Archive for March, 2021

Meeting at Infarmed concerning evolution of Covid-19 -Live updates

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

Today, another meeting is taking place at Infarmed, in which the Government and political figures meet with experts to analyze the epidemiological situation in Portugal.

At Infarmed, in Lisbon, from 10 am, as has been happening since February, only the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, and most epidemiologists will be present.

The remaining participants, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, António Costa and Ferro Rodrigues, party representatives, members of the Council of State and social partners, will follow the meeting by videoconference.

This week the Assembly of the Republic is expected to debate and vote on the draft presidential decree for the renewal of the state of emergency for a new period of 15 days, with effect from April 1 and which will cover the Easter period.

The session begins with a presentation by André Peralta Santos, from the Directorate-General for Health, on the epidemiological situation , following the perspective of the evolution of the incidence and transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, in charge of Baltazar Nunes and Ricardo Mexia, from the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) .

João Paulo Gomes, also from INSA, will update the virus variants in the country, with Henrique de Barros, from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto, giving a presentation on a year of learning from covid-19 in Portugal .

The meeting continues with the presentation of the social perceptions of the pandemic in the country, in charge of Carla Nunes, from the National School of Public Health of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and with the status of vaccination by the coordinator of the vice-admiral task force Henrique Gouveia e Melo .

The meeting starts 10.08 hrs

André Santos Peralta, the DGS, says there was a “downward trend of maintaining” the incidence of the virus, with an average of 79 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. However, in Greater Lisbon, “there are already some municipalities” with a growing trend. The active population became the population with the highest incidence, but there was a “very expressive” decrease in hospitalizations in the infirmary and ICU.

The active population became the population with the highest incidence, but there was a “very expressive” decrease in hospitalizations in the infirmary and ICU. “in a scenario of great incidence, only the population from 40 to 60 is enough to exceed the indicator of 245 beds of hospitalizations in ICU”. That is, “To be completely safe, the age group to be vaccinated will have to go up to these ages”.

Lisbon and Tagus Valley has the highest incidence (more cases per 100 thousand inhabitants every 14 days).

Regarding hospitalizations, there is a maintenance of the decline in the +60 group. In the ICUs, there is a “very significant drop” in the group of 50, 60 and 70 years old.

As for the variants, that of the United Kingdom increased, reaching 73% in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo and above 60% in the North.

The testing rate is “quite considerable” and the 4% positive ceiling is only found “in some municipalities”. There has been a greater speed in laboratory notification, revealed the expert.

English variant already represents more than 70% of the cases in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region. “There has been an increase”

A new fact about lethality: “In the week of March 1st to 7th, there was a decrease in lethality in the more than 80 years,” he says.

Regarding the virus variants, especially in the United Kingdom, there was an increase, with a prevalence of new variants in the order of 73.3% in the Lisbon region, and 60% / 65% in the North and Center, and in the rest of the country the estimate is more uncertain but it will be around 30% in the Alentejo and 70% in the Algarve.

10.38 hrs
Transmission Rate R (t)
 
Baltazar Nunes, from the Ricardo Jorge National Institute, first highlights the growing trend of the transmissibility index, the R (t). “It is natural to slow down the decrease in new cases,” says the expert. But, currently, all regions of the Continent are in the green zone of the risk matrix .Although the R is approaching 1, “it is important to evaluate the two indicators – the incidence at 14 days and the R – together”, says Baltazar Nunes. Only when the R rises above 1 will the number of cases begin to rise. Much of Central and Eastern Europe has incidence rates above 120 and R above 1. For Baltazar Nunes, this “may be a risk for Portugal”.

At the end of March, the incidence is expected to stabilize at the line of 60 cases at the end of March. “We no longer predict that the incidence will drop from that level,” explained the expert.

The next steps, concluded Baltazar Nunes, must be aware that R and mobility are increasing, and that the incidence in European countries is also rising.

Therefore, Ricardo Jorge recommends increasing testing, maintaining preventive measures and increasing vaccination.

Ricardo Mexia, from INSA, said that a “pressing need” in the vaccination strategy is to have an “agile” notification of the test results. In the last few days, there has been an “important increase” in testing, especially rapid testing. PCR tests have known “stabilization”.

In schools, in more than 80 thousand tests, the rate of positivity is currently 0.1%. On March 19, the positivity rate was 1.2% – below, therefore, the recommended 4% threshold.

10.44 hrs

Variants

João Paulo Gomes, also from the Ricardo Jorge Institute, now takes stock of the incidence of the covid-19 variant. Almost 100% of covid cases in England are from the United Kingdom variant and this should be the trend in the rest of the countries, being just “a matter of time”, says João Paulo Gomes, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases of the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA). “The UK variant is expected to be in more than 80% of cases in our country.” “Almost all countries are expected to have a near 100% prevalence of the UK variant.” In Portugal, we have a prevalence of 70%, although, says the specialist, it is expected to reach 80% of cases shortly.

João Paulo Gomes also explains that the rapid tests will not allow the search for new variants. Mass testing is positive, but it has this problem, says the expert. To solve it, he proposes to increase the sampling of PCR tests, which are the ones that allow the analysis and surveillance of variants, by increasing the network of laboratories – private and the Academy.

There are 24 cases of the South African variant identified in Portugal (250 in the United Kingdom, 300 in Belgium). João Paulo Gomes stresses the importance of flight control and travel history, as this variant is spread across European countries that have many flight connections with Portugal. “The last thing you want is for the same thing to happen to the UK variant, which is widespread.”

As for the Manaus variant, 16 cases are identified in Portugal, within the average and very distant from countries like Italy, which already have almost 160 cases.

Ricardo Jorge will also increase the installed capacity for the sequencing of the samples.

1100 hrs

INSA proposes solution for the “continuous decrease” in the number of PCR tests

With the increase in testing with rapid tests, there is a “continuous decrease” in the number of PCR tests, “the only ones that allow the search for SARS-CoV-2 variants”. To resolve the issue, INSA researcher João Paulo Gomes proposes an extension of the laboratory network to select positive PCR samples to perform their genomic sequencing, inviting more laboratories to participate, and also suggests that whoever has a positive rapid test can be again tested with PCR.

Of the approximately 50 countries that do genomic sequencing, Portugal is in 12th place, with 4332 sequenced genomes, a far cry from countries such as the United Kingdom (287 thousand) or Denmark (50 thousand). Taking into account the size of the population of each country, Portugal manages to sequence 43 genomes per 100 thousand inhabitants, which puts us higher on the list.

“We do not do a week-by-week surveillance, but we focus on one week of each month to have more geographic representation”, says João Paulo Gomes, from INSA.

Death rates

Henrique de Barros takes stock of a year of pandemic. 

Henrique de Barros, from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto, now talks about the balance of a year of pandemic in Portugal.

He begins by saying that the deaths were the first major concern of the specialists, but “at the end of this year it will be time to think about the weight of other adverse consequences of the infection, such as the continuity of the signs of illness after recovery”. The effects on children should also be studied. “It is at school ages that we will start to find infections, even because of the choice we made to vaccinate the most advanced ages, leaving the younger ones more susceptible to the encounter with the virus”.

“About 2% of people are dying” due to the disease, the expert said, with the risk being “significantly higher” in men than in women. “There is a big difference between the regions”, with Alentejo presenting the highest risk of death due to the virus.

There is a big difference between the regions and the lower risk of dying in the Madeira region is notorious compared to other regions in the country. In the center, LVT, Alentejo and Algarve the values ​​are higher.

In the months of December and January, the values ​​recorded were higher. The burden on the NHS had an effect on the greater probability of dying, he says.

Have the variants are at increased risk of death, especially the so – called Spanish variant. Both the English variant and the Brazilian variant will become important when the estimates are more stable – hence greater vigilance is needed in patients infected with these variants in view of the risk of dying.

Number of cases in health professionals “decreased a lot” with the start of vaccination

Regarding the effectiveness of vaccination, the infection decreased a lot in health professionals from the moment that vaccines started to be administered, notes Henrique de Barros. This is compared to the risk of infection in the general population.

Effectiveness of Vaccinations

Vaccine effectiveness is 98%, equal to that recorded in the trials. “It is an extraordinary security”

Regarding the effectiveness of vaccination, the infection decreased a lot in health professionals from the moment vaccines started to be administered, notes Henrique de Barros (the data are based on health professionals from the Centro Hospitalar de São João, in Porto). This is compared to the risk of infection in the general population.

Health workers had more cases than the general population, because they were more tested, but from the moment they started being vaccinated (they were the first to be vaccinated), the infection decreases faster and earlier than in the generality of the population. “From that moment on, there were half of the expected cases due to vaccination”, he says.

Even so, there was an average of 7 cases of infection for every 100 cases in the vaccinated population (0.07%). There is 98% vaccine effectiveness, he says. That is, it is equal to the efficacy verified in the vaccine trials. “It is an extraordinary security”, he says.

People who leave home are the most difficult to avoid visiting family and friends

There are some measures that are easier to take, such as wearing a mask, but others that are more difficult, such as keeping your distance or teleworking. However, there were “critical indicators” that were analyzed such as “avoiding visiting family or friends” and “staying at home”

In these two indicators, there were 36.9% of people who admitted that it was difficult or very difficult not to visit family or friends and 35.2% to stay at home.

In a finer analysis, Carla Nunes says that “it is the people who naturally leave home, the ones who most report having more difficulty in avoiding visiting family members with friends”

Carla Nunes, from the National School of Public Health, presents the barometer data on the various public health indicators and notes that there are “slight” changes both in behaviour and in the perception of the global health status.

“46.3% of people saying they had reasonable, bad or very bad or overall health status” and “1 in 5 of people – felt agitated, anxious or sad” in the past few days.

In addition, says the professor at the National School of Public Health, there was a “slight increase in worse behaviors”.

Vaccinations

The coordinator of the vaccination plan against covid-19, Henrique Gouveia e Melo, revealed that, in April, “about 1.8 million vaccines” will arrive in Portugal. The 70% vaccinees are still expected “by the end of the summer” and, in the second quarter, the number of inoculations will reach between 95 thousand and 100 thousand per day.

1.8 million vaccines have already arrived in the country, 95,000 of which went to the archipelagos. Until Saturday 1.3 million vaccines had been administered and, this week, another 177 thousand will be administered.

Protecting trees is creating more fire-resistant forests

Sunday, March 21st, 2021
This year we wanted to mark the day of the forest in a different way, calling attention to the fact that the best way to show our love for the forest and the trees, is to protect the ones we have”, said Prime Minister António Costa in the presentation of a structural prevention against rural fires and the provision of heavy machinery to forest producer organizations in Lousã.
On the day of the forest, instead of planting a tree, as usual, “we are using machines that will save millions of trees and it is much more than just planting a tree”, he said, referring to the heavy machines, worth total of 12 million euros made available to producer organizations and inter-municipal communities, which will only have to pay for their maintenance and fuel.
The Prime Minister stated that “protecting the trees we have is, often  cleaning the bushes that create a very high fuel load, because only then can we have a forest more resistant to fire ”and that has economic value for the populations.
Work on prevention
This emblematic act “also reflects the change in the strategy we announced in 2017 and which assumed that, when we talk about forest, when we talk about rural fire”, “we have to talk about these track machines, which have to work in the cold season, to create the forest prevention space”.
António Costa referred to the change in the ICNF culture, “which today delivers a better quality product to the country than it delivered”, pointing out “the number of kilometers of the fuel interruption strips already recovered, the work of cleaning forest areas already developed , all these landscape design operations, which are of the utmost importance”.
“This is a long-term job”, “it is a permanent job for the next centuries and it will be increasingly demanding because, with climate change, the risk of forest fire will be increasingly high”, he said, adding that “if humanity manages to fulfill the objectives of the Paris Agreement, of containing the increase of the Earth’s temperature by 1 degree, this means that the risk of fire in Portugal increases six times”.
Thus, “we must work more and more on prevention”, he said, referring to the decisions of the Council of Ministers of 4 March on the forests that draw “all we have to do until 2030, foreseeing an investment of 7 billion euros . It is an investment in fire-fighting equipment, in fire prevention equipment, but, above all, for structural transformation of the forest”.
The Prime Minister stressed that “structural transformation of the forest means avoiding monoculture, creating the landscape mosaic, where we have both fast-growing trees and native trees, some of which are slow-growing, whose ecosystem services we have to pay for, so that this investment is profitable ‘.
Do the reverse
We have to “create the conditions to reverse the cycle that the 20th century gave us of depopulation of the interior with consecutive degradation of the forest, in order to make it a source of income again, that helps us to create more wealth in the interior and to attract more population”.
“It is to do the opposite of what happened in the last century”, creating, with the investment of these 7 billion euros by 2030, “60 thousand jobs in the interior” and “all the other sources of wealth that we have to transform the forest, which has to stop being a threat and become an added value ”.
António Costa said that «no one can understand that, given that Portugal has such a strong, competitive and robust furniture industry, it cannot use the wood from our forest because it is not certified» and imports wood, just as it wastes «much of the fuel mass instead to transform it into products with higher added value or to recycle it for industries such as textiles and footwear ».
«What today is left to abandonment, because it is believed that it has no value, may have value. And on the day when everyone realizes that it has value, there will be an associated economic activity »that makes it worthwhile« to invest in cleaning the forest, in the slow growing trees, in the certified forest, in the quality forest, which will give value and help to revalue and repopulate this entire interior ”, he affirmed.
365 days a year work
The Prime Minister said that “the State invests in the acquisition of this equipment to make it available to forestry producer organizations”, “because they are the first interested parties and are the only ones able to reach each plot of land where it is necessary to intervene and that they are the owners’.
Prevention work “is 365 days a year and not just the distressing months and days when the inevitable happens, the fire starts to plow”.
“We know that the pandemic hinders and delays this process, and that is why we have extended the deadlines for cleaning, but we should not forget what we have seen since 2018: it is essential to clean the areas around each house, each village, the margins of carriageways, railway lines, electricity, all risk areas, ”he said.
The ceremony was attended by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Action, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, and the Secretary of State for Nature Conservation, Forests and Spatial Planning, João Paulo Catarino, and the President of the Rural Fire Management Agency, Tiago Oliveira.

Covid-19: Rapid test results must be reported to health authorities

Saturday, March 20th, 2021

Lisbon, 19 March 2021 (Lusa) – Rapid antigen tests for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 can only be sold to people over the age of 18 and all results must be communicated to health authorities, determines a circular published today .

The rules are contained in a joint circular from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), the National Authority for Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed) and the National Health Institute Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) that defines the inclusion criteria, operationalization of the use and reporting of results of covid-19 self-tests.

According to the rules now established, these screening tests can only be made available in the health system units, in pharmacies and in places of sale of non-prescription drugs and can only be “dispensed to individuals aged 18 or over years old”.

In addition, self-tests, including the necessary test, cannot be carried out in the places where they are dispensed.

Bearing in mind that these rapid tests “constitute an additional instrument for the early detection of cases of infection, thus contributing to the control of transmission chains, the results obtained must be reported to the health authorities”, also determines the circular, which defines the procedures to be adopted by those who carry them out.

Therefore, people who are symptomatic or who are in contact with a confirmed case of covid-19 should contact the SNS24 Contact Center (808 24 24 24), regardless of the test result.

When the test is carried out on its own initiative, a positive or inconclusive result must be communicated directly by telephone to the SNS24 Contact Center or by filling in an electronic form that will be created.

In the context of use in specific contexts, the communication of this result can be made to the attending physician or occupational health or occupational medicine, advances the circular of the health authorities.

According to the document, regardless of the context in which the test is carried out, the report of obtaining a positive result should be accompanied whenever possible with information regarding the commercial identification of the self-test (brand), manufacturer and identification code of the batch used.

In addition, the communication of the result triggers the prescription for confirmation test with PCR test, if there has been no laboratory test report with a positive result for the person in question in the last 90 days.

The Contact Center SNS24 shall transmit indications for the isolation of the person with a rapid positive result, including the issuance of the Provisional Prophylactic Isolation Statement, until the confirmation of the PCR confirmation test result.

“One of the limitations to consider for any rapid test is the possibility of a false negative or false positive result”, also advance the health authorities, warning that a negative result does not eliminate the possibility of infection by SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2 .

Although it is a less frequent event, there is also the possibility of a false positive result, particularly when the prevalence of infection in the population is low.

“For these reasons, the result obtained by the SARS-CoV-2 self-test does not dispense with the adoption of infection prevention and control measures established at national level in the context of COVID-19, nor the guidance of a health professional whenever necessary ”, stresses the circular.

The realization of self-tests, established in an exceptional and temporary regime and framed in the National Test Strategy for SARS-CoV-2, assumes “particular relevance for the control of transmission chains, namely in the context of the gradual and sustained reopening of certain sectors activity, establishments and services “, explains the document.

In order to be included in this exceptional regime, rapid antigen tests must have, among other characteristics, the CE marking, which shows compliance with the requirements legally provided for in the European Union.

In addition, they must present performance data for nasal samples, and the test must have at least a sensitivity equal to or greater than 80% and a specificity equal to or greater than 97%, according to the manufacturer’s information.

It must also contain instructions for use in Portuguese and adapted to the self-test, with an illustration of the test collection and execution process, including the following information: method of waste disposal, information on actions to be taken in view of the result obtained and procedure of communication of results.

The covid-19 pandemic caused at least 2,692,313 deaths worldwide, resulting from more than 121.7 million cases of infection, according to a report made by the French agency AFP.

In Portugal, 16,754 people died from 816,623 confirmed cases of infection, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.

Covid-19: Easter celebrations at the Sanctuary of Fatima broadcast ‘online’

Friday, March 19th, 2021

Ourém, Santarém, 19 March 2021 (Lusa) – All Holy Week and Easter celebrations at the Sanctuary of Fátima will be transmitted ‘online’, due to the impossibility of many pilgrims to travel to Cova da Iria due to the limitations resulting from the covid pandemic -19, was announced today.

“The Sanctuary of Fátima will transmit ‘all the celebrations of the Easter Triduum’ online, for the first time”, informs the institution, explaining that the initiative aims to “mitigate the impossibility that many pilgrims will live to travel to Fátima due to the prohibition of circulation between municipalities, in the period between March 26 and April 5 ”.

In an information made available on its website, the sanctuary, in the district of Santarém, adds that, “although all celebrations are open to the participation of all the faithful, in particular the residents of the municipality of Ourém, Cova da Iria connected to the whole world to allow everyone who wants to be able to be united to Fatima in what is the most important and symbolic time of the Christian experience”.

The celebrations transmitted online, from the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, will be interpreted in Portuguese Sign Language, namely “the Mass at 11:00 am on Palm Sunday, the Mass at the Lord’s Supper, on Holy Thursday at 6 pm : 00, the Passion, on Good Friday, at 3:00 pm, the Easter Vigil, on Holy Saturday, at 10:00 pm, and the Easter Mass, on Sunday at 11:00 am, ”says the same information.

The sanctuary emphasizes that “the rites foreseen in all these celebrations will be adapted to the sanitary moment that the country is going through and, therefore, in the Mass of Palm Sunday, each pilgrim should bring their own branch for the blessing, without the usual distribution in the sanctuary”.

In the “Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the gesture of the washing of the feet will be omitted, replacing it with an evocative gesture, and on Good Friday the worship of the Cross will also be done in a different way from the usual”, clarifies the Temple.

“Contrary to what is customary in the sanctuary, the Easter Mass will take place in the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, a place where most of the celebrations of the summer program, which will take effect from Monday, April 5th, will be held” , he says, adding that all celebrations will be broadcast live on www.fatima.pt, Youtube and Facebook.

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, Last year, the Sanctuary of Fátima, for the first time in its history, held Holy Week celebrations without pilgrims, behind closed doors, which are transmitted by the media and digital media.

In a message about the celebration of Easter, also available on the website of the Marian temple, the rector of the sanctuary, Father Carlos Cabecinhas, emphasizes that this year you can participate in the celebrations, with the exception that you cannot do it as before.

“We have to be very careful to ensure everyone’s safety. (…) Our spaces are prepared to welcome you, with all the security measures, but we also ask for your responsibility. Safety depends on the contribution of each one and the care of each one”, highlights the rector.

For Carlos Cabecinhas, the celebration of Easter “reinforces” hope and confidence “in these troubled times”.

 

 

PSP and GNR detained 911 people during a year of pandemic

Friday, March 19th, 2021

The PSP and GNR arrested 911 people, 303 for contempt of compulsory confinement, and closed 3,882 stores from the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI).

The data were sent to the Lusa agency when it marks a year in which the country entered a state of emergency to combat the covid-19 pandemic.

According to MAI, the 911 arrests by PSP and GNR were made between March 19, 2020 and March 15 this year.

MAI data also reveals that the Republican National Guard and the Public Security Police applied, between June 27, 2020 and March 15 this year, 38,825 administrative offenses, 32,662 (about 84%) of which were since January 15, when the country entered the second confinement.

The case records have been registered since June 27 last year because it was when the decree-law that established the regime of administrative offenses to deal with the pandemic came into force.

According to the MAI, most of the offenses are related to non-compliance with the general duty of home collection (20,362) and limitation of movement between municipalities (4,984).

The security forces also accounted for 3,402 offenses for alcohol consumption on the street, 2,841 for not wearing a mask on the street and public spaces, 1,123 for non-compliance with opening hours and 1,020 for non-compliance with the mandatory use of a mask in concert halls or public establishments.

Records were also drawn up for non-compliance with the mandatory use of masks in public transport (785), the rules of occupation, permanence and physical distance in places open to the public (687), the holding of celebrations and other events (509), the rules selling alcoholic beverages (460) and operating rules for restaurants and the like (552).

There are also records of 56 fines for refusing to perform the SARS-CoV-2 test.

In addition to having closed 3,882 establishments between March 19, 2020 and March 15 this year, these two security forces suspended 243 activities.

Since the pandemic began in Portugal in March 2020, 13 states of emergency have been decreed, and between May and November 2020, three situations of calamity, three of contingency and two of alert, some of which in only a few regions.

 

 

 

 

Effective journalism to combat the pandemic

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

News coverage served to guide the behaviour of citizens in order to protect themselves and listened to more sources, advances a joint study of three Portuguese universities and a research centre.

Journalism reinforced its importance in the context of the pandemic and constituted an “effective weapon” in the fight against covid-19, concluded a research team from three Portuguese universities and a research center that analyzed about three thousand news published during the vacancies in the pandemics that have plagued Portugal.

“In the first wave, the epidemiological situation was not as serious as we thought, but the news coverage was very intense and anticipated the worsening of the health situation, contributing to guide the behaviour of citizens in order to protect themselves”, begins by explaining Felisbela Lopes, researcher at the University of Minho and work coordinator.

 

However, news coverage eased during the second wave and was slow to start with the same strength as it did in March 2020, when the epidemiological picture started to worsen in January 2021. According to this study, the number of news about covid-19 published in the first wave was three times greater than in the third wave, in an equivalent period.

“These fluctuations can have consequences. It is important to recognize the role of journalism and make it a partner in situations of health crisis”, stresses Rita Araújo, researcher at the Center for Studies in Communication and Society at the University of Minho.

According to the study, in the first wave the news mainly focused, in addition to the epidemiological portraits, on themes of a social nature (21%), namely around work and education. However, in the second phase, social issues lost strength (7%) and national politics gained prominence (20%).

“It would have been important to refocus attention on other topics, because politicians have gained more visibility, but that visibility has not always been the result of real actions,” says the study’s coordinator.

 

The second wave was also richer in news about medical-scientific research, mainly because of the expectations surrounding the clinical trials of vaccines (9%). The third wave, on the other hand, was marked by a particularly negative news, which focused on the situation portraits (23%), namely with regard to the counting of deaths by covid-19. Within social issues (17%), education once again gained news space, which is explained by the closure of schools.

The analysis of the researchers says that it is the government that focuses communication on the management of the pandemic in periods of greatest tension (12.3%). However, there are differences between the rulers. The prime minister occupies the place of greatest evidence (2.7%). Next are the ministers of Health, the Presidency and Labor, Solidarity and Social Security. Only then do the Ministers of Education and Economy appear.

The President of the Republic, despite the communications addressed to the country at key moments, such as the prolongations of the state of emergency, takes on a discreet place (1.2%), which may be related to the prophylactic isolations to which he was subjected in the first and third vacancies and with the option to remain “more distant from the media space” during the pre-election campaign related to the presidential elections in January of this year.

The space left open by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa may have been used by the government, namely António Costa, who, according to the researchers, were well from the communicative point of view in the first wave, but who promoted zigzagging communication in the second wave.

“The success of the government’s communication in this third wave can only be gauged after seeing how the deflation will be communicated”, explains the investigation team.

More diverse sources

During the periods under study, journalism also listened to more sources, extending the siege to voices that usually have fewer opportunities to make themselves heard. Among the sources that have gained ground are professionals from different areas and specialists. Official sources are the most heard when it comes to covid-19 (with results ranging from 22% to 29%), but professionals from different areas and specialists have gained a new strength and almost rival the first (with rates between 20 and 25%, if only those who hold positions are taken into account).

 

“It is important to know how to keep these sources in the media after we leave the pandemic. They contribute to the quality of journalism and have shown answers that have helped to sustain the political decision-making process”, defends Olga Magalhães, researcher at Cintesis – Center for Research in Technologies and Health Services.

The study, which focuses on more than 3000 news texts and about 6000 sources of information from two daily newspapers (Público and Jornal de Notícias), integrates a broader research project, which aims to analyze the health communication about covid-19 in Portugal.

In addition to Felisbela Lopes (CECS / Universidade do Minho), Rita Araújo (CECS / Universidade do Minho) and Olga Magalhães (Cintesis), are part of the research team Clara Almeida Santos and Ana Teresa Peixinho (University of Coimbra) and Catarina Duff Burnay ( CECC-FCH, Universidade Católica Portuguesa). DP

 

 

NEAMWAVE’21 – Exercise to test the alert and degree of readiness in reaction to a tsunami

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

The National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC) and the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) will carry out the NEAMWAVE’21 exercise tomorrow, March 10, between 8:30 am and 2:00 pm.

NEAMWAVE’21 aims to test the effectiveness and readiness of the Tsunami alert system implemented in the Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean and Connected Seas (NEAMTWS).

This is a communications exercise during which the various national and international players will exchange technical-operational notifications with each other related to the eventuality of an earthquake responsible for the generation of a tsunami with an impact on the Portuguese coast.

Portugal participates in the different phases of the exercise through ANEPC, IPMA, the Directorate-General of the Maritime Authority (DGAM), the Maritime Search and Rescue Service of the Navy (MRCC – Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), the Regional Civil Protection Service and Firefighters from the Azores, the Regional Civil Protection Service of Madeira, the Municipal Civil Protection Services and Fire Departments of the coastal and estuarine counties of mainland Portugal, as well as through a set of entities responsible for the management of vital infrastructures of the energy networks , water supply, communications and road and rail.

The ANEPC involves the exercise of the various levels of the structure of the national civil protection system, namely the National Emergency and Civil Protection Command, the Regional Emergency and Civil Protection Commands and the District Relief Operations Commands, in close articulation with the levels autonomous municipal and regional authority, and ensuring coordination with other participating agents and entities.

The IPMA intervenes in the exercise as a Tsunami Alert Centre responsible for monitoring, detecting and disseminating tsunami alerts to national coordinating entities, as well as to the emergency management entities of several countries in the Northeast Atlantic, such as Morocco, Spain, the United Kingdom -United, Denmark, France, Germany and Ireland, among others.

NEAMTWS is the designation of the alert and warning system for the North East Atlantic, Mediterranean and Related Seas (Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System for the North-eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and Connected Seas), implemented and coordinated by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission after the Indian Ocean Tsunami on December 26, 2004.

The NEAMTWS warning and warning system focuses its action on three main areas:

  1. Tsunami risk assessment;
  2. Preparing and sensitizing the population;
  3. Implementation of alert and warning systems in case of emergency.

 

Five Tsunami Alert Centers are currently operational in this region of the globe: CENALT (France), INGV (Italy), KOERI (Turkey), NOA (Greece) and IPMA (Portugal), which provide the alert to the authorities of the NEAM Member States in the event of the eventuality or occurrence of a tsunami.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa – Swearing in and ceremony

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Extracts from his speech here

Lisbon, 09 March 2021 (Lusa) – The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said today that it is the Portuguese and, above all, “those who need it most”, the reason for the solemn commitment he assured.

“The Portuguese are therefore all of them, the only raison d’être of the solemn commitment that I have just made, starting with those who need it most: the homeless, the homeless but with no adequate housing, those my age or older who live in homes or at home in solitude or guarded by formal or informal caregivers”, said the head of state, at the start of his inauguration speech for a second term, before the Assembly of the Republic.

Marcelo also dedicated the beginning of his speech to the “retired or poor pensioners”, to the “unemployed or on lay off”, to the “precarious workers and entrepreneurs” and to the children, youth, families, teachers and non-teachers “run over in two school years” , as well as health professionals and those who have lost loved ones in these pandemic times.

“A homeland is, above all, people and in it each person counts, diverse, different, unrepeatable”, he said.

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said today that he is the same as he was five years ago, with independence, a spirit of commitment and stability, and that it will be so with any Government and parliamentary majority.

The President of the Republic promised today to defend a “better democracy”, with tolerance and respect for all, rejecting the “myth of pure Portuguese”, with convergence in the regime and alternative governance, and “stability without swamp “.

In his speech before the Assembly of the Republic, at the ceremony in which he took office for a second term, the head of state stated that ensuring these objectives will be his “first priority” for the next five years.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa stressed that “for the first time in democracy a President of the Republic takes office in a state of emergency” and that during the covid-19 pandemic parliament “never stopped working for the Portuguese”, and thanked the deputies ” the example of dedication to democracy, never accepting to silence it, never accepting to suspend it, never accepting to take it hostage “.

“May this be the first lesson of today: we live in democracy, we want to continue to live in democracy, and in democracy to fight the most serious pandemics. We prefer freedom to oppression, dialogue to monologue, pluralism to censorship, and we have demonstrated him holding two elections in a pandemic, one of which resulted in the rise of opposition to the Government “, he said, referring to the regional elections in the Azores, and observing:” This is democracy “.

Then, the President of the Republic defended that “better democracy is needed, where freedom is not emptied by poverty, ignorance, dependence or corruption, where inclusion, tolerance, respect for all Portuguese, in addition to the gender, creed, skin color, personal, political and social convictions should not be sacrificed to the myth of pure Portuguese, the enlightened caste, the privileged old and new “.

“We want a democracy that is republican ethics in the limitation of mandates, convergence in the regime and a clear alternative in governance, stability without swamp, justice with security, renewal that prevents rupture, anticipation that prevents decay, proximity that prevents dazzle, arrogance, abuse of power Ensuring it is the first priority for the President of the Republic for these five years “, he added.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa left this message at the end of his speech before the Assembly of the Republic, at the ceremony in which he took office for a second term as head of state.

“Portuguese, it remains to remember the obvious. I am the same as I was five years ago, I am the same as yesterday, in the exact same terms elected and re-elected to be President of all of you, with independence, a spirit of commitment and stability, proximity, affection, preference. for the excluded, honesty, convergence in the essential, alternative between two strong, sustainable and credible areas, rejection of presidential messianisms, in the exercise of power or in the anticipated nostalgia for the end of that exercise, in respect for difference and pluralism, in the construction of social justice , proud to be Portugal, to be Portuguese “, he said.

The head of state promised that “it was like this, it will be like this, with any parliamentary majority, with any government, before and after the municipal elections, before and after the parliamentary elections, before and after the European elections, before and after the 50 years of the April 25th in 2024 “.

“May the next five years be more a reason for hope than disappointment, it is our dream and it is our purpose, a year that has passed through so much mourning, so much sacrifice, so much loneliness,” he added.

Source Lousa

 

 

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa takes office for a second term as President of the Republic,

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Lisbon, 09 March 2021 (Lusa) – Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa takes office today for a second term as President of the Republic, at 10:30 am, before parliament, with reduced assistance due to the covid-19, and in the afternoon he will be in Porto.

Reelected in the presidential elections of January 24 with 60.67% of the votes cast, the retired professor of law, 72, former constituent deputy, will take the oath on the original of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.

Under the terms of the Constitution, the elected President of the Republic takes office before the parliament, making the following declaration of commitment: “I swear on my honor to faithfully perform the functions in which I am invested and to defend, comply and enforce the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic”.

The inauguration and oath ceremony in the Assembly of the Republic will have an assistance in the Sala das Sessions reduced to less than one hundred people, with 50 of the 230 deputies, six members of the Government and the guests limited to the highest precedence of the Protocol of the Portuguese State.

After reading and signing the inauguration document, the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, will speak to greet the head of State, and then Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will make the first speech of his second term.

From São Bento, the President of the Republic will proceed to the Jerónimos Monastery, in Lisbon, where he will deposit wreaths of flowers on the tombs of Luís de Camões and Vasco da Gama.

Arrival at the Palace of Belém, with an honor guard at the main gate, is scheduled for 12:15 pm. In the Sala das Bicas, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will receive the band of the three orders, symbol of the President of the Republic and grand master of the Portuguese honorary orders.

During the afternoon, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will be in Porto, where he will have a meeting with the Mayor of the City, Rui Moreira, at 2:30 pm, before presiding over an ecumenical ceremony with representatives of various religious denominations present in Portugal, in the Hall Noble of the Town Hall, at 15:30.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will also visit the Islamic Cultural Center of Porto, at 16:30, before returning to Lisbon.

When he took office as President of the Republic five years ago, on March 9, 2016, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa arrived on foot at the Assembly of the Republic, breaking the protocol.

The program of his inauguration had an original format, which lasted throughout the day, including an ecumenical meeting at the Lisbon Mosque and a concert at Praça do Município – and at the time it also extended to Porto, but two days later, with visits to the City Hall, the Cerco neighborhood and an exhibition.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced his re-election to the post of President of the Republic on December 7 of last year, alone, in a pastry shop next to the Palace of Belém, in Lisbon, space where his campaign headquarters was held in the 2016 presidential elections.

In the current pandemic situation of covid-19, and with the country in a state of emergency, he declared that he would never leave in the middle of this “demanding and painful journey” and that he was “exactly the same as he advanced five years ago”, committed to stabilize and unite the Portuguese to overcome the current crisis.

His re-application was formally supported by PSD and CDS-PP, while the PS in the Government chose not to support any candidate, but approved a motion with a “positive assessment” of his first term.

During the campaign for the January 24 presidential election, the former PSD president said in an interview with TVI that he expected a “more difficult” second term, identifying “more dispersion” in the party system, both on the left and on the right.

In his victory speech on the electoral night, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa affirmed “having the notion that the Portuguese, when reinforcing their vote, want more and better” in proximity, stability, demand, adding: “I understood this sign and I will remove it the appropriate lessons “.

Proposal for deconfinement measures arising from Infarmed meeting

Monday, March 8th, 2021

Óscar Felgueiras, from ARS Norte and Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, presented a proposal for indicators to be used in a de-confinement plan, suggesting new levels of risk at national level:

Level 5 – high – above 240 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days

Level 4 – high – above 120

Level 3 – medium – above 60

Level 2 – low – above 30

Level 1 – very low – up to 30

In addition, he proposes an additional indicator: percentage growth at 14 days. If the incidence is at a high level but is growing by 30%, then the situation enters the maximum risk level (level 5 instead of 4). If the growth is 60% and there are more than 60, it goes from level 3 to 5.

As for the local risk levels he proposed that the risk level of each municipality should take into account the situation of the surrounding municipalities. In other words, the level of each municipality would not only depend on its specific situation, but also on the severity of the surrounding municipalities.

For example, in October last year, applying this logic, the situation of maximum risk would be much wider in the territory than the one we have seen.

The proposed decontrol plan, evaluated every two weeks

The plan presented by Raquel Duarte, from ARS Norte and former Secretary of State for Health, was based on an evaluation of activities taking into account, for example, the risk of disrespect for the rules, the age groups involved and the potential for agglomeration. The various sectors must open at what they designated as level 4 and only two weeks later, after a new analysis, the restrictions can be reduced to level 3. Some examples:

Schools

Planning done at national level with general rules such as distance, mandatory use of a mask. Start with pre-school and children and only two weeks later, dropping to level 3, opening 1st cycle, 2nd cycle and “so on”.

Work

Keep telework whenever possible, lagged times and increased testing. Start with work without contact with the public and only two weeks later if go down to level 3 by opening workplaces with contact with the public but without physical contact. Only two weeks later reassess to open work with individual physical contact.

Public transport

Open with 25% of total occupancy

Taxis and TVDEs

Open with two-thirds capacity and front seats only used by the driver

Business

Open at level 4 only with sale to the window. If it is possible to go down to level 3, two weeks later, they will be able to open but with a limited number of people.

Restaurants/Cafes

Maintain the current situation with takeaway sales. Two weeks later, evaluate the possibility of opening a terrace service, with a maximum of 4 people per table

Family life

Continue with limitation to the household (level 4) and two weeks later evaluate the descent to level 3 that would allow the association of the household with six other people in the same socio-family ‘bubble’

De-confinement suggested by technicians will not have precise dates

The health minister also recalls that the technicians did not propose a de-confinement with specific dates, but with compliance with indicators. “No presentation pointed to precise dates, but to specific levels of action in the light of the situation,” she said.

As Expresso had advanced in the weekend edition, the de-confinement plan on the table of the Council of Ministers does not have a defined timetable, it will depend on the fulfilment of the criteria.