This Monday morning’s Infarmed meeting marks the start of the deflation plan.

In today’s program, politicians hear from experts about the country’s epidemiological situation, but also proposals for how the situation should be managed in the future.

From 10:30, the session begins.

Here is the program:

1 – Epidemiological situation in the country – André Peralta Santos, from DGS

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

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

In the second part, “proposals for the future”:

1 – Response to the pandemic, Path to decision – Henrique de Barros, from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto

2 – Criteria for a controlled pandemic: Phases 2 and 3 – Baltazar Nunes, from the National Health Institute Dr Ricardo Jorge

3 – Plan to reduce restrictive measures – Óscar Felgueiras, from the Northern Regional Health Administration and Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto and Raquel Duarte, from the Northern Regional Health Administration and the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto

1047 hrs

The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, opens the session. This is followed by the usual intervention by André Peralta Santos, from DGS.

André Peralta Santos, from DGS, revealed that there is a “maintenance of the downward trend” in the incidence of the virus, now with a national average of 141 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. Lisbon and some municipalities in Alentejo have slightly higher numbers than in the rest of the country.

There are 354 hospitalized in intensive care units (ICU), a number “similar to the first week of November”, recalled the specialist. The age group with the highest number of cases in the ICU is the one between 60 and 69 years old.

There is also a “downward trend” in deaths; now with 56 dead per million inhabitants and “similar” to the third week of October.

The British variant has been growing: in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo it has a prevalence of 66%, while, in the North and in the Centre, it is “over 50%”.

Hospitalizations fall back to the values ​​of the first week of November, according to DGS

Hospitalizations in the infirmary and intensive care are also decreasing, falling back to the values ​​of the first week of November 2020, according to André Peralta Santos, responsible for the DGS statistics department.

Among hospital admissions in the ward, there are a greater number of people over 80 years old, while in intensive care “the age group with the largest number of cases is from 60 to 69 years old”.

According to Peralta Santos, this aspect is “particularly relevant, as we vaccinate the population over 80 years old”, as this protection has an impact on the decrease in mortality. In order to see these effects in younger age groups, it will be necessary to wait for vaccination “to spread and have great expression in groups over 50 years old”.

Rt levels – Baltazar Nunes, from the National School of Public Health:

Index Rt is 0.74 for the last five days and is below 1 across the continent. In the autonomous regions, it is above one.

The lowest value of this transmissibility index was reached around February 10, but the downward trend has been decelerating over time.

We have the lowest in Europe, with an incidence level of 120 per hundred thousand inhabitants. Central and eastern Europe is in counter- cycling with Portugal, Spain and Ireland, which have Rt below one.

Portugal remains the country with the most reduced mobility, but there is an increase.

He estimate that the 240 inpatients in the ICU will be reached in mid-March and the 120 beds occupied at the end of the month. Remember that experts have set a maximum occupancy of 242 beds in ICU for covid patients as a manageable number by the NHS.

João Paulo Gomes, from the Dr. Ricardo Jorge Institute, referred that there was a “more pronounced growth” of the United Kingdom variant over the last week, “of about 20%”.

He talks about the new variants of the new coronavirus in Portugal. It starts by framing Portugal in the world panorama in the face of the so-called British variant: England and Ireland have levels around 90%, Denmark almost 80% and Portugal and Switzerland present “growing trends” in relation to the British variant.

The experts’ projection shows that only yesterday we reached 65% presence of the British variant, a value that the experts estimated to have reached three weeks ago. “Although there has been a 10% growth stabilization per week, in the last week there has been a more marked growth of 20%” for the British variant.

In February, the South African variant had eight more cases registered, now totalling twelve since the beginning of the pandemic. The Brazilian variant, on the other hand, registered nine cases, amounting to a total of eleven. Despite the “concern” that these variants contain due to their high transmissibility, “everything is perfectly controlled”, guaranteed the expert.

João Paulo Gomes also said that, unlike PCR tests, rapid tests do not guarantee the monitoring of variants. However, he stated that health authorities are aware of this issue and are acting accordingly.

The expert also warned that in the future, variants “potentially as serious or even more serious” as the current ones should emerge. “This, of course, is worrisome,” he said, asking for “extra attention” in border control at the time of deflation, especially in the control of citizens from “slightly more sloppy” countries in the chapter on variants.


Henrique Barros suggests a five-level technical roadmap for the lack of definition

Baltazar Nunes, from the Ricardo Jorge Institute, presents on behalf of the group of experts with which the Government is working and which includes elements from DGS, the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon and the National School of Public Health, now presents the limits and warning signs that should guide the Government’s action to control the epidemic. Among the warning signs are:
1.Incidence of new cases 14 days below 240 per 100 thousand inhabitants and ideally around 60 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants2. Incidence should be dropping steadily with an Rt below 1 or close to it.3. Positivity rate below 4%, that is, no more than 4 out of 100 tests are positive, which allows you to ‘detect asymptomatic cases and prevent them from transmitting the infection without knowing it.4. 90% of cases with isolation in 24 hours, which implies fast and comprehensive screening

5. ICU occupancy rate must be less than 85% of the bed capacity. In the case of covid patients, a maximum allowable of 246.

If only the new cases were linked, Portugal would be unrestricted. But it is necessary to “consider a set of measures”, says Henrique de Barros

Thus, Henrique de Barros proposes five phases of confinement / de-confinement measures, according to the various indicators, namely the cases foreseen for the next 14 days, of hospitalizations and hospitalizations in ICUs. In other words, for the specialist, it is possible to predict the situation in which he will be in the next 14 days, according to a technical model.

In fact, he says, if we decided only according to specific indicators and did not take into account other factors, we would be, in 15 days, in phases 1 and 2, that is, only measures of respiratory etiquette or prohibition of agglomeration of more 50 people.

However, he said, “if it is done based on hospitalizations, it has a different severity” and therefore “there are different points where the decision has to be changed”.

For the teacher, at this stage we have to “work with the accumulated experience”, which has limited information, and that it is necessary to “consider a set of measures” and not just “singular measures”. “This may be relevant to decide,” he said.

The proposal that he makes, of these five levels, is, admits “in a conservative model”, but that allows, ensures, “to anticipate the answer both at national and regional level”. Bearing in mind that there can be no “rigid limits”, that is, when a certain indicator is reached, the country is ready to be at a certain level, it suggests that one should pay attention to the “possible effect of variants with transmissibility”

Henrique de Barros says he aims to present a proposal for an adaptation strategy based on the identification of specific criteria and also on the experience of other countries. Henrique de Barros suggests a proposal to approach the pandemic in a local / regional way and which is divided into five levels. Looking at the experience of other countries, the levels he proposes are:

1 -There are no measures other than individual and non-pharmacological – respiratory etiquette rules

2 – Second level – Prevent meetings with more than 50 people

3 – Third level – Intervention on cafes, restaurants and different aspects of trade

4 – Fourth level – Interrupt classroom activities from secondary school

5 – Interrupt activities in basic education and day care centres

Maximum risk level should rise to 240 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants

Óscar Felgueiras, from ARS Norte and Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, presents a proposal for indicators to be used in a deconfinition 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, it proposes an additional indicator: the 14-day percentage growth. 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.



The Ministry of Internal Affairs will include in the recruitment rules in 2021 minimum indicators of 15% of women for GNR guards and 20% for PSP agents, the Government said today.

Within the scope of the celebration of the International Women’s Day, which is marked this Monday, the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI) defends that “better reflect the society as a whole, deconstructing prejudices that still limit the freedom of women in choosing their professional path” is one of the purposes to be achieved with the increase of female representation in the Security Forces and Services (FSS)”.

For MAI, whose minister Eduardo Cabrita chairs this Monday’s meeting of the Commission for Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Republican National Guard, it is yet another opportunity to promote gender equality in the FSS and Civil Protection, says a note of press.

“This priority stems from the important contribution that the greater female representation has in improving the engagement of the security forces with citizens and, in particular, in preventing and combating phenomena such as domestic violence – in 2020, 27,609 complaints were registered, 6.3% less than in 2019 as well as female genital mutilation and human trafficking ”, says MAI.

At the end of 2020 there were 3,511 women in the security forces: 1,625 military personnel in the GNR, 1,622 police officers in the PSP and 264 inspectors in the SEF.

This number corresponded to 8% of the total staff of the three police structures, while at the level of Civil Protection there were 22% of women in the firefighters.

In comparative terms, the MAI note informs that there is a doubling of the number of women in the FSS compared to 2000, when there were 1,770: 214 in the GNR, 1,447 in the PSP and 109 in the SEF.

The GNR Commission for Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination was created in 2019 and comprises 12 men and women (officers, sergeants, officers and civilians) who serve in different organs and commands of the Guard.

In terms of leadership positions, GNR currently has 18 women in charge of territorial detachments and in the Coastal Control Unit, while another 15 command territorial posts.

In the PSP, there are two women commanding the Metropolitan Command of Porto and the District of Aveiro and 38 commanding squadrons.



Toronto, Canada, 06 March 2021 (Lusa) – Ema Dantas will try to be the first Portuguese woman to climb the seven highest peaks in the world, an adventure that began in 2017 and ends between April and May this year in Everest, 8,848 meters above sea level.

In an interview with Lusa, the Portuguese-Canadian wants to make this personal project a way to fight for gender equality, showing that self-determination “can be the solution” to reduce inequality, “in a society where machismo continues to persist”.

“If a 53-year-old woman, a grandmother, five feet tall, Portuguese and afraid of heights, can climb to Everest, we women can do everything,” said the businesswoman to Lusa, just days away from celebrating International Women’s Day (8 March).

In Canada since she was four years old, born in the municipality of Miranda do Douro (district of Bragança), Ema Dantas believes that “if women support each other more”, it is possible to “overcome all barriers”.

The “trend of machismo” persists, not only in the Portuguese community, but in all sectors of other societies, not least because some men still treat women as if they were “their properties”, she acknowledged.

“I have always considered that women can do the same as men. We women, for example, have children, which men cannot have. But unfortunately, even going up to Everest, I think we are in an era where men are dominant, not just at work. Even in mountaineering, women are not seen at the same level”, she lamented.

The Portuguese-Canadian will travel to Nepal, on April 4, with the goal of reaching the top of Mount Everest. If she succeeds, she will be the first person of Portuguese nationality to reach the Sete Cumes in both versions; Richard Bass and Reinhold Messner.

Of the team, which is going to travel to Asia, only three of the ten elements are women. The seven highest mountains on each continent, which turn out to be eight, as Messner’s version, considered by many climbers to be the most legitimate, exchanges the Kosciuszko peak (2,228m) in Australia included in the Bass list, by the Carztensz Pyramid, in Indonesia, with 4,484m.

“After completing this adventure, I want to support more women and encourage them, at least in the Portuguese community here in Canada, to teach them how to climb a small mountain, for example, because it is one step at a time”, she promised.

For the past three and a half years, the Carstenz Pyramid (Indonesia, 4,884m), Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania, 5,895m), Elbrus (Russia, 5,642m), Mount Vinson Massif (Antarctica, 4,892m) have been reached ), Anconcagua (Argentina, 6,961m), Denali (United States, 6,190) and the Kosciuzkzo peak (Australia, 2,228m).

Financed through the private sector on various expeditions, including the 67 thousand US dollars (55.4 thousand euros) needed for the trip to Nepal, on the journey to Mount Everest.

The businesswoman and translator intends to raise 700 thousand Canadian dollars (459 thousand euros) funds for the Addiction and Mental Health Center – CAMH in Toronto and raise public awareness to reduce the stigma of mental health.


In 2017, Ema Dantas created the foundation Peaks for Change, a non-profit institution on mental health, since then climbing the highest points in the world to raise funds.

“I made this commitment to go up to the seven summits of the world (8) to raise funds for CAMH, so I have to comply. At the same time, I learned to appreciate that mountains heal and are good for mental health”, she confessed.

After the containment restrictions due to the pandemic ‘canceled’ the Everest expedition in 2020, Ema Dantas has been training for an average of four hours a day for what she considers to be her “last chance to climb to the highest summit in the world” for two years. .

Only two Portuguese managed to reach the highest summits in the world, the mountaineer João Garcia (1999) and the pilot and climber Ângelo Felgueiras (2010). Maria da Conceição, in 2013, was the first Portuguese to climb Everest.





From the week of October 26 to November 1, Portugal recorded a number of deaths above what would be expected for that time of year.

From the week of October 26 to November 1, Portugal had an excess of mortality from all causes, that is, with a number of deaths above what would be expected for this time of year. After 17 consecutive weeks since then, everything indicates that the country is no longer in this situation. “Probable end of the period of excess mortality observed since week 44/2020”, says the last flu monitoring bulletin from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (Insa).

The report refers to week 8 of this year – from 22 to 28 February – and puts the number of deaths recorded that week within the levels expected for this time of year. A return to expected levels about four months after Insa marked the beginning of this long period with higher mortality. The document does not point out possible causes for the phenomenon. But this was the period in which the country saw an increase in cases of covid-19 and which, after a slight decrease around Christmas time, culminated in the third wave of the pandemic.

It was at the end of October that the daily number of deaths by covid started to rise, going from less than 30, to a maximum of 303 to 28 of January. In a recent hearing in Parliament, in the committee for monitoring measures to combat the pandemic, some of the mathematicians heard related a higher lethality to the less responsiveness that intensive care had, caused by the increase in patients needing differentiated care at the peak of the third vacancy.

According to data from the Information System on Death Certificates (Sico) of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), which the PUBLIC analysed at the end of January, this was the month with the most deaths in the last 12 years.

Also at the beginning of the year, there was a period of very low temperatures, very associated with the emergence of respiratory infections – this year there were practically no cases of flu, but the Sentinela Network detected other circulating respiratory viruses – and the worsening of chronic diseases, which end up resulting in hospitalizations, especially for older people and in worse clinical condition. Preliminary data from Insa, released by Jornal de Negócios in early February, pointed out that the cold had been responsible for 24% of the deaths recorded in the first month of the year.

With a clear reduction in the incidence of new cases of covid, the pressure on the health system seems to maintain the downward trend. As in the previous week’s report, the number of consultations in primary health care for reasons related to covid – which includes surveillance visits – continues to fall. At week 8, at national level, there were about 25 thousand, when about a month ago there were 200 thousand




The Council of Ministers, chaired by His Excellency the President of the Republic, gathered and approved a set of diplomas that reinforce the priority given by the Government to the reform of the forestry sector within the framework of the valorization of the national territory.

As the forest is an asset of enormous strategic relevance for economic development and environmental sustainability, the measures approved today continue the integrated strategy initiated in the previous legislature with a view to reforming the sector that protects its resources and promotes its assets.

Reinforcing the measures already implemented and in progress, the Council of Ministers defined actions in three areas: integrated management system for rural fires; ordering of agricultural and forestry space; and strengthening civil protection.

Regarding the integrated management system for rural fires (SGIFR), the following diplomas were approved:

– Draft law requesting the Assembly of the Republic legislative authorization to establish means of protection for the fulfillment of the duties of preventing the occurrence of rural fires, mechanisms of accountability for the non-fulfillment of these duties, and security measures in situations of high danger or danger of rural fire, within the scope of the decree-law that creates the SGIFR and establishes its operating rules;

– Resolution that approves, in general, the National Action Program of the National Plan for Integrated Management of Rural Fires (PNGIFR). This action program, which will be submitted to public consultation, concretizes the strategic guidelines and specific objectives of PNGIFR, identifying 28 programs and 97 projects that will impact the scope of the PNGIFR vision: «Portugal protected from serious rural fires». Increased efficiency and effectiveness of the measures foreseen for risk management are strengthened, with a reduction of damages and burnt areas and with the consequent increase in the appreciation of the territory and appetite for investment;

– Resolution that creates three pilot projects with the objective of promoting organization, resources and the process chain within the scope of the National Plan for Integrated Management of Rural Fires. The results of these pilot projects will make it possible to assess the adequacy of the system for adopting the most appropriate measures to enhance the effectiveness of work processes and, consequently, the achievement of PNGIFR goals.

In the field of land and agricultural planning, the following were approved:

– The amendment of the Legal Regime for Territorial Management Instruments, which aims to ensure the conclusion of the adoption of the rules for classification and qualification of the soil in municipal or intermunicipal plans. The diploma introduces several adjustments to this regime, more than five years after its approval, for example with regard to the preventive measures adopted to guarantee the elaboration, alteration or revision of special programs or in matters of soil reclassification, when it is intended areas of business location close to urban land;

– the Investment Plan for Forest Territories under Management by the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, aiming at framing the different measures and actions to be developed over the next four years, measures based on strategic axes aimed at the management, recovery and enhancement of the territories forestry;

– restoration and enhancement projects for natural habitats, with structural fire prevention, in the Natural Parks of the North Coast, Alvão, Serra da Estrela, Sintra-Cascais and Vale do Guadiana. This resolution supports the 4th generation of projects with a focus on the active conservation of protected areas, combining investment aimed at restoring and enhancing natural habitats with structural fire prevention, while also ensuring the provision of the means and equipment necessary that effect. The funds dedicated to these projects increase from 21 to 26 million euros, with a total of 19 protected areas now covered;

– the «Project for the promotion of co-management in nationally protected areas», through which it is intended to boost, over three years, the adoption, development and execution of the co-management model, providing each of the 32 protected areas with national financing scope that allows technical and operational support, dedicated to the implementation of the activities considered priority in the scope of the promotion of co-management;

– Resolution approving measures for vulnerable territories that aim to promote agricultural activity, the dynamism of rural territories and the creation of value in innovation and food security. This set of actions assumes particular importance in low density territories, allowing to reposition the interior of Portugal as a space of new attractiveness, bet on its potential to accommodate innovative and competitive business investment, as well as to respond to the strategic challenge of governance to counter the decline demographic in these territories;


– creation of the «National Forestry Prize». Bianual, worth 50 thousand euros, this prize aims to boost and disseminate the knowledge produced in the forest area, the techniques and good practices of forest management and good information; promoting the resilience of the territories and the sustainable valuation of their assets, mobilizing society and the development of collaborative processes; and strengthening civic awareness about the value of forest territories.

With a view to strengthening civil protection, the following diplomas were approved:

– National Strategy for Preventive Civil Protection 2030, which will be submitted to public consultation. The diploma defines five strategic objectives (to strengthen governance in risk management; to improve knowledge about risks; to implement strategies for risk reduction; to improve preparedness in the event of risk; and to involve citizens in the knowledge of risks), which translate into projects and activities to be implemented by Central and Local Administration;

– Resolution establishing a set of measures aimed at reformulating the model of education and training in civil protection, with a view to fostering the knowledge and technical training of the elements of the fire brigades, other civil protection agents and the entities that compose the civil protection system. It is foreseen to integrate the training offer provided by the National Fire Department with that of higher education institutions, collaborative laboratories and relevant research units in this area, encouraging the development of partnerships and common educational projects and the strengthening of professional training;

– constitution of the Strategic Civil Protection Reserve, in order to guarantee a reserve of material and support equipment that allows a swift, adequate and effective response both to the assistance to the affected populations, in Portugal or abroad, or to the operational support of the victims themselves, response forces of the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority;

– Decree-law that changes the organics of the Agency for the Integrated Management of Rural Fires, the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, and the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection, aiming at strengthening the operational response capacity, expanding the recruitment universe and consolidating the career regime of the personnel of the Special Civil Protection Force;

– Resolution approving the acquisition of state owned and permanent air assets, including 6 light helicopters, 6 medium bomber helicopters and 2 heavy amphibious bomber planes, and the lease of aerial assets for the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device for the period of 2023 to 2026. In this way, the stabilization of the aerial means related to the device of aerial means to fight rural fires is ensured, which will start to be based on a combination of own and leased means.


In Portugal there are about 1.5 million legal weapons, the majority of which are rifles and shotguns intended for hunting, reveal data sent to the Lusa agency by the Public Security Police.

The PSP estimates that more than 80% of the weapons legalized in Portugal are of classes C and D, namely carbines and shotguns that are in the hands of hunters, who can only use them when they are carrying out this activity.

According to PSP, which has the competence to control and inspect the manufacture, storage, marketing, use and transport of firearms, the number of legal weapons in Portugal has remained stable in recent years.

“Given the number of new weapons that were purchased and entered the market through imports, transfers from European space and national manufacture, but taking into account the weapons that were destroyed by the PSP, either due to voluntary surrender or due to court decisions and administrative loss of weapons in favor of the State, there has been a stable number of weapons, around 1,500,000 ”, needs this security force.

The PSP also estimates that there are more than 210,000 licenses for the use and possession of weapons valid in Portugal in the country, which include collector’s licenses, defense or sport shooting.

In the response sent to Lusa, the PSP stresses that the number of weapons licenses has been decreasing in Portugal since 2006, since the majority are hunting weapons and the number of hunters has been decreasing.

The PSP justifies the existence of fewer hunters in the country with the problems inherent in hunting, namely greater restrictions, diseases in animals and an aging population dedicated to this activity.

In 2020, the majority of licenses issued by the Public Security Police were for weapons of classes C and D (used by hunters), in a total of 11,617, and for sport shooting (1,327).

Regarding the weapons that are in the possession of collectors, the Police clarify that they can only circulate on the street when they move to hold collector events, where shooting is practiced, requiring authorization from the PSP.

Regarding the weapons law that came into force in September 2019, the PSP takes a “very positive” assessment due to the restrictions it came to impose, namely the limitation of the number of weapons for hunters and the need for a safe to store weapons at home, in addition to clarifying some aspects in insurance terms.

In February, a law was published in Diário da República that extends the deadline for firearms owners until July 31 to acquire a safe to store them.

After purchasing the safe or non-portable locker, gun owners must submit the respective proof on the electronic platform provided by PSP, namely invoice-receipt or equivalent document.

According to the law, owners of firearms who do not deliver proof of purchase of the safe by July 31 are punished with a fine of 50 euros and warned of the obligation to purchase it for another 30 days, under penalty of being applied one more fine.

An extraordinary period for the voluntary surrender of weapons not manifested or registered in any police facility of the PSP or GNR is currently taking place, until June 23, with no criminal consequences.

Owners of firearms who do not intend to hand them over to the State can proceed with their legalization.


The director-general of Health, Graça Freitas, admitted that Portugal may face a new wave of the pandemic in the coming months, even with the current vaccination campaign in progress.

“A new escalation of the virus is on the table, even with the vaccine,” acknowledged Graça Freitas , in an interview with RTP3, underlining: “The virus undergoes mutations. We are not free of this, despite the vaccine. And we do not know how long immunity will last, whether it will protect against new variants or how natural immunity will work”.

Asked about the evaluation criteria that should guide the definition of the de-confinement plan, Graça Freitas highlighted the diversity of methodologies adopted between countries and stressed that there is no single “recipe” by which everyone can copy. However, he did not fail to point out the primacy of four criteria.

“The four indicators that are being considered more – and that do not exclude others – are: cumulative incidence over 14 days, positivity rate, bed occupancy in intensive care units and the Rt [transferability index]”, she stressed. At this level, she stressed that Portugal has a “low” Rt and “a positivity rate below 4%”, but recalled the worrying situation in hospitalizations and confessed that it is still necessary to “lower the incidence a little”.

“We have to consolidate all these values ​​and still hope that some of them will improve. We would like the incidence to drop further to make us more comfortable. We need to be cautious. These unevennesses in other countries are also being phased out,” he noted.

Among the biggest concerns of confinement is the closure of schools and the consequences that this situation can have on students, with Graça Freitas stressing that “caution would advise it to be a phased opening, starting with the degrees of education with younger students”, although he pointed out that it is not a decision of his responsibility.

The DGS official assured that the start of testing in schools is foreseen with the resumption of teaching activities and that the screenings can be extended depending on what is found, but she left a message to the specialists who defend massive testing as the solution to the problem, combating the pandemic: “Tests are not treatments or vaccines”.

Regarding vaccination, Graça Freitas acknowledged that “the first quarter will fall short of expectations”, due to the lack of availability of vaccines, but showed hope in meeting the goal of 70% of the country’s vaccinated population by the end of August. As for a possible extension of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people over 65, the director-general of Health does not exclude the review that is already advancing in some countries.

“As we get more information from other countries, we don’t rule it out, because it allows older groups to be vaccinated more quickly,” he said.

After reviewing a year of pandemic in the country, which she considered to have been “very intense” and “tragic”, during which she assumed she had had “moments” when she thought about giving up, Graça Freitas regretted the “hoarding numbers” of more of 16 thousand deaths and 800 thousand cases associated with covid-19, in particular the drama experienced in the last month of January, in which Portugal hit maximums of deaths and infections.


“An avalanche happened. Some important factors were added and sometimes the synergy of the factors cannot be predicted. We had a new circular variant, which increases the speed of propagation, we were in the winter and we had extremely cold temperatures, but not there was a forecast with such a dimension. What we would expect was a third wave a little bit larger than the second. The trail it left is devastating “, she concluded.



The State of Emergency Monitoring Structure met on Monday 1st November, under the coordination of the Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, to take stock of the implementation of the measures in force in the context of combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

This structure monitors and produces regular information on the measures in force in the continent and in the context of the pandemic, having met today for the 23rd time since March 2020.

In this meeting, by videoconference, the Secretaries of State of the various governmental and regional coordination areas participated, in addition to the heads of the Security Forces and Services (GNR, PSP, SEF and ASAE), of the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC ) and the Armed Forces.

Among the various topics addressed by the different areas, the highlight is the global reduction in pandemic numbers – although there are still 680 active outbreaks in Covid-19 (166 less than two weeks ago) and there are 8 Rear Support Structures in use.

The extension of the vaccination program already translates into a rate of 44% in the GNR (corresponding to 8 930 military and civilian personnel from the Health Service) and 46% in the PSP (8,463 police).

With regard to firefighters, the 15 000 firefighters initially indicated as priority have already been vaccinated.

The following enforcement report was tabled

Report on the enforcement actions of GNR and PSP in the scope of the measures to combat COVID-19 (between the 15th and 28th of February)

In compliance with the provisions of the Decree regulating the State of Emergency, the National Republican Guard and the Public Security Police have developed an intense activity of awareness, vigilance and monitoring among the population.

Thus, between 00h00 on 15 February and 23h59 on 28 February 2021, 31 people were arrested for the crime of disobedience, 11 of which for violation of the obligation of compulsory confinement.

In the same period, the 14,565 inspections carried out led to the closure of 47 establishments for non-compliance with the established norms.

In this period, the GNR and PSP issued a total of 9,416 administrative offence notices, of which:

– Failure to comply with the general duty of home collection: 6,034

– Failure to comply with the limitation on movement between municipalities: 1,621

– Failure to wear masks on the roads and public spaces: 563

– Failure to comply with the prohibition on consuming alcoholic drinks on public roads: 420

– Not in compliance with the operating rules of restaurants and similar establishments: 130

– Not in compliance with the ban on consuming meals or products outside or near establishments: 96

– Not in compliance with the rules on the sale of alcoholic drinks: 78

– Not in compliance with the rules of occupancy, capacity, permanence, physical distance and means of prior booking in places open to the public: 63

– Failure to close premises and establishments: 61

– Not in compliance with the rules for celebrations and other events: 58

– Not in compliance with the rules for physical and sporting activities: 57

– Not in compliance with the occupancy rules of private vehicles: 49

– Not in compliance with opening hours: 41

– Not in compliance with the prohibition on selling certain goods in shops: 29

– Non-compliance with the mandatory wearing of masks in entertainment venues, public establishments and others: 28

– Non-compliance with the suspension of activity of facilities and establishments: 21

– Failure to comply with the requirement to wear a mask on public transport: 19

– Failure to comply with rules on maximum capacity limits on public transport: 19

– Failure to comply with measures in connection with residential facilities and other accommodation and care facilities: 16

– Non-compliance with limits on charging fees and commissions in the catering sector by intermediary platforms: 7

– Failure to comply with the rules on restriction, suspension or closure of activities or separation of persons who are not ill: 4

– Failure to comply with the prohibition on advertising commercial practices with price reductions: 2



Just over 50 years ago, mainland Portugal was shaken by the biggest earthquake since the 1755 earthquake – 13 people died and some houses fell. The population was frightened and, freezing, spent the night away from home.

It was four hellish minutes – roughly between 3:41 am and 3:45 am on 28th February. A country, in a panic, took to the street half naked or in pyjamas. Portugal was plagued by the biggest earthquake since the 1755 earthquake. The south, namely the Algarve, and the Lisbon region were the areas most affected by the 7.9 earthquake on the Richter scale, which was also felt in Spain and Morocco. Thirteen people died, two as a direct result of the quake and 11 indirectly and several dozen were injured.

That Friday morning, it was described as dramatic by the newspapers of the time. “With the earth, the men and women who inhabit it trembled. Because yesterday, only two kinds of people did not tremble, again the unconscious and the liars, “wrote Jornal de Notícias.

In the Algarve, the scenario was more serious. The destruction was greater, with the village of Bensafrim, near Lagos, being practically destroyed – about 50 houses were thrown to the ground by the earthquake. In this region, there were many houses and monuments, mainly churches, affected by the earthquake.

The Castro Marim Hospital, according to the DN’s envoy, was practically destroyed. In the village of Casseia, several houses collapsed and the church, rebuilt after the 1775 earthquake, suffered considerable damage.

The epicentre took place in the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Cabo de São Vicente (Vila do Bispo). It was in that sea that “Manuel Vicente” sailed, a mixed cargo and passenger ship that made the connection between Portugal and Angola. And it was this sea that the ship’s captain would come to describe as the bubbling of a pot of boiling water.

The day after the earthquake, the DN dedicated the entire first page to the event: “An eternity in a few seconds: It will take a long time to forget the dread of the last dawn of February”, he said.

“‘Terrible! It was ghastly! ‘ So many people expressed themselves with the mask of fear raised to the highest scale on their faces, with whom we contacted immediately after the prolonged and violent earthquake, and who jostled in the streets, possessed by the bigger and natural fear of repetition of the telluric phenomenon were in tight costumes, many as they were lying, and that, in their eagerness to get out to the outside, home disbanded – they came to believe that collapsed – without bothering to grab any coat “, read in the report made in the streets of Lisbon, when the country was still awake, afraid of what might be yet to come.

The report continues: “Outside, everyone shivered with cold; there was a lot of humidity; light rain, which penetrated the bones”

The panic returned at 5:28 am, when a small response was felt. But “the tormented state of all spirits” led him to believe that it was again a tremendous shock.

Many people spent the night on the street, the photos show people on the sidewalks, others on garden benches, wrapped in blankets.

The night was startled, with fear. Lisbon woke up with the inhabitants still out of the house, each commenting on what he had seen and what he had felt. Many said that the sky had taken on a red colour, reminiscent of a northern lights, then they saw a quick but intense light. The day dawned with few clouds in the sky, with the sun shining, but with a lot of destruction: cars buried under fallen walls; the São José hospitals (where part of them had to be evacuated) and the Curry Cabral were also damaged.

It was a time when there were no cell phones and people lined up in robes and nightshirts near the phone booths: everyone wanted to know if theirs were safe, but communications were not easy, with a lack of network, destroyed devices, lines constantly interrupted.

Those who could not make the call, and there were many of them, called 13, the number of faults, located in Rua da Trindade, in Lisbon, where 25 telephone operators were on duty that night – “Emotional and sensitive human beings like all of us. Simply it happened that in that post, the woman has to be the operator. And she cannot leave the post. It was, therefore, with tears and nerves that this handful of girls continued to attend, to work, to make it possible for other people expand the same tears and let go of the same nerves “, wrote the Diário de Notícias.

At three in the morning on Saturday there were still between 10,000 and 12,000 phone calls to be made from Lisbon to the rest of the country.

The DN tells the case of Paulo Alexandre, three years old, from Boliqueime, except for his grandparents, who removed him from the cradle where he was almost suffocated by stones and debris. In Lagos, in the São José area, close to the barracks, a family was barely saved – as soon as they set foot on the street, the house where they lived collapsed in ruins.

In the following days, it was also known the testimony of the commander of “Manuel Vicente”, the ship that is sailing at the epicentre of the earthquake. Commander Oliveira Manata was at the time, reading. It was 1:43 local and he realized that the ship was behaving in a strange way. He began to pant, an expression that in nautical language means a movement similar to the opening and closing of the hand. “Although built in iron, the boat has a certain elasticity, but at that time he felt his effort. Soon after, he stopped panting and started to vibrate with great force.”

He put on his robe to see what was going on, he still thought that the vessel had lost its propeller or that one of the machines had the flu and the other was dragging, but the chief engineer had already done that check. The boat was badly shaken.



Portugal will buy about 38 million vaccines against covid-19, “much more” than necessary, allowing support to other countries, announced the Minister of Health who already admits to space the taking of second dose.

“We are currently in the process of contracting something like 38 million vaccines,” said Marta Temido in an interview with the Lusa agency, about a year ago about the appearance of the first two cases of infection by the new coronavirus in Portugal, on 02 March 2020.

A number of vaccines are, said the minister, “much more than what the needs for the full vaccination of the Portuguese population will be” and which allows to guarantee support to other countries.

“If anything this pandemic taught us, it was that only when everyone is safe, will each of us be safe,” he said.

Regarding the proposal of the coordinator of the vaccination plan against covid-19, Gouveia e Melo, to postpone taking the second dose of the vaccine to allow another 200 thousand people to vaccinate until the end of March, Marta Temido said that “this technical change is designed and will come into effect as soon as the new vaccinations are made ”, given that this measure does not affect those who have been vaccinated and already have their second administration scheduled.

“It’s not about not taking the second dose or even exceeding” the interval defined in clinical trials, it’s just a matter of managing quantities and being able to “protect more people, faster, ensuring that the proposed objectives” are achieved.

“The General Directorate of Health, the Infarmed and the ‘task force’ for vaccination have analysed the possibility of a greater spacing between doses and consider that this possibility is technically adequate while maintaining the recommendations of what the characteristics of the medicine are,” he said.

Since December 27, more than 860 thousand doses of vaccines have been administered in Portugal. “Having 70% of the population vaccinated at the end of the summer remains the goal”, he said, admitting, however, to be “an ambitious goal”: “We know that we will have to monitor the process carefully and with availability for adjustments”.

As for tests on covid-19, he said that 8.1 million tests have already been carried out, placing Portugal among “the countries that test the most in the European Union”.

The testing strategy has changed and all contacts now carry out a test, regardless of the level of risk, allowing to expand the universe of tested.

On the other hand, in a scenario of lack of definition, as is being planned, there will be “a previous moment” that will involve testing people who work in “more exposed activities”.

“We are not going to be testing ten million Portuguese every 15 days. There would be no tests, no human means, no financial means and it would be a waste, “but there will be a measurement based on” technical criteria, criteria of reasonability “based on the evidence that already exists about other testing strategies in other countries.

What is intended, he explained, is that before the start of certain activities, screening campaigns are guaranteed and that sectors of industrial, commercial, cultural activity can have the practice of internalized testing in the same way as, for example, periodic medical examinations in terms of occupational health or health at work.

Also in certain activities under the responsibility of the State, such as Education, there will be tests to return to face-to-face activity, which will then be done regularly.

Social adherence to testing is also “absolutely essential”.

“Knowing that there are many variants to emerge, the test has this value of at every moment understanding how the transmission is and even detecting new variants that may be more aggressive”, he stressed.

Asked about the investment made in tests, the minister said: “a lot”, remembering that the SNS has already carried out millions of tests that at the beginning cost almost 100 euros each.

“It was a significant expense in terms of the country’s laboratory capacity,” he said, stressing that the NHS alone invested around eight million euros in the improvement of its laboratories, without relying on reagents or human resources.

HN / SO // SB