abide by the rules. In Sweden, the mask is not mandatory abroad and people do not follow the rules. One of the reasons why I stayed here is because of the good behavior of the Portuguese “. He also left Stockholm for Cascais three years ago.

The group is completed by Christel Molinder, a 63-year-old Swedish woman who was born in Gutenberg but spent her adult life in the capital, and Rié Kikuoka, 60, from Nagoya, Japan. Portuguese and avoided travel abroad. Circulation that had many limitations, too, due to the confinement measures imposed in their countries.

“We can only enter Japan with a negative test and, even so, we have to stay in a hotel for two weeks. We cannot take public transport, ” laments Rié. He feels safe at the health level, but not all residents of Portugal deserve praise. “There are many young people who don’t wear a mask,” he protests.

Christel trusts the Portuguese authorities. “Portugal is much better than Sweden, where there are fewer restrictions and, at the moment, there are many infected people. It was a good option to stay here.”

This Sunday’s data indicated 938 342 citizens in Sweden who tested positive for covid, which gives 92 442 per one million inhabitants, a proportion above the Portuguese (82 030). The country did not impose restrictions at the beginning of the pandemic, betting on group immunity, a strategy that health authorities have changed given the rapid progression of SARS-Cov-2 and its severity. Japan has a total of 546,425 cases – representing 4331 per million residents.

California from Europe

Eva and her friends met in Cascais, a village that has been nicknamed “California of Europe” and “Riviera”. There are 30 328 foreign citizens residing there, representing 14.2% of its population (213 608 people). According to the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), 4912 Swedes live in Portugal and 16.3% in the municipality.

The group of players will wait calmly for their vaccination, before thinking about traveling again. Eva Wigren agrees with the priority setting of the national vaccination plan: “First, the categories that deal directly with patients with covid-19 were defined. However, they extended the range to older people, also with greater health problems” , justifies.

Jean Brunel came from France but from Paris two years ago, now 60. He has a home in Lisbon and spends a good deal of time on the Quinta da Marinha golf course, overlooking the Atlantic. “It has the best course in Portugal [18 holes] and the second best in Europe”, he assures.

Jean Brunel has not been to Paris in the past year. “I preferred to stay in Portugal, I feel that there is more security and discipline. The measures that were implemented had results very quickly, the number of infected people has been decreasing regularly, which shows that people are respectful of the rules. I am always comparing the rules. numbers and, at the moment, the country is much better than other Europeans, particularly France. ”

Mehdi Benlahcen, the advisor to the French community in the country, is of the same opinion. “At the moment, the situation is more controlled in Portugal. There were two months in which it was very bad, especially in January, but the number of new cases started to drop and consistently. In France, the measures are very flexible and the decrease it has been slower, with ups and downs. “It stresses, however, that it is only at the end of the pandemic being controlled worldwide that it will be realized what was the best strategy to combat the progression of SARS-CoV-2.

“It also has to do with the variants. The British variant first arrived in Portugal than France and is now settling in French territory, which is why the number of new cases is increasing so rapidly. Between October and March, there was a partial confinement in France, which contained the new infections “, he explains.

The adviser saw the French significantly reduce travel, managing travel according to restrictions imposed by governments. “The French go to France when everything is closed in Portugal and return to Portugal when traffic restrictions in France are reduced. There were those who traveled after the summer to French territory and returned in October”, he explains.
Mehdi Benlahcen arrived in Portugal in 2008, is an economics professor at the French Lyceum Charles Lepierre. As an advisor to the French community, he traveled to Paris every month, which he reduced to three times last year.

“The great difficulty was the cancellation of flights and restrictions at the borders. Those arriving from France are forced to quarantine, which makes travel impossible, especially for those who are working.”

The counselor is more in touch with those who work than with those who emigrated at retirement age. Many of those who work here have the problems of the remaining inhabitants, namely the loss of income.

France is the fourth country in the world with more cases of covid-19 – 5.5 million (5 498 606), more than 30 thousand per day. Slightly above Portugal in the infected rate per million inhabitants: 84 079 . The SEF indicates 23 125 French people with a residence permit in Portugal, but Mehdi estimates that there are 50 thousand.

“They should be proud”

“Portugal is a wonderful country, the landscape, the weather, the people, the food. You should be proud of your country. It is very safe, it is wonderful.” The words are by Bengt Handersson, 65, who has a house in the center of Cascais and the boat moored in the marina, in front, and where he prefers to spend his days and many nights. He is from Stockholm and has lived in Portugal for seven years.

Tell us a story to justify your preference for the village. “I have a friend who is a sailor with more than 30 years of life at sea. The length he traveled at sea is as if he had traveled the world eight times. He arrived in Cascais and said:” It is one of the best places I have seen in my life “. ”

Bengt got to know Portugal on vacation trips, now he doesn’t exchange it for Sweden, where he goes very rarely, even before the pandemic. He lives here with his partner. The children, two boys, live in Switzerland and more often they go to Portugal. In the past year, the few visits abroad have been reduced to zero. “I ended up staying here. Especially because the situation is better in Portugal than in Sweden. I am always comparing the numbers of the two countries and I see that the reality here with regard to the covid-19 is better. I made the right choice “ he says.

 

British Community

The British are an important community in Cascais, and their presence is clearly visible, just look at the pubs that spread through the center of life. The Portuguese authorities register 2033 natives of the United Kingdom in the municipality, the largest among the citizens of the European Union, to which the country ceased to belong in 2020. Next are the Italians and the French (see table). There are 34,358 Britons and 25,408 Italians residing across the country.

“I am home”

Sitting at a table in front of the Crown Bar are two British and one Irish. They drink a glass of wine, which is the favorite drink of foreigners on these sides. The three have not traveled to the UK since the first cases of covid-19 emerged.

“I am at home and, with the pandemic, the best place to stay is at home “, Karen Beech replies very simply when we ask her why she stayed here. He is a native of London, a city he used to visit once or twice a year. He is 48 years old and has lived in Portugal for 28 years, that is, more years in Portuguese territory than in England. She owns O “Luain” s Irish Pub.

Your concern is to respect the rules to reduce the possibility of getting infected. The main complaints have to do with the difficulty in the movement of goods. “We imported some products from the United Kingdom, namely drinks, and now we can’t because of the covid-19”, he justifies.

She shares the table with Zoe, 33, who has lived in the village for nine years. He emigrated to marry a Portuguese, precisely the nickname Cascais. She is from Herefordshire, in the northwest of England. “I stayed here but it is not even because of the covid numbers in the United Kingdom, but because it is safer not to travel. In relation to new cases of the disease, it looks like a ping pong. The situation is bad in the United Kingdom and better in Portugal , then it’s the other way around. “

The United Kingdom has a total of 4 404 882 infected (64 610 per million inhabitants) and Italy 3 962 674 (65 619 per million). Both countries have a higher proportion of fatalities from covid-19 than Portugal, which is 1668 deaths per million inhabitants. The British proportion is 1977 per million and the French, 1668 .

In relation to vaccination against covid-19, the United Kingdom is far ahead compared to EU countries, namely for producing AstraZeneca. Half the population received at least one dose of the vaccine. That will not be what makes the three Britons return “We are confident that vaccination will accelerate in Portugal”, believes Zoe Cascais.

Derek Davis, 46, has been in Portugal for ten years, works at Karen’s pub. “I feel safe in Portugal. I’m not planning on traveling, only when I have the vaccine,” he says.

Safe Communities Portugal

David Thomas lives in the Algarve and, in 2012, he founded Safe Communities Portugal, establishing a direct link with the Portuguese authorities in crime prevention. The pandemic forced them to shift their focus from action to rules to combat the new disease, working with foreigners who live here, not only retired but also those who are active, as was the case when he arrived in Portugal. He is 70 years old.

” This year was very different due to the confinement. Some people ended up staying in Portugal all the time, others stayed in their countries because they were unable to travel. There was a lot of difficulty in traveling to the UK due to the lack of direct flights” , explains David Thomas.

As for the situation of the disease in both countries, Thomas believes that the balance is more positive for Portugal. “I speak on the basis of statistics. The number of infected people is decreasing, also the R (t) [transmissibility index]. In terms of hospitalizations, the decrease was in the order of 90%, the government reacted very well to a difficult situation . And, in Portugal, people behave better than in other countries. ”

Meeting of Infarmed Tuesday 27th April 2021

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

The 20th meeting of experts and politicians, which brings together the President of the Republic, the President of the Assembly and the Prime Minister is taking takes place in the week when the Government will decide whether Portugal advances to the fourth and final phase of the deconfinement plan, which is scheduled to start on May 3rd. In the afternoon, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will hear parties about the possible end of the state of emergency, which he has already said he hopes will end on Friday, April 30.

If the next phase of the deflation progressed in light of Friday’s figures from the Directorate-General for Health, there were three counties on the continent at risk of going back one stage in the reopening , 15 of not moving forward and 18 with an alert for having reached the level of 120 new cases of covid-19 per 100 thousand inhabitants, compared with data from 15 days earlier.

 

André Peralta Santos, from DGS, underlined that, in the last 15 days, the incidence of Covid-19 remained “stable”. There are 37 counties above 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. Even so, in large urban centres there is a “slight downward trend”.

The growth of the virus in the area of ​​Paredes, Paços de Ferreira and Penafiel “causes some concern”. In Odemira, one of the municipalities with the highest incidence in the country, there is a “reversal of trend”.

Almost all age groups are below the incidence recorded on March 15. The exception is the group between 10 and 20 years.

The group from 0 to 9 years old, which was growing, has now reversed the trend, with 10 to 20 years old being the one with the highest increase at the moment. However, neither one raises “special concern”.

Also, the group over 80 “maintains a downward trend and is, at this moment, the most protected group”.

The North has an increasing trend, although still below 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. The Algarve started a downward trend.

Currently, it is the group between 50 and 79 years old that occupies the most intensive care units. Deaths also maintain a “downward trend”.

Positivity is below the benchmark, which stands at 4%. Peralta Santos considers this data “very positive”.

Regarding hospitalizations, André Peralta Santos points out “clearly positive” data. “There is a marked downward trend in the age group of 80+, which has to do with the effort and vaccination of this group”, he says.

It is the group of 50 to 79 that has, today, the highest incidence in hospitalization, although the numbers are much lower than they were when we reached the “peak”.

The number of deaths also maintains “a downward trend”. The peak was on February 4 (368 deaths per million inhabitants) and today we have 5 deaths per million inhabitants, lower than the ECDC reference indicator.

 

Transmissibility index in the North above 1

Baltazar Nunes, from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge, spoke about the evolution of incidence and transmissibility, points out first that there was a “decrease in the rate of transmissibility” (the Rt), compared to the previous meeting, 15 days ago.

Only the North has Rt – the number of people that a first infected person is able to infect – is above 1 (1.05), although the incidence rate is less than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days. If the pace is maintained, the region reaches that red barrier between “two weeks and a month” .

Phased reopening of schools with “very positive” result

Analyzing the relationship between the evolution of the incidence and the reopening of schools, the expert says that “there is some very positive result in the way the epidemic was transmitted in schools in this phase of reopening in stages”, until the week of April 16.

Europe improved and Portugal stabilized

Comparing the Portuguese situation with the European situation, Baltazar Nunes says that “the situation at European level has improved” and that Portugal, contrary to what was projected, “stabilized with an R slightly below 1 and an incidence rate between 60 and 100 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants “.

Regarding the effects of vaccination, “from 60% in the population of 80+ there is an inversion of the trend, of decrease”, points out Baltazar Nunes, from the Ricardo Jorge Institute.

Regarding the relationship between the vaccination process and the incidence of the disease, the expert of the Ricardo Jorge Institute (INSA) assures that “there is a clear benefit in reaching high levels of vaccination in the various age groups”, highlighting the “clear signs of the impact of vaccination “in people over 60 in reducing the incidence.

 

João Paulo Gomes, from INSA, revealed that the United Kingdom variant in Portugal now corresponds to about “89% or 90%” of the total of registered cases, a number higher than the 83% of 15 days ago.

In the last two weeks, Portugal recorded 44 cases of the Manaus variant, bringing the number of cases already detected in the country to 73. The rise is in line with the rest of Europe, said João Paulo Gomes.

As for the South African variant, there were 11 cases in the last 15 days in Portugal, which makes a total of 64 cases diagnosed in the country.

“It is a reflection of any opening of borders. The variants that circulate in one country will also circulate, more freely, in all others”, warned the expert.

The Manaus variant will become “significantly more significant” in Portugal in the near future, warned the expert.

Portugal already has six cases of the Indian variant. All were detected in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region.
João Paulo Gomes pointed out that the European population is “increasingly immune”: In this sense, of the various existing variants, only those variants that are more resistant to the vaccine should survive.
The current situation in terms of variants in Portugal “is not an impediment to the continuation of the deconfinement plan”, concluded João Paulo Gomes.
Henrique Barros, from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto, highlights the “very revealing” role of the continuation of the vaccination plan, which has been essential to prevent infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
“Diaries of Pandemia II”: of the respondents, only 90% say they want to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Vaccination refusals are in the majority between the ages of 40 and 60.

There is also a relationship with the “nature of income”: the people with the most income and education are those who claim to want to be vaccinated. “Those who seem less interested in the vaccination process have less income,” he says..

Henrique de Barros also recalls that vaccination efficacy scenarios were made in January according to the vaccination plan designed, and we predicted at that time that we would save 140 thousand cases and 9 thousand hospitalizations and avoid more than two thousand deaths. What can be seen now is that the reality proved the scenario and was “clearly better than the conversational predictions in terms of morality”.

In other words, “the acceleration of vaccination prevented contagion and significantly reduced deaths in the elderly,” he says.

Lethality is five times lower than in the beginning

Henrique Barros, from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto, highlights the “very revealing” role of the continuation of the vaccination plan, which has been essential to prevent infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

The probability of dying from covid-19 has undergone a “brutal variation” over the past few months, the expert said, speaking on Infarmed by videoconference, adding that the hypothesis of a fatal outcome of the disease is, in April, around five times lower than at the beginning of the pandemic.

The expert points out that lethality remains higher in men.

Speaking now of the relationship between lethality and variants of the virus, Henrique de Barros says that people infected with the UK variant “appear to have a significantly increased likelihood of dying.” But the value is similar when compared to the Spanish strain, which was dominant in Portugal in the summer. The South African variant, on the other hand, increases the risk of infection.

Henrique de Barros ends up saying that the lethality, for the diagnosed cases, is currently at 2%, but varies depending on several factors.

“Even with the presence of more lethal and more transmissible variants, it is possible, with protective measures and vaccination, to guarantee the values ​​we believe in: in September, if everything goes smoothly, we hope to have no cases”, he ends.

In conclusion, the expert points out that the lethality in Portugal varies according to the sex of the infected, the nationality, the region and the variants. Thus, it is superior in men and in people with a nationality other than Portuguese . At the regional level, with the North as a reference, the remaining regions are associated with a higher risk of lethality, with the exception of the autonomous region of Madeira , where there is a lower risk of mortality. And, as for the variants, although the information is still scarce, it is estimated that the Brazilian variant may cause more deaths .

 

Over 80% want to be vaccinated as soon as possible

Carla Nunes, from the School of Public Health at Universidade Nova de Lisboa stated that the behaviours of the Portuguese are being “in agreement with the state of de-confinement”. On April 16, 8.6% of respondents in a study presented by Carla Nunes had revealed to have been with a group of 10 or more people, against 1.8% on February 19. Confidence in health care has risen, albeit “very slightly”.

Over 80% want to be vaccinated as soon as possible

“There were no major changes” regarding the perception that the Portuguese have regarding the vaccine. According to Carla Nunes, among the respondents who have not yet received a dose, 81.7% are available to do so as soon as possible. There are 7% who say they do not want to do it and 11.3% who have not yet decided.

Regarding vaccine safety, between March 20 and April 2, 87.8% considered these drugs to be reliable or very reliable, against 1.6% who said otherwise. Between April 3 and 16, 87.6% said that vaccines are safe or very safe, with 2% understanding that they are not.

Between March 20 and April 2, 87.4% of respondents considered the vaccine to be effective or very effective, against 3.5% who said it was not. In the following fortnight, the parameters “effective” and “Very effective” rose to 89.9% and the “not effective” dropped to 1.7%.
Vaccinations

Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the “task force” for vaccination, pointed out that mainland Portugal will reach the mark of three million vaccines inoculated by Wednesday (with Madeira and the Azores, the threshold is exceeded). ” By the end of the week, more than 22% of the population will have their first dose. ”

The official says that there is a “slight positive evolution of availability, in the second quarter, with 9.2 million vaccines, however, the age limit of two types of vaccines that the country is using [AstraZeneca and Janssen] may condition the use of up to half a million vaccines ”. In the third quarter, these two vaccines may “withdraw about 2.7 million from the plan”.

Marcelo highlights the effect of vaccination on mortality reduction

At the end of the presentations, the President of the Republic highlighted the “interrelationship between vaccination and pandemic management”, emphasizing that “lethality and mortality go in reverse with the progress of vaccination”.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who speaks to the country this Tuesday at 8 pm – with the possibility of not extending the state of emergency on the table – stressed that “the progress of vaccination deserves to be welcomed and highlighted”, also stressing the “increasing adhesion of the Portuguese” to taking drugs against covid-19.

Fires: Surveillance and detection has a directive for the first time this year

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Lisbon, 22 April 2021 (Lusa) – The fight against rural fires will have a new instrument this year to improve coordination between the entities involved in the detection and surveillance of fires, the Secretary of State for Internal Administration told Lusa today.

This new instrument is the Integrated Rural Fire Detection and Surveillance Directive (DIVDIR) and was approved for the first time this year.

Patrícia Gaspar stated that, in the scope of firefighting, there was only one directive that defines operational procedures with regard to rural fire response operations.

However, he maintained that “there is a lot of work that is done upstream of this component of the response and that has to do with the functions of surveillance, but also of fire detection”.

“There cannot be a good fight if there is no good surveillance and good detection. What is intended is to structure these processes and this directive enters in some way upstream of the DECIR [Special Device for Fighting Rural Fires] ”, he said.

According to the Secretary of State, the new directive aims to define all the mechanisms that structure the component of surveillance and fire detection.

“It does not come to create new mechanisms, it does not come to create a new doctrine, it comes to structure and organize the processes and functions that already existed and are performed by different entities”, he explained.

The Integrated Rural Fire Detection and Surveillance Directive will be under the tutelage of the Republican National Guard, which will coordinate in a “more structured” way with all entities involved in rural fire surveillance and detection operations, such as PSP, Forces Armed Forces and Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF).

Patrícia Gaspar explained that in the scope of the detection and surveillance of rural fires, there are mobile surveillance systems, forest video surveillance, aerial surveillance and the National Network of Watchtowers, as well as the role that all citizens play.

“All of us, in rural areas, if we see a fire coming, we have an obligation to alert through 112. The popular are also integrated here”, he said, stressing that the directive will “aggregate in a coordinated and structured manner all these functions” in the surveillance and detection.

This new directive aims to improve coordination between all the entities involved so that there is an “earlier detection” of rural fires.

The Integrated Rural Fire Detection and Surveillance Directive and the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device (DECIR) 2021 was approved on Wednesday at the meeting of the National Civil Protection Commission.

This year’s DECIR is composed of 12,058 elements, 2,795 teams, 2,656 vehicles and 60 air vehicles during the period of greatest commitment, between July 1st and September 30th, called Level IV.

According to the Ministry of Internal Administration, the device for fighting rural fires will have this year “with the largest number of ever” involved operatives.

Patrícia Gaspar also told Lusa that the financial directive, an annual document that regulates the State’s contribution to expenses resulting from firefighters’ interventions, namely in fighting fires, should be approved next week, but did not provide details on the values.

President of the Republic – Infarmed meetings “unparalleled in any other external experience”

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

The President of the Republic considers that the Infarmed meetings, which bring together experts, political leaders and social partners, are held “in a political and institutional framework unparalleled in any other external experience”.

In an interview that he symbolically granted to the publication Infarmed Notícias, available today on the website of the National Medicines Authority, regarding the passage of a year on the “meetings at Infarmed”, on March 24, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa stressed the importance of these meetings, where the epidemiological situation of the covid-19 pandemic in Portugal is discussed.

“These meetings had, and still have, the added value of bringing together knowledge and readings by specialists from various areas, in the same moment of exposition and reflection”, and of bringing together the head of State, the President of the Assembly of the Republic, minister and more government officials, party and parliamentary leaders and economic and social partners, “in a political and institutional framework unparalleled in any other external experience”, he stresses.

For the head of state, the meetings that take place at Infarmed’s headquarters in Lisbon constitute “a privileged moment (…) with the opportunity to ask questions and clarify doubts, and which certainly contributed to making very relevant collective decisions”.

He also highlighted the role of the National Medicines Authority, stating that “everything has been done in order to respond to the demands brought by the pandemic, with the need to certify new medical devices and medications within short periods, having done so without questioning the quality of the work it does ”.

In the interview, the President of the Republic speaks of all those who have been involved in the fight against covid-19, namely health professionals, the scientific community and institutions.

“Countless times (…) Portugal has already demonstrated that the rigor and quality of the work carried out by our institutions and by our scientists is not only inferior to other countries, but, with increasing frequency, it has enormous international prestige”, he stresses.

He also praised the work carried out by the different health professionals, who he says is “a source of great pride”.

“In the face of such a moment of adversity, they were able to be resilient, reorganize themselves to provide the best health care to each of the citizens, affected or not with covid-19 (…). In a word, the SNS was, once again, crucial ”, he maintains.

Regarding the vaccination process, he says that it runs with “the compatible flexibility” with the lack of vaccines, hoping that, “in the near future” this limitation will be overcome.

“In a word, against winds and tides, we will reach the defined goal, so essential for life and health, and for the economic and social challenges for all of us”, he concludes.

Challenged to leave a message to the Portuguese so that Portugal could find the path it was taking before the epidemic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa argues that “it is desirable” that everyone has the notion that, “even when the situation changes”, the contribution of each one will have to be another.

“Everyone will be asked to think and act differently, to adapt to the new reality, but to have hope, and, more than that, confidence in building our future”, he stresses.

Asking the question “if you could choose your greatest ambition for the journey that has now begun”, he said: “May Portugal remain on the path of democracy, and be more ambitious in the face of the challenges of being less unequal, more cohesive, more just, and, for that, more competitive, stronger economically, and, therefore, more resilient and prepared for the adversities that it will face ”.

Civil Protection new Regional and sub regional structures and new model of emergency response announced

Friday, April 16th, 2021

Lisbon, April 16, 2021 (Lusa) – The Government will move forward with the extinction of the 18 District Operations and Relief Commands (CDOS) and implement the new territorial model of emergency response and civil protection, according to the proposed law for Great Options for 2021-2025.

“Following the reform of the civil protection system on the pillars of prevention and preparedness, the Government will consolidate efficiency and the capacity for operational response through the realization of the new territorial model of emergency response and civil protection based on regional and sub-regional structures. regional authorities, in close coordination with the competent entities and with the participation of voluntary fire brigades and local authorities ”, says the proposal approved by the Council of Ministers on Thursday.

The new territorial model, foreseen in the organic law of the National Emergency and Protection Authority (ANEPC), involves the extinction of the current 18 CDOS, with the system now being managed by five regional commands and 23 sub-regional commands (one for each of the intermunicipal communities into which the country is now divided).

The order establishing the conditions for the installation and operation of five regional emergency and civil protection commands in the North, Center, Lisbon and Tagus Valley, Alentejo and Algarve has already been published in Diário da República.

The proposal for the Great Options law states that the five regional commands will be based in the current facilities of the CDOS and it appears that three of them “require improvements in terms of infrastructure”, namely in Vila Real, Viseu and Évora.

“As for the 23 Subregional Commands for Emergency and Civil Protection, four need to be installed in new infrastructure in the Intermunicipal Communities of Alentejo Litoral, Alto Tâmega, Ave and Tâmega e Sousa”, the document points out.

In the coming years, the Executive will continue to reinforce “Civil Protection means and infrastructures, proceeding with the launch of calls for tenders for the acquisition of means and modernization of infrastructures”.

The proposal also states that the capacity of aerial means of combating rural fires will be strengthened, with the acquisition of six light helicopters, six medium helicopters and two heavy amphibious bombing planes, taking advantage of “the financial leverage” of the Recovery Plan. and Resilience (PRR) and the RescUE program (European civil protection mechanism) which, together with the leased air resources, will constitute the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device.

The Government will continue this year with awareness campaigns through the continuity of the fuel management process and the self-protection programs “Safe Village and Safe People” and “Condominium of Villages”, which aim to ensure greater protection in the event of fire.

According to the proposal, the “Safe Villages and Safe People” programs will be extended with the addition of new clusters and new local security officers will also be designated, whose mission is to transmit warnings to the population, organize evacuation of the cluster in case of need. and carry out awareness-raising actions with the population.

the Support Program for villages located in forest territories “Condomínio de Aldeia”, which was in two pilot areas in the Monchique and Silves Mountains and in the municipalities included in the Pinhal Interior Revitalization Program, will be extended to the rest of the territory defined as vulnerable .

The proposal for the Great Options law for 2021-2025 also establishes the elaboration of an annual plan aimed at preserving the security of critical State infrastructures, in conjunction with the similar structures of the National Defense sector, under the coordination of the Internal Security System and involving security forces and services, as well as the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority.

“The operationalization of the National System of Civil Emergency Planning and the revision of the legal framework related to the identification and protection of critical infrastructures, in order to promote the adoption of protection measures and the increase of the resilience of the identified critical infrastructures, in alignment with others normative norms of transversal character ”, reads in the document.

The Prime Minister’s Address to the Nation following Council of Ministers Meeting 15th April 2021

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

António Costa spoke to journalists today, 15 April, about the next phase of de-confinement after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, which started at 9:30am. The Prime Minister notes that the evolution from 9 March to 14 April is “clearly positive” having gone from an incidence rate of over 118 cases per 100,000 inhabitants at 14 days to 69 per 100,000 inhabitants. “The other variable is of the rate of transmission (Rt) and that one, unfortunately has not had a good evolution,” says Costa. From 0.78 on March 9, today the Rt is at 1.05. “We are heading towards the dangerous side of this matrix,” warns Costa. It is based on these two criteria that the Government has been evaluating the next steps, warning that the country is now in a “yellow” zone, but “in conditions to take the next step”.

At stake is the need to stop the growth of cases in some areas of the country, according to the most recent data from the Directorate-General of Health (DGS), there are 22 municipalities at risk on the mainland.

What is open from next Monday, 19th April?

  • Secondary and higher education;
  • All shops and shopping centres;
  • Restaurants, cafés and pastry shops (maximum of four people or six on the terrace), until 10.30 pm (or 1pm on weekends and public holidays);
  • Cinemas, theatres, auditoriums, concert halls;
  • Loja do Cidadão, with face-to-face service, but by appointment;
  • Sporting activities of medium risk;
  • Outdoor physical activity up to six people;
  • Outdoor events with reduced capacity;
  • Weddings and christenings with 25% of capacity of the venue.

 

The third phase of de-confinement will be applied “to the generality of the territory”.

António Costa said there are 4 where the number of cases is greater than 240 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Therefore, in these municipalities, not only will there be no progress towards de-confinement, but there will be a regression. The activities in these municipalities will return to the previous phase, returning, for example, to the sale of products at the entrance and without terraces – Moura, Odemira, Portimão and Rio Maior.

António Costa warned that there are 13 municipalities that for the first time have an incidence rate of more than 120 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and that for this reason will require “special attention” over the next 15 days.

Municipalities that are on “alert”:

  • Aljezur
  • Almeirim
  • Barrancos
  • Mêda
  • Miranda do Corvo
  • Miranda do Douro
  • Olhão Paredes
  • Penalva do Castelo
  • Resende
  • Valongo
  • Vila Franca de Xira
  • Vila Nova de Famalicão

 

The municipalities that continue to have more than 120 cases per 100.000 inhabitants (for more than 15 days) and therefore will not be able to advance in the de-confinement process, as in the rest of the country. These municipalities will not be taking any further steps towards their reopening, and will remain “with the restrictions in place”, the Prime Minister detailed.

Municipalities that will not de-confine in the next phase:

  • Alandroal
  • Albufeira
  • Beja
  • Carregal do Sal
  • Figueira da Foz
  • Marinha Grande
  • Penela

Recalling the recommendations of the experts, António Costa explains that the face-to-face functioning of schools in the risk municipalities will not be affected. “The measures concerning the education system will always be national,” reinforces the Prime Minister. “Therefore, in all municipalities, including those that are retained in the current phase and those that go back to the previous phase, there is no change,” he says. In other words, the schools that are already open will remain open and secondary and higher education schools will also open (similarly to the rest of the country).

The border with Spain remains closed for the next 15 days. As for flights, the criteria remain the same as those currently in force. In other words, tests are still required for countries with less than 500 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, while the others above will have to undergo a test and be subject to quarantine.

SOURCE: PÚBLICO.

Infarmed Meeting – State of Emergency 13th April 2021

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

The Minister of Health starts the meeting with experts. Marta Temido explains that today there are seven presentations.

They are: “epidemiological situation in the country. André Peralta Santos, Directorate-General for Health

Evolution of incidence and transmissibility, Baltazar Nunes, from the National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge

Update on the surveillance of genetic variants of the new coronavirus in Portugal, João Paulo Gomes, from the National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge

Local risk indicators ,, Óscar Felgueiras, from the North Regional Health Administration and Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto

EVOLUTION of critical areas in space and time, Carla Nunes | National School of Public Health, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Schools as surveillance structures, Henrique de Barros | Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto

State of play on the vaccination plan, Henrique Gouveia e Melo | Coordinator of the Task Force for the Vaccination Plan against COVID-19 in Portugal

10.05 hrs

The first to speak, as usual, is the DGS specialist, André Peralta Santos.

André Peralta Santos, from DGS, said that Portugal currently has a “moderate incidence” of the virus, “close to 71 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants and with a slightly increasing trend”.

There are “some municipalities” with an incidence of more than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, the majority in Alentejo and Algarve. In the last week, there was also “some growth” in the areas of Greater Porto and Trás-os-Montes.

There is a “very noticeable” reduction in incidence across all age groups. There was an increase in the age group from zero to 9 years old. The decrease is greatest in the group over 80 years of age.

There are 22 municipalities with more than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, with a total of 636 thousand people, representing 6.5% of the population.

Hospitalizations maintain the downward trend, both in the ward and in the ICU, although the rate of descent has slowed. In mortality, the same phenomenon occurs.

There is an increase in testing in the active population,” said Peralta Santos.

As for testing, there was general “intensification” and, above all, the municipalities with the highest incidence are testing more. The rate of positivity has decreased and, although some municipalities are above the 4% defined as a red line by experts, most of the country remains below that threshold.

According to Peralta Santos, there is a general increase in testing in the active population , “less expressive” in the younger population. And there is an “improvement” in laboratory reporting, with a 6% delay now.

The DGS official also mentions the “good news” that Portugal is below the mortality threshold established by ECDC

10.24 hrs

Baltazar Nunes, from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge, first points out the “systematic growth” of the transmissibility index, the R (t), since the beginning of February. “We have gone through a phase of growth in the number of cases per day”. Currently, the R (t) is 1.04, nationally. The whole country has R (t) above 1, except Lisbon and the Tagus Valley.

There is a reversal of the trend and new cases per day are increasing”

Baltazar Nunes, from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge, first points out the “systematic growth” of the transmissibility index, the R (t), since the beginning of February. “There is an inversion of the trend, moving now to a growth of new cases per day”. Currently, the R (t) is 1.04, nationally – the whole country has R (t) above 1, except Lisbon and the Tagus Valley.

On April 8, to which the most recent data report, the R was at 1.09 (at the last meeting at Infarmed, it was at 0.89). “The time it takes for the number and cases to double is 35 days,” said Baltazar Nunes.

As for the rate of incidence of the disease per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days, the expert estimates that Portugal reaches 120 thousand cases per 100 thousand inhabitants “between two weeks and one month”.

Two weeks to a month to exceed threshold

As for the rate of incidence of the disease per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days, the expert estimates that Portugal reaches 120 thousand cases per 100 thousand inhabitants (threshold of the risk matrix) “between two weeks and one month”.

With regard to the incidence by age, Baltazar Nunes indicates that there is a “very significant increase in the trend in the age groups below 9 years old , mainly close to 5, 6 years old” – an increase that explains the opening of the first cycle of schools . Although with lower values ​​than in the younger age groups, there is also an increase in the incidence in the groups of 10 to 19 years of age and 25 and 50. But, on the other hand, the reduction of the incidence in people over 65 years old is a “very positive” sign.

Vaccines prevented 78 to 140 deaths

Stressing the importance of vaccination in reducing the number of cases in people over 80, the specialist at the Dr. Ricardo Jorge Institute points out that vaccines have prevented, so far, 78 to 140 deaths by covid-19 in Portugal. “There is a significant effect of vaccination coverage on the population aged 80 and over.”

Compared to the rest of Europe, “Portugal has a much lower incidence level” , even though the R is increasing. The country today has fewer restrictive measures than many other European countries and there has been ” an increase in the number of contacts , mainly in the age groups under 69″, although it is less than what happened at Christmas time.

The increase in Rt and mobility in the country, which is advancing in the process of deflation, obliges to compensate with other health security rules.

Baltazar Nunes listed the main ones, such as increasing testing , isolating cases and tracking contacts , reducing the number of contacts outside the family bubble , and reinforcing measures in places such as school and work.

Last but not least, increase vaccine coverage, especially over the age of 65 .

 

10.41hrs

United Kingdom variant accounted for 83% of cases in March

João Paulo Gomes, from INSA, said that there was a “significant reduction” of the original variant in Portuguese territory, which appeared in Spain, and that it has been progressively replaced by the United Kingdom variant. In March, this represented 83% of cases of covid-19 in Portugal. In the North it is “clearly less represented”, at 71%; in the Algarve and Madeira, it reaches 94%.

South Africa variant with “very significant growth”

The Manaus (Brazil) variant represents 0.4% of cases in Portugal. South Africa, on the other hand, showed “very significant growth”, rising from 0.1% in February to 2.5% in March.

There are now 29 cases of the Brazilian variant, a number in line with what is recorded at European level. João Paulo Gomes recalled that these values ​​are “residual”, confessing himself surprised due to the proximity between Portugal and Brazil.

The South African variant currently represents 53 cases in the country. The expert stressed the importance of border control “to try to understand if there is a lack of control” of the spread of this variant, which he said was being introduced, mainly, from Mozambique.

João Paulo Gomes recalled that there are signs that this variant may be more resistant to vaccines, but clarified that the situation is not a cause for alarm.

The Brazilian variant is “very controlled”, said João Paulo Gomes. The South African variant, on the other hand, deserves “some concern” and requires attention to border control.

 

10.57 hrs

Óscar Felgueiras, from the Regional Health Administration of the North and Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, talks about local risk indicators. He proposes to combine two indicators – the neighbouring incidence and the municipal incidence – in order to obtain the adjusted incidence indicator The objective is to correct the low specificity of the neighbouring incidence.

The specialist points out problems in taking into account the incidence by municipalities as a “single indicator”. One of them is the fact that small counties where the number of cases is not very high have a very high incidence, as in Vimioso. The municipality has an incidence of 249 cases for a population of 4 thousand inhabitants, but, taking into account the four neighbouring municipalities, there are 36 cases in the region for 67 thousand inhabitants. If the region is considered in its entirety, the incidence would be 53, far below that recorded in Vimioso. “We can think about defining an incidence indicator next to the municipality in question”, but in this case there is the disadvantage of “mitigating the risk” in some places.

Thus, the specialist proposes to combine two indicators – the neighbouring incidence and the municipal incidence. Thus, the adjusted incidence indicator is obtained , whose objective is to correct the weaknesses of the previous ones, reflecting the risk of proximity and mobility expected between municipalities and promising to be a tool to implement health measures at the local level.

 

11.19 hrs

“There is no clear relationship” between incidence and population density

Carla Nunes, from the Escola Superior de Saúde Pública at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, said that, between February and the beginning of April, the areas of greatest risk in the country were “the whole coast” and also the South of the country.

With regard to the spread of the virus, there has been a greater concentration of cases. “There is no clear relationship” between incidence and population density, said the expert.

As for the Portuguese’s perception of the disease, Carla Nunes revealed that there has been a “change in behavior” in the last two weeks. On 2 April, 7.5% of respondents in a study coordinated by the specialist stated that they had been in groups of 10 or more people , against 4.9% on 19 March.

Of the respondents, 87.7% said they considered vaccination to be safe or very safe, against 8.4% who considered it to be little or not at all safe. 87.5% believe that vaccines are effective or very effective, against 14.6% who think they are not.

One in four people say they feel agitated or sad due to the rules of social detachment. One in two rated their health status as very poor and reasonable.

There are still 22.4% of respondents with little or no confidence in health care related to covid-19, a figure that rises to 51.7% with respect to other diseases. In this parameter, there were no major changes compared to the previous period, the same occurring in relation to the assessment of Government measures : currently, 31.7% of respondents say that they are little or not adequate.

Greater difficulties were also reported in complying with measures , namely the use of a mask (increase from 7.5% to 14.5%), teleworking (from 34.7% to 42.4%), the duty to stay at home (from 27.5% to 33.3%) and precautions regarding visits to friends or family (from 34.4% to 41.5%).

11.36 hrs

Schools show safety

Henrique Barros, from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto (ISPUP), reinforces that “the rate of infection reduction has changed”, with the incidence now increasing in most age groups, with the exception of older ages, where vaccination has an effect. “The vaccine encirclement that is coming from the oldest to the youngest, makes these ages more susceptible to the circulation of the virus”, says the expert.

Stressing the increase in incidence among children, the specialist spoke of schools as “surveillance structures” and presented data on specific school groups. Henrique Barros concludes that, “contrary to what is seen in employees, who are adults, in proportion of infection marker is much lower ”. That is, although there is an increase in cases at these ages, this is very small, summarizes the expert. In addition, there is an “enormous variability” in the infection rate depending on the classes, which places the risk outside the school and not on the school grounds.

11.52 hrs

Henrique Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the task force for vaccination against covid-19, confirms the forecast of receiving 1.9 million vaccines in April and a total of 11 million over the second quarter.

Until last Sunday, Portugal received 2.6 million vaccines and administered about 2.1 million doses: first doses were 1.5 million people, that is, more than 15% of the population has one dose taken, and 6% took two doses.

With the priority groups for phase 1 of the vaccination plan with high rates of vaccination coverage (values ​​between 80% and 99%), the process has now moved on to phase 2, which includes people over 65 who were not been vaccinated before. And so far 400,000 people in this group have been vaccinated, equivalent to 27% of this group, announced Henrique Gouveia e Melo.

The main criterion for this phase is that of age, that is, advancing from the oldest to the youngest.

Portugal will vaccinate the entire population over 60 “between the last week of May and the first week of June, which gives us some hope”. The 70% vaccinated with the first dose – which implies vaccination for all over 30 years of age – “between July and August”. In terms of serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths, this advance will provide “quite high protection”.

In update from live news

 

COVID-19 GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE INSPECTIONS BY GNR, PSP AND ACT IN MUNICIPALITIES WITH HIGHEST INCIDENCE

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Lisbon, April 6, 2021 (Lusa) – The prime minister announced today that the inspection by security forces in the municipalities with the highest incidence of cases of covid-19 will be reinforced and inspections of the health conditions of temporary housing intensified.

These measures were announced by António Costa after having met by videoconference with the mayors of the seven municipalities that register more than 240 cases of covid-19 per one hundred thousand inhabitants in the last 15 days: Alandroal, Carregal do Sal, Moura, Odemira, Portimão, Ribeira de Pena and Rio Maior.

According to the prime minister, in relation to the covid-19 outbreaks that occur in these municipalities, there is the existence of “a common pattern”.

In most cases, the origin of the outbreaks lies in “the concentration of people, in precarious and temporary housing associated or in large public works, or even working in industrial units that use local housing”.

“We will articulate specific actions by the Authority for Working Conditions (ACT), together with the public health authorities, with a view to creating better sanitary conditions in these places of residence and, also, to develop massive testing actions in cases in which they are not in progress. It is necessary to detect infected people and break the transmission chains “, declared António Costa.

In the specific case of agriculture, the Prime Minister said that, in partnership with producer organizations, there will be preventive work, with the dissemination of “good practices and testing”, taking into account the harvest calendar, which is now starting and that will continue until the harvest period.

The Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, “stated that, in the next 15 days, there will be a reinforcement of the number of GNR or PSP in the 20 municipalities with more than 120 cases of covid-19 per hundred thousand inhabitants in the last 15 days. “Inspection actions will be reinforced”, stressed António Costa.

At the press conference, the Prime Minister left an appeal to employers to organize “the best possible way” working conditions, with testing of their workers and monitoring the health situation of each one.

“But I also appeal to workers to be extremely careful in the use of personal protective equipment. It is essential that when stopping, namely at meal times, distance safety rules are respected to avoid increased contamination risks”, he added.

 

PRIME MINISTERS ADDRESS TO THE NATION CONCERNING EASING OF MEASURES

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

EASING OF MEASURES CONTINUES, BUT GOVERNMENT KEEPS 19 MUNICIPALITIES UNDER SURVEILLANCE

BORDER WITH SPAIN TO REMAIN CLOSED

TRAVEL BAN BETWEEN MUNICIPALITIES TO BE LIFTED AFTER 5TH APRIL

António Costa confirmed the next phase of the de-confinement, recalling that the transmission rate had a favourable evolution, having decreased from 118 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants (on 9th March) to 62.4 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants on 31st March. Taking into account the incidence levels of R(t), the country is still in the green zone.

Although the prime-minister stated that the de-confinement plan will progress – due to the fact that Portugal is still in the “green zone” – but António Costa gives a warning to the municipalities. If any municipality registers, in two consecutive evaluations, an incidence rate higher than 1 and an average of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants higher than 120, it will not advance in the next phase of confinement.

At the moment, there are 19 municipalities at risk, the prime minister said.

Municipalities at risk

Between 120 and 240 cases:

Alandroal, Albufeira. Beja, Borba, Cinfães, Figueira da Foz, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Lagoa, Marinha Grande, Penela, Soure, Vila do Bispo, Vimioso

More than 240 cases: Carregal do Sal, Moura, Odemira, Portimão, Ribeira de Pena andRio Maior

Asked about possible measures in the 19 municipalities that are currently outside the green zone of the de-confining traffic light, i.e. have more than 120 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, António Costa said that it is necessary to have “measures with stability” and that, therefore, the evaluation will always be made every 15 days. “No interim measures will be taken,” he mentioned.

The programme presented on 11 March foresees, from Monday

From 5 April

– 2nd and 3rd cycle of basic education (and ATLs for the same ages)

– social facilities in the area of ​​disability

– museums, monuments, palaces, art galleries and the like

– stores up to 200 m2 with door to the street

– fairs and non-food markets (municipal decision)

– terraces only (max 4 people per table)

– outdoor physical activity for up to 4 people and gyms without group classes

 

The Prime Minister calls on the Portuguese to take special care during the Easter festive season. While speaking, António Costa shows the images of a group of people at the table, illustrating the circulation of particles in this context. “I renew the appeal that we all make the effort to avoid an unhappy Easter”.

The Prime Minister again thanked the Portuguese “for the way they have collectively managed to control this pandemic”. “In this third wave we managed to bring with great sacrifice, determination and persistence, from days when we were the worst in the world to the situation in which we find ourselves today, in which in Europe only Iceland is better than Portugal”.

It was also announced that the level of border control in place will be maintained, “There is a de facto agreement with the kingdom of Spain for us to keep the land borders closed so as to prevent an increase in the pandemic and to keep a properly controlled situation. Borders will remain closed with the exceptions that have been announced.”

Possible changes will be introduced in relation to countries that had the third wave earlier and facilitate movement between countries. Among the novelties is also the possible resumption of flights between Portugal and Brazil, subject to mandatory testing and quarantine.

António Costa clarified that the measure banning travel between municipalities will no longer be in force after next Monday, 5 April. “In the next fortnight there is no provision for a ban on movement between municipalities, either during the week or at the weekend,” the Prime Minister said.

In response to journalists, António Costa reiterated that events such as Formula 1, Moto GP and football matches will continue without audiences, as they represent “an increased risk”. “We will continue to avoid it,” he stressed.

Source: PÚBLICO.