Archive for February, 2021

Mobil Internet Performance is worse in rural areas study shows

Sunday, February 28th, 2021

“In general, there are worse performances in the predominantly rural areas” of mainland Portugal, concludes a study carried out by the Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM) in five regions

The performance of the mobile Internet is worse in the predominantly rural areas of mainland Portugal, according to studies evaluating the performance of mobile services of the Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (Anacom) in five regions.

With the use of telecommuting and distance learning, following the state of emergency due to the covid-19 pandemic, the topic of Internet access has been on the agenda, with several complaints about the difficulties in some regions of the country in access ‘online’.

Anacom carried out five studies to assess the performance of mobile voice and data (Internet) services and GSM (2G), UMTS (3G) and LTE (4G) coverage provided by Meo (Altice Portugal), NOS and Vodafone Portugal in Alentejo , Algarve, Lisbon Metropolitan Area (AML), Center and North.

Overall, predominantly rural areas are those that have the worst performance in terms of mobile Internet access, compared to urban areas.

In Alentejo, voice and file transfer services “register good global performances, with differences between operators and between types of urban areas in terms of data transfer speed, both in download and upload being more visible”, according to the study.

In the data transfer speed indicator, “the best performances are observed in predominantly urban areas”, concludes the study carried out between May 7 and 28, 2019, having covered 3,539 kms, of which 342 were in tests.

In the predominantly urban areas of Alentejo “the best performances are observed, with average success rates in the establishment and maintenance of data sessions of 97.7%, in the transfer of the reference web page, and 93.8% in the transfer of the public web page, with statistically significant differences from the other urban typologies “.

In other words, performance is better than in rural or moderately urban areas.

Also in the Algarve, whose fieldwork took place between 20 and 29 October, where 273 kms of tests were covered, surfing the Internet in rural areas can be difficult, and in certain medium-urban areas difficulties are also detected.

Internet video and YouTube navigation services ‘video streaming’ and also the data transmission latency in the Algarve “show lower performance, compared to the transfer of files, also observing some differences between operators and typologies of urban areas”, says the study, adding that, “in general, there are worse performances in moderately urban and predominantly rural areas”.

It also points out that in the predominantly rural and moderately urban areas of the Algarve “there are the worst performances” of the indicator of duration of transfer of the web page, “without statistically significant differences between them, but with statistically significant differences” compared to the predominantly urban ones.

Also in the Center, mobile Internet navigation services recorded “worst performances in predominantly rural areas”.

With regard to file transfer, “there is a good overall performance, with some differences in performance between operators and, more markedly, between the typologies of urban areas”.

The ability to establish and retain file transfer sessions and data transfer speed (‘download’ and ‘upload’) “present a marked degradation in predominantly rural areas”, the study points out.

In Internet browsing services and YouTube ‘video streaming’, “and also the data transmission latency, present lower performances, in relation to the transfer of files, observing also some differences between the operators and, more accentuated, between typologies of urban areas “.

Once again, “generally speaking, there are worse performances in predominantly rural areas”, concludes the study, which took place between the 4th and the 18th of December last, having been covered 344 kms in tests.

In the North, with regard to file transfer, “in predominantly rural areas there is a marked degradation” in the ratio of termination of data sessions. Here, too, at the speed of data transfer, the best performances are in predominantly urban areas.

In terms of establishment and retention of data sessions, in the most rural areas the levels of the indicator “do not exceed 80.3%”, against ratios greater than 99.4% in the predominantly urban ones, it is read in the study, that ran between 03 and February 13, 2020, with 3,255 kms covered, of which 303 were in tests.

 

 

Prime Minister speaks to the country after Council of Ministers Meeting

Friday, February 26th, 2021

New state of emergency, government decree-law has “no change”, says António Costa.

“The measures have continued to produce the desired effects in controlling the pandemic. This is evidenced by the reduction in the transmissibility factor of the disease, the famous R, which is relatively stable, and a continued decrease in new cases”

Costa says that “this is not yet the time for the deconfinement”, although Portugal continues “sustainably” to see the number of new daily cases of infection decrease.

The Prime Minister underlined the “clear improvement” in the European context, when the country was the worst in the EU just two weeks ago.

However, he warned, “all improvements are relative”, this being “the second reason for maintaining the measures “. Portugal is better, but still with levels of new cases and hospitalizations four times above the beginning of the deconfinement of May 2020.

And Costa adds a risk factor: “A very high incidence of the British variant (49%), with a higher risk of contagion. This also justifies the greatest prudence regarding the deconfinement.”

And another one: “We have been executing a vaccination plan. We can confirm only the objective of having 80% of people over the age of 80 vaccinated in March, as well as the full vaccination of those over 50 years of age with major comorbidities.”

“I am certainly the first to share the same anxiety so that we can quickly turn the page on this confinement and I am well aware of the cost to everyone’s life,” said the prime minister. “I am well aware of the cost for the companies, for those who have lost their jobs,” he added, ensuring that the Government has sought to “always maintain balance”.

António Costa said that he will present the deconfinement plan on March 11th.

Costa said, that it is early to be discussing dates and measures of that plan as there is a message that the Portuguese should set for the next fifteen days. “We must remain confined for the next 15 days. This is the message, nothing should change” and “We must avoid confusing citizens with messages that end up inducing wrong behaviour.”

“As for schools, it is known that the Government resisted as much as it could to close schools, because we are aware of the cost that it has in the children’s learning process. Therefore, it was really the last step we took and, therefore, it is natural that it will be the first measure to be announced, that of the reopening of schools “, announced Costa.

After some insisting questions “As we did a year ago, it will be a gradual opening plan, which will progressively cover successive areas of activities and will be guided by a set of objective criteria that will allow us to measure the evolution of the pandemic, “said the Prime Minister.

Asked about the Government’s relationship with the President of the Republic in adoption of the measures, Costa said that “as the President of the Republic made clear yesterday, there has been institutional solidarity between all since the beginning of the pandemic”.

“It is necessary that the country respects and accepts the measures that we have been announcing. So far, there has been no measure that was adopted without total consonance between the Government and the President of the Republic “, guaranteed.

“We are living in a dangerous phase. There may be the illusion that the worst has already been overcome and that we are not in danger of regressing. If there is one thing we have to strive for, it is not to regress in something achieved with such a sacrifice by the Portuguese.” warned Costa.

We have to avoid going backwards at all costs. On March the 2nd, it’s the anniversary of the first case. We have lived since then moments of great optimism, of great difficulty, but there was always something that the Portuguese understood well: that the best possible balance was necessary. We will have succeeded sometimes, sometimes not so well. But we have to be very careful.” said Costa.

Celebrations planned in 2022 to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first train in Lagos

Friday, February 26th, 2021

The Lagos Municipal Assembly unanimously approved a proposal for the commemoration of the centenary of the train’s arrival in Lagos – 1922-2022.

The proposal was approved at the first regular meeting in February / 2021, held on February 22.

Thus, following the decision, a Municipal Commission will be created for the Commemorations of the Centenary of the Arrival of the Train to Lagos, with the participation of the Municipality of Lagos and the Parish Councils of the municipality, together with the Permanent Commission of the Municipal Assembly.

There will soon be a first meeting to establish the calendar and schedule for the celebrations.

Lagos has a heritage attached to the National Railway Museum that rusts away .

A carriage and steam locomotives from the end of the 19th century are among the assets of the Núcleo Ferroviário de Lagos that could be of interest to the city and the region, and which have remained without an exhibition solution for years.

In 2022, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first train in Lagos and the festivities that accompanied the inauguration of the Portimão-Lagos railway branch that completed the Algarve Line.

In the 19th century, the invention of the steam engine had given rise to the Industrial Revolution, where its application in railway locomotives had an important role, with effects that endure today.

The railway environment revolutionized the daily lives of the people, and the initial fear caused by those superb and noisy locomotives, was followed by the enormous fascination with their power and speed.

The train quickly took a place in the imagination of children and adults, replacing the carriages and horses of yore.

Wherever it came from, the train became part of peoples’ daily lives, greatly shortening distances and reducing the size of the world.

In Portugal it was no different, the railroad united the communities and brought progress to all districts in the country. For more than a century the train has assumed itself as the symbol of evolution and the railways as a paradigm of organization and mechanization . ”

In Portugal, the first train journey was in 1858, with the opening, lined with curious adventures, of the Lisbon-Carregado line.

A Law of 1883 foresaw the railway line to the Algarve and the Lagos branch project is from 1899, although the original project, dated 1882 and later abandoned, foresaw the construction of the Lagos station in Rossio de S. João on the right bank of Ribeira de Bensafrim, continuing with the railway line through Vila do Bispo, Aljezur, Odemira, with a branch to Sines.

In Lagos, there was perfect awareness of the development that the railway would allow and, in this sense, a meeting was held here in 1889 «of all classes of society» with representatives of the Municipalities of Vila do Bispo, Aljezur and Odemira, to create a commission to demand from the government the construction of the railway from Lagos to Odemira and a port of refuge in Lagos for the transport and export of products from all over that area.

In the same year, 1889, the train arrived in Faro and in 1897 King D. Carlos promised, in Faro and Lagos, the work of extending the train lines from the Algarve to VRSA and Lagos.

In 1902 the train arrived in Silves, in 1903 at Ferragudo which remained as a station at Vila Nova de Portimão, in 1906 at Vila Real de Santo António.

The interest in completing the Lagos branch line was considered so necessary for the economy of the Barlavento, that in 1912 Parliament had granted authorization, at the request of the Lagos City Council, to contract a loan of 500 contos to take over the construction of the branch since Portimão to Lagos, an intention that followed, with the transfer of the work to the company, then created, of the Portuguese Railways.

In 1915 the railway bridge over Arade was completed and the train arrived in Portimão.

It is worth remembering that in 1911, the Lagos City Council had proposed the creation of an itinerary of tourist interest, on a railway connecting Lagos to London through Vila Real de Santo António, Huelva, Seville, Madrid and Paris, before half a century that which was only realized from the 1950s / 60s, in the after World War II.

It was an idea that reflected well the progressive facet and the opening of dominant thought in the people of the young Portuguese Republic, which the monarchies refused to recognize until the intervention of the Algarve President of the Republic Teixeira Gomes, from Portimão.

In fact, this broad scale of thinking has been interrupted and hidden by the narrowness of views of the nearly 50 years of Salazar, who left deep marks that today afflict numerous citizens, still unable to look beyond the old inheritance of the parish dimension.

Only finally, on July 30, 1922, a special train made the direct connection from Barreiro to Lagos, with the President of the Ministry, the Minister of Labor and the Director of the Southern and Southeastern Railway, to which the Minister joined do Comércio, who was visiting the Barlavento counties, a delegation from Vila do Barreiro formed by the bands of the Democratic Society União Barreirense and the Society of Instruction and Recreation of Barreiro, representatives of the Grupo Dramático Herculano Marinho and the Futebol Clube Barreirense team .

All participated in the festivities in Lagos, where three days of official ceremonies and popular celebrations celebrated the arrival of the first train, widely reported and reported in the national and regional press.

The regional and national importance of the arrival of the first train in Lagos cannot be ignored during the passage of its centenary and the Municipality of Lagos must recognize it by paying special attention to it.

United Kingdom and Italy with more impact at the beginning of the pandemic in Portugal

Friday, February 26th, 2021

The United Kingdom, with more cases, and Italy, with more weight in community transmission, were the countries with the greatest impact at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic in Portugal, a study by the Ricardo Jorge Health Institute reveals today.

At least 277 people infected with SARS-CoV-2 from 36 countries entered Portugal by March 31, 2020, with the majority from the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy and Switzerland,

Another of the study’s conclusions is that, although the first cases of covid-19 notified in Portugal report on March 2, 2020, potential introductions will have occurred in late January, most of which occurred in the last week of February, in a “community transmission that was already running silently”.

The conclusions are part of “an extensive study of the genetic diversity of the new coronavirus” that INSA has been carrying out since the beginning of the pandemic, with the main objective of identifying the main introductions of the virus in the country, namely the countries that will have contributed more to this situation, said the agency Lusa Joana Isidro, of the Nucleus of Bioinformatics of the Department of Infectious Diseases.

“In March 2020, there was a huge effort, together with multiple laboratories and hospitals, to be able to collect samples and obtain the genetic information of the viruses that circulated in this initial phase of the pandemic and that made us one of the countries [the fifth in the world] ] who managed to collect more information on the genetic information of the new coronavirus “at this stage of the epidemic, said Joana Isidro.

Investigator Vítor Borges added that 1,275 virus samples collected in Portugal until the end of March were analyzed, representing 15.5% of confirmed cases in that period.

With these sequences it was possible to predict, based on the genetic uniqueness and with the travel history associated with the patients from which these samples were collected, that there were at least 277 independent introductions of the virus in Portugal until March 31 from “multiple countries”, such as the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Brazil, Greece, the Netherlands, Andorra and Iceland.

According to the researchers, the country that has contributed with the largest number of introductions was the United Kingdom, followed by France, Spain and Italy.

“Each of these introductions had a different impact. There were introductions that had very limited transmission chains and caused few cases, while there were others that caused many cases”, underlined Vitor Borges.

Although Italy had far fewer introductions than, for example, the United Kingdom, it was the country that had the most weight in community broadcasting in Portugal.

It is estimated that a contagion that occurred in the Lombardy region around the 21st of February has caused about 4,000 cases of covid-19 in Portugal, spread over 44 municipalities in 11 districts, almost exclusively in the North and Center Region, where it is estimated which was responsible for about 20% and 60% of cases, respectively in these two regions, during the first phase of the epidemic.

Regarding the number of infections coming from each country and in which region of Portugal they will have been introduced, the study points out that the United Kingdom had a “great weight”, with many entries in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo and in the North.

“Spain had transversal introductions throughout the country,” said Vítor Borges, pointing out the “very curious” fact that many entries have taken place in the border regions.

This situation denotes that, in addition to introductions by air of infected patients who returned to the country or tourists, there were also many introductions in the border exchange between the two countries, he explained.

According to the researchers, many of the variants that had a major impact in the beginning of the pandemic, such as that of Italy, were not found in a large national sample that INSA carried out in November, which shows that the public health measures taken were able to mitigate this spread.

 

 

 

Official Speech of the President of the Republic

Friday, February 26th, 2021

In this fortnight, we significantly reduced the number of infected and the number of dead. And the virus spread indicator reached its lowest levels in a year.

Everything, proving your lucidity, determination and courage.

In this situation, it is very tempting to defend that it is necessary to open and deconfine as soon as possible. And schools would be the sector most proposed to start this opening.

The reasons invoked, we all know them.

The positive evolution would no longer fall and, if it had, it would not be for the values ​​of a month ago.

The economy and society are in deep crisis.

Culture, associative movement, youth sports, restaurants, hotels and a lot of commerce suffer even more.

Mental health is increasingly undermined.

Schools and children and young people, in particular – see their second academic year run over.

It would be enough to guarantee the existence of a faster and wider vaccination. It would be enough to cover whatever was opening. Starting with schools, vaccinating earlier in schools. It would also suffice to ensure broader and more urgent testing and screening. In the case of schools, with simple, quick, but reliable tests.

With the double security of vaccines and tests, it would be possible to deconfine, in stages, without the risks taken in the past.

These are the reasons for those who want or wait for the announcement of immediate steps to end last month’s regime.

Everything that is said has logic, corresponds to what many Portuguese think and is seductive.

It is even the most seductive, given the fatigue of these demanding weeks.

There’s another side of the story.

The number of hospitalized patients is still almost double that indicated by intensivists, who are on the ground dealing with the most serious. The number in intensive care is more than double of that recommended, to avoid risks of further collapse.”

You can never say that there is no relapse or retreat and the numbers that have put us in the place of the worst in Europe and the worst in the world are not from a year or months ago, are from a month ago, as are from three weeks ago the queues of ambulances outside hospitals.

Worse than what the economy, society, mental health and schools are experiencing now, would be if we had to return to what we have just experienced now, the next weeks or months.

We know that due to the delay in the delivery of vaccines, there will probably not be vaccination in the next month, month and a half, which guarantees everything that we want to guarantee, right from the schools.

We know that testing and tracking, in a very short period, in terms that allow the necessary security, can be complicated, even if only for schools.

These opposite reasons, which make you think twice about creating expectations of hurried openings, however seductive they may be.

So what is the challenge for those who have to decide?

The answer is simple.

Deciding must be based on the conscience of the decision maker, and not on the concern to follow the opinion of each moment. Which at one time wants to close it out of fear, and after wants to open it out of tiredness.

Deciding in conscience is based on objective and clear criteria, such as indicators of the severity of the pandemic, pressure on health structures, vaccination, testing, screening and must bear in mind the right signals to give to the Portuguese.

Deciding presupposes, in this pandemic, institutional solidarity and strategic solidarity between the President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Republic and the Government. With a single purpose – to face the common cause together. So it has been. So it will continue to be.

It being true that the President of the Republic is, by the very nature of things, primarily responsible.

Portuguese,

I said and I repeat today.

We have to win this year’s summer and autumn until Easter.

In other words, Easter is a risky time for confused or contradictory messages.

Like, for example, opening without criteria before Easter, to close it immediately afterwards, to open again after it. Who would take paschal rigor seriously?

It is, therefore, a matter of prudence and security to maintain Easter as the essential milestone for the current strategy.

Can this mean more mobility, by saturation? It can. But a wrong sign of a misunderstood facility can also. Can do it even more.

Does this imply a few more weeks of heavy sacrifices and, therefore, that the State goes further in emergency measures and in support of the future start-up? It implies. But the alternative could be having to take the same measures later, multiplied by two or three.

In short, let the next days be of studying and preparing it well.

But, let the day after be better chosen, without precipitations, to not repeat what has already happened.

And never confuse studying and planning with deconfinement.

To be more clear: planning for the future is essential, but to rush for a deconfinement because of the numbers these days will be as tempting as it is frivolous. Even because we know the numbers always go up faster than they go down.

Quoting an almost classic: “A people that does not know its history, is condemned to repeat it”.

We know this year’s pandemic history well.

We will not make the same mistakes.

And we have the hope – not the hope, the certainty – that if we are sensible, the worst is over.

Infarmed meeting 22nd February 2021

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the Prime Minister, António Costa, meet this Monday with experts. On the table in this meeting of Infarmed will be the evolution of the epidemiological situation of Covid-19 in Portugal.

André Peralta Santos, Directorate-General for Health,is speaking about the evolution of incidence and transmissibility.

Baltazar Nunes, from the National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA), will update the surveillance of genetic variants of the new coronavirus in Portugal.

The meeting will also include interventions by João Paulo Gomes, from INSA; João Gouveia, from the Coordination of Response in Intensive Care Medicine; Carla Nunes, from the National School of Public Health, Universidade Nova de Lisboa; Henrique de Barros, Institute of Public Health at the University of Porto; and Lieutenant Colonel Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the “task force” for the Vaccination Plan against Covid-19 in Portugal.

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André Peralta Santos, from the Directorate-General for Health, outlines the epidemiological situation in the country, highlighting a consolidation of the “very significant descent” trend in contagions.

A total of 104 counties are no longer at an extremely high risk level, with 15 counties now in that situation. The regions of Lisbon and Tagus Valley, Alentejo and Centro are the most worrying.

According to the data reported last Saturday, there are 322 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, which corresponds to a “relief from the situation”.

The downward trend is also maintained in all age groups, with the group of people over the age of 80 being the one with the highest incidence.

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Baltazar Nunes: contagion rate is the lowest since the beginning of the epidemic

Baltazar Nunes, from the Ricardo Jorge National Health Institute now speaks.

The estimate for the contagion rate is now 0.67, “the lowest since the beginning of the epidemic”. The value is below 1 across the continent and autonomous regions (ie, on average each infected person infects less than one person). That decline began in mid-January and is stabilizing, experts say.

With the first confinement measures there was a reduction in contagion, but with a different intensity depending on the regions, explains the expert. Then, with the closure of schools, the effect was “more homogeneous”.

As for the incidence by age, at the end of January it was higher among young adults and up to 50 years old and also in the elderly over 80 years old. In the period from 1 to 14 February, there is a “sharp and very clear reduction” in all ages, but the sharpest decline was even between 15 and 45 years old – and, again, in the population over 80 years old . That is, in the groups where there was more contagion there was a greater decrease.

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Portugal is the country with the lowest contagion rate and the least mobility (but it is rising slightly)

The specialist at the Ricardo Jorge Institute now analyzes the data related to mortality, noting which factors contribute to an excess of deaths.

The model identifies that there were more 8905 deaths attributable to covid-19, with an excess of more than 2000 deaths due to extreme temperatures. About 64% of the excess of deaths will be due to covid, 19% extreme temperatures and for 7% no factor or explanation is found.

The analysis now focuses on comparing the incidence rate between Portugal and Europe – Portugal now has the lowest R (t) value in Europe. “If we continue, it is possible to continue to descend at a marked speed.”

As for population mobility, on February 2 Portugal was the country with the largest reduction (-66%) in relation to the pre-pandemic period; currently it continues to be so, although with some increase in mobility (-62%), as in other countries. Confinement reached its “peak” in early February, but has been reduced.

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At the end of March alone, we should have less than 200 beds occupied in intensive care

Baltazar Nunes now adds that the reduction in social contacts was more pronounced among the younger population.

Experts project that the rate of decrease is consistent and that at the end of March we will be below 60 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which is consistent with the scenarios designed at the beginning of the confinement.

The occupancy of beds in intensive care is also falling, but it is high and only in the second half of March it will drop from 300. Only then, at the end of March, should it reach less than 200 (last year, the peak was 270 ). “Important” note: “None of this is acquired, none of this is certain. It will depend on the measures implemented and the behavior of the Portuguese population”.

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British variant on “level of stability” in Portugal

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

The United Kingdom variant, detected in 87 countries, will dominate the prevalence where to enter, but Portugal is already at a level of stability, said the expert. The descent of this variant resulted from a “strict confinement”.

Between December 1 and February 21, there were 150,000 cases of the British variant, according to the national projection presented.

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Exponential growth of British variant with lack of definition, predicts João Paulo Gomes

The British variant represents 48% of the total infections by the new coronavirus in Portugal, details João Paulo Gomes, from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge.

“When we suspect, this variant will not disappear”, warns the expert, predicting a new exponential growth of this variant. “It is more than natural”.

Only vaccination and group immunity can stop this advance.

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7 cases of the Brazilian variant and 4 of the South African

So far, four cases of the South African variant and seven cases of the Manaus, Brazil variant have been detected . In this variant, it is just a transmission chain, said João Paulo Gomes, from the National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge.

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The recipe for the “new normal” in intensive care, still “very fragile

Now João Gouveia speaks to talk about the answer in Intensive Care Medicine.

It starts by giving some data, the most important for the “new normal”: less than 242 hospitalized in intensive care beds with covid, 285 available beds and more than 600 for other patients. This is the point that specialists want to reach and João Gouveia now proposes to draw the “roadmap” to get there, criticizing the chronic shortage of financing in intensive care in Portugal.

In the last few months, he explains, we had two vacancies and a very high peak. The answer was possible with “a lot of effort” from the professionals, but also occupying spaces that should not be occupied with intensive medicine and even the construction of new spaces.

This capacity cannot, “unfortunately”, be maintained: it would take another 448 doctors and 1273 nurses, in terms of human resources alone, to maintain the response. In terms of number of beds, 914 is needed, a number “practically reached” at the end of the quarter.

To reach the desired number, it is necessary to control contagion, a transmission rate lower than 0.7, test more than high-risk contacts, have inquiries carried out in time and, above all, that vaccination runs “at an excellent rate”.

The “tidying up of the home” of intensive care can then happen if 1) it is possible to end forms of respiratory support and treatment outside of intensive care (they have been treated in structures that are not entirely adequate); that the occupancy rate in intensive care by covid is less than 80%; hospitals will need to have recovery plans, with a human resources plan to learn how and when to reopen their beds. If hospitalizations go up and the R (t) exceeds 1, this phase should be suspended.

This “return” of normal intensive care must be agreed upon, subject to a weekly assessment, maintaining critical covid beds per referral axis. “The situation of intensive care medicine in Portugal is still very fragile”, because it still depends on human resources that are not specifically in this area. Therefore, it will be necessary to complete the works in progress and “mainly” hire human resources, especially nurses, and launch the necessary competitions.

When will it be possible to get there, to the “new normal of intensive care medicine” (to the 245 patients in the ICU)? At the end of the third week of March. But only if all the assumptions are fulfilled.

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Portugal has already received 1 million vaccine doses. 4.5% of the population with at least one dose

Right now 7 out of 100 inhabitants already have at least one dose of the vaccine. In percentage, 4.5% of the population has already received at least one dose and 2.7% has the complete vaccination process, that is, with two inoculations and maximum protection.

The plan “is going well” in view of the availability of vaccines on the market and the reduction in deliveries during the 1st quarter, summarizes the person in charge of the task force for the vaccination plan.

In all and for the 1st quarter, the estimate is to receive 2.58 million doses, when in the initial forecasts the value pointed to more than 4 million. In the 2nd quarter, the value will already be much higher – 7.3 million doses – and even higher thereafter, to a maximum of 8.4 million. In the last three months, the forecast points to the arrival of another 5 million.

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Group immunity can be achieved in August

Henrique Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the task force for the Vaccination Plan against covid-19, expects a reinforcement of vaccines in the 2nd and 3rd quarters that will allow to accelerate the vaccination process and reach 70% of the population with immunity in the middle or even early August.

In the 2nd quarter, if the updated schedule of scheduled deliveries is confirmed, Portugal should vaccinate an average of 100 thousand people per day.

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Confinement restored confidence in government measures

Regarding the adequacy of the measures applied by the Government, there was a drop since the summer and especially in January, “very sharp” – 68.9% on January 22 believed that the measures were “little or not adequate”; in the past two weeks the number has recovered.

The perception of the risk of becoming infected dropped considerably, which was always high. It went from 73.5% (among those who believe the level is low / risk free) on January 22 to 56% now. A danger: a possible relaxation in behavior because of this.

Higher levels of health responsiveness are always associated with a lower level of perceived risk.

In terms of global health status, women are worse, in the case of mental health it is more severe in young people. Men and young people have less appropriate behaviors.

Then, in December and January, there was a drop in confidence levels in the Government’s response capacity and measures, which meanwhile recovered ground (more frequent when there is less schooling).

In relation to vaccines, “very high” confidence values ​​and the intention to take it as soon as possible are maintained.

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Minister welcomes descent but is concerned about relaxation

The Minister of Health welcomed the downward trend – “we are below 300 per 100,000” – but left a “note of concern for some relaxation without legislative change for confinement.” “None of this has been achieved, everything depends each one of us and combined measures ”, he said. He added: “We must make the circumstances in which we live a cautious assessment. We cannot intend to move from one extreme to another in a time that is not compatible with the control of the pandemic. ”

Covid-19: Project “Neighbours at the window” awarded the Civil Solidarity award

Monday, February 15th, 2021

Lisbon, February 15, 2021 (Lusa) – The project “Vizinhos à Janela”, a neighborhood initiative to combat isolation and loneliness during confinement due to the covid-19 pandemic, received today the “Civil Solidarity” award from the Economic and European Social Fund (EESC).

In a statement, the Committee added that it attributed the CESE Prize for Civil Solidarity to “Neighbors at the window”, in the “cultural offerings” category, noting that the “project was a brilliant example of remarkable civic responsibility and solidarity during the crisis of the covid- 19 ”.

The EESC, an advisory body representing European civil society at the level of the European Union, selected “Vizinhos à Janela” as the best Portuguese candidate for the Prize, “due to the aggregating strength of its music, it helped to transform a simple neighborhood into a true community of mutual assistance ”.

“Vizinhos à Janela” was announced as one of the 23 laureates in a virtual award ceremony held today by the EESC. Each winner received a prize of 10,000 euros.

The project received the award in the category of “cultural offers, a category that grouped projects” that played a fundamental role in mitigating the effects of the pandemic, in various creative and original ways “.

Last year during the first confinement, a group of neighbors came together to alleviate the loneliness of home life.

Twice a day, at 2 pm and 8 pm, residents of Rua Belo Horizonte “Jardim dos Arcos”, in Oeiras, in the Lisbon district, played music from their balconies and windows for 10 minutes, until the end of July 2020. Four other nearby streets have also joined the initiative.

“These brief outbursts of culture and connection brought some relief and regularity to disturbed routines, and provided strength and joy to the people who lived in the neighborhood,” says the EESC.

Doctors, nurses, policemen and cantoniers visited the street and received a musical tribute in recognition of their work, after which the Oeiras City Council contacted the residents inviting them to take advantage of the spirit of solidarity to collect food for the most needy.

Each building on the street appointed someone to collect supplies from neighbors, who were then handed over to various associations working with vulnerable groups. Local businesses, grocery stores and restaurants also contributed with groceries.

“On average, 700 articles were donated per week, and several residents started volunteering activities, on a permanent basis, together with these associations. At this moment, food aid has already reached six tons ”, highlights the EESC.

“We give so little and we receive so much … This enormous appreciation gives us much more strength to continue in the struggle and help the most needy, and give a real meaning to the phrase:” Help to help “, said the project coordinator Íñigo Hurtado, a Catalan living in Portugal for over 30 years, quoted in the note.

In the delivery of the prizes, the EESC vice-president responsible for Communication, Cillian Lohan, said that “all the projects received are proof of the altruistic commitment of citizens and the local level, which proves that the contribution of civil society in this struggle is huge”

The prizes were awarded to winning entries from 21 countries in the European Union.

The winners were selected from a total of 250 applications submitted by civil society organizations, individuals and private companies. All projects were based on solidarity and presented creative and effective ways to face the often frightening challenges created by the crisis.

Most of the projects targeted vulnerable groups or the people most affected by the crisis, such as the elderly or young people, children, women, minorities, migrants, homeless people, medical staff, workers and employers.

The EESC launched the award in July 2020 under the theme “Civil society against COVID-19”, announcing that it would be an exceptional single edition award, replacing the usual CESE Award for Civil Society.

According to the Committee, the objective was to pay homage to European civil society, which has engaged actively and unselfishly in acts of solidarity since the early days of the pandemic.

DD // SB

The dark side of Valentine’s Day. More than 2,000 complaints of dating violence in 2020

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Seven out of ten young people surveyed believe that control or persecution in the relationship is legitimate.

The PSP received more than 2,000 complaints last year about dating violence, most of which were reported by ex-boyfriends, which represented a 5% decrease compared to complaints received in 2019, that police force said on Sunday.

In 2020, 2,006 complaints were registered by the PSP, of which 1,116 related to dating violence between ex-boyfriends and 890 to ongoing dating relationships, “transversal to all age groups”, announced this Sunday, Valentine’s Day, the PSP in a statement, noting that the data are not yet definitive as they are “in consolidation”.

In view of the numbers, PSP says it finds that there was a decrease of about 5% of complaints, compared to the year 2019, years in which it registered 2,100 complaints.

“We believe that the proactive work of the PSP also contributes to this decrease, namely through awareness raising actions with the school community”, he says in the document, concluding that, despite the decrease in the number of actions in the last school year, due to the pandemic and online education, “PSP has managed to get the message across” on this issue.

Early intervention, explains the PSP, is one of the principles of action enshrined in the legislation of minors in Portugal, recognizing the negative effects on the formation of children’s personality when exposed to violence in a family environment.

“The replication of this behaviour in any affective bond and, specifically, in dating relationships, is an indication of the need for specialized intervention “, he says, recalling that violence is neither tolerable nor excusable, but “those who attack need to be helped “.

Violence in dating relationships can be physical, psychological or emotional, social, sexual and economic, and insulting, threatening, offending, assaulting, humiliating, persecuting or debauching intimacy are forms of this violence.

“About 85% of the reports of dating violence presented to the PSP in 2020 involve psychological violence”, he adds, concluding that physical violence is present in 70% of the complaints and that approximately 50% of these cases occur inside the homes, and only 27% on public roads.

During the academic year 2019/2020, within the scope of the Escola Segura Program, the PSP claims to have carried out 1,346 awareness-raising actions on the theme, involving 28,573 students nationwide.

“This proactive work with the school community contributed to the fact that, annually, 40% of the reports of violence in courtship reach the PSP through the Escola Segura Program”, he also says, appealing to the report of violence, whether or not in courtship.

A study by UMAR – Union of Alternative Women and Response to almost 5,000 young people, presented on Friday, concludes that almost seven out of ten young people surveyed find legitimate control or persecution in the dating relationship and almost 60% admitted have already been the victim of violent behaviour .

Data from the 2020 study conclude that 67% of young people consider dating violence to be legitimate, of whom 26% think control is legitimate, 23% persecution, 19% sexual violence, 15% psychological violence, 14% a violence through social networks and 5% physical violence.

Among these nearly 5,000 young people, whose average age is 15 years old, 25% find it acceptable to insult during an argument, another 35% consider it acceptable to enter social networks without authorization, 29% who can be pressured to kiss and 6% even understand that can push / slap without leaving marks.

With regard to gender differences, it is always on the part of boys that legitimation is greatest, with emphasis on the “pressure to have sex” behaviour, where legitimacy among boys (16%) is four times higher than girls (4%).

 

INFARMED meeting Lisbon 9th February 2021

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

In the lead up to the renewal of the State of Emergency government are once again gathering to hear from experts and political parties at Infarmed, in Lisbon, to hear the experts take stock of the situation and give advice over the next few days:

EPIDEMIOLOGICAL SITUATION IN THE COUNTRY
André Peralta Santos | Directorate-General for Health

EVOLUTION OF INCIDENCE AND TRANSMISSIBILITY
Baltazar Nunes | National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge

UPDATE OF THE SURVEILLANCE OF GENETIC VARIANTES OF THE NEW CORONAVIRUS IN PORTUGAL
João Paulo Gomes | National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge

EPIDEMIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION AND ACTION CRITERIA
Manuel do Carmo Gomes | Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon

EFFECT OF VACCINATION ON INTERNAL AND MORTALITY
Henrique de Barros | Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (Videoconference)

SOCIAL PERCEPTIONS ABOUT COVID-19 AND MORTALITY IN A HOSPITAL CONTEXT
Carla Nunes | National School of Public Health, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

POINT OF VIEW OF THE VACCINATION PLAN AGAINST
COVID-19
Henrique Gouveia e Melo | Task Force Coordinator for the Vaccination Plan against COVID-19 in Portugal

Minister of Health opens the session, explaining that experts are in the room, but politicians are following online – for the first time. Therefore, the usual reactions of parties and MPs will have to be postponed.

DGS

André Peralta Santos, from the Directorate-General for Health, begins by saying that the country started a downward path, peaking on January 29 – with 1669 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. The weekly change is minus 29%. The downward trend was accentuated.

DGS: containment works, also against new variant. Situation has improved, but is still alert

Most municipalities remain at high risk of transmission.

In early January, the epidemic was booming. At this time only in Madeira there is no decrease in transmission – but with a much lower incidence of departure.

In the North, the January period was very similar to November and December – the same pattern also for hospitalizations in terms of hospitalizations and ICU. Already in Lisbon and Tagus Valley, had “growing quite fast in a short period”, with acceleration to 30 January. But in the last week there has already been a general decrease (even at higher levels). As for hospitalizations and mortality, the phenomenon is the same.

At this time, all ages have a decreasing trend.

The age groups above 60 years are the ones that cause the greatest concern for hospitalizations – with very high incidences above 80 years, yet with no decrease between 60 and 80.

The total hospitalizations already have peak training indication, but still no clearly defined trend.

In terms of mortality, “what we see is a very significant increase during January – almost three times compared to December, but already with a clear formation of a peak in the first week of February”.

As for the new variant, this is the state of play: a progression of cases, with a greater focus on the Lisbon and Tagus Valley regions, with a focus on the Alentejo Litoral and Coimbra region. The North is less prevalent.

Here, then, are the conclusions: the incidence remains “extremely high”, although decreasing. “This level of confinement seems sufficient to stop the spread, including the new variant.”

Rt is 0.82 in Portugal

The estimated value for the average of the last five days analysed, between January 30 and February 3, is 0.82 for Rt (average number of people who each infected). “It is a low value, which clearly indicates a reduction in incidence,” says Baltazar Nunes, responsible for the Epidemiological Research Unit of the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA).

The value is below 1 in all regions of the Mainland and in the Azores. Only in Madeira it is at 1.13, “which indicates a phase of growth”, says the expert.

Portugal is one of the countries with the greatest reduction in mobility in the EU

Contrary to what happened in the first weeks of January, Portugal is now one of the countries with the most marked reduction in mobility in the European Union, “in the order of 66%”, says Baltazar Nunes, an INSA epidemiologist.

It takes two months to contain less than 200 patients in intensive care

The models indicate that it is necessary to maintain the confinement measures equivalent to March and April, with schools closed, for two months, in order to achieve lower levels of incidence and hospitalizations in intensive care.

“We need to maintain these measures for a period of two months to bring the number of beds in intensive care below 200 and the incidence to 14 days below 60 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants”, said Baltazar Nunes, from INSA

British variant with decreasing trend

João Paulo Gomes, from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge, says that between December 1 and February 7, around 120 thousand circulated in the country with a pattern of mutations associated with the United Kingdom variant.

If in the last meeting of Infarmed the projections indicated that about 65% of the cases of covid-19 registered next Sunday would be caused by the British variant, the expectation is now more positive. “We totally deviated from the curve projected at the time. We stopped having an exponential growth, the curve started to have an S curve and this is great news”, points out the expert.

Variants from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil are more transmissible

Variants of the new coronavirus from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil have “a common mutation” that results in increased transmissibility. However, the Brazil and South Africa variants have an “additional mutation” in relation to the British one, which brings “increased concerns”, stresses João Paulo Gomes.

“It is also associated with a greater escape from our immune system,” he warns.

There would have been 120 cases of the English variant, but “exponential growth” was avoided

João Paulo Gomes, from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge, says that the English, Brazilian and South African variants have “a common mutation”, which makes them much more transmissible.

In Portugal, since the beginning of December, more than 200 thousand tests have been carried out, about 40 thousand positive. Of these, 9 thousand were of the British variant. The expert estimates that, between December 1 and February 7, there were “more than 120 thousand” cases of this variant in Portugal.

However, he said there was “great news” : although it was predicted that, from January to February, the number of cases of this strain would rise from 8% to 65%, these are only about 16% of the total cases . In other words, “we have completely deviated” from these projections, moving from the possibility of “exponential growth” to a “plateau” situation.

Still, João Paulo Gomes expressed some concern about the new California variant , which he says may be more resistant to antibodies and seems to represent, for now, 6.8% of cases in Portugal. “We will be attentive”, guaranteed.

Risk of infection, in January, rose in the 20-30 age groups and over 80.

Manuel Carmo Gomes, from the University of Lisbon, now takes the floor.

Confirming what was disclosed by Baltazar Nunes, he concluded that the risk of infection, in January, rose in the 20-30 age groups and over 80.

Between 7 and 15 January, the speed of the increase in cases stabilized, the result of the first measures in January. As of January 22 (general confinement), the decline is evident, says the expert.

“About 70% of the population should be vaccinated by the end of September”

Henrique de Barros, from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto, said that if it is assumed that “” 70% of the Portuguese population will be vaccinated by the end of September “, we can expect to leave the current situation” at the end of Summer”.

In a scenario in which vaccination is 90% effective and takes place at the rate initially foreseen – an optimistic hypothesis, admitted Henrique de Barros -, “we saved 3500 lives until the end of September”.

Improvement of behaviours after relaxation at Christmas

In the last two weeks the change in the behavior of the Portuguese after a relaxation in the period of Christmas and New Year is noticeable, points out Carla Nunes, from the National School of Public Health of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

“Regarding behaviors, in the general sense there was a positive recovery after the parties”, says the expert.

If on December 11, about 35% of people admitted leaving home all or almost every day, on February 5, only 15% of respondents said leaving home.

Asked whether they kept two meters at a distance from other people when they left the house, 20% ticked ‘Sometimes / Never’ on 8 January, while only 13% chose this option on 5 February.

Regarding the question: “In the past two weeks, have you been in a group of ten or more people who do not live with you?”, 20% of respondents answered affirmatively on December 25, while only 5% admitted yes on February 5.

Increases the level of confidence of the Portuguese in vaccines

If on November 13, 20% of Portuguese said they wanted to get the vaccine against covid-19, currently 75% admit they want to “get the vaccine as soon as it is available” , says Carla Nunes.

Also confiançe in health services has increased in recent months , with half of the Portuguese to ensure trust in the responsiveness of the NHS to covid-19.

Late vaccines, first phase only ends in April. But in September 70% of the population will be vaccinated

Henrique Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the Task Force for the Vaccination Plan, admits that “we are at a time of strangulation of vaccine availability”. Thus, there is a significant decrease in vaccines (compared to the contracted), expecting that we have 1.98 million doses applied in the first quarter – for the moment, the country has 60 thousand vaccines in reserve, for safety reasons to ensure that they are second doses are applied.

This is the state of play in relation to the priority plan: the elderly and most at risk population is 1.14 million, the state employees are 235 thousand people. But “with these two groups we will not be able to finish the first phase until March 31, we will extend it to April. It is not a problem of administration, nor logistical, it is access to vaccines”, said the military.

Now, the goal is “to finish the first phase in April. And with the vaccines available, we have 22,000 vaccines per day, which still does not require the solutions established within the NHS.”

In the second quarter it will be four times more. “And there will eventually be a need for faster vaccination solutions, despite the fact that the NHS still has the capacity to respond.” Only in the third quarter, with an even higher rate of vaccination, “it is certain that the extension to new processes of rapid vaccination posts will be one of the solutions. If the vaccines reach the expected rate, if we can do it in time – I think capacity for this – we should reach 70% of the population in late August, early September “, admitted the task force coordinator .

Ending with a commitment: “We must finish the entire population later this year, in December.

The Minister of Health concluded

The current level of confinement is having an effect – including the number of hospitalizations, at a later stage, intensive care and deaths. Effects also on the control of new variants: “circulation estimates were 60% at the moment, but we managed to reduce their prevalence”;

For the Minister of Health, “it is quite clear that the greater the intensity of the confinement, the faster the reduction of the risk of transmission”. The effects of the measures, he acknowledges, “were different after the first measures of the January 21 aggravation”;

“Although these measures are producing results, it is quite evident that the current confinement has to be prolonged for a longer time, for now, but probably for a period of 60 days from the beginning . Having been mentioned that this will be what will allow us to CI below 200 beds and incidence below 60 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. The incidence level is still extremely high ”, admitted Marta Temido.

The minister noted a “high intention of the population to be vaccinated, an important indicator for the country’s recovery, but that must be read with the shortage of vaccines that we are facing”. At this moment, noted the minister, Portugal has contracts signed to receive 4 million in the first quarter, but “we are only sure of the delivery of 1.9 million vaccines”.

Marta Temido now advocates extending and multiplying massive testing. “Testing and screening are essential,” he says, including the use of “rapid antigen tests” here. In this sense, the minister says that she will “insist on the DGS” to redefine the “technical criterion for extending testing”, in the sense of “testing contacts, regardless of their degree of risk”. “The Ministry of Health has already asked DGS for this, to assess this possibility, which we consider to be a good opportunity. If someone has been in contact with a positive case, let them always benefit from a test. We don’t have a testing problem today, there is a strengthening of public and private testing capacity. ”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting finished 1230 hrs

 

Aid requests to APAV’s Safe Internet Line increased 575.49% in 2020

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

APAV requests for help to the Internet Safe Line, to support victims of cybercrime and reporting illegal content, increased 575.49% between 2019 and 2020, with a peak in calls in March. last year.

According to data released today, the Internet Safe Line received 587 phone calls from cybercrime victims between January and December 2020, while between January and December 2019 102 contacts were received, an increase of 575.49% compared to APAV reflects “this time of pandemic”.

“In our opinion, it is due to the fact that not only do people spend more time online, because often circumstances dictate it, either through the telescope or telework, as people who were not online before and were not so aware of issues related to cybersecurity, which made them the target of some type of computer security incident ”, explained the responsible for the Internet Safe Line, Ricardo Estrela.

Among the 1,164 contacts – including requests for help and complaints of illegal content – received by the Internet Line in the twelve months of 2020, there was a peak in calls in March, when the line received 154 calls, against the 83 received in January and 119 in February.

Among the crimes, or other forms of violence, most reported, the threat stands out, with 172 cases, which represents 29.3% of the 587 calls, with situations of defamation or insult (45), bullying (10), debauchery privacy (18), illegal recording and photos (31) or ‘sextortion’ (34), a term that joins the words ‘sex’ (sex) and ‘extortion’ (extortion) and which happens when someone threatens to release personal content and requires sexual favors or the payment of money for not doing so.

“In threats, we are talking mainly about threats via social networks and the most common threat is the dissemination of intimate images or videos, which ends up not falling into the category of ‘sextortion’ because there is no underlying monetary contribution”, explained Ricardo Estrela .

According to the official, these are situations that normally happen in the context of intimate relationships, whether dating relationships that have some duration in time, or sporadic relationships, through online platforms “in which people were enticed to share some type of image. and then they are blackmailed or threatened who, if they do not send or do anything, suffer reprisals ”.

Ricardo Estrela said that over the last year it was possible to detect some changes in the way of acting in relation to a certain type of crime, namely in the case of threats, ‘sextortion’, wanton privacy or illegal recordings or photographs.

“What we noticed during the year 2020 is that it has become a phenomenon with an increasing increase in the number of cases, mainly, but not only, of Portuguese women who started to be exposed in private groups, either on chat platforms ‘, even on file sharing platforms ”, he pointed out, adding that in 2019“ it didn’t happen ”.

It also revealed that there have also been “many threats via social network or via instant messaging platforms (sms, whatsapp), where there are also many threats of harm to physical integrity and even death threats”, a phenomenon “associated with the increase in complaints of hate speech ”.

With regard to contacts made to report illegal content available on the Internet, namely child pornography or that condone violence or racism, the line received 720 telephone contacts, among 544 specifically because of content with sexual abuse by minors and others 216 related to hate speech.

In this matter, it was possible to categorize 1,773 images and, in five cases, to report sexual abuse content of minors housed in Portugal.

Ricardo Estrela admitted that “cybercrime is a very vast world”, but left two pieces of advice, namely “be careful with all kinds of information” that is shared on the internet, stressing that the digital footprint is “very strong” and that it is difficult to you can delete something after it is shared, and ensure that all equipment is secure, right from the creation and safeguarding of passwords.