Christmas – Fire Safety Check List for your Home


This year, make sure you have two Christmas lists – your Santa list and your fire safety checklist.

Christmas is a time where we all snuggle up in front of the fire, turn on some extra heating around the home, look forward to putting on our cozy pyjamas and of course hanging some festive decorations to get into the spirit of things. This time of the year can also expose our homes to more fire hazards than usual.

In Portugal the vast majorities of fires occur during lunch and diner when you switch on your kitchen appliances. But, and that’s a big one, the vast majorities of deaths and serious injuries occur during night time fires because that’s when you get caught off-guard.

So, this year, make sure you have two Christmas lists – your Santa list and your fire safety checklist.

We’ve compiled important safety tips for eight areas of your home environment that you can put into practice:


Many of us have probably already taken our electric blankets out of the cupboard this winter. It’s important you switch off your electric blanket before going to sleep. Only leave it turned on if it has thermostatic controls which are safe for all-night use. If any of the wires seem damaged or worn, replace the electric blanket.

To safe guard you and your home this Christmas make sure that you don’t:

  • Overload your plug sockets.
  • Plug an extension lead into another extension lead. Make sure to check the rating of your extension leads before use; most will be ‘13A’ which means it cannot handle more than 13 amps or 3000 watts of power at a time.
  • Leave lamps and electrical appliances plugged in overnight.


Cooking is the source of a great number of house fires, with a lot of these occurring during the Christmas period. During this time of year, we’re all using our ovens and stoves more often. Pots and pans can very easily overheat if left unattended on the hob, so if you must leave the room, be sure to turn the heat off and move the pot or pan to a heat resistant surface. Remember to always keep the area around your cooker completely free from combustible items such as napkins, tea towels and food packaging when cooking.

In the event of a grease fire, never attempt to extinguish it with water. Water and oil don’t mix – the water will sink to the bottom of the pan and evaporate straight away whilst causing the burning grease to disperse and spread – instead use a fire blanket to smother the flames. If you don’t own a fire blanket buy one, its money well spent. You can also use a large cloth or damp blanket (not nylon or polyester based) as a last resort and cover the fire completely, eventually extinguishing it by the absence of oxygen.

Please see an example:

Fireplaces and chimneys

If you have an open fire be sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year. Ensure stoves and boilers are serviced regularly by a professional.


There are so many smells that we associate with Christmas; fresh fig, cinnamon, spiced quince, gingerbread and of course, Christmas trees! And it has become increasingly popular to use scented candles in our homes all year round. It’s very easy to forget to blow out candles, especially at night time. A simple alternative are LED tea lights.

However, if you must use real candles, make sure they fit securely into candleholders and keep them well away from anything flammable and at least 10 centimetres away from other candles.

Decorations, Lights & Christmas trees

A simple fire safety switch you can make during the festive period is to use LED Christmas lights rather than traditional lights for decoration around your home. Remember to never leave your Christmas tree lights plugged in when going to bed or leaving your home, even for a short time.

Make sure to avoid hanging decorations above or near to an open fire or stove. Keep your Christmas tree at least 1.2 meters/4 feet away from heat sources such as heaters, fires and candles.

If you have a real Christmas tree, keep it in a pot of water to stop it from drying out and becoming highly flammable. Try not to purchase a tree with brown needles, as these will fall out quickly and become a fire hazard.

If you purchase an artificial Christmas tree be sure it has a CE safety mark and is flame retardant. Only purchase lights that have the CE safety mark.


Cigarettes cause a vast number of all house fires. If you do smoke, try to do so outside because smoldering cigarette butts are extremely dangerous if left near flammable surfaces. Alternatively, keep some water in your ashtrays to ensure the cigarette butts are fully extinguished.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

It’s so important that you have a smoke alarm on each floor of your home, and that you check them regularly. Every home should also have at least one fire extinguisher rated for all fire types (look for A-B-C rating on the label).

The latest fire extinguishers are the ABF Foam Fire Extinguishers, they give you the added advantage of keeping cleaning after the fire absolutely minimal. If you use a dry powder one you have to thoroughly clean after using them, including the interior of all electronics.

Please see an example:

If you have a fuel-burning appliance, including an open fire – make sure to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed. You should have one in every room that contains a stove or open fire.


Make sure to keep lighters and matches well out of reach of children and teach them about fire safety.

Create a safety and escape plan for the family to follow in the event of a fire. Make sure that family members know how to use a fire extinguisher and fire blanket.

Prepared by Pedro Taboada

Former Bombeiros Commander and currently Adviser to Safe Communities Portugal




Dissolution of Parliament does not prevent a new state of emergency


By this time, last year, Portugal was already in a state of emergency. One year after the pandemic and with 86% of the population with complete vaccination (and the elderly receiving the third dose), this scenario, despite the worsening of the pandemic situation, is still not on the table. However, with the Assembly of the Republic dissolved from the end of November or the beginning of December for early elections to be held on January 30, the question arises: with the Parliament dissolved, it is possible to decree a state of emergency, if necessary?

According to the regime of the state of siege and the state of emergency, it is possible. The declaration of a state of emergency remains the responsibility of the President of the Republic, after having heard the Government. Subsequently, the declaration must have the authorization of the Assembly of the Republic “or, when this is not in session and its immediate meeting is not possible, of the respective standing committee”, refers the regime. This is the case that Portugal will live in December and January if it needs to enter a state of emergency.

“When authorized by the Standing Committee of the Assembly of the Republic, the declaration of a state of siege or a state of emergency will have to be ratified by the Plenary as soon as it is possible to convene it “, adds the regime, specifying that “neither the Assembly of the Republic nor its Standing Committee may, respectively, authorize and confirm the authorization with amendments”. The standing committee is composed of deputies appointed by the parliamentary groups according to their respective representation.

This is corroborated by constitutionalist Tiago Duarte to the ECO: ” The Constitution of the Portuguese Republic expressly says that in the event of the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic, it is the standing committee that decides “, he explains, noting that the plenary of Parliament must be convened immediately afterwards — not least because the current deputies maintain their mandate until the electoral act — for this one to vote. If the declaration fails, the state of emergency must end.

However, the professor of constitutional law at the Catholic University adds that the plenary would be convened “only for the purpose of voting on the state of emergency, leaving it after being in office.” In other words, deputies would not have any parliamentary instrument to oversee and oversee the Government with regard to the regulation of the state of emergency, which is carried out by the Executive in institutional coordination with the President of the Republic.

The standing commission of the Assembly of the Republic will be constituted after the dissolution, which can happen either at the end of November or at the beginning of December. By proposal of the PSD, this permanent commission should have a weekly meeting until January 30th, with the presence of members of the current Government. The parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, Adão Silva, admitted that it is not “usual” for the standing committee to meet weekly, but argued that this will be a period in which “the Government is in full function” so parliamentary oversight has to “to gain the possible dynamic within the constitutional and regimental rules”.


Until an eventual approval of the state of emergency, there are several measures that can be reintroduced since, at this moment, after the last phase of de-confinement, there are few remaining restrictions. Earlier this month, Expresso wrote that the Government was confident that it will not be necessary to introduce a state of emergency — no one has publicly ruled out that hypothesis in the past —, simply resorting to the instruments of the Basic Civil Protection Law depending on the evolution of the pandemic in next few weeks.

Article EcoSapo




Vice Admiral prepares for completion of mission and record of “lessons learned” for the future


Seven months after taking over the coordination of the task force for vaccination against covid-19, Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo is preparing to hand over the key to one of the biggest emergency operations ever – a massive vaccination of the Portuguese population in a time record.

His leadership style, his camouflage, the simple words he used to explain complex issues were the most effective response to the mistrust that persisted for too long, when the Portuguese witnessed the start of a confused vaccination process and where abuses and favours began to spread.

Mission accomplished, Gouveia e Melo will leave the “lessons learned” for future memory and deliver to the Ministry of Health a guide of all the steps that were taken, the organization, priorities and their own impressions.

According to the official source of the task force, it is still the intention of this team to put a text on Wikipedia when the mission ends.

But this indisputable success – measurable, for example, by the fact that 70% of the population was vaccinated before the expected date and that it placed Portugal at the top of the countries with the most vaccinated people (the task force’s forecast estimates that between the 3rd and the 4th week of September reaches 85% of the population fully vaccinated) – was it due to just one person?

A magnetic field

Does the “script” you intend to leave serve for other public bodies? Is this leadership style replicable? What is the secret of this leadership’s success? And what did the vice admiral himself learn; a career military man who had never led a civilian operation?

On the phone in the car, returning from a visit to the vaccination centre in Guarda, last Wednesday, Gouveia e Melo answers the last question: “I learned to work in a less hierarchical system, in which the negotiation process is the essence, which usually doesn’t happen in the military. I learned to negotiate until exhaustion because that negotiation is the glue of the entire operation. I negotiated and discussed ideas until there was almost group consensus. From then on, things work as one magnetic field and all the particles go in that direction. I used this expression a lot of magnetic field – which orients the system’s particles in the same direction and you don’t even need to give orders.”

The task force , it should be remembered, has the mission of coordinating and articulating the various government departments involved in the preparation and execution of the strategic planning of the vaccination process, in its logistical, executive and communication aspects.

It was necessary to speak frequently with an extensive list of entities – municipalities, the five Regional Health Administrations (ARS), the General Directorate of Health (DGS), INFARMED (National Authority for Medicines and Health Products), the Service of Use Common of Hospitals (SUCH), the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority, the Central Administration of the Health System, the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge, the SPMS (Shared Services of the Ministry of Health), the GNR and the PSP.

Gouveia e Melo worked as a kind of catalyst that united everyone with the ultimate goal of obtaining the desired results, motivating each one to assume their responsibilities. “From the beginning I said that I wanted the accountability of the actors. Each one has to feel involved, has to realize that it counts for the whole, for good and for bad. An accountable actor is much more active. This is the most important key “, points out.

Tight control of rules

When he took office in February he was faced with a discredited system and his priorities were to make the immunization plan credible – reinforcing the structure of planning and control of the entire process.

The General Staff of the task force was joined by elite military personnel (mathematicians, doctors, analysts, strategic experts) from the Army, the Air Force and the Navy, just over three dozen, and followed the three objectives defined by the vice-admiral: save lives (age criteria became the system default); resilience of the State (vaccination of professionals, such as police, military (about 10% of the population); liberating the economy.

Throughout the process, there was an exhaustive control of the execution of the guidelines, through mechanisms of permanent verification of the results of the process. It could not be otherwise, for example, the order to close the Porto flare – failures were identified due to non-compliance with pre-defined rules and it could never be reopened without everything being clarified.

The task force coordinator recognizes that this model “may be replicated in extreme cases”, but “hardly in normal situations”.

Even so, he stresses, “there are things that have been done that can be integrated into institutions, such as having reliable indicators of reality that allow for informed decisions, facing problems in an agnostic way. There are political goals, but then there are concrete problems that they demand decisions and results, they are not about ideologies, they are technical issues. The objectives are defined by the policy, but then they must be competent people to do it and not mix the two.”

The material inheritance for the National Health Service (SNS) – and also for other public entities, so wish – of these seven months of a task force against the clock is an unprecedented gift.

“All the information systems we created will become available, the NHS database has been updated and revised, and everything is more structured. Centralized solutions were developed that ended the entropy between the location (health centers) and the central. The Open House model with password can be replicated for all public administration services. The traffic lights system also allows people to see if there are many or few people before going to any service. All these solutions that we have created are independent of the databases and can be used by any service. In the case of SUCH, it had a total upgrade, updated, thought in terms of economy of scale, and selected the best routes. It is a new service that is capable of being a great agent of the State for all public hospitals”, guarantees Gouveia e Melo, giving some examples.

Leader profile x-ray

The leadership of this submariner who emerged into the spotlight has been, moreover, watched with attention by some of the greatest Portuguese experts in behavioural and leadership in organizations.

Confidence, genuineness, discipline, communication skills are some of the key words that characterize it. But they stress that leadership is not a person, but a process to which various circumstances contribute.

The vice admiral had a very clear objective to fulfil and that helped. His technical competence, mission orientation, very typical of the military and his great communication skills were decisive – the option for the camouflage itself was an element of strategic communication, which meant: while we’re at war, this is what I’m going to wear!”, asserts Miguel Pina e Cunha, director of the Leadership for Impact Knowledge Centre at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Universidad Nova.









UPDATE: Unconfirmed sighting in Lagoa by the Galp round about, heading towards Portimao direction at 16.00 hrs on 18th August, walking with her bike.

Pictures of the top she may be wearing, with black cycling shorts, shoes in photo and black helmet (see photo). (unconfirmed)


Dutch National aged 69 years

Last seen at 9.15 on 18th August 2021 at their home in Lagoa. Could have left up to 1300 hrs. This is north of the International school and close to the Sand Exhibition

Bike also missing and she did not take her phone.

She is NOT wearing the clothes in this picture but could be wearing cycling gear with black Sketchers sport shoes

GNR Report has been made

She has suffered from anxiety and depression of different levels of severity and in her life and is currently very anxious and depressed.

She has previously left home and has been reunited with family members, but on this occasion they are particularly concerned for her physical and mental wellbeing.

She is likely not herself and could be disorientated.

She is however a keen cyclist so could be some distance from the place of disappearance

Her daughter Roos Zandstra is coordinating search parties this morning. Her number is 924053253.

IMPORTANT – If you see a person believed to be her, stay with her and use the contacts in the notice. If she requires medical attention call 112.

Safe Communities is in contact with the family who have provided the above details



Rural fire Saboia, Odemira Major Incident

A major fire is in effect  registered yesterday 18th August 2021, We are keeping track of the developments through the creation of a Major Incident page on our website.

This can be viewed here. 



President of the rural fire agency warns of new tragedies if nothing is done about forest land


Lisbon, June 19, 2021 (Lusa) – The president of the Integrated Agency for Rural Fires (AGIF) Tiago Oliveira  warned today of the possibility that large fires, such as those in 2017, will continue if nothing is done on forest land, which mostly belong to private parties .

To avoid a scenario that he called “black sky forever” and new tragedies, such as the 2017 fires in Pedrógão Grande and in October in several places in the central region, last week the Council of Ministers’ resolution was published in Diário da República. approves the National Action Program (PNA) of the National Integrated Rural Fire Management Plan for the next ten years.

In an interview with Lusa news agency, Tiago Oliveira said that the PNA, which AGIF was responsible for drawing up, is already in force and mobilizes more than seven million euros from various European funds, including the Recovery and Resilience Plan.

“The question is not whether there will be [fires the size of Pedrógão], it’s when. Because if we don’t all – Portuguese owners, companies, environmental and forestry non-governmental organizations, civil society, political power – become determined to change what is wrong, the situation will accumulate with vegetation and we will most likely have other Pedrógãos ”, said the person in charge of AGIF.

Tiago Oliveira underlined that, among the main measures of the PNA, is “right at the top” the one that moves the property and undergoes the revision of the succession regime, a law in force since 1927, and that made sense when “people lived off the land and a hectare was shared by the children and grandchildren and it was still enough to feed this family”, but “nowadays nobody depends on it”.

“The transition of inheritances has to be the object of political work and it is not enough when people die to qualify for heirs within the next six months and then remain with the indefinite inheritances ‘ad eternum’ for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren”, he maintained, emphasizing that “there is so much abandoned land” because the owners and heirs “do not feel that it is theirs”.

The president of AGIF said that politicians and parliament must have a position on this issue, which is provided for in the PNA, and explained that it is a measure to be integrated into the State Secretariats for Justice and Forests, which must present a proposal to the Assembly of the Republic to be discussed.

Tiago Oliveira recalled that 97% of land owners in Portugal are private.

The specialist also defended that it is necessary to transform small landowners into foresters or make them hand over properties to those who manage them.

In this sense, it advanced with “another great initiative” foreseen in the PNA, which is the contracting of program contracts with organizations of forest producers, to solve the problem of small farms and common lands.

“The State can contract with them according to objectives, the execution of forestry, the execution of the cleaning of paths”, he said, stressing that, if all measures defined in the PNA are implemented, AGIF estimates that 60,000 jobs will be created in the interior of the country, 21 thousand of them in direct operation of forestry or pastoralism.

“This is a very big challenge for Portuguese society and Portuguese society has to realize that, if it doesn’t do this, what it will have is more Pedrógãos and this is what is in the prospective scenario of inaction that we published last week in Diário of the Republic”, he said.

Tiago Oliveira believes that “the country will be able to overcome” all the difficulties, because if this does not happen and, as it is written in the PNA, there will be a scenario that he calls “black sky forever”.

The PNA of the National Plan for Integrated Management of Rural Fires is based on four strategic guidelines, namely valuing rural spaces, taking care of the territory, modifying behaviour and managing risk efficiently.

The program proposes more than 200 initiatives, which are defined in 12 strategic objectives to be achieved through 28 programs and 97 projects.



Lisbon, June 14, 2021 (Lusa) – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) warned today of the need to include migrants in vaccination programs against covid-19 around the world under penalty of creating “a new asymmetry in the world” .

“Economic recovery is intrinsically linked to the vaccination process and the need to include migrants in global vaccination efforts”, underlined IOM Director General António Vitorino, pointing out that at least 53 countries around the world have impeded access. from immigrants to vaccination.

This number is the result of a survey carried out by the IOM in 160 countries to show that “the access of migrants to vaccination, both on paper and in practice, has been impeded” in several countries around the world, explained the official, who was speaking at the session opening of the II High Level Interparliamentary Conference on Migration and Asylum in Europe.

A problem that mainly affects “those who have an irregular legal status”, continued the Director General of the IOM at the conference that is taking place simultaneously from Brussels and Lisbon, in face-to-face and remote format.

“Now that governments are starting to distribute vaccines to less developed regions, we must also reduce access barriers to the most vulnerable and strengthen the structures of health systems in developing countries”, defended António Vitorino.

The IOM official welcomed the commitment of the G7 (Germany, Canada, United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom) to donate one million vaccines to poor countries around the world, but stressed that “much more is needed and needed a much faster way”.

These barriers to access to vaccination of these people may not only constitute a problem for public health, but also promote social inequalities and consequently create “a new asymmetry in the world”, warned the head of the IOM.

António Vitorino also underlined the “need for efforts to search for rescue in the Mediterranean”, the route of migratory flows that has registered an increase in the number of deaths in recent months.

“The numbers are scary. 677 deaths on the Mediterranean route from January 1st to the end of April 2021, compared to 221 in the same period in 2020. In other words, the number of lives lost has tripled”, he added.

The chairman of the Committee on Regional Public Administration and Local Self-Government of the Slovenian Parliament, Branko Grims, in turn, underlined the need to reach a consensus among the 27 EU Member States for a migration and asylum policy that is not based in impositions under penalty of “destroying Europe”.

“It is unacceptable that whenever we face this issue [of migration and asylum], we always seek to impose policies and ideologies on others. These are exactly the forces that destroy Europe”, he defended.

Branko Grims insisted that these “controversial issues cannot be resolved through impositions because that will destroy Europe.”

Slovenia, the country that assumes the presidency of the EU Council on July 1st, succeeding Portugal, “will do everything to take the necessary measures to find a consensus” among the 27 in matters of migration and asylum, guaranteed the Slovenian deputy.



Prime Minister announces new de-confinement phases for 14th and 28th June 2021


After the end of the Council of Ministers meeting this Wednesday, June 2, António Costa spoke about vaccination status and its impact on the deconfinement phases, saying that “as planned” a new phase of the de-confinement process will take place.

As advised by epidemiological experts at the Infarmed meeting, the Government is keeping the risk matrix model (contrary to what Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa suggested), confirmed the Prime Minister. The changes will concern the adjustment of the risk criteria for municipalities with low population density as well as the plan for new deconfinement phases that should come into force from 14 June.

The Prime Minister analysed the evolution of the pandemic since March 9, highlighting “the sustained reduction” of the incidence rate and an evolution of the transmissibility rate “that has varied” between green and yellow. Even so, the summary of the evolution is “positive”, considers the Prime Minister.

António Costa says that “there is no high pressure situation in the National Health Service” and that is why it is possible to move forward in de-confinement.

“As we know the pandemic is consequence of human contact and the greater the population density the greater the risk,” said the Prime Minister. Now is the time to adjust the criteria for for low-density territories, António Costa added.

“Restrictions will only be applied, in low density territories, when twice the thresholds of the other territories are reached,” he detailed.

According to the Prime Minister, conditions are in place to proceed with a new de-confinement in two phases:

From 14 June

  • Telework is no longer compulsory and is now only recommended;
  • Restaurants, cafés and pastry shops maintain their current capacity rules, but can receive clients until midnight and work until 01h00;
  • Commerce with the respective licensing schedule;
  • Public transport with only seated places: full capacity;
  • Public transport with seating and standing: 2/3 capacity
  • Cultural shows until midnight. Concert halls with a capacity of 50 percent.
  • Outdoor shows: Marked places and distance rules defined by the DGS;
  • Weddings continue at 50% capacity of the venue;
  • Training and amateur modalities can now have audiences in the stands as long as the seats are marked and following the distance rules defined by the DGS.
  • Sports grounds with 33 percent of the capacity. Outside venues apply rules to be defined by the DGS

The second phase of de- confinement starts on 28 June, 14 days later. Here is what changes:

From 28 June

  • Sports – professional levels or equivalent with new rules to be defined by the DGS
  • Lojas Cidadão will open without prior appointment;
  • Public transport without capacity restrictions

What remains closed?

  • Bars and nightclubs still have no date to reopen (remember that they have been closed for over a year);
  • Popular festivals and festivities also banned.

ALGARVE – Important

Now the numbers will take into account tourism in the Algarve: non-residents will be counted in the municipality of residence and not in the Algarve councils where they take the test. However, in relation to foreigners, it will be different — which will always end up penalizing the incidence rate in the Algarve.


Weekly risk evaluation and the two new different paces for the Municipalities:

Municipalities with an incidence rate of more than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in high density municipalities or more than 240 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in low density municipalities will have these rules:

–   Mandatory teleworking when the work duties allow it;

–    Restaurants, cafés and pastry shops open until 22h30;

–     Cultural shows with the same opening hours as restaurants;

–     Retail trade open until 21h00.


When the cases are above 240 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants or 480 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants for the low density the rules are stricter:

–    Mandatory teleworking when the work duties allow it;

–    Restaurants, cafés and pastry shops open until 22h30 or open until 15h30 on weekends and public holidays;

–  Cultural shows with the same opening hours as restaurants;

–   Weddings and christenings with 25% of the venue’s capacity.


Meeting Started 10.00hrs – Live updates


The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the Prime Minister, António Costa, the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, and party representatives met today at 10.00 hrs with experts on the evolution of the pandemic in Portugal and new rules to be adopted in the summer, at a meeting at Infarmed, in Lisbon.

This is the first meeting between politicians and experts since the state of emergency ended on April 30.

Among the various presentations are one dedicated to the “Updating of the Red Lines Reference”, by Andreia Leite, from the National School of Public Health of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, the presentation of the “Plan for the Reduction of Restrictive Control Measures of covid-19” , by Raquel Duarte, from ARS Norte and the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto – a study requested by the Government rules to be applied in the future to contain covid-19, but with the vaccination program already in an advanced stage.

André Peralta Santos, from DGS, is the first specialist to take the floor. He considers that there is “a slight upward trend” in the incidence of the virus during the last week. In Lisbon, it already exceeds 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.

In Lisbon, parishes in the centre of the municipality have the highest incidence, with more than 240 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. Growth is reaching other parishes in the capital and the surrounding area.

The most affected age group is that of “young adults”, namely from 20 to 29 years old. The group over 80 “keeps the downward trend”.

Hospitalizations maintain “a downward trend”, albeit at a “slower pace”. The age group with the most hospitalized patients is 40 to 59, an “expected” phenomenon due to the vaccination of older groups.

The numbers of hospitalizations in the wards are “quite low,” said Peralta Santos. In intensive care there is also a “downward trend” compared to March 15. Mortality remains “at very low levels”, now in the three deaths per million inhabitants.

“In previous weeks the testing intensity was higher”, but it continues “at a good pace”. 270,000 tests were done in one week. Of these, 75% are rapid tests. Positivity has increased “slightly” in recent weeks, but remains “well below” the 4% reference value.

This is followed by the presentation of Baltazar Nunes, from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge. (10.22 hrs)

According to the expert, since mid-March, the incidence has been “constant”, despite small fluctuations. The value of R is now at 1.07. The daily value of R is at 1.11.

The Algarve and the North have transmission rates below 1, unlike what happens in Lisbon. If the R continues to grow in Lisbon and Alentejo, within two weeks, there will be more than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in these regions.

There is a process of increasing mobility in Europe. Portugal is among the countries with the lowest mobility reduction, keeping the incidence levels low.

The effectiveness of the Covid vaccine in people aged 80 and over was 80%. “These are very good values”, he guaranteed.

The results suggest a “controlled” epidemiological activity. “It is necessary to maintain the increase in testing and family bubbles”, stressed Baltazar Nunes. For immunity to become real, a month must pass since the first dose , he added.

Variants (10.37 hrs)

João Paulo Gomes, from INSA, stated that the British variant already represents 87.2% of the total cases in Portugal. The one in Manaus (Brazil) fell from 4.3% in April to 3% in May, “and it should remain so”.

The South African variant is at 1.9% in May and the Indian is now at 4.6%, with no case detected a month ago. Cases of this variant in nine districts of 13 counties.

Currently, there are 37 cases registered with this variant, and the estimate is that the real total is around 160. “It is expected” that “there is already community transmission” of this variant, warned João Paulo Gomes.

The virus is adapting to an increasingly immunized population,” said the expert, warning of the appearance of mutations “that somehow manage to deceive our immune system” and “cause some infections”.

This is followed by the Presentation of Henrique Barros, from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto. (10.49 hrs) with the study “From acute infection to chronic consequences”.

The expert points out that, in terms of incidence, the values ​​are now slightly higher in the North and in Lisbon compared to the same period in the previous year.

The difference, says Henrique Barros, is in the older age group, now more protected.

Hospitalizations are much lower , which reflects “the learning” done over these 15 months of the pandemic.

In children up to the age of 10 and in the age group of 80, positivity fell sharply compared to the previous year.

The specialist also pointed out that, now, “the probability of dying has dropped dramatically”: it became 1 in 5 infected people and went to “1 in 20 infected people”.

Viruses have become endemic”

The infection has become “endemic”, at least socially, he argued. “The infection circulates much less, but you have to be careful,” he added.

Within a year, the fear of being infected and anxiety about the pandemic have dropped significantly, revealing that the Portuguese population is learning to live with the coronavirus.

Carla Nunes, from Universidade Nova de Lisboa (11.12 hrs)

She said that, in the last week, Lisbon had 3 times more cases than what was expected.

The behaviour of the Portuguese have “had significant changes, in line with the lack of definition”. The study released by Carla Nunes found that 16.2% of respondents said they had already been in groups of 10 or more people, compared to 1.8% on February 19.

According to the same study, there is a “clear recovery” of confidence in health services. Only 14.1% of respondents remain little or not confident in the treatment of covid-19, against 32.7% in February.

To change the risk matrix or not? (11.30 hrs)

Andreia Leite, from the National School of Public Health at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, spoke about the update of the red lines.

The analysis is done through the cumulative incidence and the transmissibility rate , allowing to understand if the epidemic situation is controlled or not. It is called the risk matrix.

With vaccination progressing, explains Andreia Leite, it is questionable whether it makes sense to update this framework.

“Incidence and Rt should remain the main indicators”

The official argues that there are several unknowns regarding vaccination, namely regarding the duration of immunity.

For Andreia Leite, at this stage, it is important to continue looking at the incidence as it is the indicator that allows us to act in a timely manner. “It allows us to meet international criteria, to understand if the measurement of measures has effects and to identify if there is any change in the characteristics of the virus”.

Experts continue to propose the maintenance of the current set of indicators, stressing the importance of incidence and Rt as “main indicators”, she said.

(1142 hrs) Raquel Duarte, from the University of Porto, said it was “almost unanimous” among the experts to “maintain the obligation to maintain individual protection measures”. The use of the mask continues to be encouraged, “especially in closed environments”. She also called for testing to be maintained at relevant levels and for “effective ventilation” to be carried out in the interior spaces.

The specialist said that it is necessary to go back “in the imposing character” of the measures, betting on a more pedagogical approach. The reason is that the improvement in the pandemic situation inevitably generates a greater willingness for the population to take to the streets.

Like João Paulo Gomes, Raquel Duarte also wants to watch the borders and “restrict” travel to and from countries with a significant impact of new variants.

Raquel Duarte proposes the creation of three new levels of restrictions – A, B and C -, in addition to the existing ones. At level C, the capacity of restaurants must be limited to 25%, changing to 50% at B. Level A is the least restrictive and will only require compliance with general protection measures.

As for family life, the specialist proposes to lift restrictions on levels B and A, while maintaining the risk assessment taking into account criteria such as age.

5.2 million vaccines administered

This is followed by Henrique Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the Task Force for the Vaccination Plan.

According to the official, in the second quarter of the year 1.5 million vaccines will arrive in Portugal.

Until Thursday, 5.2 million vaccines were given : 3.5 million first doses and 1.8 million second doses.

If everything goes according to plan, he advanced, on the 6th of June, the 40-year-old age group will start vaccinating and, in the last week of June, the 30-year-old .

By the end of this week, more than 85% of people aged 60 to 69 will be vaccinated and about 40% of those aged 50 to 59.

Henrique Gouveia e Melo says he has two concerns: maintaining the rate of vaccination and ensuring that geographically isolated communities have all the necessary health care.

“I am concerned about some grants for the elderly who, in this process, are left behind”, he said, also showing concern for the bedridden, the hospitalized people and those with comorbidities.

The President of the Republic regretted the “absence of any reference” to the possible “correlation” and “causality” between the incidence of the virus in the younger age groups and hospitalizations.

President of the Republic

The President of the Republic addressed the issue of “public legitimation of the health indicators and criteria adopted.” Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that it was “evident” that when the pandemic situation was serious, human life must take priority over the economy; however , given the improvement that the country has been registering, “it starts to be less evident”, in the eyes of the population, that the “sacrifice” of the economic and social aspect continues to exist”.

The head of state also regretted the “absence of any reference” to the possible “correlation” and “causality” between the incidence of the virus in the younger age groups and hospitalizations. “I have not seen any analysis of the connection that exists or not between the increase in cases and pressure in the NHS,” he added.

The president also expressed his “difficulty in seeing the immediate weight” of the virus variants in Portugal, although he acknowledged that borders must continue to be controlled. Marcelo also stressed the need to explain the importance of vaccination to the younger strata of society.




Funchal, Madeira, 13 May 2021 (Lusa) – Madeira on Wednesday reached a record number of vaccines against covid-19 in a single day, with 3,422 inoculations, in several counties in the region, the Regional Government said today.

According to a note distributed by the office of the regional secretary for Health and Civil Protection, 112,364 vaccines against covid-19 have been administered since December 31, 2020.

Regarding the vaccination process, it indicates that on Wednesday 204 people were vaccinated in Porto Moniz, 222 in São Vicente, 900 in Santa Cruz, 390 in Calheta and 1,716 in Funchal.

Today, administration is taking place at the Vaccination Center of Funchal, Santana and Santa Cruz.

In Santana, in addition to the vaccination of residents based on the age criterion, some bedridden patients residing in the municipality are being vaccinated, according to the same information.

The Regional Government stresses that the administration of vaccines continues to professionals in the tourism sector, as the region begins to receive some visitors, and to people with risk diseases.

Madeira’s Regional Vaccination Plan-19 establishes three phases, starting with the priority groups, followed by people with comorbidities and then the rest of the population.

The estimate points to the vaccination of 50 thousand people in the first phase, another 50 thousand in the second phase and, finally, 100 thousand people.

The President of the Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, has already stated publicly that the goal is to have 70% of the region’s population, about 260 thousand inhabitants, vaccinated by the end of September.

According to the latest epidemiological bulletin released Wednesday by the Regional Health Directorate, Madeira recorded 18 new cases of covid-19 and 19 recoveries, reporting a total of 226 active infections, with 11 hospitalized patients.

In view of these figures, the archipelago now accounts for 9,152 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection since the beginning of the pandemic, with 8,855 already recovered and maintaining the 71 deaths associated with the disease.