Situation Reports Portugal

Situation Reports will be updated twice times a week. More frequently if needed. Information about our sources here.

Portugal Report is compiled by David Thomas with input from Ramiro Martinez, Rolf Burckhardt and Daniel Fernandes (Madeira). Overseas report compiled by Mike Evans. Website posting by Elise, Jennie Kelly and David Thomas

Situation Reports Portugal 2020-08-29 to 2020-10-31

Situation Reports Portugal 2020-07-29 to 2020-08-26

Situation Reports Portugal 2020-06-07 to 2020-07-27

Situation Reports Portugal 2020-05-21 to 2020-06-13

Situation Reports Portugal 2020-04-06 to 2020-05-10

Situation Reports Portugal 2020-03-16 to 2020-04-05

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Situation Reports Overseas


Portugal Situation Report Saturday 23rd January 2021

Introduction

“We are in a National Emergency – now we should act as if we are in a National Emergency”

Not my words, but those of Joe Biden President of the United States yesterday. Although he was obviously referring to the national effort in the US to address the pandemic there, it does in my view serve as an appropriate reminder of the need for all of us, as individuals, to adapt our live styles in a way to protect ourselves and others during this crisis.

Monitoring from morning to night at Safe Communities, we see many statistics – but one set that really brought home the seriousness of the situation, was published yesterday by the Regional Health Director Algarve.  She said “since Christmas up to two days ago, we had 818 school children up to 16 years of age infected with Covid-19 in the Algarve, compared to 872 cases from the start of the pandemic up to Christmas”. In other words almost as many in just 3 weeks compared with 9 months previously. The Head of the Algarve Regional Health Authority explained that this was mainly caused by family transmissions, and is in line with the whole country.

This is a shocking statistic and in my view a wake-up call to anyone, who doubts in any way, the necessity of full compliance with the measures now in place.

As far as the introduction of new laws is concerned, it has been a very busy few days for us at Safe Communities Portugal. First the extension of the State of Emergency itself Decree 3A/2021 on 15th January, then the amendment published 19th (Decree 3B/2021) and the latest (last?) Decree 3C/2021 of 22nd January 2021. Whilst dealing with the latter we then had the announcement from the Prime Minister of the ban of flights to and from the UK. This is why, with so many questions you are naturally asking, we do ask people when we publish these to refrain from comments on our Facebook page. Otherwise answers get lost, and questions are repeated several times. Please follow this request.

Clearly events have moved very quickly over the last week and it was necessary to update the laws and quickly. It was clear that the measures in Decree 3A/2021 on 15th January did not fully address the gravity of the situation that we are facing. Faced with demands from many to close schools, even though the data did not show that these were a primary train of infection, it was inevitable that they would need to close – a decision that appears to have been generally welcomed.

When I published my message on KissFm radio on 15th under the heading “Stay at Home” there were several questions which clearly gave the impression that many were not fully aware of the serious situation the country is facing. Five days later however in repeating it, the response was rather different, illustrating in my view greater awareness. And there is a need for full compliance. We are in a health crisis and as such we should not be taking risks which affect not only ourselves, but others as well.

When we publish information on Facebook, we hope as many people read it as possible. This is important so everyone is aware of the background and reasons why decisions are made. We often see people questioning a Government decision, say a change in law, but the rationale would be clearer, if everyone simply kept up to date with the news.  When I say “news” I am not talking about hearsay and speculation found on several Facebook groups, or sensational headlines in the media that distort the facts.

An important reminder that the prohibition of travel between municipalities is now in place until 5am Monday 25th January. 

Citizens cannot travel outside the municipality of their domicile in these periods, except for health reasons or other reasons of imperative urgency. Travel is also allowed for the purposes of participation, in any capacity, within the scope of the electoral campaign or the election of the President of the Republic, namely for the purposes of exercising the right to vote.

Please ensure you are aware of the excemptions which are listed here

A reminder to be aware that there are at these times criminals who try and exploit the situation for personal gain. DGS warned yesterday of false doctors calling on people at their homes concerning the vaccination program. There are also been warnings from Europol of overseas criminal groups trying to selling fake testing equipment etc., so please be aware. If you are approached or you see advertised services that do not appear legitimate please avoid them and report this to the authorities. 

Lastly, a massive thank you to all the health professionals in whatever capacity they serve for all the fantastic work they are doing under the worst of circumstances. With the number of Covid-19 patients now in hospital and ICU at record heights, the pressure on the health service is considerable. The best way to support them is to comply with the rules and Stay at Home unless your journey is essential.

With that Have a Safe Day

David Thomas

President Safe Communities Portugal.    



Headlines

Politicians and firefighters can join a group of priorities to be vaccinated

In an interview with the newspaper Expresso, the vaccination task force coordinator, Francisco Ramos, says that a proposal is being worked on “so that high decision-makers can be included among the priorities”, considering that “it is essential to be protected”.

Francisco Ramos explains that the Directorate-General for Health has already made a first proposal and, within the ‘task force’, “work is being done to reach a final definition”.

“The holders of high positions are included here. But not only them. We are also talking about firefighters, who are not health professionals, but who work in the pre-hospital emergency and transport of urgent patients. We are talking about 16 thousand people”, he said.

The official also pointed to the Armed Forces, underlining: “It is not enough to be military to enter this first group. The first criterion is this: what is the participation of these entities in protecting against the pandemic and in implementing the vaccination plan? The transport of vaccines, for example, is done by elements of the PSP and GNR, and these people are essential”.

“But this is still a work in progress. Even if it had already been done, these people have not yet been vaccinated because the first priority was for health professionals, employees and residents of homes”, he added.

The proposal of the request on the part of the teachers to be equally considered priority, Francisco Ramos replies: “The only situation that prevents us from meeting these demands is the shortage of vaccines”.


Covid-19 Situation

This Friday Portugal recorded 234 more deaths from Covid-19 – a new daily maximum – and 13,987 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, according to the situation report of the Directorate-General for Health.

The bulletin also reveals that 7,319 more patients have recovered bringing the total to 441,556 people.

Taking into account the number of new cases, deaths and recoveries  there are 6,434 more active cases this Friday compared to yesterday now totalling 157,660 cases – the highest number to date.

As for hospital admissions, the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 5,779 patients are hospitalised, 149 more compared to Thursday, of whom 715 are in intensive care, plus 13, levels that also represent new highs since the beginning of the pandemic.

Health authorities have 200,730 contacts under surveillance, 7,830 more than yesterday.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has counted 9,920 deaths and 609,136 cases of infection with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

With another 234 deaths, a new maximum, and with the number of fatalities rising successively for the fifth consecutive day, Portugal counts 3104 deaths associated with Covid-19 since the beginning of the month, according to DGS data, ascertained until midnight in Thursday, the 21st day of the year. On average, each day of 2021, 143 people died in Portugal.

Of the 234 deaths reported in this Friday’s bulletin, 111 resided in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region

In the North, the epicentre of the pandemic at the beginning, and still today the region most affected by the disease, 46 people died in the last 24 hours, in the Centre, another 48 people died; in Alentejo, 11 deaths were reported and 8 more in the Algarve.


Health

Baixo Vouga Hospital Center with 103 infected professionals

The Hospital Center of Baixo Vouga (CHBV), which includes the hospitals of Aveiro, Águeda and Estarreja, has 103 health professionals infected with Covid-19, the board revealed today.

“There are currently 103 active infected professionals, 57 of whom are nurses, 35 operational assistants, 7 doctors and the remaining 4 from other professional categories”, informs that entity, in a “state of the art” delivered at 09:00 hrs yesterday.

With regard to residents, there are 147 patients admitted to the ward and 9 admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

“Of the nine patients hospitalised, today, in the Intensive Care Unit, five are aged between 60 and 69 years old, four of whom are male and one female”, describes the CHBV information.

As for the situation in the Emergency Department, the data refers to Thursday, the day on which 25% of the registered emergency episodes were related to respiratory pathology, with 68 adults and nine children being assisted.

Among those who resorted to the Emergency Department with other pathologies, 17 were seen in the Pediatric Emergency Room and 160 in the Adult Emergency Room.

On Thursday, 210 tests on the Covid-19 were also carried out by the Centro Hospitalar do Baixo Vouga, of which 23% tested positive.


Santarém Hospital installs containers to reinforce urgencies

The Santarém District Hospital points out, in a statement, that in general urgency the modular structure will help in “managing the constant flow and distancing users who come to this service” by increasing “the capacity of the area of observation and surveillance with an observation (SO) for 10 users and two individualized areas with negative pressure for more differentiated care “.

In the pediatric emergency, the modular structure “will accommodate the ‘clean’ pediatric emergency, reserving the usual pediatric emergency for the needs of suspected or infected children” with Covid-19.

“In the current pandemic context, these modular structures, which will start operating in the beginning of February, will guarantee the safety and quality that the HDS prints in all assistance areas, allowing a clear definition of circuits for circulation of users and of professionals “, emphasizes the hospital.

From February onwards, the containers will help the hospital to have more capacity in emergency rooms, general or pediatric, to care for suspected or infected users with Covid-19

The Hospital de Santarém is installing two modular structures next to the emergency room, to reinforce, from the beginning of February, the response capacity, general and pediatric, to users suspected or infected with the new coronavirus.


KissFm Radio Broadcast – David Thomas President Safe Communities Portugal

This was broadcast on KissFm on 20th January 2021 an update from an earlier one on 15th January. 

“Good morning

The new State of Emergency law is now in force until 23:59 hours 30th January

This is a return to general confinement, similar to that we experienced in March and April.

There is a clear “stay at home” message here, but with some exceptions.

This replaces the four different tiers of restrictions that have been in place for some two months. Instead, there is one set of general measures applicable to all municipalities on the mainland.

 As such this should be easier to understand.

The important message now is to STAY AT HOME unless your journey is really necessary and in accordance with the exemptions under the law. 

Our mind set should be to focus on the rules, NOT the exemptions.

Our lifestyles will change as a result of this – if they do not, then we are failing to comply with these measures

The Covid-19 situation at present is far more serious than it was in March and April. 

Unless everyone strictly complies with the measures, we will not beat this disease and the situation could get far worse, as forecast by experts 

The entire SNS hospital system has now been upgraded to maximum contingency level.

In order to avoid overwhelming the health care system we must therefore help all the doctors and nurses, in other words the front line, by following the rules

Ensure social distancing, undertake hygiene, wear facemasks and be aware of the risks and how to reduce these”.


State of Emergency Schools, Citizens Stores, Sports 

DECREE 3C/2021 published 22nd January 2021

Decree 3C /2021 published this morning sets out the measures concerning the suspension of schools for 15 days, the arrangement concerning citizen’s stores and closure of sports facilities.

We published the announcement on our Facebook page yesterday.

Decree law published this morning provides more details for those who require this.

For your ease of reference we have highlighted in BOLD in the link the following articles and other measures we have found where changes have been made (near the start) namely:

Article 31 – Citizens stores

Article 31a – Suspension of academic activities

Article 31b – Essential service workers

Article 31c – Suspension of training activities

Article 4 and Annex 1 Closure sports activities

Please note this is an informal translation into English to help non-Portuguese readers

Original version in Portuguese here

Informal translation into English here


False health professionals call on people

DGS warns of false health professionals knocking on doors to schedule vaccinations.

Suspected cases of approaches by false health professionals should be reported to the police

The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) alerts, through social networks, to false health professionals who go to people’s homes to schedule vaccination against Covid-19 and recommends that cases be reported to the police” There are people knocking at the door and posing as health professionals who are going to schedule the vaccination,” writes DGS on its Twitter account. “Don’t open the door and report the case to the police.” DGS stresses that “the vaccine is not scheduled at home”.


Enforcement

Couple with Covid-19 walking in the street arrested

A woman tested positive for Covid-19 and her partner should have been in prophylactic isolation, as she is a risky contact.

A patrol of the GNR in Vila Flor, district of Bragança, detained, on Thursday, a couple walking on the public road, in a village in that municipality, for non-compliance with the measure of prophylactic isolation determined by the health authorities.

In a statement, the security force said that the detention of the 60-year-old woman and the 59-year-old man took place following an action to verify prophylactic isolation measures. “The military went to the residence of the accused, where they verified that they had been absent from the home. After police investigations, it was possible to confirm that the suspects were walking on the public road”.

The woman should still be in isolation because she tested positive for Covid-19 and the man was indicated to be in prophylactic isolation because he was considered a risk contact and was awaiting the result of a screening test.

Both “were taken to their residence, charged, and the facts were referred to the Judicial Court of Vila Flor “, the statement said.


Prime Ministers Speaks concerning Vaccinations

The Prime Minister said today that the national vaccination plan is in line with the objectives of the European Commission and that, without incidents or unforeseen events, by the end of the summer, Portugal will have 70% of the adult population vaccinated.

This objective was assumed by António Costa at a press conference, at the end of a summit of European leaders, which took place by videoconference, after being confronted with the vaccination goals present in the plan of the European Commission.

“The European Commission’s proposals are in line with our own vaccination plan and the doses that Portugal receives weekly result from the contracts defined by the European Commission itself. Therefore, the objectives are fixed taking into account the doses and the pace of their distribution”, he started by declaring.

In this context, according to the Prime Minister, “if there is no problem in the process of distribution of vaccines, which are contracted and scheduled, Portugal will arrive at the end of the summer with conditions to have 70% of the population properly immunized”.

However, António Costa immediately wanted to highlight the following warning: “There are several conditions that do not depend on us,” he said, giving as examples changes in Pfizer factories or the recent road accident on the A2 motorway.

“Nobody knows if we are going to have other incidents. If there are no incidents, with the timetable defined and contracted between the European Commission and the different companies, as well as with the distribution calendar established for the different countries, this will allow everyone, and also in Portugal, 70% of the population is properly vaccinated and immunized “, he stressed.

Regarding the national vaccination plan, the Prime Minister said that, until today, a total of 202,150 vaccines have been administered and reiterated that Portugal “remains prepared to ensure vaccination at the expected rate, namely with vaccination of all users and collaborators of homes – an operation that is expected to be completed by the end of next week “.



Regions

Madeira Situation Report Saturday 23rd January, by our special correspondent

Covid-19 update

There were 285 new Covid-19 cases (including the highest number of new cases on a single day), 189 recoveries and no deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The vast majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Wednesday, there were 129 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Germany, 1 passenger who had arrived from the UK, 7 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 119 cases of local transmission) and 99 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 70, 3 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 156 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland, 2 passengers who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 153 cases of local transmission) and 90 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 67, although the number of patients in intensive care increased to 4.

There were 1,831 active cases on Thursday, of which 114 had been imported while the other 1,717 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Thursday, there had been 4,062 cases, 2,200 recoveries and 31 deaths.

Also on Thursday, there were 44 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,720 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 67 patients in Covid-19 units, 4 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

On the same day, there were 271 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which are all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Thursday, there had been 5,522 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

On Thursday 4,184 visitors were under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There were also 2,231 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and of Porto Santo.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 150,401 samples had been collected until Thursday (at 18h00). By Thursday, 259,982 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/20/129-novos-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-99-recuperados-70-hospitalizados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/21/156-novos-casos-de-covid-19-mais-271-suspeitos-90-recuperados/


New restrictions on sale and consumption of food and drink in eateries

The Madeira Regional Government introduced new restrictions on the sale and consumption of food and drinks in restaurants, bars and other similar establishments. The day when the restrictions come into force was not announced. Below is an informal translation of the new restrictions:

– A ban on the sale or consumption of alcoholic drinks at the entrance of commercial establishments.

– A ban on the consumption of drinks or meals in restaurants, bars, cafés and similar places, in outdoor seating areas, in indoor seating areas and while standing.

– Buffet services in restaurants, bars, cafés and similar places, including hotels and canteens is only allowed if the service is provided by a member of staff and the food is protected through physical barriers (acrylic or other see-through material) that ensures separation with the customer.

Failure to comply will result in:

– the temporary closure of the establishment and the end of activities, with a deadline for adopting the necessary measures to ensure compliance.

– the dispersal of gatherings that exceed the limit on the maximum number of people allowed.

https://www.sapo.pt/noticias/atualidade/governo-da-madeira-proibe-consumo-de-bebidas-_6009c76dfeb16c5cd0462ed8


Vaccination update

The administration of the second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine started on Thursday. The same 85 people who had been administered the first vaccine dose on the 31st of December were also the first 85 people who were administered second dose on Thursday, at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. 

The first 5 healthcare professionals who were administered the second vaccine dose had also been the first 5 to have been vaccinated on the 31st of December. They were: Pedro Balza (doctor), João Caires (nurse in the Covid-19 unit), Ana Patrícia Sousa (Operational Assistant in airport screening), Ludivina Freitas (Diagnosis Technician and Clinical Analysis Therapist at the SESARAM laboratory) and Adérito Delgado (SESARAM ambulance crew – transport of non-urgent patients). Pedro Ramos (Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary) and Herberto Jesus (Regional Health Director) visited the hospital to witness this historic moment.

The healthcare professionals who were vaccinated on the 1st of January had been due to be administrated the second dose of the vaccine on Friday.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/21/sesaram-realiza-testes-rapidos-em-camara-de-lobos-e-da-segunda-dose-da-vacina-aos-profissionais/


Antigen rapid tests

A total of 154 antigen rapid tests were carried out in the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos, mainly on the municipal staff. This is an extremely high risk municipality. SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) is in charge of rolling out rapid testing. So far, more than 11,000 antigen rapid tests have been carried out in the Autonomous Region of Madeira since the start of January.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/21/sesaram-realiza-testes-rapidos-em-camara-de-lobos-e-da-segunda-dose-da-vacina-aos-profissionais/


Warning on ‘abusive’ hearing tests

Some people have been contacted so as to invite them for hearing tests. They were contacted by individuals posing as staff from SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) or the Serviço Regional (Regional Service). These hearing tests are part of a marketing strategy to promote the sale of hearing aids with a contract for funding assistance. SESARAM stressed it does not have anything to do with these hearing tests and does not have any partnership for providing the contact details of patients. As such, SESARAM is not liable for anything that happens as a result of this situation.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/21/sesaram-avisa-para-rastreios-auditivos-abusivos/


Suspect arrested on European Arrest Warrant

The Madeira Criminal Investigation Department (Departamento de Investigação Criminal da Madeira) of the Judiciary Police (Polícia Judiciária) identifica and arrested a 69 year old who had been the subject of a European Arrest Warrant, which had been issued by Switzerland, for suspected crimes against honor, privacy violation and threats. 

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/20/pj-deteve-na-madeira-um-suspeito-cumprindo-um-mandado-de-detencao-europeu/


Polish tourist rescued after getting lost on hiking trail

A 33 year old female Polish tourist was rescued after getting lost while hiking on the Ribeiro Frio-Pico do Areeiro-Pico Ruivo-Curral das Freiras hiking trail. She had called 112 (Portugal’s national emergency number) to ask for help. The weather was adverse, with extremely low temperatures, snow, strong wind and rain.

The PSP’s Mountain Search and Rescue Brigade (Brigada de Busca e Socorro, Salvamento e Resgate em Montanha, which belongs to Polícia de Segurança Pública – Public Security Police)  was immediately deployed. The Regional Civil Protection Service (Serviço Regional de Proteção Civil) was also informed of the situation and deployed rescuers from the Santana Fire Service (Bombeiros Voluntários de Santana) and the Forest Police (Polícia Florestal).

Several teams scoured the hiking trails that start in Curral das Freiras and in Achada do Teixeira, to increase the chances of locating her more quickly. It was occasionally possible to contact her by phone, which enabled the PSP to pinpoint her exact location. As a result, rescuers located her at 22h00, next to Vereda Lombo dos Portais. She was outside the trail and in a steep area.

She was in an area of difficult access and in serious danger of falling. This meant rescuers from the Santana Fire Service were only able to safely rescue her at 01h00. She was already in hypothermia and was carried through the trail until reaching Achada do Teixeira. The rescue operation ended at 04h00 and she was taken to the Machico Health Centre (Centro de Saúde de Machico) for medical evaluation.

The PSP stressed the 9-hour long rescue operation was successful because of the excellent cooperation between the 3 institutions, under the coordination of the Santana Fire Service and facing extremely difficult conditions due to the weather and the location. Overall, 6 rescuers from the PSP, 6 rescuers from the Santana Fire Service and 2 agents from the Forest Police took part in the rescue operation, with the support of 6 vehicles.

An appeal was made for all citizens and tourists not to hike on their own, in adverse weather conditions or without appropriate clothing. 

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/20/turista-polaca-resgatada-na-montanha-de-madrugada-ja-em-hipotermia/



Algarve

Situation Report Saturday 23rd January 2021

Cases of schoolchildren in the Algarve almost double in less than a month – authorities say

The number of school-age children in the Algarve infected with the new coronavirus has almost doubled since Christmas, compared to the previous nine months, said the regional health delegate today.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic and until Christmas, we had 872 cases in school children up to 16 years old. And then, since Christmas and up to two days ago, we had 818. Therefore, in a much shorter period a number almost equivalent “, said Ana Cristina Guerreiro.

The official, who was speaking at the usual press conference promoted by the District Civil Protection Commission of Faro, clarified that this increase, caused by family transmissions, is in line with the whole country.

“Since the beginning of the school season, many cases have arisen, which came from family transmission. And the epidemiological investigation caused many of the classes to go home in prophylactic isolation. This caused, in the whole country, a very large number of cases at home and a high number of cases that had not existed before; such a large number of school children with a positive test “, he added.

According to the regional health delegate, in the Algarve, which had an average of 350 to 400 daily cases in the last ten days, the “moment is complicated and demanding, just as in all regions in the country”.

The “main concerns” of regional health authorities are related to nursing homes – there are more than 100 in the region, both legal and illegal – and to long-term care units.

“There are 12 institutions [nursing homes], at this moment, with outbreaks”, with a total of 421 cases, between residents and employees, revealed Ana Cristina Guerreiro.

Regarding testing capacity, the president of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve, Paulo Morgado, stressed that the region is above the national average, currently around two thousand daily tests – seven times more than in the first wave, in March (about 300 a day).

“It is a considerable increase. We are in fact testing and testing a lot. I would even say, in percentage terms, above what is the national average, in terms of testing per 100 thousand inhabitants. We are testing a lot in the region and it is an aspect about which I wanted to reassure the Algarvians, passing on this message “, he stressed.

As for vaccination, 2,000 health professionals have already been vaccinated, in addition to 2,000 home users and integrated long-term care units in the region.

“In the eastern counties, this process is finished and is now taking place in the central and western Algarve counties, continuing over the next few days. It is flowing smoothly, without serious side effects of the vaccine, without complications”, underlined the president of ARS, Algarve.

The official also stressed that the line of psychological support provided by health centres in the Algarve region is helping a total of 263 people.

“There has been an increase in requests in recent weeks. It is an important service, because the pandemic has psychological consequences. They are there, there are those, in the population and professionals, who have been under great pressure in recent months,” said Paulo Morgado.


Covid.19: More personal protection material on the way to the Algarve

The District Civil Protection Commission of the Algarve reported that the municipality of Olhão, through its Municipal Civil Protection Service, the fire brigade, and the company TPO – Transportes e Logística, are launching a logistical operation for the transport of protective equipment Individual, (EPI’s) from the Military Laboratory of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Products, in Lisbon, to the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve.

The operation involves 3 semi-trailers and 8 firefighters, with the support of the company TPO – Transportes e Logística, which provided two containers.

The goods were loaded this morning in Lisbon, and are expected to arrive at the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve this afternoon.

PPE’s will later be distributed throughout the region.


VRSA Municipality closes walkways, playgrounds and sports equipment

The municipality of VRSA prohibited the access walkways to the municipality’s beaches, in order to avoid the crowding of people in public spaces in order to stop the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement issued this Friday, the municipality informs that it has also determined the ban on the use of garden benches, playgrounds and public equipment for sports.

In the case of walkways, access was restricted at the entrances, through the placement of signs and stalls, which will also imply a ban on movement in these structures. In the remaining equipment, signs and boundary tape were placed.

Only owners and employees of restaurants located in these areas or customers who need to go to said commercial establishments can access the walkways, in strict compliance with the applicable legal regulations, namely for the collection of meals in restaurants that are operating in take away regime.

The municipality recalls that this measure follows the provisions of Article 35-A of Decree No. 3-A / 2021, of January 14th, in its most recent version, as well as the recommendations made by the Government of the Republic regarding the closure of public spaces due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Covid-19: CHUA or ABC who will ask for the refund of the 30 broken ventilators?

The administration of the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA) told Lusa that it is up to the Algarve Biomedical Center (ABC) to request the reimbursement of the 30 broken ventilators, but this entity discards responsibilities and refers the process to CHUA.

The devices were purchased by ABC in April 2020, with money donated by the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL), but they did not pass the tests carried out by the Hospital Common Use Services (SUCH), with the mayors claiming a refund of 1.3 million euros.

“ABC is 50% CHUA and 50% from the University of Algarve, two respected public entities and knowing that there was a damage, in which he interfered in that damage, he just has to resolve the matter and quickly” said Lusa Paulo Neves, executive member of the CHUA board of directors.

The official defends that “whoever negotiated, knows the manufacturer, the intermediary and paid them”, and they should “execute the guarantees if what they bought is deficient”.

“I do not see how we, who do not have the invoice, who do not know the manufacturer or the intermediary, are going to pursue those who did not pay, it is meaningless”, he maintained.

ABC’s president, Nuno Marques, has another position, stating that CHUA should request the refund since it’s “the legitimate owner of the equipment”, claiming that “there cannot be another entity asking for a refund” of devices from which is owner.

“We are not the owner, we have no legal standing to interfere in the process”, he defended

The official revealed that he was unaware of any decision on a refund request and added that the invoice was issued in the name of ABC but “is in CHUA” since the donation and “as soon as any equipment is donated, the other becomes the owner”.

Nuno Marques stressed that after ABC had “made available to support” and send the supplier’s contacts to CHUA and only learned that the company’s technicians came to Portugal and worked on the ventilators, but from then on he does not know “what the evolution of the process”.

As a financing entity, AMAL revealed to Lusa that, in an analysis with CHUA and ABC, “they understood that one should ask for a refund of the money”, advancing its president that “a commission will be created with one member of each entity”. “I already talked to them and they know about our position,” said António Pina.

Safe Communities Comment:

A disturbing situation as 30 ventilators is a large number which may well be needed with the large vast increases we are seeing in the Algarve at present.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/covid-19-chua-ou-abc-quem-vai-pedir-o-reembolso-dos-30-ventiladores-avariados-/36409-1



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 23rd January 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Vaccinations 

The regional Director of Health, Berto Cabral, estimated this Thursday that, by the end of the summer, the entire population of the archipelago will be vaccinated against the new coranovirus SARS-CoV-2.

“According to the plan and information that we have and taking into consideration that this whole process has been advancing and retreating, the expectation is that this [the vaccination of all Azoreans] will be completed by the end of the summer”, Berto Cabral said.  He was in Rebeira Grande to watch the start of the administration of the second dose of the vaccine in the Azores.

3 more boxes of the vaccine were due to arrive in the 1st week of February, now only 2 will arrive with the other box following in the 1st week of March.

The regional director of Health has said “that there are 5,160 Azoreans who took the first dose of the vaccine and are now being given the second dose, this process will end on the 29th of January”.

Beneficiaries are divided by users of nursing homes, long-term care units and health homes, but also health professionals from the institutions and hospitals in Terceira and São Miguel, alongside professionals from the health units of both islands.


Extension of measures 

The Regional Government of the Azores announced, last Thursday 21st January that the restrictive measures applied in São Miguel due to the pandemic of Covid-19 will continue until January 29th, and there will also be extra rules for funerals.  The sanitary fence surrounding the parish of ‘Rabo de Peixe’ will remain but the restrictions in ‘Ponta Garça’ have been lifted.

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last three days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 8,094 tests was 174.  These tests were carried out in reference laboratories in the Region, in private laboratories with conventions, in the Regional Health Service, through rapid tests (mass screening), in the laboratory of Terceira University and by means of tests carried out in the scope of occupational medicine.

São Miguel registered the most cases with 169, the other island with reported cases is Terceira, with 5.

There have been many recoveries in the last few days, 306 in total.  298 on the island of São Miguel and 8 on Terceira.


The current situation in the region. 

There are 24 patients in hospital.

23 in S. Miguel – Hospital of Divino Espírito Santo in Ponta Delgada, with eight in the ICU;

1 in Terceira – Hospital of Santo Espírito in Terceira, in the ICU.

There is one active transmission cha in Pico.

There are currently 633 positive cases active in the Region, 607 in São Miguel, 19 in Terceira, 4 in Flores, 2 in Pico and 1 in Faial.

To date, 3,331 cases of infection with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have been detected, which causes Covid-19 disease, with 23 deaths and 2,576 recoveries.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/  or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: // www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available by using the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.



Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 20th January 2021

Introduction

Good morning – Last Friday we published Decree Law 3A /2021 setting out the measures concerning general confinement, in particular the exemptions, under the new law. The perception was that this, if anything, appeared to be an easing of restrictions – no curfews, no bans on inter-municipal travel and more facilities and stores open than in earlier measures, especially those seen in the last few weeks.

The key “Stay at Home “ message unless your journey was really necessary, was somehow being lost. This is why I emphasised this point through the KissFm radio message on Friday and in our subsequent Facebook posts, backed up by the very good reasons why we should do so; namely the escalating figures and the considerable pressure on the health services. One or two persons accused us of “scaremongering”, but it was clear it was essential to emphasise this, as many were clearly unaware of the gravity of the situation that Portugal faces and the risks of contagion.  

“Our mind set should be to focus on the rules, NOT the exemptions”.

As we have seen, however, many people were out about beyond that allowed under the law. It is clear that the law had to be amended and a need for greater enforcement.

The Council of Ministers communique was decisive in introducing additional measures which come into effect at midnight last night. These are set out in our Facebook post and the informal translation of the Decree itself. In the lead up to this there is growing pressure on government to close schools, which so far has been resisted. However, the Prime Minister although being reluctant has not ruled this out and this will be debated it is believed

With the additional measures there will be a step up in enforcement to force more people to stay at home. Government has stated that in the next few days there will be zero tolerance for those who disregard health rules. Let’s hope so.

In this context there are now at least two outbreaks at GNR stations which will adversely affect their already overstretched services in these area. The GNR have appealed to only visit stations where necessary, contacting them otherwise by phone or their on-line services where possible. 

The Prime Minister stated following the Council of Ministers; “We are living in the most serious moment of this pandemic, when pressure is not only on the National Health Service, on the extraordinary effort that nurse doctors, auxiliary technicians operation assistants are all making”. He underlined that “what is really at stake is the health and life of each of us and the people around us”.

He also stated that if he had known the outcome of the easing of restrictions over the Christmas period he would not have taken these decisions.

I am sure many find it very saddening with some social media comments we see, how much people focus on their personal situations, rather than the interests of the community as a whole. Sacrifices have to be made in the interests of all.

Lastly, I appeal to you once again regarding the use of our Facebook page. We are there to provide information and answer questions as much as we can. We are a professional association not a facilitator for speculation, hearsay, gossip and negativity. 

Nearly one year into the pandemic, many people are naturally weary and frustrated that figures have increased, and once again we are in general confinement. We understand that. However, there are many people who have suffered, who have lost family members and friends to this terrible disease, and over half a million who have had the disease. 

Just think for a moment; when they read comments from people suggesting that there is no need to wear facemasks, upset because they can no longer carry out their favourite sporting activity, or cannot go to the local bar for drink, or even that Covid-19 does not exist  – just consider for a moment how those families feel reading this. I can assure there people who have lost a great deal. So think of others when you post; be polite, consider how your words and how you use them, may affect others and what influence these words may have. Nearly forty thousand people are following our Facebook, so in the interests of the vast majority, those who do not follow these ethics will be removed from our page.

Lastly, I would like to thank Daniel Fernandes for his really excellent Madeira Report this morning – very well researched and presented. Also in particular to Eliana Tavares, Fernanda Goncalves and Elise Slotte who have worked very hard over the last few says in bringing you the information in English and answering literally hundreds of questions you have. To help us, please read the information before asking and check other answers on Facebook first otherwise the same question can be asked many times.

Have a Safe Day

David Thomas

President, Safe Communities Portugal



Headlines

Limitations on the opening hours of establishments that can operate under the State of Emergency and measures against Covid-19 do not apply to pharmacies, emergency clinics and funeral homes, according to the diploma published last night.

According to the most recent diploma amending the regulation of the State of Emergency, as of 00:01hrs on Wednesday 20th January, retail and service provision activities that may continue to operate  must close at 20:00hrs during the weekdays and 13:00hrs on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Essential goods establishments, such as grocery stores and supermarkets are allowed to remain open until 17:00hrs on weekends and holidays.

However, the diploma establishes that these time limitations do not apply to establishments where medical services or other health and social support services are provided for urgent care, such as hospitals, doctor’s offices and clinics, dental clinics and medical centres and veterinary practices for emergencies.

Pharmacies, companies that provide funeral activities, educational, teaching and vocational training establishments, tourist establishments and local accommodation or those that guarantee student accommodation are also excluded from the obligation of the new timetables.

The service areas and fuel stations on the motorways are also in exceptions, as are the remaining fuel stations and charging stations, namely electric vehicles, but in these cases of companies located off the highway just for sale to the public of fuels and to supply or load vehicles in the context of movements are allowed during confinement.

The rental of goods vehicles without drivers (‘rent-a-cargo’) and passenger vehicles without drivers (‘rent-a-car’) and establishments located within airports in continental territory, after the security control of passengers.

Among the new measures are the ban on counter sales in non-food and beverage stores, including coffee, in food establishments and food outlets in commercial establishments will be closed, even on a take-away basis.

Safe Communities has provided the full law in English here using DRE.PT Please study this.

The Original law in Portuguese can be downloaded here


Covid-19. WHO warns that world “is on the verge of catastrophic moral failure”

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that the world “is on the verge of catastrophic moral failure” if rich countries do not share Covid-19 vaccines with the poorest.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke at the opening of the 148th session of the WHO Executive Council.

“I have to be frank: the world is on the brink of catastrophic moral failure, and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihood in the poorest countries,” he said, stressing that only 25 doses of vaccine against Covid-19 were administered in a poor country.

In contrast, more than 39 million doses were given in at least 49 rich countries.

According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who made a long speech, “the promise” of rich countries of “equitable access” to vaccines “is at serious risk”, with “some countries and pharmaceutical companies prioritising bilateral agreements”, making the distribution network universal Covax, “raising prices and trying to jump to the front row”.

“This is wrong”, he stressed, maintaining that, “in the final analysis”, this type of actions will “prolong the pandemic”.


Prime Minister speaking after parliamentary debate yesterday

Fighting the pandemic “is a very tough marathon”

The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic “is yet to last for many long months, because, until we reach the collective immunisation of society, we will not overcome the pandemic”, said Prime Minister António Costa, adding that this immunization “only it will be reached when 60 to 70% of the population is immunized, or because, unfortunately, it has been infected, or because it has been vaccinated”.

The Prime Minister, who answered questions from deputies in the Assembly of the Republic, said that, at present, “we are living in a most sad moment, of greatest pain and suffering”.

António Costa reiterated that the fight against the pandemic “is a marathon and a very hard marathon”, despite the hope created by the vaccine. “For the many months that the vaccination process takes, there is a way to reach the end of the tunnel”. There are “thousands of health professionals who have already taken their second dose and are already definitely vaccinated”, he said.

At the same time, it is necessary to “continue to increase the response capacity of the National Health Service”, which “has been able to respond to the moments of greatest need in a progressive way”, pointing out that “in mid-October, 1424 beds were affected by Covid-19, at the end of November it had been extended to 3545 beds, today we have 5795 beds occupied with Covid-19 patients and we still have the capacity for extension”. Read more here


DGS Covid -19 Situation 

This Tuesday Portugal records another 218 deaths related to Covid-19 – a new daily maximum – and 10,455 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, according to the bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health.

The bulletin also reveals that 10,282 more patients were reported as recovered bringing the total to 421,871.

Taking into account the large number of recoveries there was a small decrease of 45 active cases now with a total of with 135,841 cases active this Tuesday, 45 less than yesterday.

The daily maximum of deaths had been registered this Monday, with 167 deaths.

The maximum number of cases of infection was 10,947 registered on 16 January.

As for hospital admissions, the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 5,291 patients are hospitalised, 126 more than on Monday, of whom 670 are in intensive care, plus 6.

Health authorities have 174,355 contacts under surveillance, 8,120 more than yesterday.

Analysing the percentage fluctuations compared to the previous day, the country’s figures in the last 24 hours look like this:

Infected: + 1.88%
Active cases: – 0.03%
Deaths: + 2.41%
Recovered: + 2.50%
Hospitalised: + 2.44%
ICU: + 0.90%

In the regional analysis of the new cases, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo recorded the worst day ever: 5012 cases, almost half of the national total (47.9%). The capital region is in the first place for the tenth consecutive day. Next comes the North: 2970 (28.4%).

The Centre, had 1605 new cases (15.4%). Following are 531 cases in the Alentejo (5.1%), 198 in the Algarve (1.9%), 100 in Madeira (1%) and 39 in the Azores (0.4%).

As for the regional distribution of fatalities, the situation is also most critical in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley: 88 registered in the region. In the Centre there were 55 victims, while in the North there were 51. Below, the Alentejo recorded 17 deaths by covid-19. Algarve and Madeira have, five and two respectively.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has recorded 9,246 deaths and 566,958 cases of infection with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2., 


Health

Covid-19: Outbreak at home with 50 infected after vaccine in Alfândega da Fé

The Cerejais care home in Alfândega da Fé has an outbreak with 50 positive cases of the new coronavirus, just days after receiving the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, revealed the institution today.

The manager responsible for this home in the district of Bragança, the Cónego Manuel Joaquim Ochoa Foundation said, in a statement, that 31 positive cases were detected among 40 users and 19 among about 40 employees, with “five employees and two users with inconclusive testing”.

The Foundation explained that the situation was detected after having decided to test users and employees, taking into account the growing number of infected with Covid-19 in the community and in the territory.

Those in charge explain that “the contingency plan” was triggered immediately, on Monday, and states that “the next twenty days will be decisive to permanently eradicate the virus in the institution”.

Visits will be suspended indefinitely and infected employees will remain at the Foundation “to protect them and prevent the spread of the virus in their families and in the community”, he adds.

The heads of the home refer that, “in this moment of pandemic, the Foundation’s efforts are concentrated on its users and collaborators”, noting that “no additional statements will be made to the communiqué”.

The municipality of Alfândega has several active outbreaks in the community in various areas of the municipality and the Mayor, Eduardo Tavares announced today that he tested positive and that he will continue to work from home, where he has been in isolation since last week.

The mayor announced on social media that “following a risky contact” he has been in prophylactic isolation since last week, who carried out the test and learned the positive result today.


The number of infected in the Esposende GNR rises to 21

The number of military personnel from the GNR of Esposende infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus has increased to 21, but “even with so many operational personnel infected, service is not at risk,” he said today to Lusa source of that military force.

Speaking to Lusa, the same source clarified that the GNR of Esposende, in the district of Braga, has 31 soldiers in active service and that “the operational ones are being replaced by others from other units, with rotation to guarantee the perfect fulfillment of the functions” that corporation.

As of Monday, 13 cases were confirmed, according to a source to Lusa.

The Mayor of Esposende, Benjamim Pereira, also responsible for Civil Protection in the municipality, guaranteed today that “security operations and services are not at stake”.

According to Benjamim Pereira, “in these cases rotation is guaranteed, replacement of operational personnel, an example of which is that this weekend the GNR of Vila Nova de Famalicão was carrying out inspection in Esposende”.


Schools

Rapid tests in schools with secondary education in extremely high-risk counties start on January 20th.

The rapid testing campaign, through antigen tests (Trag), starts this Wednesday in public and private schools with secondary education located in extremely high-risk counties.

In case of identification of active outbreaks, testing will be intensified, involving and prioritising the entire school community of the affected educational establishments, regardless of the level of education to which they belong.

Result of a joint work of the governmental areas of Health and Education, the performance of antigen tests aims to increase the speed of detection and tracking of possible cases of SARS-CoV-2, in students, teaching and non-teaching staff.

In order to operate this strategy, the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and the Directorate-General for School Establishments (DGEstE), in collaboration with the respective regional structures and the Regional Health Administrations, developed a model of informed consent to obtain from of guardians, as well as information about the importance of the testing process to provide to the education community.

The National Teachers Federation (Fenprof) argues that schools should close.

The position was announced, this Tuesday afternoon, by Mário Nogueira, who considers that the closure is inevitable given the worsening of the pandemic.

Fenprof criticises the lack of Government measures in relation to the school community, saying that the Government’s only reference to schools, at the Prime Minister’s conference on Monday, had to do with reinforcing policing to avoid gatherings.

In a note to the media, Fenprof says it wants schools to keep up with the country’s general confinement, “as experts say.”

The National Teachers Federation also said it expected reinforced measures from the Council of Ministers, recalling the petition addressed to the Prime Minister who asked for tests, vaccination and teleworking in schools.

“As Fenprof has stated, nothing replaces classroom teaching”, reads the statement.

However, in the same communiqué, it states that the Government did not guarantee the periodic testing of school communities, the integration of teachers in priority groups for vaccination, the protection of professionals who are part of risk groups and the reinforcement of health security measures in schools.

“Government officials continue to affirm that the opening of schools is not a problem for public health, but that affirmation is contradicted by the generality of the scientific community”, reads in the note, adding that the cases are shooting in schools, with teachers, non-teaching workers and infected students.

Torres Vedras will ask the Ministry of Education to close schools

The Torres Vedras Chamber will ask the Ministry of Education to close the municipality’s third cycle and secondary schools due to the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, said today the President of the autarchy.

“We are working with the groupings and with the health delegate in order to have a technical-scientific justification for the closure of schools from the 7th to the 12th year to submit the proposal to the Ministry of Education”, said Carlos Bernardes to journalists, on the sidelines of a visit by the Secretary of State for Health to the Torres Vedras unit of the Centro Hospitalar do Oeste.

Despite not disclosing data on the number of people infected in schools in the municipality, the mayor said that 49 of the 503 classes in the municipality are in isolation.

“There are more and more contagions in the young community and we have to overcome the difficulty, which involves closing schools at these levels of education”, he defended.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Torres Vedras, in the district of Lisbon, accounts for 3,410 confirmed cases of infection with the new coronavirus, of which 1,020 are active, 2,339 recovered and 51 died, according to the last epidemiological bulletin in the municipality.


National Defence mobilised 140 beds in one day, more than the entire private sector

The Prime Minister, António Costa, revealed today that the Ministry of National Defence has mobilised 140 more beds for patients with Covid-19, more than those available throughout the private sector, thus rejecting any “Ideological complex”.

“Only today, the Minister of National Defence was able to mobilise 140 more beds [for Covid patients] and 10 integrated continuous care beds, which means that they are more than those that the private ones made available as a whole to fight Covid-19”, he stated.

This number was revealed by António Costa in the second part of the first debate of the year on general policy, in the Assembly of the Republic, after he was accused by a member of the CDS-PP of overlapping an “apparently ideological issue over everything else”.

In response, the Prime Minister rejected this idea and retorted: “don’t come with ghosts about ideology”.

“What do you want me to tell you? This is the reality and there is no complex on our part. There is more availability [from the private sector], they come, they are most welcome” he said.

Even so, António Costa considered that private hospitals have “made available what they have been able to make available”, and underlined, still regarding the accusation of an ideological complex, which respects “its own logic of operation”.


Prisons to start vaccination against Covid-19

Prison services will start this Wednesday, January 20th, the vaccination of health professionals who work in prisons. “In the context of the Covid-19 Vaccination Plan in Portugal, and in close collaboration with public health, on January 20th, the Directorate-General for Reintegration and Prison Services (DGRSP) will start at the Prison Hospital of São João de Deus (in Caxias), the vaccination of health professionals who provide services in their different organic units, which, in the image of what happens in the surrounding society, constitute a priority group “, warns the Ministry of Justice.

All other DGRSP workers and prisoners in prison will follow in various stages.

“With the start of vaccination, DGRSP takes a decisive step in consolidating the work it has been doing in order to guarantee the life and health of all those who work, live and contact the 


Order provides declaration of exclusion of liability to nurses

The Order of Nurses made a “declaration of exclusion of liability” available to all nurses to guard against any disciplinary, civil or even criminal actions of the patients under their care.

The Order said in a statement released today that “in the context of the current pandemic crisis, with hospitals in a catastrophe situation, teams of nurses below the appropriations recommended in regulation 743/2019 of 25 September are not in a position to guarantee the providing safe and quality care, nor people’s lives”. “Despite being making all efforts, professionals are unable to reach everyone”, warns the Ordem dos Enfermeiros (OE).

In view of this situation, the OE made a declaration available to all nurses to caution the eventual disciplinary, civil or even criminal responsibility of the patients in charge.

In this declaration, which should be sent by nurses who wish, to the boards of directors, “the professionals reiterate that the adequate endowment is fundamental to safeguard the professional practice in safety, which is clearly not the case today, a fact that can only be attributed to the management of the institution and that, in itself, puts at risk the proper practice of the profession “, he stresses.


Christmas gathering causes outbreak with more than 50 cases in Arganil

An informal Christmas event in the village of Maladão, in Arganil, caused an outbreak with more than 50 people infected in the locality and four residents have already died as a direct result of the Covid-19, today confirmed the municipality.

The news was released today by the newspaper ‘As Beiras’ and confirmed to the Lusa agency by the President of the Arganil City Council, Luís Paulo Costa.

The event, which occurred during the Christmas season, will have motivated “a great gathering of people” in Maladão, a village with between 150 and 180 residents located four kilometers from the village of Arganil, in the district of Coimbra, explained the mayor.

“It turned out that there was someone who was sick when he was at the party and it was gunpowder,” he said.

The outbreak infected more than 50 people in the village and 4 residents, all elderly and with other illnesses, died from the infection, he said, adding that there are still people hospitalised, without knowing how many.

The origin of the outbreak is not certain, with two suspicions: emigrants in France who came for a ‘wooden campaign’ or a villager who was already sick and who was at the party, he said, clarifying that the first case was confirmed even before the New Year.

In addition to the outbreak in Maladão, there were several cases of infection in the municipality that will have an indirect link to this original situation, he explained.

“We have 180 active cases in the county, at least 50 of residents of Maladão, but I estimate that many more than 100 infections originated from this outbreak,” he noted.

According to Luís Paulo Costa, “there is a very wide range of communicating vessels”, with outbreaks in aggregates outside the village, in firefighters – there are “two or three who tested positive” from a secondary contact – also suspecting of a possible outbreak in a home, where the results of tests carried out at the end of last week are awaited.

“It was a situation that created a very big alarm, not only of speculation, but of real alarm, which has already had very severe consequences and that has no end in sight,” he said.


Reminder of the law concerning the use of facemasks

Reminder of the following in place since October but extended on 29th December for a period of 90 days

1 – The use of a mask by persons aged 10 and over is mandatory for access, circulation or permanence in public spaces and roads whenever the physical distance recommended by health authorities proves impractical.

2 – The obligation referred to in the previous number is waived:

a) Upon presentation:

i) Medical certificate of multiple disability or medical declaration, in the case of people with cognitive impairment, development and psychological disorders;

ii) A medical statement attesting that the person’s clinical condition is not consistent with the use of masks;

b) When the use of a mask is incompatible with the nature of the activities that people are carrying out;

c) In relation to people who are part of the same household, when they are not in the proximity of third parties.


Enforcement

Security forces open 249 cases between 8th and 14th January under State of Emergency

In compliance with the provisions of the Decree that regulates the State of Emergency, the GNR and PSP have carried awareness, surveillance and inspection activities.

Thus, between 00:00hrs on January 8th and 11:59hrs pm on January 14th, 4 people were detained for the crime of disobedience, 3 of which for breach of the mandatory confinement obligation.

In the same period, 16 establishments were closed due to non-compliance with the established rules.

Regarding the administrative offences applied by the National Republican Guard and the Public Security Police, 249 cases were opened in the same period, of which:

– 7 for non-compliance with the mandatory use of a mask or visor (public transport);

– 18 for non-compliance with the mandatory use of a mask or visor (concert halls, public establishments, and others);

– 60 for non-compliance with the rules of occupation, permanence and physical distance in places open to the public;

– 55 for non-compliance with opening hours;

– 7 for non-compliance with celebrations and other events;

– 45 for non-compliance with alcohol consumption rules on public roads;

– 3 for non-compliance with the rules on the maximum capacity for public transport;

– 19 for non-compliance with the rules imposed by a health authority;

– 35 for failure to use a mask on public roads and spaces.

The Ministry of Internal Administration, in view of the imperative need for everyone to contribute to curb the contagion of Covid-19, insists on strict compliance with the measures imposed by the State of Emergency.



Region Reports

Madeira 

Situation Report from Madeira, Wednesday 20th January, by our correspondent

Covid-19 update

There were 559 new Covid-19 cases (including the highest number of new cases on a single day), 319 recoveries and 8 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The vast majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Saturday, there were 117 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Spain, 1 passenger who had arrived from Switzerland, 1 passenger who had arrived from Venezuela, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 113 cases of local transmission), 107 recoveries and 4 deaths. A female Covid-19 patient (aged 38) and two male patients (aged 69 and 71) died at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. Another female Covid-19 patient (aged 73) died at home. The number of patients in hospital increased to 71, 2 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 156 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from the USA, 1 passenger who had arrived from Luxembourg, 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland, 2 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal, 1 passenger who had arrived from Central Portugal and 148 cases of local transmission) and 65 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 73, 2 of whom were in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 148 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Germany, 4 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Autonomous Region of Azores and 142 cases of local transmission), 66 recoveries and 2 deaths. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 69, although the number of patients in intensive care increased to 3. Two male Covid-19 patients (aged 84 and 89), who had pre-existing conditions, died at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça.

And on Tuesday, there were 138 new Covid-19 cases (from 3 passengers who had arrived from Germany, 1 passenger who had arrived from Lithuania, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Central Portugal, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 131 cases of local transmission), 81 recoveries and 2 deaths. A 42 year old female Covid-19 patient, who had pre-existing conditions, died at home. In addition, a 91 year male patient, who also had pre-existing conditions, died at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça.

Most cases of local transmission had already been linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing. The number of patients in hospital increased to 73, 4 of whom are now in intensive care.

There are currently 1,735 active cases, of which 112 were imported while the other 1,623 cases were a result of local transmission. So far, there have been 3,777 cases, 2,011 recoveries and 31 deaths.

There are currently 43 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,619 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 73 patients are in Covid-19 units, 4 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 153 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which are all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Tuesday, there had been 5,237 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

At the moment, 4,668 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 2,189 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and of Porto Santo.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 149,889 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 18h00). Overall, 256,866 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 1,088 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, 32,065 calls have been made to this helpline.

The Covid-19 mental health helpline (Linha de Acompanhamento Psicológico da Direção Regional de Saúde – 291 212 399 – available every day from 09h00 to 21h00), which was set up to provide emotional and mental support to anyone in Madeira has so far received 2,620 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/16/117-novos-casos-de-covid-19-107-recuperados-71-internados-540-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/16/quatro-mortes-por-covid-19-na-madeira-nas-ultimas-24-horas/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/17/1600-casos-activos-de-covid-19-hoje-foi-batido-novo-maximo-diario-com-156-casos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/18/148-novos-casos-de-covid-19-66-recuperados-283-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/18/mais-dois-mortos-com-covid-19-hoje-no-hospital-dr-nelio-mendonca/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/19/138-novos-casos-de-covid-19-dos-quais-apenas-7-sao-importados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/19/madeira-regista-mais-uma-morte-por-covid-19/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/19/madeira-ultrapassa-uma-trintena-de-mortes-com-covid-19/


Vaccination update

Yesterday, Covid-19 vaccination started on fire service personnel who had been on the priority list for vaccinations. A hundred civil protection professionals from different fire services and the Portuguese Red Cross, who are in charge of transporting Covid-19 patients and suspected patients, were vaccinated. 

Tomorrow (Thursday), 85 healthcare professionals are scheduled to receive the second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. 

So far, more than 4,400 people have been vaccinated in the Region. Most of them are SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) healthcare professionals and care home residents and professionals, including 152 healthcare professionals from private healthcare providers who had been on the priority list for vaccinations. 

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/19/vacinacao-de-bombeiros-iniciou-se-na-regiao-diz-o-governo-regional/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/115772/Primeiros_imunes_na_Madeira_no_dia_28


Remarks from the President of the Madeira Regional Government

Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, criticised gatherings of people in bars selling poncha over the weekend. He said lots of people were gathering without any protection and without complying with distancing rules. He asked for bar owners and customers to have common sense. He also warned he could strengthen restrictions in bars.

He predicted that Covid-19 cases in the Region will continue to increase this week, as a result of Christmas and New Year. More optimistically, he also practiced Covid-19 cases in the Region will start to decrease in the following weeks.

He also informed that out of the 11,200 antigen rapid tests carried out on teaching and non-teaching staff in educational institutions, only 40 came back positive. In his view, this shows that schools “are a safe place”.

Lastly, he called for the postponement of this Sunday’s Presidential Elections, as result of the strong pressure on the health service and of the current social and economic crisis. 

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/115841/Miguel_Albuquerque_defende_adiamento_das_eleicoes_presidenciais

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/115728/Casos_de_covid-19_na_Madeira_deverao_ser_de_crescimento_durante_esta_semana_preve_Miguel_Albuquerque_


Water supply disruptions today

As a result of scheduled work on the water supply chain, there will be water supply disruptions in the parish (freguesia) of São Martinho (it is part of the Municipality of Funchal). The disruptions will take place today, from 15h00 to 18h00 and will affect the following areas:

– Rua da Levada dos Barreiros (between Rua Dr. Pita and Rua Estados Unidos da América)

– Rua da Amoreira

– Rua António Sousa

– Rua da Levada dos Piornais

– Rua da Fundação Zino

– Azinhaga da Casa Branca

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/19/cmf-avisa-para-corte-de-agua-em-sao-martinho/



Algarve

Situation Report from the Algarve, Wednesday 20th January

Covid-19: Outbreak in the GNR of Albufeira with 10 infected soldiers

Ten military personnel belonging to the GNR of Albufeira Territorial Sub-Detachment, have Covid-19.

The news released by CMTV confirms that two of the infected professionals belong to the Criminal Investigation Nucleus and for the four of them are part of the territorial post of Olhos de Água.

The same source says that the majority of the military has symptoms of the disease, namely “loss of taste and smell”. At the moment there are more than 30 professionals performing insolation at home.

It is known that more tests are being carried out in order to understand the scale of the outbreak


Municipality of Silves articulated a strong response in combating Covid-19

The municipality of Silves, in conjunction with the Delegate of Health and other entities, reported having created conditions for rapid testing of a large number of people, if necessary, allowing to mitigate the Covid-19 disease in the municipality.

In this context, the municipality points out in a statement that within the scope of the Civil Protection Subcommittee for exclusive monitoring of Covid, in addition to creating logistical support and adequate conditions for testing a large number of people, it has been monitoring cases that test positive.

The council also highlights the provision of social and psychological support, the maintenance of municipal transport to support the community, support for the creation of the screening centre for Covid, the availability of FISSUL for the installation of the test centre and the activation of the Emergency Fund Social.

The specific case of testing about 250 students, which took place on January 16th, at EB2 3 Dr. António da Costa Contreiras School, in Armação de Pêra, was one of these measures, resulting in the identification of five students with positive results and two students with inconclusive results.


Deliveries will be made by Rotáxi.

The municipality of Faro has announced the creation of a home delivery service for meals and food as a way to support the local economy during the period of confinement decreed by the government.

The City Council will fully support the deliveries, returning to a measure that had been triggered at the end of November (when the mandatory curfew was decreed, preventing the restoration and other food establishments in the municipality from exercising its normal activity for the purposes of week).

The activation of this service has immediate effects and must be arranged directly between the establishments and the delivery service provider, in this case, Rotáxi.

All catering and food products establishments that can continue to operate in accordance with the measures implemented by the government (Decree 3-A / 2021) can benefit from this service, with the service being operated by participating merchants and not by customers.

More details



Azores 

Situation Report Azores – 20th January 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

The parishes of Rabo de Peixe and Ponta Garça on the island of São Miguel will remain with sanitary fences until January 22nd

This means that circulation and permanence on the public road is forbidden and the closure of teaching, catering, drinks, similar establishments and cafes and the cancellation of all cultural events or extended social life.

Starting today both parishes are to be subjected to mass testing, 2500 residents will be tested using the PCR method.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 4,600 tests carried out in the Region over the last three days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for Covid-19 is 210.  There are 203 on the island of São Miguel and 4 on the island of Terceira.

There have been a large number of recoveries to report, 279.  260 on São Miguel, 15 in Terceira, 2 in Faial and 2 in Flores.

The current situation in the region 
There are 25 patients in hospital

22 in São Miguel – Hospital do Divino Espírito Santo, in Ponta Delgada (7 in ICU).

2 in Terceira – Hospital of Santo Espírito on Terceira Island (1 of which in ICU).

There is one transmission chain not on São Miguel or Terceira.

1 in S. Jorge – the last member of this chain, he was evacuated to the Hospital of Santo Espírito on Terceira Island, and the situation is expected to be temporary.

The transmission chain in Faial was extinguished, given that all elements of it are recovered.

There are currently 765 active positive cases in the Region, 736 in São Miguel, 23 in Terceira, one in Faial, one in Pico and four in Flores.

To date, 3,157 cases of infection with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19 disease, have been detected, with 23 deaths and 2,270 recoveries.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organisations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/  or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: // www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.



Portugal Situation Report Saturday 16th January 2021

Introduction

Good morning – Welcome I will start today by the message I announced yesterday on KissFm radio, as it is important to get this across in view of the increasingly serious situation we are facing concerning the pandemic and the strain this is clearly place on the national health system. Yesterday there was a record 159 deaths compared to Thursday and over ten thousand new cases. According to the most recent data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Portugal closed the first week of this year (January 4th to 10th) with 901 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. This represents a growth of 93% in the space of two weeks, without including the highs over the last few days.

What I said was: “The new state of emergency law is now inforce until 2359 hours 30th January. This is a return to general confinement, similar to that we experienced in March and April. There is a clear “stay at home” message here, but with some exemptions. This replaces the four different tiers of restrictions that have been in place for some two months. Instead, there is one set of general measures applicable to all municipalities on the mainland. The important message now, however, is to STAY AT HOME unless your journey is really necessary and in accordance with what is allowed under the law.  Our mind set should be to focus on the rules, NOT the exemptions.  Our lifestyles will change as a result of this – if they do not, then we are failing to comply with these measures.

The Covid-19 situation, at present, is far more serious than it was in March and April. We are in a health crisis and we all need to understand the gravity of the situation.  Unless everyone strictly complies with the rules, we will not beat this disease and the situation will get far worse, as forecast by experts. The entire SNS hospital system is now at maximum contingency level. In order to avoid overwhelming the health care system, we must therefore help all the doctors and nurses, in other words the front line, by following the rules

Ensure social distancing, undertake hygiene, avoid gatherings, wear facemasks and be aware of the risks and how to reduce these.”

Despite all this, it is clear that the message concerning the seriousness of the situation is not getting across to some, judging by some of the questions we receive and actions of a few. Laws cannot cover every individual circumstance and there are a few who will try and exploit any loopholes they can find. There needs to be common sense applied and if in doubt, err on the side of caution and safety. The situation is very clear that if these general confinement measures are not followed and cases continue to rise, then the restrictions will likely increase, when the state of emergency is again reviewed. There was concern following an announcement yesterday by Pfizer concerning vaccine production delays.  Later Ursula Von der Leyen President of the European Union contacted the general manager of Pfizer, who confirmed to her that there is a production delay in the coming weeks, but “he assured that all guaranteed doses for the first quarter will be delivered in the first quarter” as scheduled. The prime minister said that Portugal had created reserves of vaccine from Pfizer so that the second dose is guaranteed to those who have already received the first – a wise decision.

Latest news is that the vaccination program will continue and this Sunday with the second doses of vaccines against covid-19 starting to be administered to almost 30 thousand health professionals in priority contexts of hospitals and primary health care. We receive many enquiries concerning what activities can and cannot be undertaken during this period. It is clear that the message is to stay at home unless your journey is necessary. Common sense needs to applied and if in doubt err on the side of caution and safety. We also receive public transport enquiries. There are few changes of schedules so far we are aware off, but it is suggested to check with the operator directly as this could change. Lastly for those who follow our Madeira reports, I would like to thank Daniel Fernandes for his very comprehensive and detailed report today  – very informative.

Thank you and have a safe day


Headlines

Portugal with 901 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. Constantino Sakellarides, former director general of Health, warns of “bankruptcy of Public Health”, a key player in the fight.

In two weeks, the incidence of covid-19 in Portugal – measured by the number of new infections at 14 days per 100 thousand inhabitants – almost doubled, now being over 900. This is three times the number registered by countries like France or Germany, where the vacancies started earlier, with more severe confinements. With Public Health without measuring hands, control of transmission in the community is lost, warns Constantino Sakellarides. With snowball effect: infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

According to the most recent data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Portugal closed the first week of this year (January 4th to 10th) with 901 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. This represents a growth of 93% in the space of two weeks: during the Christmas period (December 21st to 27th) the incidence was 466. The highest value had been recorded in the week of November 16th to 22nd, peak the second wave, with 792 new infections per 100 thousand inhabitants. Looking at the European panorama , the incidence in our country, the fifth highest, is three times that recorded in France and Germany , where vacancies arrived earlier and confinements were more severe. In both countries, schools are now closed.

As for the fatality rate, at the end of the first week of January it had risen to 121 deaths per one million inhabitants, the tenth highest.


DGS Covid – 19

This Friday’s bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) recorded 159 deaths the highest to date – and 10,663 new cases by covid-19 in the last 24 hours. On the other hand, 6458 people recovered from the disease (394 065 in to

Taking into account the number of new cases, deaths and recoveries there are 4,046 further active cases in the last 24 hrs now totalling 125,861.
As for hospital admissions, the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 4,560 patients are hospitalized, 192 more than on Thursday, of whom 622 are in intensive care, plus 11.

In terms of deaths, mortality exceeded the peak of 156, recorded on Wednesday and, for the eighth consecutive day, there are more than 100 deaths by covid-19.

In the regional analysis of the new cases, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo appear for the sixth consecutive day in the highest, with 4280 new infections (40.1% of the national total) , very close to the  maximum (4291), on January 8th. Next comes the North: 3295 (30.9%).
Madeira recorded 93 new infections (0.9%), exceeding the previous maximum of 72, which dates from January 5.
In the centre there were 2041 new cases (19.1%), very close to Wednesday’s maximum (2136). Following are 577 cases in the Alentejo (5.4%), 328 in the Algarve (3.1%) and 49 in the Azores (0.5%).
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has registered 8,543 deaths and 528,469 cases of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus


Health

Mortality in 60 municipalities 1.5 times the five-year average – INE

Mortality in 60 Portuguese counties was 1.5 times higher than the average of the last five years for the same period during December, according to data released today by the National Statistics Institute (INE).
In a bulletin on the impact of covid-19 on Portuguese territory, INE also points out that 61 percent of new confirmed cases of contagion by the new coronavirus in the last 14 days were registered in the North and Center regions.The “exponential increase in new confirmed cases” from December 28th culminated on January 13th with the highest number of new cases seven days since the beginning of the pandemic: 61,273.

Covid-19: Rises to 61 infected at the University of Aveiro

Aveiro, 15 Jan 2021 (Lusa) – The University of Aveiro (UA) has seen a worsening of cases of covid-19 in the past few days, with 61 people currently infected with the new coronavirus at the institution, which closed today three eating spaces due to the general confinement.
According to data released by the AU, health authorities confirmed over the past two days 29 more SARS-CoV-2 infections among the academic community.
On Thursday alone, 19 infections were reported by the new coronavirus, the second highest number of cases daily, since an outbreak was detected at that educational institution more than three months ago. Since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the AU, 498 infections have been recorded among students, teachers and staff, with 437 people having recovered from the disease, with one patient hospitalized.

Despite this increase in cases, the AU maintains classes and face-to-face assessments, having made only a few changes in the operation of canteens, bars and restaurants, due to the new confinement that took effect at midnight. Among the measures announced this morning is the closure of three eating areas: Restaurante Universitário, Restaurante Vegetariano and Bar do Ambiente.
The Santiago and Águeda canteens are open for lunch and dinner, exclusively on a take-away basis, and the meals purchased here can be consumed inside the room.
Crasto’s canteen works in “take-away” only at lunch and until January 19th. From then on, it will be closed, reopening on February 25th.


Vaccines

Health professionals to receive their second vaccine dose this Sunday

The first health professionals who were vaccinated against covid-19 at the end of the year will start receiving the second dose of the drug from BioNTech / Pfizer on Sunday, the Ministry of Health announced today. “The vaccination program will continue and this Sunday the second doses of vaccines against covid-19 will begin to be administered to almost 30 thousand health professionals in priority contexts of hospitals and primary health care,” said the same source, in communicated.
The ministry also confirmed the information that, at European level, the pharmaceutical company BioNTech / Pfizer is going to make a “change to the delivery quantities of vaccines against covid-19, partially affecting the delivery of the week of 18 January”.

“Portugal and the Portuguese Presidency are in contact with the European Commission and with BioNTech / Pfizer itself, having this afternoon a meeting at European level in which the Commission and representatives of all Member States participated, in order to be presented the planning for the recovery of supplies and to confirm the quantities of the next deliveries ”, he said.

On December 27, the first phase of vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 virus began, covering professionals from university hospital centers in Porto, Coimbra, Lisbon North and Central Lisbon, who received the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.
Since then, about 106 thousand people have been vaccinated in mainland Portugal, including also users and employees of nursing homes and, as of today, health professionals from the priority services of hospitals in the private and social sector, according to the Ministry of Health.


More than 100,000 people have already been vaccinated against Covid-19 in Portugal

106,000 people have already been vaccinated against covid-19 in Portugal, the Ministry of Health announced today, 15 January.
“So far, 106 thousand vaccines have been administered in mainland Portugal”, reveals the ministry in a statement published on the website of the SNS Portal.
As of today, he adds, “this number can be consulted on the online platforms of the Ministry of Health and the Government, guaranteeing transparency in the entire vaccination process”.

The vaccination plan against covid-19 in Portugal started on December 27 in hospitals, covering health professionals and has already extended to nursing homes.
The first phase of the plan, until the end of March, also covers professionals from the armed forces, security forces and critical services. In this phase, as of February, people aged 50 years and over with at least one of the following pathologies will be vaccinated: heart failure, coronary heart disease, kidney failure or chronic respiratory disease under ventilator support and / or long-term oxygen therapy duration.
The second phase starts in April and includes people aged 65 and over and people between 50 and 64 years old, including, with at least one of the following pathologies: diabetes, active malignancy, chronic kidney disease, heart failure liver disease, hypertension, obesity and other less prevalent diseases that may be defined later, depending on scientific knowledge.

EU will receive doses contracted with Pfizer by the end of March – Von der Leyen

The doses of Pfizer’s anti-viral vaccines that should be delivered to the European Union in the first quarter will be delivered by the end of March, despite the delays announced today, guaranteed the President of the European Commission.

“Today, I received the news, like many of you, that Pfizer has announced delays. I immediately called the general manager of Pfizer and he explained that there is a production delay in the coming weeks, but he assured me that all guaranteed doses for the first quarter will be delivered in the first quarter” said Ursula Von der Leyen.
The President of the European Commission, who was speaking during the joint press conference with the Prime Minister, António Costa, during the visit of the college of commissioners to Lisbon, explained that the director general of the pharmaceutical company “personally took on the task of reducing the delay time and guaranteed that he will recover [from the delay] as soon as possible”.
“It was very important to send him the message that we urgently need the guaranteed doses in the first quarter,” he defended.

“I think it is good that they are aware that for us it is a very difficult situation, since the first doses were administered and, four weeks later, the second dose of Pfizer vaccines will have to be administered. Therefore, there is also a medical need to maintain what we have agreed, the planning we have agreed, and the deliveries”, he reinforced.
The North American laboratory Pfizer warned today of a break “starting next week” in deliveries of anti-viral vaccines in Europe, with a view to improving its production capacity, the Norwegian authorities announced today.

“The temporary reduction will affect all European countries,” said the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
“At the moment, it is not known how long it may take for Pfizer to return to maximum production capacity, which will be increased from 1.3 to two billion doses” per week, according to the same source.


Teachers and Vaccinations

Teachers are not considered a risk group that should be included among vaccination priorities against covid-19 only by the criterion of professional activity, according to the Director-General of Health, Graça Freitas on Friday. “Regardless of being school workers, they are people with a certain age group and certain risk factors. Therefore, they will be vaccinated according to that risk, since they do not have an increased risk by profession,” said Graça Freitas at a videoconference hearing in the Ad hoc Commission for monitoring the implementation of measures to respond to the pandemic and the economic and social recovery process.

Questioned by PAN deputy Bebiana Cunha about the possible prioritization of the vaccine to teaching and non-teaching staff, in view of the maintenance of classroom teaching activity in the new confinement decreed by the Government due to the worsening of the pandemic in Portugal in recent weeks, the leader of the Directorate-General of Health (DGS) recognized the importance of these professionals “for the functioning of the country”, but rejected to consider them a risk group.
“Their risk in the community may be greater than the risk in the exercise of the profession, since they deal with an age group that does not transmit much of the disease. Just by profession they are not a risk group”, he observed, adding that the operationalization testing in schools “is the responsibility of the five ARS [Regional Health Administrations], in conjunction with the ACES [Health Centre Groupings


Economy

Support measures for cultural entities, companies and workers

The Minister of Culture, Graça Fonseca, stated that “the measures to contain the pandemic have a particular impact on the culture sector and a set of measures to support entities, companies and workers is necessary”, in a joint press conference with the Minister of State of Economy and Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Vieira, the presentation of support measures adopted in the Council of Ministers on January 13 and in the January 14.
Thus, the Guarantee Culture Program, of 42 million euros, is a universal, non-tender and non-refundable support, which represents the first phase of materializing a program approved by the State Budget for 2021 to support cultural and artistic work, and which includes all companies and collective entities in the sector and natural persons in the field.
This program has two main objectives: to support entities that operate live theatres and independent cinema, and producers, promoters and agents of artistic shows, with a commitment to physical or digital programming; and supporting people or entities from all artistic sectors for programming that may include physical or digital presentations.


Road traffic

Traffic higher than the first confinement because of open schools

The first hours of the confinement show that road traffic is lower than in previous days, but higher than in March and April last year. Phenomenon explained by the movement towards schools, which at that time were closed.
The authorities’ data are still preliminary but there is already a trend. According to captain David Ferreira, one of the spokespersons for the GNR, the first hours of the new confinement because of the pandemic show that the movement of traffic is less than that of the previous 24 hours. Even so, it is not so reduced compared to March and April last year, when the first compulsory stay at home law made. “There is a movement of parents, students and teachers for schools. In March and April schools were not open, which makes a difference. ”

To Expresso, the Nuno Carocha, spokesman for the PSP, reveals that, nationally, in the cities of the continent and in the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, the PSP registered less movement of people and vehicles. “Still, a smaller break when compared to the beginning of the previous confinement. We believe that a substantial part of the movement registered during the morning was related to the movement of students to schools, so we believe that we will soon register the progressive emptying of the streets.”

The traffic control operations of GNR and PSP started at midnight this Friday, with the aim of sensitizing drivers to stay at home and follow the rules of collection dictated by the Government. These are still moments of transition in which everyone is adapting to this moment of exception. “The PSP will remain very present on the streets, in support of the population and verification of compliance with the rules, giving priority whenever possible to the initial pedagogical and preventive intervention.”
At one of Lisbon’s entrances, the one where the A5 ends in the Amoreiras area, Expresso verified that the traffic was similar to that of a Saturday.
A SIC report on the Agualva-Cacém road platform, on the Sintra line, showed that the movement of passengers was not, however, very different from the usual.


Transportation

Operation of the Porto metro “unchanged” during confinement

The operation of the metro in the Porto Metropolitan Area will remain unchanged following the new period of confinement, with no reduction in frequencies or capacity, the company said today.
In a response sent to Lusa today, Metro do Porto explains that the demand that has been registered “remains below the capacity limit of two / thirds of the total capacity”, which is why the operation remains “unchanged”.
“We continue to offer an offer that guarantees the best service in the Metropolitan Area, without decreasing frequencies or capacity,” stated the company, stressing that the cleaning and disinfection effort is maintained.

Lisbon Metro maintains service on weekdays and reduces carriages at the weekend

The Metropolitano de Lisboa will keep offering services on weekdays during the new confinement, and at weekends and holidays it reduces the number of train carriages in half, the company said today.
In a statement, the carrier states that it will maintain its exploration service with the offer at 100%, operating at its maximum available capacity, with no changes to the offer on working days. The Metropolitano also says it will continue to operate on weekdays with an average interval between trains of 3.35 to four minutes during rush hour in the morning and six minutes during rush hour in the afternoon.

“On weekends and holidays, Metropolitano de Lisboa will reduce the number of carriages on each train, starting to circulate with trains of three carriages each, instead of six, maintaining the schedules currently in force”, he said. The company adds that it will “permanently reassess the effects of the implementation of this measure, and will continue to monitor and follow the evolution of the situation, according to the levels of demand, adopting the measures that, at each moment, if deemed necessary to guarantee the best health and safety conditions ”.

CTT keeps mail distribution, services and stores open

CTT – Correios de Portugal informs that they will maintain the distribution of mail and parcels and the more than 550 own stores opened during this new period of confinement.
CTT will keep its 5,000 postmen on the street and count on its 2,500 attendants to guarantee the provision of services to the population, contributing to the maintenance of logistical chains and the functioning of the economy, as has already happened in the first confinement, between March and May 2020, connecting people and companies.
In addition, CTT already has a wide range of digital products, aimed at supporting companies in their activity, created in response to the pandemic COVID-19.

Thus, CTT offers the services CTT Create Online Stores, which allows companies that do not have a digital presence to create an online store simply and quickly and which already has more than 1500 registered stores; the CTT Comércio Local service, in conjunction with the municipalities, so that local merchants can sell their products online and a complete offer of digital fairs and showrooms, in partnership with Dott, allowing traditional regional fairs to take place in a digital environment.
CTT also reinforced the number of 24-hour lockers available to the general public and launched a corporate offer of these lockers, aimed at companies that want to simplify their mail distribution process, especially parcels.

Several partnerships were also launched, namely with the National Pharmacy Association for the delivery of medicines at home, with Uber for urgent deliveries in several cities and also an offer of green deliveries, in partnership with Nespresso, thinking about the sustainability of companies and that consists of using electric vehicles for Nespresso deliveries in Lisbon.


Supermarkets prevented for selling certain items

Supermarkets and hypermarkets will be prevented from next week from selling non-food items, such as clothes, books and decorative objects, the Minister of State and Economy said today.
The diploma that will limit the sale of some products in large stores is due to be published this Friday and will come into force next week, giving the sector time to remove them from the shelves.
“We determined the closure of a set of commercial activities, retail stores and what is foreseen is that it will be possible to limit the sale in super or hypermarkets, large food distribution areas, the type of products that are sold in stores whose closure is determines [in this new general confinement] ”, said Siza Vieira today.

The Minister of Economy, who was speaking at a joint press conference with the Minister of Culture to present support measures for companies whose activity is suspended due to legal or administrative determination due to the new general confinement that started at 00:00 this Friday, stated that the measure is “currently being regulated” and will enter into force “from the beginning of next week”.
At stake are, according to Siza Vieira, decorative products, sports, books or textiles, that is, articles sold in retail stores that are forced to close doors from this Friday.
“It is very apparent to all economic operators that these public health measures should not be market distortions and that is why we have taken action”, said the minister, having also mentioned the importance of large distribution in the book sector, for example, at the same time which also underlined the importance of “market balance”, taking into account that there are products whose purchase can be postponed.


International transport

Portugal extends restrictions on flights outside the EU until the end of January

Portugal has extended until the end of January the restrictive measures related to air traffic outside the European Union and the Schengen Area, which remains limited to “essential travel” and subject to a prior negative test to the covid -19.
According to the dispatch published in Diário da República, the measures that were in force until the end of last December extend to the end of January and the document can be revised “at any time, depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation”.
“The need to extend air traffic restrictive measures is maintained, duly aligned with the public health concerns of the moment,” says the Government.

Thus, air traffic to and from mainland Portugal for all flights to and from countries that are part of the European Union will continue to be authorized, as well as countries associated with the Schengen Area (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland). According to the document, essential journeys are those which allow the transit or entry or departure from Portugal of nationals of the European Union, nationals of States associated with the Schengen Area and members of their families and third-country nationals legally resident in a Member State. Member of the European Union.

Third country nationals traveling for professional, study, family reunion, health or humanitarian reasons are also covered.
The document also contemplates flights to support the return of national citizens or holders of residence permits in mainland Portugal, as well as those of a humanitarian nature and those intended to allow the return to the respective countries of foreign citizens who are in mainland Portugal, provided that “Be promoted by the competent authorities of such countries, subject to prior request and agreement and in compliance with the principle of reciprocity”.


Other news

Bottle gas prices frozen from Monday. 

The energy services regulator shares the entire price of cylinder gas, after the government has frozen prices throughout this month, due to the confinement.
The Energy Services Regulatory Authority (ERSE) discloses this Friday, the 15th, the maximum prices ​​that the bottle gas may reach throughout this month. The Government froze gas cylinder prices throughout the state of emergency.

According to the statement of ERSE these are the maximum prices of gas cylinders:
– T3 butane LPG for bottles with a capacity of 12.5 kg – 22.95 euros;
– LPG butane in type T3 for bottles with 13 kg – 23.87 euros;
– Propane LPG in type T3 for a 9 kg bottle – 19.54 euros;
– Propane LPG, in T3 type for 11 kg bottle – 23.89 euros;
– in the T5 typology, LPG propane, in a 35 kg bottle, cannot exceed 68.25 euros;
– Propane LPG in the T5 typology and 45 kg bottle cannot cost more than 87.75 euros.

These maximum prices start to be applied in mainland Portugal as of 00:01 hrs on the next Monday, January 18th.
The ERSE points out that according to the law, the maximum prices of these bottles of LPG can only accrue costs with delivery service, which apply to situations in which the bottles are acquired atravé sdo by phone or online, available in different location point of sale.
“The price of the delivery service should only adhere to the costs incurred by the supplier with the provision of that service”, it is indicated.

ENERGY CONSUMPTION DUE TO COLD WEATHER BREAKS 11 YEAR-OLD DAILY RECORD

Electricity consumption hit, on Wednesday, the daily record of 11 years and natural gas exceeded the 2017 maximum, according to data from REN – Redes Energéticas Nacionais released this Friday.
The cold spell is the reason for the increase in energy consumption, leading to breaking records both at peak and daily consumption levels, says the manager of energy networks in Portugal.
The maximum daily consumption of electricity reached 185.1 GWh on Wednesday (13 January), exceeding the maximum recorded on 11 January 2010. The highest peak in electricity consumption was at 7.30 pm on the 12th and was 9,887 MW, surpassing the record of 9,403 MW registered in 2010.

The highest consumption of natural gas was recorded on the 5th of 299.1 GWh, surpassing the previous record of 269.9 GWh of 5 December 2017. Also on the 5th, at 8 pm, there was a peak highest consumption ever, with 14,874 MW of consumption, when the previous maximum was 13539 MW registered on January 7, 2020.
Still on natural gas, the data show new historical highs registered on the 5th regarding the daily emission from the Sines LNG terminal for the network and on the 8th on export to Spain, through the Campo Maior interconnection.



Region Reports

Madeira Report 16 January 2021

Covid-19 update

There were 357 new Covid-19 cases (including the highest number of new cases on a single day), 135 recoveries and 3 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.
On Wednesday, there were 106 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from Italy, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 102 cases of local transmission), 56 recoveries and 2 deaths. Two female Covid-19 patients (aged 91 and 98), who apparently had pre-existing conditions, died at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça.

Six of the new cases were from educational professionals from educational institutions in the municipality of Machico. They had been tested as part of Covid-19 testing on staff from educational institutions in several Madeira municipalities. The number of patients in hospital increased to 64, 9 of whom were in intensive care.
On Thursday, there were 111 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from Germany, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 108 cases of local transmission), 38 recoveries and 1 death. A 67 year old male patient, who was infected with Covid-19, died at home. The number of patients in hospital increased to 67, 5 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 140 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from Brazil, 4 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 134 cases of local transmission) and 41 recoveries. This was the highest ever number of new Covid-19 cases on a single day in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Most cases of local transmission had already been linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing. The number of patients in hospital is still 67, 3 of whom are in intensive care.
There are currently 1,503 active cases, of which 127 were imported while the other 1,376 cases were a result of local transmission. So far, there have been 3,218 cases, 1,692 recoveries and 23 deaths.

There are currently 59 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,377 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 67 patients are in Covid-19 units, 3 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.
There are currently 245 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which are all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Friday, there had been 4,677 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.
At the moment, 5,839 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 2,289 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and of Porto Santo.

 

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 148,718 samples had been collected until Friday (at 18h00). Overall, 251,814  samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 907 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, 30,977 calls have been made to this helpline.

The Covid-19 mental health helpline (Linha de Acompanhamento Psicológico do IASAÚDE – 291 212 399 – available every day from 09h00 to 21h00), which was set up to provide emotional and mental support to anyone in Madeira has so far received 2,606 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/13/mais-106-casos-de-covid-19-ha-64-internados-9-dos-quais-nos-cuidados-intensivos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/13/mais-duas-doentes-idosas-morreram-hoje-com-covid-19/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/14/111-novos-casos-de-covid-19-199-suspeitos-67-internados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/15/recorde-de-casos-diarios-positivos-de-covid-19-na-madeira-140/

Mandatory PCR Test when traveling to Porto Santo

All passengers landing at Porto Santo Airport must present evidence of a negative PCR Test that had been carried out in the previous 72 hours. The Regional Health Directorate (Direcção Regional da Saúde) informed this test must be booked at Unidade de Emergência e Saúde Pública and at least 4 days (96 hours) before arrival. Bookings must be made to Unidade de Emergência e Saúde Pública, by email (saudepublica.drs@madeira.gov.pt). This testing policy will remain in place for as long as ferries between Madeira Island and Porto Santo Island are suspended.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/115452/Teste_PCR_obrigatorio_para_desembarcar_no_Porto_Santo

Ban on visits to care homes and residential care homes for children/young people extended until January 31st

The Madeira Regional Government decided to extend the ban on visits to care homes and residential care homes for children and young people (Casas de Acolhimento para Crianças e Jovens) until January 31st. The extension came into force today at 00h00 and will be in place until January 31st at 23h59.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/14/gr-mantem-suspensoes-de-visitas-aos-lares-e-casas-de-acolhimento-ate-31-de-janeiro/

Testing of teaching and non-teaching staff

On Thursday, 580 antigen rapid tests were carried out on teaching and non-teaching staff from educational establishments (352 in the Municipality of Ponta do Sol and 228 in the Municipality of São Vicente).
And on Friday, 270 antigen rapid tests were carried on teaching and non-teaching staff from 5 educational establishments in the Municipality of Santana. All tests came back negative.
As of Friday, more than 11,000 antigen rapid tests had been carried out on teaching and non-teaching staff from educational institutions in several municipalities (Funchal, Câmara de Lobos, Ribeira Brava, Porto Santo, Porto Moniz, Santa Cruz, Machico, Calheta, São Vicente and Ponta do Sol) since the start of the testing campaign on January 5th. The Regional Health Service deployed its professionals to carry out this testing campaign.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/14/sesaram-realizou-580-testes-rapidos-na-ponta-do-sol-e-em-sao-vicente/

Covid-19 vaccination to be complete in 2022

As of Thursday, nearly 2,200 healthcare professionals and 800 people from care homes (residents and staff) had been vaccinated.
The vaccination of Madeira’s population is likely to end in 2022. This it the most optimistic prediction. It is estimated 206,000 people, out of a population of 267,000, will be eligible to be vaccinated. This means more than 400,000 vaccine doses will be required. The vaccination campaign will be divided into 3 phases. About 50,000 people are expected to be vaccinated in the 1st phase. The health authorities in Madeira are hoping to receive 14,625 Pfizer vaccine doses at the start of February, to complement the 9,750 doses that had been delivered at the end of 2020.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/115360/Covid-19_Vacinacao_na_Regiao_concluida_em_2022

Madeira Shopping opening hours changed

The opening hours of MadeiraShopping were temporarily changed as a result of the current Covid-19 restrictions in Madeira. The new opening hours will be applicable until January 31st and  will be: Monday to Friday (08h00 to 18h00) & Saturdays/Sundays/Bank holidays (08h00 to 17h00).

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/14/madeirashopping-adapta-horario-de-funcionamento-ate-dia-31-de-janeiro/

Council of the Madeira Regional Government meetings to be held by video conference

The weekly Thursday meeting of the Council of the Madeira Regional Government will be held by video conference instead of the usual in-person meeting at Quinta Vigia. This will allow each member of the Madeira Executive to take part in the meeting from his/her own office. This decision was taken at a time of stricter Covid-19 restrictions in Madeira.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/115158/Conselho_do_Governo_Regional_passa_a_reunir-se_por_videoconferencia_

Potentially dangerous large tree cut down

A large tree at Jardim Municipal do Funchal which appeared to be approaching the end of its life, was cut down by staff from the Municipality of Funchal. Fear of a potential tree fall, similar to the deadly oak tree fall in Monte in2017 (13 people, including 1 French woman and 1 Hungarian woman, were killed and about 100 people were injured), led to this decision. A large tree had also fallen during this month’s storm in Barreirinha and had nearly hit a car that was being driven.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/14/arvore-em-fim-de-vida-cortada-no-jardim-municipal/

Roadworks at Via Litoral

The exit road of Via Litoral at junction 21 (21Santa Cruz– marked in red on the map), heading from Machico to Ribeira Brava, will be closed to traffic on January 19th (Tuesday) from 09h00 to 18h00. This is due to scheduled repair work on the pavement. As a diversion, Via Litoral suggests drivers continue until junction 19 (nó 19Boaventura), where they should exit and then return to VR1 (Ribeira Brava-Machico) and head towards Santa Cruz. All information is available and constantly updated on the following website:

www.vialitoral.com

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/115405/Via_Litoral_encerra_dia_19_ramo_de_saida_da_via_rapida_em_Santa_Cruz

Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be power cuts in the following days, due to planned work on the electricity supply network. These works must not be postponed. The following areas will be affected:

CAMPANÁRIO

19th January – 09h00 to 11h00

– Estrada do Rodes (partial)
– Caminho do Rodes
– Caminho da Corujeira (parcial)
– Caminho de São Bento

 

FUNCHAL

20th January – 00h30 to 07h00

– Caminho de Santa Quitéria
– Travessa de Santa Quitéria
– Travessa do Pinheiro das Voltas
– Travessa das Preces
– Vereda de Santa Quitéria
– Vereda do Cascalho (number 53)
– Vereda do Viana
– Beco das Preces

However, power could be restored during the time frame mentioned above. So, for safety purposes, it should be assumed that there will be power at any time during this period of time.
If necessary, customers can contact the free Customer Support Service (Serviço de Apoio ao Cliente): 800 221 187.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/16/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-2-2021/

 

Algarve report 16 January 2021

Covid-19

In the Algarve there are more than 328 confirmed cases since Tuesday bringing the total of 11,710 since the start of the pandemic. There are 10 more deaths, the highest daily total, bringing the total to 111.

New Covid-19 strain detected in Tavira and Faro

The new strain of Covid-19, originating in the South of England, and which has a greater transmissibility, was detected in the municipalities of Faro and Tavira.
The South Information found that the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge detected the new variant of Covid-19 in three samples collected in the municipality of Faro and one in the municipality of Tavira.
Two of the samples from the municipality of Faro were collected on the 21st of December and another on the 22nd.

The testing in the municipality of Tavira took place on December 20, according to the data consulted by our newspaper.
Last Friday, at the press conference to update the epidemiological situation in the Algarve , Ana Cristina Guerreiro, regional health delegate, revealed that, in view of the «rapid and large» increase in cases in the municipality of Tavira, the authorities suspected the presence of the new strain of the virus in the municipality, adding that samples had been sent to INSA.

To clarify doubts, samples from the municipality of Tavira followed to INSA and confirmation has now arrived, after that institute released, last Tuesday, a new update on the genetic analysis of the new coronavirus. In addition to Tavira, the new strain is also present in Faro.
Paulo Morgado, president of ARS Algarve, contacted by Sul Informação , stressed that the emergence of the new strain in the Algarve “was something that was expected, given that it has a greater ease of propagation” and that there is in the region “an Airport and a very large English community”.

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/2021/01/nova-estirpe-da-covid-19-detetada-em-tavira-e-faro/

 

In general confinement Albufeira municipality extends free take-away service

Following the new general confinement, in effect since midnight this Friday, and the general duty to remain at home, except for authorized trips, the municipality of Albufeira decided to extend support to the take-away service, under the Program “Present Municipality – Vale Restauração”. The service will operate daily, starting tomorrow (Saturday), January 16, and may accompany any renewals of the State of Emergency.
In a note issued to the media, the municipality speaks of a “very simple” process that can be used by all people, regardless of the area of ​​the municipality where they are located.

The first thing to do is consult the list of participating establishments at: https://www.cm-albufeira.pt/content/vale-restauracao , choose the restaurant or similar, check if the service is available, call and make yours order. You must leave your name, contact and postal address, agreeing the payment method. Then, the establishment from which the meal was ordered, should contact Albucoop on 289 58 32 30, which will designate the nearest transport to arrange delivery. Upon delivery, there will be no payment. The service will operate in compliance with the government’s opening hours. The service operates using the “Bolsa de Quilómetros” recently filed with Albucoop – Cooperativa de Rádio Táxis de Albufeira and is valid for all orders at participating establishments, during all days during the mandatory confinement period.

Source bePortugal

Lagoa among the safest tourist destinations in Europe

European Best Destinations, an organization based in Brussels, which aims to promote culture and tourism in Europe, recently launched the list of the safest European destinations to visit in pandemic times, taking into account respect for current health conditions and restrictions. Lagoa is one of the four Portuguese destinations that punctuate the list of thirteen suggestions in Europe.

In a statement, the municipality points out that among the criteria on which European Best Destinations was based to choose the destinations announced, is the number of active cases of Covid-19 per 100 thousand inhabitants, the number of deaths, the sanitary measures adopted, the recommendations from local authorities to tourists in hotels, local accommodations, shops and restaurants, and average health standards.
In addition to Lagoa, Alentejo, the Azores and Madeira are the other Portuguese destinations considered among the safest in Europe. The list also includes Monte-Carlo, in Monaco; Martinique, in the Lesser Antilles; Tahiti, French Polynesia; Asos, Corfu, Kokkari, Meteora, Ikaria and Cavtat, in Greece, said the municipality.

In the text published by European Best Destinations, which justifies the inclusion of Lagoa in the group of safer tourist destinations, it can be read: “Lagoa implemented measures from an early start to protect the local population and reduce the spread of Covid-19. Bringing together some of the most beautiful jewels in the Algarve such as the beaches of Cova Redonda or Praia Nova and its famous chapel, Praia da Marinha, the villages of Carvoeiro, Ferragudo, Porches (…) Lagoa is probably one of the most beautiful and safe destinations”

Covid.19: JSD Loulé proposes measures to support companies and families in the municipality

The Social Democratic Youth of Loulé considers that in this time of pandemic, local commerce and entrepreneurs “have been left behind despite being the backbone and the engine of the local economy”.
In a statement, JSD Loulé confirms that it has sent today, to the Mayor of Loulé and to the Mayor of the Municipal Assembly, a proposal with measures to support companies and families.
The creation of a fund to support local companies; the exemption from payment of sanitation fees for waste water and urban waste in water billing for families and companies and the exemption from paying parking meters in areas surrounding traditional / local commerce, are measures contained in the proposal issued, as made known.

 

Situation Report Azores – 16th January 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

UK Connections 

The British Government has closed international travel corridors with the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, the same restrictions as for mainland Portugal.  This is because of the Brazilian strain of coronavirus.
Until now, passengers originating in Madeira and the Azores were exempt from fulfilling the 10-day quarantine required of most travellers arriving from abroad, but as of 4:00 am (minus one in the Azores) on Friday 15th Jan. they are no longer on the list safe destinations. Passengers who have been to or transit through Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Panama, Portugal (including Madeira and Azores), Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela in the last 10 days will not be allowed to enter the UK.
British and Irish citizens or third-country nationals with a right of residence in the United Kingdom, as well as Portuguese emigrants living in the country, may enter, but will be required to be quarantined for 10 days.
The British Government will also suspend air links with countries on that list with direct flights to England, namely Argentina, Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal, including Madeira and the Azores.

Sanitary Fences (Health quarantine)

The island of São Miguel is the most affected in the Azores by the pandemic of Covid-19.   Starting on Friday at Midnight there will be sanitary fences (health quarantine) in the parishes of Rabo de Peixe (Ribeira Grande) and Ponta Garça (Vila Franca do Campo).
With the implementation of the fences, which will remain in effect until January 22nd, circulation and permanence on the public road is forbidden and the closure of teaching, catering, drinks, similar establishments and cafes and the cancellation of all cultural events or extended social life.
In addition to this there are new curfew hours on the rest of the island, they take effect at 00:00 on January the 16th, and will be from 20:00 to 05:00 on weekdays.
On Saturdays and Sundays, the ban on driving on public roads is from 3 pm, having already been implemented last weekend.
There are several exceptions to the ban on driving on public roads, such as travel for health reasons, to work and to purchase essential goods.

Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 4,468 tests carried out in the Region over the last three days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for COVID-19 is 166. There are indications that the measures put in place recently are taking effect.  There are 155 on the island of São Miguel, 5 on the island of Terceira 4 on Flores, 1 on Pico and 1 on Faial.
There have been 141 recoveries recorded, 135 on São Miguel and 6 on the island of Terceira.

The current situation in the region 

There are 28 patients in hospital
24 in São Miguel – Hospital of Divino Espírito Santo, in Ponta Delgada (six in ICU). During the afternoon of January 13, a person admitted to the ICU in this hospital was transferred to the Santa Maria Hospital, in Lisbon.
4 in Terceira – Hospital of Santo Espírito on Terceira Island (one of which is in the ICU).
There are 2 active transmission chains not on São Miguel or Terceira. 1 in S. Jorge – the last member of this chain, was evacuated to the Hospital de Santo Espírito on Terceira Island, and the situation is expected to be temporary.
1 in Faial.

There are currently 835 positive cases in the Region, 794 in São Miguel, 31 in Terceira, three in Faial, one in Pico and six in Flores.
To date, 2,947 cases of infection with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, have been detected, with 23 deaths and 1,991 recoveries.
Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.
For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/  or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: // www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .
The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.
It is also available the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

 

Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 13th January 2021

Introduction

Good morning. Later today we will learn the new State of Emergency measures that are to be put in place, effective 00:01 hrs on Thursday 14th January. 

Prime Minister António Costa said yesterday that “weekend containment measures are insufficient” to halt the current dynamics of the Covid-19 pandemic and said that more restrictive measures will be taken at the Council of Ministers today. He added that “the measures must go further” and adopt “a profile similar to that adopted at the beginning of the pandemic, in March and April”.

It is clear from the Infarmed meeting yesterday that we are see a considerable increase: in not only new cases, but also deaths, hospitalisations and those in ICU. The number of deaths on 12th January was 155, a record, and in the last 14 days there were 871 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, also the highest. Of concern is the fact that there are now over 110 thousand active cases, which together is putting the national health service (SNS) under considerable strain. 

In the lead up to this there is, of course, intense speculation as to what measures will or will not be included. We will only know for certain following the Council of Ministers meeting later today.

On the matter of whether schools should or should not close the Prime Minister indicated that it appears he intends for these to remain open.  However, arising from the Infarmed meeting yesterday, all the experts agreed on schools for younger children up to the age of 12 should remain open, but there is doubt is in the middle range where “divergences of views were very strong”, says the Prime Minister.

António Costa reiterated that the new measures should have a horizon of one month, even if the renewals of the State of Emergency are fortnightly, not ruling out the possibility that the measures could be lightened, or even reinforced, according to the evolution of the numbers during the first fortnightly period.

The subject of the testing of the President of the Republic for Covid-19 has come into highlight following PCR test on Monday night that was positive. Resulting from this, the President went into isolation and cancelled his agenda which clearly has an impact on the run up to the Presidential elections, with questions on whether these should be postponed. 

The chronology of the last 3 days can, however, be confusing for ordinary people: on Sunday, the President carried out two tests, which had contradictory results – a rapid test was negative, but at night the results of an RT-PCR test (more reliable) at the Champalimaud Foundation indicated that the President was, after all, infected. In doubt, contrary to the rule and only plausible because he is the President, the health authorities asked for a new PCR test. The sample was collected by an INEM team and analysed, this time, at the national reference laboratory, Instituto Ricardo Jorge (INSA). The third test, and second PCR, was negative. To get rid of all the worries, the health authorities advised a “confirmatory test”, the fourth test since Sunday, which has already been carried out and which was also negative”. According to Pedro Simas virologist of the Instituto de Medicina said that most likely, Marcelo was infected, but “in the final stage of the infection”.

This is my mind raises an important issue as to whether a head of state and those charged with tremendous responsibilities in running the country, in particularly at this critical time, should be vaccinated at the earliest stage, as the implications should they become seriously ill, or worse, would be considerable. This is particularly the case with the President, who is 72.

 A question has now arisen over whether the presidential elections will take place on January 24th given that the President had tested positive for Covid-19 and is in isolation and has cancelled his agenda accordingly. In the Presidential election debate last night however, the President appeared to rule this out by saying “There are no conditions for the Assembly to proceed to a review that would allow a postponement”, when asked about this.

Lastly, we are receiving many questions indeed on measures that will come into effect in the new State of Emergency. The answer is that no one knows until the Council of Ministers have debated this and the decisions announced by the Prime Minister later today. Even then we will not know the details until the law itself is published, probably Thursday. As we have been doing throughout this pandemic we will keep you informed as soon as we have official confirmed news. Please be patient!

Recently we have seen in the USA the harm caused resulting from highly charged and inflammatory statements.  Words do matter! 

Our main work for our volunteers at Safe Communities is keeping you up to date with information during a health crisis and answer your questions when we can. From time to time there are a minority who take advantage of our open Facebook page, to make provocative and negative comments that can quickly descend into personal argument, which I can assure you is not welcome by the vast majority of our readers. If people cannot be polite and think about what they are saying and how this may affect others, then these comments will be removed and in repeated cases the authors blocked. The last thing we need at this difficult time for everyone is such negativity and bickering. Our volunteers work 7 days a week and the last thing we need is to waste time and energy dealing with these sorts of issues.   

Have a Happy and Safe Day


COVID-19 Situation

This Tuesday Portugal registers another 155 deaths related to Covid-19 and 7,259 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, according to the bulletin Directorate-General for Health.

A further 6,028 people recovered in the last 24 hrs bringing the total to 378,084 since the start of the pandemic. Taking into account new cases, recoveries and those who have died there are a further 1,076 active cases making a current total of 110,388.

As for hospital admissions, the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 4,043 patients are hospitalised, 60 more compared to Monday, of whom 599 are in intensive care, 32 more compared to the previous day.

Health authorities have 125,296 contacts under surveillance, an additional 5,004 compared to yesterday.

Regarding the 155 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours: 68 occurred in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 36 in the North region, 36 in the Centre region, 12 in Alentejo, 1 in the Algarve and 2 in Madeira.

The bulletin reveals that the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo registered 3,201 new infections by SARS-CoV-2 in the last 24 hours. In the northern region, 2,180 infections were reported; in the Center region, there were 1,129 more cases; in the Alentejo, 434 more cases were reported and in the Algarve region has today reported 143 new cases.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has recorded 8,080 deaths and 496,552 cases of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus


Health

Daily average of 14,000 new cases forecast in two weeks

Even if you go into total confinement and that means a slowdown in the epidemic, Manuel Carmo Gomes estimates that it is difficult to avoid an average of 14,000 new cases in two weeks. “And we will have to go down from there because 14,000 cases a day are not acceptable”, warns the professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. “We are facing the most difficult weeks of the epidemic”, concludes Carmo Gomes.

Assuming that there was now the same deceleration recorded between March 16th and 28th, in the first wave, as a result of total confinement, “we project that we will hardly ever avoid the 14 thousand cases per day that would occur in approximately two weeks”.

To cut these 14,000 cases in half (7,000 per day), and assuming a similar decline to that of March, “we would take three weeks”. And another three weeks to drop to 3,500 new cases a day, a level roughly the level the country was in before Christmas.

If no measures were put in place and there was still a doubling of cases every 11 days, we could reach January 19th with 18,600 new cases and January 27th with 37,200. “These figures give us an idea of where we might end up”, he stresses.


Weekend Confinement measures have yielded results

According to Baltazar Nunes’ calculations, the imposition of restrictions at the weekend has generated positive impacts both in the evolution of cases, even leading to a decrease, and in the rate of transmissibility (RT from 1.13 to 0.78).

The same projections indicate that if the country advances for a month to a confinement similar to that of March / April – in which there was, for example, the closure of all non-essential trade, as well as restaurants or gyms – but keeping all schools in regime face-to-face, the R may drop to 0.73.

In a scenario where schools only close secondary education, with students over 15 years old remaining with online classes, the R may drop to 0.68. If we move to a fully distance learning model for all students, this value may decrease to 0.63.


Vaccination at GNR started today with professionals from a clinical centre in Lisbon

The vaccination process against Covid-19 at GNR started today with health professionals from the Guarda clinical centre in Lisbon, with 233 individuals expected to be vaccinated by the end of the week.

The vaccination process started today with 24 health professionals from GNR, the first two being a doctor and a nurse, in the presence of the Secretary of State for Internal Administration.

atrícia Gaspar stressed “that today is an important day for the global vaccination process that is happily going smoothly until now” and reinforced the importance of the GNR health professionals vaccinated today, as elements that are at the forefront in the fight against pandemic.

“This is a very sensitive [vaccination] process that has been managed with the utmost care. We started with hospitals, with health centres, homes and long-term care units and now we are vaccinating health professionals from the clinical centre of the National Republican Guard. We will also include the armed forces hospital and the S. João de Deus prison hospital “, he guaranteed.

After this phase, it is expected that several parts of the country will be identified for mass vaccination, having Patrícia Gaspar noted that, like the rest of the population, the vaccine is not mandatory for the security forces.

The Secretary of State for Internal Administration also recalled that “today a new vaccine booster has arrived and this will also allow, if everything goes according to plan, in February to start vaccinating other professionals who are also on the front line: firefighters, the Public Security Police (PSP, the rest of the GNR military and also the Red Cross).


Infarmed bans marketing Xi Ke masks

Infarmed announced that Xi Ke masks from manufacturer Anhui Xinke Sanitation Equipment Manufacturing (Sweden) were banned for not having CE marking or labelling.

The National Authority for Medicines and Health Products says that in Portugal there were no records of the sale of medical devices from this manufacturer in Portugal, but it justifies the alert given “that there is free movement of products in the European Economic Area”.

In the note posted on its website, the regulator asks that the detection, in Portugal, of these masks be reported to the Infarmed Health Products Department.


Use of Facemasks

The Portuguese used the protection mask against Covid-19 less in the weeks that coincided with Christmas and New Year, according to a study released today by the National School of Public Health (ENSP) of Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

The figures were also presented by the director of ENSP, Carla Nunes, at the meeting at Infarmed between politicians, epidemiologists and public health specialists on the evolution of the pandemic, in which she observed that “the number of people who report ‘always’ using the mask when leaveing home and are with other people who do not live with you, it decreases 10.4% in the last two fortnights ”, from 86.7% in the fortnight of November 28th to December 11th to 76.3% in the fortnight between December 26th and January 8th.

In addition to this data, the study on social perceptions in relation to Covid-19 showed that in the last fortnight there were 60% of people who were in a group with 10 or more people who revealed that they had not always had the mask on their face, which translates into a 33.6% growth.

The data refer to 528 responses collected between 12th December 2020 and 8th January this year.



Enforcement

Four arrests, 251 administrative offences and 43 establishments closed between Christmas and 7th January

The administrative infraction records resulted from almost 6300 inspection actions carried out by PSP and GNR, between 24th December and 7th January.

Between Christmas and the first week of 2021, the Portuguese did not disrespect the rules imposed to try to control the pandemic as much as in previous periods. Or, at least, there were not as many infractions as happened, for example, in the first half of September, when the country was in a contingency situation. According to data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, between 24th December and 7th January, in a State of Emergency, the security forces prepared 251 administrative infraction notices. Between September 1st and 14th, it had been 304. There have now been four arrests and 43 establishments closed.

The data for the Christmas period and the beginning of the year are the result of 6283 inspection actions carried out by PSP and GNR in that period. While checking compliance with the rules imposed by the attempted control of the pandemic, security forces arrested four people for disobeying mandatory confinement and closed 43 establishments that were not complying with the rules imposed by the State of Emergency.

As for the records, the largest number, as has been customary, refers to non-compliance with rules related to the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the public road. There were 91 in this transition period of the year (175 in the first half of September).

There were also 63 records for non-compliance with opening hours; 34 for non-compliance with rules related to the permanence and distance in the public space; 27 applied to those who did not wear a mask or visor in closed spaces where this was mandatory; and 13 specifically for not using these means of protection in public transport.

The remaining records, in a much smaller number, concern the holding of celebrations and events that were not allowed (eight), non-compliance with the use of visors or masks in outdoor spaces (six), non-compliance with the maximum capacity of public transport (three) and the rules imposed by health authorities (three).



Economy

Municipalities spent more than 166 million on measures to combat the pandemic

The Court of Auditors released this Wednesday the report “Impact of the measures adopted in the scope of the Covid-19 in the entities of the Local Administration of the Continent” that reveals that the municipalities spent more than 166 million euros in measures to combat the pandemic.

The report shows that the municipalities “adopted a multiplicity of actions benefiting families, companies and institutions, given the economic, social and financial effects of Covid-19”, it can be read in a statement.

“The Court found that 20 municipalities, predominantly in the metropolitan areas, were responsible for 64.3% of net paid expenses, with an emphasis on Cascais, Lisbon, Santarém, Sintra and Oeiras”, he explains.

The amount of 166 million euros represents expenses up to September 30th and can affect the financial balance and sustainability of the municipalities that had the most expenses – predominantly in the metropolitan areas.

Local Government entities have made more than five thousand contracts related to Covid-19. The vast majority are of low value, 73% are below five thousand euros.

Of these contracts, 81.8% followed the simplified direct adjustment procedure and 16.9% followed the general regime direct adjustment. Almost all of them concern the acquisition of goods and services, focusing on medical materials and equipment, security and personal protective equipment, computers and computer equipment, food products and cleaning, disinfection and hygiene materials, explains the Court of Auditors in a statement.



Region Reports

Madeira Situation Report to January 13th, by our correspondent

New restrictions coming into force today

The Madeira Regional Government announced new restrictions due to an increase in Covid-19 cases, which was caused by the new strain that was first detected in the UK and by contacts made at the end of the year.

Failure to comply with these restrictions will be considered a crime of disobedience and punished according to existing legislation.

Curfew/Circulation Ban (until January 31st):

Monday to Friday – 19h00-05h00

Weekends & bank holidays – 18h00-05h00

The following exceptions will apply: 

– Travel for professional reasons (with written evidence);

– Healthcare professionals, professionals from healthcare and social care institutions, civil protection professionals, military personnel, ARAE (Autoridade Regional das Atividades Económicas) inspectors, security forces personnel, diplomatic personnel and clergy;

– Bakery staff (for night shifts – with written evidence)

– For health reasons, emergency shelter of domestic violence or human trafficking victims, to provide care to vulnerable or disabled people, for parental duties and urgent veterinary treatment;

– Journalists are also exempt;

– Travel to the airport to collect or drop passengers;

– Travel by public transport, taxi, TVDE (as long as in compliance with the relevant exceptions)

– For short walks and to walk pets;

– For other reasons as long as they can be shown to be unavoidable or justified

Industrial, commercial and service activities (until January 31st):

Monday to Friday – must close at 18h00

Weekends & Municipal holidays – must close at 17h00

Pharmacies, clinics and veterinaries, services delivering oxygen and medical gas to households, petrol stations (only to fill up vehicles), bakeries, port activities related to the delivery and shipment of containers and their distribution, commercial establishments at Funchal and Porto Santo airports (after passenger security screening) – are exempted from these restrictions.

Restaurants (until January 31st)

Monday to Friday – must close by 18h00. But can be open until 22h00 only for meals to be cooked for home delivery.

Weekends & bank holidays – must close by 17h00.

Only staff tasked with home delivery will be allowed to circulate in public after curfew and until 22h00. They must have the relevant ID and written evidence.

Restaurants/Bars and similar establishments in Funchal and Porto Santo airports (after passenger security screening) and restaurants in tourist resorts and other local accommodation (only to provide meals for guests staying there) – are exempted from the restrictions and can have their normal working hours.

Educational institutions:

In-person school classes (3º Ciclo and Secondary) – suspended from January 13th until January 31st.

In-person school classes (Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, 1º Ciclo, 2º Ciclo, Vocational and Special Needs) – will continue to have in-person teaching.

Public and private universities – advised to adopt remote teaching until January 31st.

All in-person extra-curricular activities – suspended until January 31st.

Sports (until January 31st) – all activities in clubs and sporting infrastructures suspended in all of the Region’s Municipalities (Concelhos) until January 31st. 

Senior Teams who participate in regular national competitions – exempted from these restrictions.

Civil Service – encouraged to work form home whenever possible and justifiable. In-person services to the public will be open between 09h30 and 15h30.

Loja do Cidadão da Madeira (LCM) – Open Monday to Friday (08h300-17h30) & Saturdays (08h30-13h30). Entry will be controlled and conditioned and could be refused to professionals and visitors who do not comply with the sanitary legislation on the use of face masks and access control.

Casinos, Gambling, Lottery and similar establishments (until January 31st)

Weekends (16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th, 30th & 31st January) – must close at 17h00.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/11/governo-restringe-liberdades-de-circulacao-como-resposta-a-pandemia/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/115038/Governo_ja_oficializou_restricoes_que_entram_em_vigor_amanha_Saiba_quais


Covid-19 update

There were 391 new Covid-19 cases, 187 recoveries and 2 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Saturday, there were 115 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 113 cases of local transmission) and 42 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 54, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 93 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 3 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 88 cases of local transmission) and 47 recoveries. Testing of teaching and non-teaching staff enabled the detection of 4 cases in educational institutions in the municipality of Funchal. The number of patients in hospital increased to 55, 7 of whom were in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 88 new Covid-19 cases (from 5 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal, 1 passenger who had arrived from Central Portugal and 81 cases of local transmission), 53 recoveries and 2 deaths. Two female Covid-19 patients (aged 69 and 89), who had pre-existing conditions, died at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, Once again, testing of teaching and non-teaching staff enabled the detection of 4 cases in educational institutions in the municipality of Funchal. The number of patients in hospital increased to 58, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 95 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Czech Republic, 1 passenger who had arrived from Spain, 2 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 89 cases of local transmission) and 45 recoveries. Testing of teaching and non-teaching staff enabled the detection of 1 case at an educational institution in the municipality of Santa Cruz. The number of patients in hospital increased to 61, 7 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 1,284 active cases, of which 138 were imported while the other 1,146 cases were a result of local transmission. So far, there have been 2,861 cases, 1,557 recoveries and 20 deaths.

There are currently 50 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,173 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 61 patients are in Covid-19 units, 7 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 287 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which are all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Tuesday, there had been 4,321 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

At the moment, 6,908 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 2,244 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and of Porto Santo.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 147,924 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 20h00). Overall, 248,734  samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 1,089 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, 30,070 calls have been made to this helpline.                                                 

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/09/115-novos-casos-de-covid-19-54-internados-220-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/10/93-novos-casos-de-covid-19-171-novos-casos-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/11/88-novos-casos-de-covid-19-53-recuperados-230-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/11/mais-duas-mortes-por-covid-19-na-madeira-elevam-para-20-o-numero-total-de-obitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/12/95-novos-casos-de-covid-19-ha-61-pessoas-internadas/

Testing of teaching and non-teaching staff

As of Monday, 9,986 antigen rapid tests had been carried out on teaching and non-teaching staff from educational institutions in higher-risk municipalities (Funchal, Câmara de Lobos, Ribeira Brava, Porto Santo, Porto Moniz, Santa Cruz and Machico). On Monday, 1,072 antigen rapid tests had been carried out (339 in Funchal and 733 in Machico). The Regional Health Service deployed 25 professionals to carry out this testing campaign.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/12/sesaram-realizou-ontem-1072-testes-no-funchal-e-em-machico/


Vaccination update

Pedro Ramos, the Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary, said the Madeira Regional Government would like to have most of the Region’s population (pregnant women and people up to 18 years old) vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of the year or the start of 2022. The aim is also for every eligible person to take the 2 vaccine doses.

He informed Madeira had acquired two freezers that enable the storage of all types of Covid-19 vaccines.

Overall, 206,000 inhabitants, out of a population of 267,000, are expected to be vaccinated. There is not enough evidence suggesting women and people up to 18 years old should also be vaccinated.

The Madeira vaccination plan was announced on the 22nd of December, the first vaccine shipment (9,750 doses) arrived at 01h00 on the 31st of December and the firs doses were administer by 10h00. Healthcare and social care professionals, A&E staff, civil protection staff and citizens over 50 years old who have pre-existing conditions are due to be vaccinated in the first phase. About 5% of healthcare professionals do not wish to be vaccinated. It is a statistic that has been decreasing. Pedro Ramos assured “the vaccine is safe, efficient but free and optional”.

He explained Madeira receive vaccines according to its demographic proportion, which is 2.5% of  what Portugal receives in each batch. On the 1st of February, expects to receive 3 boxes with 14,625 doses, which will allow 12,500 people to be vaccinated. Portugal has already purchased vaccines from AstraZeneca and Moderna. The first vaccination phase is expected to last until March or April.

As of January 8th, 1,215 healthcare professionals (out of 5,800) had been vaccinated. A total of 2,400 doses had been assigned for healthcare professionals and an equal number to care home professionals.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114858/Madeira_quer_populacao_vacinada_contra_a_covid-19_ate_ao_inicio_de_2022


Change on bus service availability

As a result of the new Covid-19 restrictions in Madeira, Horários do Funchal (bus company) is increasing the number of bus services between 16h00 and 19h00 while reducing the number of bus services after 21h00. This change is to ensure civil servants, professionals from the private companies that must close by 18h00, students and educational staff have more options for returning home by 19h00. Bus service availability between 19h00 and 21h00 will remain the same. And from 21h00, all there will only be hourly services on each bus service to ensure all professionals who are exempt from curfew rules can return home.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/115037/Horarios_do_Funchal_reforca_carreiras_entre_as_16h00_e_as_19h00_e_reduz_servico_a_partir_das_21h00


Madeira Regional Government in favour of the State of Emergency

Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Madeira Regional Government, has given his approval to the declaration of the State of Emergency. The President of the Portuguese parliament had asked him to provide the Regional Government’s view on the renewal of the State of Emergency. The Today, the Portuguese parliament is due to deliberate on this.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/115060/Albuquerque_favoravel_ao_estado_de_emergencia



Algarve Situation Report to January 13th

Covid.19: Vaccination has reached homes in the Algarve

Yesterday began the vaccination plan against Covid-19 in the Residential Structures for the Elderly (ERPI) and in the Units of the Integrated Continuing Care Network (UCCI) in the Algarve.

According to the Regional Health Administration of the Algarve (ARS), the vaccination of ERPI users and professionals and RNCCI units in the municipalities of Tavira and Albufeira is already planned, considering that they are two of the municipalities with the highest incidence of Covid-19 in the region, but can be extended to other municipalities throughout the week.

The first to be vaccinated, this morning (Tuesday), were the users and professionals of the Quinta da Palmeira Centre Home in Albufeira and the Media Duration and Rehabilitation Unit of the Tavira Integrated Continuous Care Network. In the afternoon, users and professionals of the Loulé Convalescence Unit and of the Long Term and Maintenance Unit of Vila Real de Santo António have also been vaccinated, notes the ARS.

Within the scope of the National Vaccination Plan against Covid-19, in this first phase, in accordance with the priorities defined by the DGS and the respective delivery of vaccines to the country, in addition to health professionals, the vaccination of users and professionals of all the ERPI and the RNCCI units in the region, by health teams from the three Health Centre Groups of the Algarve that will travel to these structures during the months of January and February.


Loulé Chamber intensifies measures to combat Covid with reinforced tests

The Municipality of Loulé informed that it is reinforcing measures to combat the pandemic, at a time when, similarly to what happens throughout the national territory, the municipality registers an increase in the number of cases of Covid-19, now appearing in the high risk counties map.

In a statement, the municipality states that it “closely follows” the evolution of the situation, either through the Office of Crisis Management Covid-19, which continues to meet four times a week, or by the Municipal Civil Protection Commission which, every Thursday, analyses and decides new measures to mitigate the impact of the disease in Loulé.

The municipality says it has promoted weekly screening of Covid-19, by sampling 11 residential structures for the elderly with less than 50 users, in a partnership with the IPSS and the Algarve Biomedical Centre (ABC). In the three Louletan institutions with more than 50 users, the screenings are carried out by the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, in partnership with ABC.

This Tuesday, nearly 400 tests were carried out in the municipality of Loulé on several fronts, namely at the Lar da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Loulé, in the village of Cortelha, with the school community and in response to other identified needs.


President of AMAL says “new confinement price to pay for the irresponsibility” of families at Christmas

Portugal’s new confinement due to be announced on Wednesday is the “price to pay for the irresponsibility” of families at Christmas, said the president of the Algarve municipalities association (AMAL).

“It’s best we all prepare for a situation of general confinement. It is inevitable and will be the price to pay as a community for some people’s irresponsible behaviour,” António Pina said at the latest press conference about the state of the pandemic in the Algarve.

“It is up to each one of us to be responsible,” he said, adding that there’s “no point in asking the police, the government or anyone else to control the conscience and individual responsibility of each citizen”.

Meantime, regional health delegate Ana Cristina Guerreiro confirmed that most of the new Covid-19 cases have been linked to family gatherings during the festive period.

Said Guerreiro, the aim now is to keep the infected isolated and under surveillance, and to identify those with whom they have come into contact.

According to the health delegate, the virus has spread widely across the region, with only the smaller boroughs being spared thus far.


Portimão activates field hospital

The City Council of Portimão informs that, due to the worsening of the pandemic situation originated by Covid-19, this Sunday, January 10th, the field hospital installed since last April at the Portimão Arena was activated by the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA). that has been on standby throughout this period.

The Portimão Campaign Hospital integrates, since the end of last year, phase 4 of the contingency plan established by CHUA, which is triggered when the reference hospital runs out of its inpatient capacity, requiring the use of external infrastructures.

The unit has 100 beds, 22 of which are articulated, together having three wards with single rooms (30 beds) and eight with multiple rooms (64 beds), in addition to a critically ill unit (six beds). It also has areas of clinical decision, medical support and sectorial meetings, as well as spaces for psychosocial support and provisioning, among other assets, not forgetting the areas of support and effort management of professionals who, from today on, are permanently, 24 hours a day, in this structure of response and reinforcement to the national health service (SNS). 

This field hospital is duly equipped with medical equipment for monitoring, diagnosing and treating critically ill patients, representing an investment of 200 thousand euros by the City Council of Portimão. 

Its benefits are not limited to the treatment of Covid-19, as it will also allow the Municipal Civil Protection to respond to other serious accident or catastrophe situations, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, large fires or other scenarios that cause a high number of victims.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 13th January 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Earthquake 

An earthquake with the magnitude of 5.4 on the Richter scale was recorded on Monday morning on the islands of Faial, Pico, São Jorge and Terceira.  It didn’t cause any material damage.

The Azores Seismo-volcanic Surveillance and Information Centre (CIVISA) said that the event occurred at 11:47 am and the epicentre was about 67 km to WNW (west-northwest) of Capelo, on the island of Faial.

The earthquake was felt with maximum intensity IV / V on the Modified Mercalli scale on the island of Faial, according to the Civil Protection.

On Pico, the earthquake was also felt with intensities III / IV on the Modified Mercalli scale.

On São Jorge it was felt with intensities between III / IV and III.

On Terceira island, it was felt with intensity III on the Modified Mercalli scale also in several parishes, according to the Civil Protection statement.

The Regional Civil Protection Service of the Azores adds that “CIVISA continues to monitor the evolution of the situation, issuing new communications if necessary”.


New Rules 

During the first three days of operation of the rules to stop the Covid-19 pandemic on the island of São Miguel, no infractions were recorded.

The Regional Command of the PSP of the Azores has said that all companies are complying with the rules defined by the Regional Government of the Azores.

During the weekend, the police did not report non-compliance with the closing hours of commercial establishments, at 3 pm. They will continue to monitor the opening hours of commercial establishments, while the measures to curb the contagion by Covid-19 on the island of São Miguel remain in force.

PSP recognizes that support from the population is essential and recommends that the community contact PSP if you are aware of any irregular situation.

The elements of the PSP Criminal Investigation Brigades, which circulate in un-marked vehicles, will monitor the isolation measures imposed on members of the community who are positive.

The agents will travel to the homes of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 to see if they are complying with the prophylactic isolation measure.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 5,116 tests carried out in the Region over the last four days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for COVID-19 is a worrying 351. There are 340 on the island of São Miguel, 10 on the island of Terceira and 1 on Faial.

There have been 131 recoveries recorded, 118 on São Miguel, 10 on the island of Terceira, 1 on Faial and 1 on Flores.

The current situation in the region 

There are 27 patients in hospital

22 in São Miguel – Hospital of Divino Espírito Santo in Ponta Delgada (six in ICU);

5 in Terceira – Hospital of Santo Espírito on Terceira Island (two of which are in the ICU).

Transmission Chains 

In view of the situation of community transmission registered in the islands of Terceira and S. Miguel, the local transmission chains for these islands are no longer listed.

Other islands 2

1 in S. Jorge (the last member of this chain was evacuated to the Hospital de Santo Espírito on Terceira Island, and the situation is expected to be temporary);

1 in Faial.

Extinguished – 193

There are currently 841 active positive cases in the Region, 797 in São Miguel, 40 in Terceira, two in Faial and two in Flores.

2,781 cases of infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 disease, have been detected to date, with 22 deaths and 1,823 recoveries.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/  or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: // www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available via the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.



Portugal Situation Report Saturday 9th January 2021

Introduction

A reminder that prohibition of travelling between municipalities in mainland Portugal came into effect at 11 pm last night Friday until 5 am on Monday 11th January, within the scope of the measures released by the Government to contain Covid-19, after the escalation of new cases in recent days .

In addition to this measure, people living in 253 municipalities on the mainland are also subject to curfews and the consequent prohibition of travelling on public roads and public spaces today Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th from 1 pm and until 5 am the next day. Please check the respective pages on our website for more details. 

In addition António Costa also revealed that the Government is considering adopting even more restrictive measures as early as next week, even before the renewal of the declaration of a State of Emergency, should the numbers of new cases continue to increase.

All indicators from the President, Prime Minister, and political parties are that we are heading towards a general confinement should these figures continue as they are. The President has given his thoughts on this by highlighting two scenarios, one being that the figures decrease sharply in the next few days, whereby we continue with similar measures as has been the case over the last two months or so. The alternative is that should the daily cases continue as they are, then far tighter measures will be required.   

There will inevitably be much speculation on what the new measures may be but as in all renewals of the State of Emergency we will not know until the official announcement, the communiqué of the Council of Ministers and finally the decree law itself. Once again we have seen media and others “gazing into their crystal balls” only to find that the rates per 100,000 they predicted were not realised when the Communique of the Council of Minsters was published on Thursday. In one or two cases the municipality websites were out of date and in any event these are not an official source in determining the decisions of Government, when it comes to renewing the municipality risk lists. We therefore recommend that it is best to await the official outcome.

When we compare the various municipalities in the four groups, from the 24th December and 8th January a distinct trend emerges. We can see that the number of municipalities on 8th January at extreme risk has increased by 106% and in very high risk increased by 67%. Conversely in the High risk group the number of municipalities has decreased by 29% and in moderate risk group a reduction of 67%.  So there has been a large swing to the higher risk groups over the last two weeks. 

To put it another way there are now 91% of municipalities are at high risk or above where a month ago it was 74%. With so few moderate risk municipalities, only 25%, these could be an indicator that we are heading towards general confinement in some form or another. 

When comparing the geographical distribution between 9th December and 8th January there has been a major shift, with nearly all extreme risk municipalities previously concentrated in the northwest, now more evenly spread throughout the country, albeit with fewer on the Algarve. 

Lastly, please note that the cold weather is set to continue at least until the 12th January and beyond. All mainland Districts are at yellow warning. Minimum temperatures today throughout the mainland range from -3C (likely colder in remote areas) to 2-3. Even in the Algarve we will see a start of the day temperature around 0C – 3C. Maximums in the Algarve are forecast around 11C and for most of the mainland in the order of 5-7C: so it is very cold and below normal for this time of year according to the IPMA. Please monitor the weather warnings the ANEPC and IPMA are issuing which we are publishing on the Safe Communities Facebook page. In case you have not seen the last one published last night this can be downloaded from or website her; https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/current-anpc-weather-warning-to-the-population-2/ 

There are also many developments in the Azores and Madeira concerning State of Emergency measures which have differences from the mainland. These are outlined in the situation reports today for these areas.

Please keep Safe and Warm and have a good weekend.


Headlines

Rui Rio agrees with “much tighter confinement” and available to postpone presidential elections

The Government wants to tighten measures against the Covid-19 and the PSD party promises to support it. After the meeting with António Costa, this Friday, Rui Rio, leader of the PSD party, showed the party’s willingness to “give the Government the necessary tools to take the appropriate measures”.

“The government wants to know our readiness to support more drastic measures,” announced the leader of the Social Democrats, adding that “we will probably have a much tighter confinement in the country” next week.

Rui Rio did not lift the veil on what are the restrictions that the Executive plans to introduce, but the closure of schools seems to be an option so far now removed. Even so, the Social Democrat says he does not understand a scenario in which schools remain open with the rest of the country confined, however he guarantees that this issue will not lead the PSD to oppose resistance to the new measures of the Government.

“The PSD is unlikely to take advantage of anything that it may disagree with, and then create a bigger problem for the country,” he explained, when questioned by journalists on the topic. “The last thing I want is to further complicate the situation.”

The PSD “will be available to vote for this State of Emergency and also to support the measures that defend public health, with the possible mitigating factors, in view of the economic drama that represents closing the country again, strongly for another two, three or four weeks “.


Covid-19

DGS Covid-19 Situation

Yesterday the country recorded a record 118 deaths and 10,176 cases in 24 hours.

A total of 4480 have recovered in this period.

Taking into account recoveries, deaths and new cases there are 98,938 cases active this Friday, 5,578 more than yesterday.

The region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley had the highest level of new infections in the last 24 hours, 4,291; North with 2 969; Centre 1,963; Alentejo 433; Algarve 400; Madeira 65; Azores 55.

As for hospitalized patients, the number rose to 3,451, 118 more than Thursday and those hospitalized in intensive care rose to 536, 22 more than the day before.

Health officials have 109,161 people under active surveillance, plus 5390.

The highest number of daily deaths so far had been on December 13th, with 98 victims. In comparison, yesterday’s number is 20% higher.

This is the third consecutive day with numbers in the order of 10,000 infected daily. The total for the last three days is 30,130 new contagions.

In addition to the numbers in the DGS bulletin, the transmission index (Rt) is growing rapidly and the latest data indicate that at national level it stands at 1.20. That is, every 10 new cases will give rise to another 12. At Christmas time, the Rt was below 1.

Portugal now has an accumulation of 7590 deaths associated with Covid-19 and 466,709 positive cases confirmed since the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020.


Health

Covid-19. Lisbon and Tagus Valley have 323 active outbreaks, 121 of which are in nursing homes

Active outbreaks in Residential Structures for the elderly, “with a total of 3,133 confirmed cases”, represent “concern considering the age and comorbidities generally associated with residents”

This Friday, the region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley counts 323 active outbreaks of Covid-19, of which 121 are identified in residential structures for the elderly, with a total of 3,133 confirmed cases, reveals the Regional Health Administration.

Of the total number of active outbreaks in this region, “eight are in the process of being resolved”, says the Regional Health Administration of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley (ARSLVT), in response to the agency Lusa.

As for the 121 active outbreaks in Residential Structures for the Elderly (ERPI), according to data from this Friday, “with a total of 3,133 confirmed cases”, the Regional Health Administration says that, within the scope of the incidence of infections in the Lisbon region and Vale do Tejo, the situation in nursing homes “represents a concern considering the age and comorbidities generally associated with ERPI residents”.

“However, the cases are being followed up by the health authorities, in conjunction with the directions of the homes and with the health units”, assures ARSLVT.

On Tuesday, the Director General of Health, Graça Freitas, revealed that mainland Portugal had 417 active outbreaks of contagion due to the new coronavirus, of which 284 in the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 55 in the North region, 29 in Alentejo, 25 in the Centro region and 24 in the Algarve, “mainly identified in residential structures for the elderly, less in schools and some in health institutions”.


More than half of the excess deaths during a pandemic attributed to the disease – INE

Deaths associated with the Covid-19 disease accounted for 52 percent of the excess mortality seen in Portugal between March and December last year, the National Statistics Institute (INE) announced today.

According to the INE bulletin on mortality in the context of a pandemic, since March 2nd – the date of the first diagnosed case of infection with the new coronavirus – until December 27th, 99,356 people died, an increase of 12,852 deaths in relation to the average of the same months in the years 2015 to 2019.

Of those 12,852 more deaths, 6,677 were attributed to Covid-19, which represents a percentage of 52%. Between November 30th and December 27th alone, 2,172 people died with Covid-19, a number that exceeds the increase of 1,884 deaths in relation to the average for the same period of the last five years.


Outbreak at Torres Vedras hospital increases to 62 active cases and 7 deaths

Torres Vedras, Lisbon, Jan 8 (Lusa) – The number of active cases in the Covid-19 outbreak at Torres Vedras hospital rose from 50 to 62, with seven deaths and three recovered, according to the municipality’s epidemiological bulletin today released.

Of a total of 72 confirmed cases associated with this outbreak, 62 are active, seven died, two more than on Wednesday, and three recovered.

Official municipal source explained to the Lusa agency that the total of 72 cases of infection includes users who were infected when they were admitted to the unit for other diseases, but who are recovering at home.

Inside the hospital, the latest state of play released in a statement on Wednesday by Centro Hospitalar do Oeste pointed to 20 patients and 11 infected professionals.

In total, 131 employees and 76 patients were tested.

The hospital says it is complying with all the rules imposed by the health authority, namely the transfer of infected patients to inpatient spaces dedicated to Covid-19 and the disinfection of services.

At the Centro Hospitalar do Oeste, the hospitalisation capacity for patients infected with Covid-19 was now full, with 71 beds occupied in the units of Caldas da Rainha and Torres Vedras.

The Centro Hospitalar do Oeste integrates the hospitals of Caldas da Rainha, Torres Vedras and Peniche, covering an areas constituted by the populations of the municipalities of Caldas da Rainha, Óbidos, Peniche, Bombarral, Torres Vedras, Cadaval and Lourinhã, and part of Alcobaça and Mafra municipalities. These counties are divided between the districts of Lisbon and Leiria.


S. João Hospital receives Covid-19 patients transferred from Lisbon

The high pressure in hospitals in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo is forcing the transfer of patients to other regions of the country.

The Hospital de S. João, in Porto, received Friday afternoon, Covid-19 patients from hospitals in the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo.

Hospitalisation, especially in the Lisbon region, is at its limits. And in the last few days there has already been a need to transfer patients to the Algarve and Covilhã.

It should be noted that, in November, hospitals in the North also transferred patients between units in the region and to other regions to provide assistance.

The increase in new cases recorded in the last few days – around 10,000 – will keep the National Health Service under high pressure. In addition to Covid-19, hospitals have registered an increase in demand in emergency rooms, typical of this time of year, due to the cold spell that plagues the country.


Armed Forces Hospital converted into campaign unit

The Lisbon branch of the Hospital das Forças Armadas (HFAR) will be converted into a campaign unit to assist the National Health Service due to the recent increase in the numbers of people infected by the new SARSCov2 coronavirus.

In a statement, the Ministry of National Defence announced today the expansion, next week, of those facilities for a “response capacity up to 60 inpatient beds in the infirmary and six intensive care beds”.

In both Lisbon and Porto, HFAR has received and treated around 500 patients with Covid-19 since March.

“HFAR will also strengthen its teams of health professionals, with doctors and nurses from the different branches of the Armed Forces”, reads the text, which adds that orders were given to the Armed Forces General Staff (EMGFA ) to increase “the level of readiness of military back-up support structures in the Centro, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo and Alentejo regions”.


Vaccination Clarification

Clarification on administration of the vaccine against Covid-19

According to the INFARMED Note of December 30th, the possibility of extracting 6 doses was confirmed, allowing the administration of 6 doses per bottle, as long as the 0.3 ml volume was always checked and guaranteed before each administration. Doses should be withdrawn under aseptic conditions and using appropriate needles and syringes. This note was disseminated and distributed and is being practiced in the administration of this vaccine.

This guidance was given in the context of the ongoing discussion, within the network, integrated by INFARMED, of regulatory authorities for the European Union medicine and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), with the marketing authorisation holder formally submitted the request to change the extraction of the number of doses per bottle, the evaluation of which will be completed today and which will be the subject of further communication.

This update will subsequently be reflected in the DGS Standard, prepared in accordance with the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC).

In this context, the general practice of vaccination posts has been to use the 6th dose, provided that the required conditions are met.

It is, therefore, false that Portugal missed the 6th dose, according to Expresso news. Even so, it is important to state that the use of the 6th dose complied with all the safety and quality rules applicable to the reconstitution and administration of drug formulas.


Vaccination supplies

Brussels guarantees 300 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

The European Commission has reached an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech to acquire an additional 300 million doses of its vaccine against Covid-19, announced today the President of Community Executive, Ursula von der Leyen.

At a press conference in Brussels, Von der Leyen explained that the Commission negotiated the extension of the contract with Pfizer and BioNTech, from which it had already purchased 300 million doses of the vaccine, thus allowing to double that number and stressed that 75 million of these additional doses will be available ‘as of the second quarter’, with the remainder delivered in the third and fourth quarters.

With the vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech already guaranteed, associated with the 150 million doses of the vaccine developed by the modern pharmaceutical company – the second to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Commission for use in the EU, Brussels has already guaranteed that “a number of doses that allow 380 million Europeans to be vaccinated, but 80% of the European population”, underlined Von der Leyen.

“We have many projects for the year 2021, and this is particularly true for economic reconstruction. But all of this presupposes that we will be able to overcome the pandemic. To do this, we must vaccinate as many Europeans and as soon as possible. And that is why I am happy with this very positive development today”, she said.

Von der Leyen reiterated that “other vaccines will follow in the coming weeks and months”.


Covid-19: Pombal with 92 positive cases in care homes

The municipality of Pombal, in the district of Leiria, currently records 92 positive cases of Covid-19 in care homes, between users and employees, announced the councillor with the area of Social Development, Ana Cabral.

“In the total of cases that I know of now, we have 92 positive cases in homes, users and direct assistants and also nurses and even doctors,” said Ana Cabral, at a press conference on the county’s epidemiological situation, which became part of the list of the municipalities at very high risk of being infected by the new coronavirus (between 480 and 960 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants).

The councilwoman, who listed a set of structures for the elderly that are being monitored after cases of Covid-19 have been registered, said that in the matter of strengthening human resources, the municipality of Pombal is “always in discussions with Social Security”.

“All the human resources in the municipality that are entering the homes are all tested, they do not enter without a negative test”, he added.


Schools

Clarification on ventilation and aeration of spaces in schools

The Directorate-General for Health (DGS), the Directorate-General for Education (DGE) and the Directorate-General for School Establishments (DGEStE) have sent a clarification to schools about the ventilation and ventilation of spaces.

According to the guidelines for the 2020/21 school year published in July by DGS, DGE and DGEStE, “whenever possible, and that this does not compromise the safety of children and students, the windows and / or open doors, in order to allow better air circulation ”.

In view of the current meteorological situation, the note sent to schools reads, “when there are no mechanical ventilation equipment in the classrooms or other spaces used for teaching, ventilation can be carried out naturally during breaks, ensuring ventilation and indoor air renovation ”.

As stated in the DGS guidelines, the use of mechanical air ventilation (HVAC system – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) is allowed, in order to guarantee thermal comfort, despite the ventilation (air renewal) of the spaces must be preferably done with natural ventilation.

These systems must be used safely, ensuring proper cleaning and maintenance, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and the renewal of air in enclosed spaces, by frequent aeration and / or by the mechanical ventilation systems themselves (when this functionality is available).


Other News

2020 was the hottest year in Europe and equalled 2016 globally

The year 2020 was the hottest in history in Europe and the world level equalled the 2016 record, according to the report of the European terrestrial observation program Copernicus released today.

The Copernicus’s annual report concluded that the decade 2010-2020 was the warmest in history, closing 2020 with an increase of 0.4 degrees Celsius compared to 2019.

The report also indicates that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continued to rise over the past year at a rate of approximately 2.3 particles per million (ppm) peaking at 431 ppm during the month of May.

The year 2020 was 0.6 degrees Celsius warmer than the average between 1981 and 2010 and about 1.25 degrees above the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900.

According to these observations, the largest annual temperature rise over the 1981-2010 average was concentrated in the Arctic Ocean and northern Siberia, reaching more than 6 degrees Celsius above the average.

The forest fire season in the Arctic region was extremely active, with fires recorded for the first time in May and which continued throughout the summer and into the fall.

As a result, fires in the Arctic Circle released a record 244 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2020, more than a third more than the 2019 record, adds the Copernicus report.



Region Reports

Madeira Situation Report from our correspondent.

ADDITIONAL COVID-19 POLICIES IN MADEIRA (applicable during this and the following weekend)

On Thursday, the Madeira Regional Government decided to introduce Covid-19 policies that will be applicable this weekend and in the next weekend. These policies are being implemented in addition to the rules that were included in the previous Situation Report (Situation Report Madeira 2nd-5th January).

Restriction on commercial activity:

Saturdays and Sundays: 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th January 

All commercial establishments must be closed between 17h00 and 08h00, including big commercial enterprises and supermarkets. 

Exceptions: pharmacies, clinics and and petrol stations (only to fill up vehicles) are exempted.

Restaurants/Bars and similar establishments:

Saturdays and Sundays: 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th January 

Must close by 17h00. Due to restrictions on circulation, takeaway and home delivery services will also be closed.

Prohibition of Circulation:

Saturdays and Sundays: 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th January 

No circulation in public spaces or roads between 18h00 and 05h00 (following day)

The following exceptions will apply: 

– Travel for professional reasons (with written evidence);

– Healthcare professionals, professionals from healthcare and social care institutions, civil protection professionals, military personnel, ARAE (Autoridade Regional das Atividades Económicas) inspectors, security forces personnel, diplomatic personnel and clergy;

– For health reasons, emergency shelter of domestic violence or human trafficking victims, to provide care to vulnerable or disabled people, for parental duties and urgent veterinary treatment;

– Journalists are also exempt;

– Travel to the airport to collect or drop passengers;

– Travel by public transport, taxi, TVDE (as long as in compliance with the relevant exceptions)

– For short walks and to walk pets;

– For other reasons as long as they can be shown to be unavoidable or justified

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/07/novas-medidas-de-controlo-da-pandemia/

https://joram.madeira.gov.pt/joram/1serie/Ano%20de%202021/ISerie-001-2021-01-04sup2.pdf


Covid-19 update

There were 278 new Covid-19 cases, 106 recoveries and 2 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

So far, there have been 2,470 cases, 1,370 recoveries and 18 deaths.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/08/91-novos-casos-de-covid-19-308-suspeitos-56-internados/

On Wednesday, there were 110 new Covid-19 cases (from 4 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from France, 1 passenger who had arrived from South Africa, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 103 cases of local transmission) and 31 recoveries. All new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Testing of teaching and non-teaching school staff from educational institutions in the municipality of Câmara de Lobos enabled the detection of 6 of the new Covid-19 cases. The number of patients in hospital increased to 48, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 77 new Covid-19 cases (from 4 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 2 passengers who had arrived from France, 1 passenger who had arrived from Germany, 1 passenger who had arrived from Italy, 1 passenger who had arrived from Spain, 1 passenger who had arrived from Venezuela, 2 passengers who had arrived from Northern Portugal, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, and 64 cases of local transmission), 39 recoveries and 2 deaths. An 86 year old female patient, who had been hospitalised in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça since the 4th of January, died from Covid-19. And a 47 year old female patient, who had pre-existing conditions and who had been hospitalised in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça since the 2nd of January, became Madeira’s youngest fatality from Covid-19.

All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Testing of teaching and non-teaching staff enabled the detection of 4 cases in educational institutions in the municipality of Funchal and of 1 case in an educational institution in the municipality of Câmara de Lobos. The number of patients in hospital increased to 54, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 91 new Covid-19 cases (from 4 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 2 passengers who had arrived from Belgium, 1 passenger who had arrived from Austria, 1 passenger who had arrived from Italy, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 81 cases of local transmission) and 36 recoveries. 

The Municipality of Funchal had the biggest number of new Covid-19 cases (36 new cases). The Municipality of Santa Cruz had 22 new cases, the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos had 18 new cases and the Municipality of Machico had 8 new cases.

Once again, testing of teaching and non-teaching staff enabled the detection of 2 cases in educational institutions in the municipality of Funchal. Most cases of local transmission had already been linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital increased to 56, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 1,082 active cases, of which 181 were imported while the other 901 cases were a result of local transmission. So far, there have been 2,192 cases, 1,370 recoveries and 18 deaths.

There are currently 39 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 987 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 56 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, 6 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 308 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which are all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Friday, there had been 3,930 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

At the moment, 9,638 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 2,378 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and of Porto Santo.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 146,426 samples had been collected until Friday (at 18h00). Overall, 243,708 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 596 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, 26,981 calls have been made to this helpline.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/06/110-novos-casos-de-covid-19-48-internados-269-casos-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/07/madeira-tem-neste-momento-1027-casos-activos-de-covid-19/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/07/morreu-mais-uma-doente-com-covid-19-no-funchal/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/07/mulher-com-47-anos-morre-no-funchal-com-covid-19/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114682/Funchal_voltou_hoje_a_ser_o_municipio_mais_afetado_pela_pandemia


26% of all Covid-19 cases detected in the first 7 days of January

The Autonomous Region of Madeira recorded 619 new Covid-19 cases in the first 7 days of January. This alarming statistic represents 26% of all Covid-19 cases that have been detected in Madeira. On average, there were 88.4 new cases in the first 7 days of January. There had been 967 new Covid-19 cases in December, which were more than half (54.9%) of the cases detected in the Region in 2020. As for deaths, 12 deaths had occurred in December, 2 had occurred in November and 4 occurred in the first 7 days of 2021. These data show the extent of the worsening pandemic situation in Madeira in the last 2 months.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114632/Covid-19_Madeira_regista_em_apenas_sete_dias_26_dos_casos_desde_inicio_da_pandemia


One infected patient feared to have caused the spread of Covid-19 in Porto Moniz

There are suspicions that one infected patient, whose professional duties required plenty of close contact with other people, was responsible for worsening the epidemiological situation in the municipality of Porto Moniz. On Wednesday, there were 19 active cases in the municipality and dozens of people, including some famous people, had been forced to go into isolation. Many of the infected patients belong to the same family. The regional education authorities ordered the closure of schools in the municipality.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114417/Apenas_um_infetado_propagou_o_virus_no_Porto_Moniz


Update on testing of teaching and non-teaching school staff

On Wednesday, 1,573 antigen rapid tests were carried out on teaching and non-teaching staff from schools in the municipality of Funchal. On Friday, 1,190 antigen rapid tests were carried out in the municipality of Funchal and 454 in the municipality of Ribeira Brava. Today, testing will be carried out on teaching and non-teaching staff from educational institutions in the municipalities of Funchal and Porto Santo.

Teaching and non-teaching staff from educational institutions in high-risk municipalities (Funchal, Câmara de Lobos, Ribeira Brava, Porto Santo and Porto Moniz) must be tested for Covid-19. The regional health service is in charge of the testing campaign and 25 healthcare professionals have been assigned for this task.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114439/SESARAM_realizou_1573_testes_rapidos_no_Funchal

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114674/_SESARAM_realizou_1642_testes_no_Funchal_e_Ribeira_Brava


Vaccination update

As of Thursday (at 15h00), 1,215 healthcare professionals (384 doctor and 581 nurses) from the regional health service had been vaccinated against Covid-19. The number of vaccines available is shaping the vaccination campaign. A total of 9,750 vaccine doses were delivered to the Region as part of the first vaccination phase.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114510/1215_profissionais_de_saude_do_Servico_Regional_vacinados_contra_a_covid-19


Municipality of Funchal invested €20,000 in sanitary equipment 

The Municipality of Funchal (Câmara Municipal do Funchal) invested nearly €20,000 in the acquisition of medical and personal protection equipment for its staff. A total of 60,000 disposable gloves, 40,000 disposable face masks, 500 disposable paediatric face masks, 500 FFP3 face masks, 2,500 units of hand-sanitiser gel and 2,000 units of liquid disinfectant for surfaces were purchased.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114626/CMF_investe_20_mil_euros_em_material_sanitario_para_os_servicos_camararios_


Adverse weather in Madeira

Bad weather in Madeira in the last few days caused 96 reports of occurrences such as fallen trees, floods and landslides throughout the island. There were no injuries or fatalities. Clean up work was underway on the entire north shore.

Yesterday, snowfall on higher ground forced the closure of ER202, between Poiso and Pico do Areeiro, to prevent the population from reaching these areas and to prevent difficulties for them.

Yesterday, two Madeira-bound easyJet flights, one from Lisbon and another from Porto, were forced to divert to Lisbon and Porto Santo as a result of bad weather that was affecting the area around Funchal Airport. A Binter flight from Porto Santo to Funchal, which had been due to depart at 07h30, was cancelled.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114614/Depressao_Filomena_causou_96_ocorrencias_na_Madeira_sem_danos_humanos_

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114599/Limpezas_decorrem_por_toda_a_costa_norte

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114585/Temporal_Dois_voos_divergidos_e_um_cancelado


Map showing road closures and traffic disruptions

The following website provides information on road closures and traffic disruptions caused by recent adverse weather and other reasons such as roadworks or work on the water supply network. The information is updated by DRE (Direcção Regional de Estradas – Regional Directorate of Roads).

Below is a translation of some key words that appear on the map:

Encerramento de Trânsito – Road Closure

Condicionamento de Trânsito – Traffic Disruption

Encerrada/Encerrado – Closed

Aberto/Aberta – Open

Nome da via – road name

Data Encerramento – Date of road closure

Localização – Location

Entre o/a….e o/a…. – Between….and….

Estado – Current status

Coordenadas – Coordinates

Descrição – Description

Justificação – Reason/Cause

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1286XqfwjxGF2JgDIrl3_gmiOouk&ll=32.7586081386092%2C-16.963461932811377&z=11


List of road closures and disruptions:

The following website provides a list of all road closures and disruptions on Estradas Regionais (ER – Regional Roads).

Below is a translation of some key words that appear on the list:

Estradas encerradas devido às más condições meteorológicas – Roads closed as a result of adverse weather

Com o trânsito condicionado encontram-se as seguintes Estradas Regionais em consequência das más condições meteorológicas – Regional Roads (Estradas Regionais) with traffic disruptions as a result of adverse weather

Estradas Regionais encerradas devido à queda de neve – Regional Roads (Estradas Regionais) closed as a result of snowfall

Estradas Regionais condicionadas devido à queda de neve – Regional Roads (Estradas Regionais) with traffic disruptions as a result of snow fall

Secção – Section

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/08/desobstrucao-de-zonas-afectadas-prossegue-no-fim-de-semana/


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be power cuts in the following days, due to planned work on the electricity supply network. These works must not be postponed. The following areas will be affected:

FUNCHAL

12th January – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Rua do Campo do Marítimo (numbers 29 and 31-A)

12th & 15th January – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Caminho de S. Quitéria

– Travessa de S. Quitéria

– Travessa do Pinheiro das Voltas

– Travessa das Preces

– Beco das Preces

– Vereda de S. Quitéria

– Vereda do Cascalho (number 53)

– Vereda do Viana

13h January – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Caminho de Água de Mel

– Rua da Ribeira de Santana

– Travessa de Água de Mel

– Beco de Água de Mel (numbers 2 to 14)

14h January – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Estrada Monumental (number 239)

14h January – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Caminho do Trapiche (numbers 149 too 176)

– Caminho da Barreira

– Vereda do Camacho

SÃO JORGE (SANTANA)

13th January – 09h30 to 12h30

– Sítio da Ribeira Funda

– Caminho do Lombo

CANIÇAL (MACHICO)

14th January – 09h00 to 12h00

– Sítio da Banda do Silva

– Sítio da Cerca

– Sítio das Feiteirinhas

– Sítio de Entre Águas

– Estrada de São Lourenço (number 172)

However, power could be restored during the time frame mentioned above. So, for safety purposes, it should be assumed that there will be power at any time during this period of time. 

If necessary, customers can contact the free Customer Support Service (Serviço de Apoio ao Cliente): 800 221 187.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/09/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-1-2021/



Algarve

Covid.19: Mayor of Olhão updates data that place the municipality at “very high risk

Although the municipality has officially entered high risk – following the review of the Council of Ministers announced yesterday, the fact is that on the same day, the Mayor of Olhão, warned that the situation is higher.

In a Facebook post, the mayor explains that the high-risk statement refers to Wednesday’s figures, “where the Olhão index was 436.9, below the 480 index (number of new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants)”. However, according to António Pina, that index was exceeded yesterday, as a result of the 41 new cases registered” rising to the 513.5 index “, corresponding to the very high level of risk.

With 221 active cases, the mayor speaks of a situation that leads to the progressive worsening of restrictions, “due to the lack of common sense of some, in the exercise of the freedoms allowed until now”.

The official even says that “common sense is not inspected, nor decreed, in a free and democratic state”, criticising the “continuous indifference of a minority, to the calls and awareness, for a more responsible attitude and the fulfilment of measures for individual and collective”, he concludes.


Covid: 19: New restrictions lead to the cancellation of the 51st edition of the Grand Prix of the Kings

The municipality of Faro informs in a statement that, in light of the new restrictions announced this Thursday by the Council of Ministers, the organisation decided to cancel the 51st edition of the Grand Prix of the Kings, which was to take place on Saturday, January 9th, on the athletics track in Faro.

Due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the organisation had prepared a special edition of this emblematic event of national athletics, entirely on track, limited to athletes affiliated with the Athletics Association of the Algarve instead of the traditional model that usually brings together federated and social athletes from all ages in the downtown streets.

However, in view of the measures announced yesterday by the Government that impose restrictions on movement between municipalities and starting at 1 pm during the weekend in most municipalities in the region, the organising entities (Municipality of Faro and Associação de Atletismo do Algarve, with support from Fagar) understood that the conditions were not met for the event, “even in a more restrained than usual format and with a Contingency Plan for the Algarve Athletics Association approved previously by the health authorities”, read in the same document.


Tavira

Tavira City Council has already asked the competent authorities to extend the classes on a non-face-to-face basis for another week 

As a result of this review, the municipality of Tavira is at “extremely high” risk, in view of the number of new cases registered in the last few days, with 417 patients in isolation and an accumulated, [until yesterday] of 471 positive in the last 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants.

In view of this delicate scenario, the Tavira City Council has already asked the competent authorities to extend the classes on a non-face-to-face basis for another week. The measure that took effect last Monday, was enacted by the Regional Health Authority.

In the update of the county’s epidemiological situation this Thursday, 44 more cases were confirmed and the death of a male Tavira, aged 81, who was diagnosed with Covid-19.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 9th January 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

The Regional Government of the Azores, meeting in the Government Council last Wednesday, determined, through Regional Regulatory Decree, the application in the Region of the renewal of the State of Emergency determined at national level, implementing restrictive measures for the regional territory according to the level of risk of transmission in each municipality.

This decision is the result of the growth trend in the risk of effective transmission of the disease (Rt) in the Autonomous Region of the Azores, particularly on the island of São Miguel, which justifies the immediate adoption of urgent containment measures, aiming at reducing the number of infected.

A new set of restrictive measures that may have positive effects on the decrease in the number of people infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 disease and a deceleration of the risk index of effective transmission of the disease will be implemented ( Rt).

The document foresees the special provisions applicable depending on the level of risk of transmission verified in the different municipalities, of low risk, medium risk and high risk.

The counties considered to be of high transmission risk will be those that verify more than 100 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, and the counties of Ponta Delgada, Ribeira Grande, Vila Franca do Campo and Lagoa are currently identified.

In islands where there is more than one municipality, if the high-risk situation covers 50% or more of the municipalities, restrictions are applied to the entire island, so since the high-risk situation covers 50% or more of the S. Miguel counties, restrictions are applied to the entire island.

This state provides for mandatory teleworking, in activities and functions where this is possible, for professionals over 60 and with chronic diseases, as well as the limitation of gatherings on public roads of four people, unless they are from the same household familiar.

The closing of the cafes and restaurants is stipulated for 15h00, being that during this period the capacity for table is of four people, unless of the same household. After 3 pm, cafes and restaurants can only operate as a take-away service or home delivery.

Distance learning will also be implemented for all levels of education and circulation on the public road between 11 pm and 5 am on weekdays and from 3 pm on weekends is prohibited, with the exceptions provided for this purpose in the respective Decree.

Local shops and shopping centres are expected to close at 8 pm on weekdays and 3 pm on weekends, with the exception of pharmacies, clinics, offices and gas stations.

In the municipalities considered to be of medium risk, that is, those in which there are between 50 and 100 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, the measures will be relatively less restrictive, namely with the closure of cafes at 20:00, except for the purposes of Take Away or delivery at home and limitation up to six people, either on the public road, or by table in restaurants and bars.

Municipalities in which there are less than 50 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 7 days are considered to be of low risk, with general measures to limit gatherings and those already in force in the event of calamity.

The measures previously implemented regarding the general provisions remain in force, namely, those that determine the cases subject to mandatory confinement, as well as the mandatory use of a mask in public spaces, body temperature control and mandatory diagnostic tests. .

Covid-19 has had a progressive increase in active cases and active surveillance in the national and regional space, which justified the declaration of a State of Emergency, on the basis of the verification of a situation of public calamity, at the Government’s request having been successively renewed.

The Regional Regulatory Decree determines that contacts between people, which are a vehicle for spreading and spreading the virus, as well as their movements, must be limited to the minimum necessary.

However, the document adds that there is awareness that this limitation cannot be achieved through the total closure of establishments, taking into account that there are several essential economic activities that must remain in operation.

The diploma comes into force at 00:00 hrs on January 8th, 2021 and remains in force as long as the State of Emergency is in force, without prejudice to any extensions of the same.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 4,517 tests carried out in the Region over the last three days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for Covid-19 is 257. There were 248 on the island of São Miguel, 8 on the island of Terceira and 1 on Flores.

There have been 71 recoveries recorded, 64 on São Miguel, 3 on the island of Terceira, Faial 1, São Jorge 1and 1 on Pico.

The current situation in the region

There are 18 patients in hospital

15 in the Hospital of Divino Espírito Santo in Ponta Delgada;

3 in the Hospital of Santo Espírito in Angra do Heroísmo (two of which in ICU)

There are 86 active transmission chains

74 in S. Miguel;

10 in Terceira;

1 in S. Jorge;

1 in Faial.

75 extinct chains (four of which in the last 24 hours).

There are currently 621 active positive cases in the Region, 575 in São Miguel, 40 in Terceira, three in Flores and three in Faial.

2,430 cases of infection with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 disease, have been detected to date, with 22 deaths and 1,692 recoveries.

One of the cases reported yesterday with a history of connection to the outside and a positive analysis on the sixth day, left the Region despite the authorities.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organisations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/ , or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: / /www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.

 



Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 6th January

Introduction

Good morning – Yesterday, the Council of Ministers met electronically and gave a positive opinion to the decree of the President of the Republic for the renewal of the State of Emergency in Portugal.

This new State of Emergency, which will be discussed and voted on, on Wednesday, and then on Thursday the Council of Ministers will meet to decide measures.

Starting Monday, the President has now undertaken his traditional meetings with political parties in the lead up to the expected renewal of the State of Emergency which will commence 00:01 hrs on Friday 8th January. He has stated, and it has been reported by various party sources, that he intends to initially renew this for eight days, so that next week, with more information, he could re-evaluate the next period. On the 12th the usual meeting with the experts will take place and that is the moment the President expects to take other measures to respond to a possible increase in cases as a result of the end of the year parties – as well as that resulting from the data available, as there was a drastic reduction in testing at Christmas and New Year.

An added complication is that on this basis two parliamentary discussions will be needed, one to approve the State of Emergency seven day extension from 8th January and the following week for a 15 day extension to take effect from 15th January.

This would mean deciding whether to change the municipality risk list for the period 8th to 14th  January, or wait until later, next week, in the reassessment that will be made with the experts, with more updated data to instead take effect 15th January. This will be for the Council of Ministers to decide on their meeting on 7th January. There is little point in speculating as to the changes in the municipality lists as we will not know until published.

Yesterday the Director of Health reinforced the need to maintain protective measures until group immunity through vaccinations is achieved, such as the use of masks, hand hygiene, ventilation of spaces and physical distance. It is essential that we all follow this advice.

Lastly the ANEPC have extended the cold weather warning until the end of this week, possibly longer, together with precautions to take during these conditions. Temperatures are below average and in the centre and northern parts of the country the roads are icy. Please take care on the roads and especially when using heating systems at home such as open fireplaces etc. Please ensure that electric heaters are turned off when leaving your home.

Have a Safe Day


Headlines

President of Republic proposes to Parliament to renew state of Emergency until 15th January

After hearing the Government, which gave a favourable statement yesterday afternoon, the President of the Republic has just sent the Assembly of the Republic, for its authorization, the draft diploma renewing, for the period of 8 days, until January 15th, 2021, the State of Emergency for the entire national territory.

Indeed, maintaining the situation of public calamity caused by the pandemic Covid-19, and, since it is not possible to hold a new meeting with experts before mid-January, with significant data on the evolution of that, it is necessary to renew the state emergency for a week, from 8th to 15th January.

The diploma stresses the need for the Government to continue to provide support and social protection mechanisms within the current budgetary framework.

It further clarifies that the possibility of requisitioning workers applies specifically to carry out epidemiological surveys, to track contacts and to follow people under active surveillance.

It also states that the postponement of requests for termination of industrial relations by SNS workers cannot exceed the duration of the state of emergency and be justified by imperative reasons of service.

Finally, he recalls that the crime of disobedience is already provided for in Law No. 44/86, of 30 September, so that the reference in the diploma does not, and could not, constitute any new or extension of scope.


Covid-19 Situation – Tuesday 5th January 2021

This Tuesday Portugal reported another 90 deaths and 4,956 new cases of Covid-19, according to the daily report of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

As for hospital admissions, the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 3,260 people are hospitalised, 89 more, and 512 in intensive care, 2 more than yesterday.

Health authorities have 96,577 contacts under surveillance, 1,828 more than on Monday.

The bulletin also reveals that another 4,691 persons have recovered bringing the total to 349,110.

Taking into account recoveries, deaths and new cases there are now 80,183 active cases, 175 more than on Monday.

Regarding the 90 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, the bulletin reveals that 24 occurred in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 33 in the North region, 17 in the Centre region, 14 in Alentejo, 1 in the Algarve and 1 in Madeira.

According to the DGS bulletin, the Northern region recorded the highest number of new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the last 24 hours (3,312).

In the region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, 2,536 new infections were reported, in the Center region 845 more cases were recorded; in the Alentejo, 310 more cases were reported, and in the Algarve region has today reported 193 new cases.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has registered 7,286 deaths and 436,579 cases of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


Deaths from Covid-19

The death toll is the third highest record since March, equalling the 90 fatalities also recorded on 14th December and just behind the 95 and 98 deaths on 11th and 13th December, respectively.

The overall mortality rate of the disease is 1.67% and rises to 10.1% in cases of patients aged 70 and over. In this age group, 88% of the country’s total deaths are found.

Asked if the increase in deaths and cases could mean a third peak, Graça Freitas considers that mortality “does not follow the number of cases simultaneously”, admitting that she cannot “answer the question”, because it is only possible to identify a peak like this that this is outdated. “Until we start the descent movements, it is difficult to know that we were at the peak. More important than being at the peak is the number of cases weekly and to which we have to respond, whether at home or in health centres or hospitals”, reiterated the Director-General of Health at the epidemiological assessment conference this Tuesday.


Health

Vaccination

Costa asks for less anxiety and warns that vaccination will follow throughout the year 2021

The Prime Minister warned yesterday that it is necessary to moderate citizens’ anxiety about vaccines against Covid-19, stressing that the vaccination plan covers 450 million Europeans and “will follow throughout the year 2021 “.

This position was transmitted by António Costa at a joint press conference with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, after a meeting between them at the Centro Cultural de Belém, in Lisbon – a meeting that constituted the first formal act of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the Union European Union (EU).

Asked about the possibility that the doses of vaccines already ordered by the European Commission would not reach the needs of the European population, not least because some of the contracted multinationals do not yet have their vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, the Prime Minister argued that “it is we need to be aware of the moment in human history “.

“Never before has a vaccination process been under way in which 450 million people will be vaccinated in Europe alone. It must be understood that neither 450 million doses are produced in one day, nor 450 million doses are administered in one day. it is a process that will follow throughout the year 2021 “, warned the leader of the Portuguese executive.

Regarding the vaccination schedule foreseen by the European Commission, António Costa said that “it may change, either because companies are unable to increase production capacity, or because problems may occur during the production process”.

“We have to know how to manage our anxiety. I realize that everyone is fed up with this threat of the Covid-19,” he observed.

The Portuguese Prime Minister then praised the European Commission’s action on vaccination, pointed out that each Member State has “the freedom to be able to define its own vaccination plan” and expressed confidence that all Member States seek do the best you can to achieve goals.


Outbreak of Covid-19 in Mourão’s care home results in three deaths

An outbreak of Covid-19 in a home in Santa Casa da Misericórdia in Mourão recorded, in the last few days, three fatalities. There are 54 infected users, of whom 6 are hospitalized.

The first cases were detected in December, at Lar Nossa Senhora das Candeias. Of the institution’s 62 residents, only 5 were not infected.

The institution’s greatest difficulty is the lack of human resources, since about a dozen employees were in isolation.

The home in Mourão would have been one of the first to receive the vaccine against Covid-19 in Alentejo, but the outbreak forced the vaccination to be cancelled.


New strain of Covid-19

Regarding the new strain of Covid-19 that originated in the United Kingdom , which seems to be more contagious among younger people, Director of Health Graça Freitas said yesterday that there is still no evidence that the variant is more aggressive, so there is no reason to change the health rules at Schools. For now, the guidelines of health authorities for educational establishments are maintained.

“Some indications are that [the new strain] may spread more easily in younger populations than other variants. This needs confirmation and obviously there may be a different strategy. We must always combine the two things: the transmission – more cases – but then the seriousness of the cases. As I said earlier, there is no evidence that this variant is more aggressive. At the time, our recommendation for schools is to continue the good example of the first period”, summarised the Director-General of Health.

Although there are no indications that it is more serious, Graça Freitas leaves the warning: the simple fact that it can increase the number of contagions so easily already constitutes an increased risk.

“This variant [of Covid-19] seems to be more easily transmitted, but there is no information that it will be more serious. However, just due to the quantity, it may constitute an increased risk. If there are many cases, there is a higher proportion that will be serious, a higher proportion that will be hospitalized. A variant that is transmitted more easily is always worrying. It is under investigation and being studied by a number of countries, which is a good thing,” she said.


Covid-19 Situation in Nursing Homes

Care Homes have 417 active outbreaks. Lisbon and Tagus Valley concentrated with 284

Regarding the most recent assessment of outbreaks in nursing homes, the Director-General of Health said that 417 active outbreaks are registered. Of these, 55 are in the North, 25 in the Center, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo concentrate 284, the Alentejo 29 and the Algarve 24.

“These outbreaks are mainly identified in residential homes for the elderly, except in schools. Fortunately, as we know, schools have been largely spared from outbreaks, and some in health institutions” explained Graça Freitas.

Asked about the pressure placed on the National Health Service (SNS) in the coming days, resulting from the reduction of restrictive measures, Graça Freitas leaves a message of confidence to the SNS’s ability to adapt. “Regarding the impact of the numbers in the coming days on the NHS, obviously it has already shown a great capacity for adaptation. I believe that, even if the numbers increase – and it seems so – the NHS will be able to adapt, reorganizing its care offer. The fewer cases we have, the better, but the NHS is adapting”, she says.


Vaccinations

Implementation of Vaccination program – latest update

To date, about 32,000 people have been inoculated with the first dose of Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19. Portugal received 159,900 vaccines. By the end of the month, an estimated 400,000 doses of Pfizer are available for priority groups.

After health professionals, vaccination takes place in the homes of risky counties.

Residents and employees of all care homes in the 25 extreme risk counties, especially in the North and Alentejo, should be vaccinated by the end of the week, after which vaccination should be extended to other care homes in the country.

By the end of February, 200,000 people are expected to be vaccinated in almost 2,700 institutions.

On December 27th, according to the most recent figures, about 32,000 people received the first dose, but will still have to take the second to complete the immunization.

This Monday the third batch of vaccines arrived in Portugal. Another 80 thousand are added to the two other batches already received, accounting for 159,900 vaccines.


EMA advises against postponement of second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech

The European Medicines Agency advises not to postpone the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine beyond 42 days, at a time when Germany and Belgium admit to administering the first dose to more people and to postpone the second beyond the prescribed 21 days.

That body, which deals with the technical evaluation of vaccines in the European Union (EU), points out that “vaccinees may not be fully protected until seven days after the second dose”, as Pfizer indicated after the clinical trials, told the Spanish agency EFE the European Medicines Agency (EMA) spokeswoman Sophie Labbe.

However, the EMA does not prohibit extending the administration of the second dose of Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 until 42 days.

Although the product information “does not explicitly define the upper limit for the time between doses, the dosage recommendations make an explicit reference (…) where it is specified, respectively, that the evidence of effectiveness is based on a study in which the administration of two doses was carried out with an interval of 19 to 42 days “, she added.

Any change in this mode of use “would require a variation of the marketing authorization, as well as more clinical data to support such a change, otherwise it would be considered ‘off-label use’,” added the EMA spokesperson.


Other News

Electricity consumption reaches its lowest level in the last 15 years in 2020

48,800 GWh were registered, down 3.1% compared to 2019.

Electricity consumption in 2020 reached the lowest value since 2005, at 48,800 GWh, a drop of 3.1% compared to 2019 or 3.7% considering temperature and working day corrections, REN announced this Tuesday.

In a statement, REN – Redes Energéticas Nacionais, the company responsible for the global management of the national electric and natural gas systems, states that, in December, energy consumption showed, however, a positive trend, with a year-on-year variation of 1.4 %, in a variation “influenced by the lower temperatures that were felt this year [2020]”.

According to REN, in December the hydroelectric productivity index “remained close to the average regime”, registering 0.95 (historical average equal to 1).

In wind production, “conditions were more favourable”, with the respective index recording 1.15 (historical average equal to 1).

In the last month of the year, renewable production supplied 72% of consumption, while non-renewable production accounted for 26% and the balance of exchanges with foreigners supplied the remaining 2%.

With regard to the natural gas market, in December it registered a year-on-year drop of 4.3%, with the conventional segment growing 0.3% and the electric energy production segment falling 16%.

In 2020, consumption of natural gas totalled around 66,900 GWh (Gigawatt-hour), a negative variation of 1.6% compared to the previous year, with the conventional segment registering a fall of 4.5% and the production segment of electricity increased by 3.8%.


ASAE Suspends activity of sausage manufacturing business in Almodovar and seizes 360 kgs of sausages due to bacterium

The Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) suspended the activity of a sausage manufacturing unit in the municipality of Almodôvar (Beja), due to a bulletin that confirmed the presence bacteria in a product.

In a statement sent to the Lusa agency, ASAE indicated that it carried out, through the Southern Regional Unit, an inspection action in this sausage unit, to verify compliance with the hygienic and technical and functional conditions of operation.

During this operation, “an analytical bulletin was found that confirmed the presence of the bacteria ‘Listeria monocytogenes’ in a sausage sample”, more precisely “in a blood sausage”.

“This documentation thus revealed non-compliance with the microbiological criteria applicable to foodstuffs and, given the lack of evidence of any corrective measure on the part of the economic operator, it was determined to suspend” its activity, “in view of the potential contamination of work surfaces  and equipment “, revealed the ASAE.

A total of 360 kilos of sausages, worth 6,120 euros, was seized by the inspectors in this inspection action, which also assessed the correct implementation of the food safety system and the functioning of the traceability system of the raw material used and the quality of the final product.

ASAE also determined “the opening of an investigation process” to this Alentejo sausage producer “for indications of a criminal offence with regard to the genuineness, quality or composition of foodstuffs and damaged abnormal foodstuff”.


Regions

Madeira Report Wednesday 6th January – from our correspondent

Covid-19 update

There were 356 new Covid-19 cases139 recoveries and 2 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Saturday, there were 65 new Covid-19 cases (from 4 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 2 passengers who had arrived from Spain, 1 passenger who had arrived from Germany, 1 passenger who had arrived from the USA, 3 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 54 cases of local transmission) and 28 recoveries. All new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 38, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 99 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from Brazil, 1 passenger who had arrived from Brazil, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 93 cases of local transmission) and 34 recoveries. This was the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in a single day in the Region. All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital increased to 45, 5 of whom were in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 110 new Covid-19 cases (from 3 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 2 passengers who had arrived from Poland, 2 passengers who had arrived from South Africa, 1 passenger who had arrived from Nigeria, 1 passenger who had arrived from Spain, 3 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 2 passengers who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 96 cases of local transmission), 31 recoveries and 2 deaths. An 86 year old female patient and an 83 year old male patient died in hospital from Covid-19.

The record for the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in a single day in the Region was broken for the second consecutive day.. All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital decreased. The number of patients in hospital increased once again. There were 49 patients in hospital, 5 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 82 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Greece, 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland, 1 passenger who had arrived from the UK, 3 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 3 passengers who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 73 cases of local transmission) and 46 recoveries. Most cases of local transmission had already been linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 46, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 912 active cases, of which 175 were imported while the other 737 cases were a result of local transmission. So far, there have been 2,192 cases, 1,264 recoveries and 16 deaths.

There are currently 39 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 827 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 46 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, 6 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 261 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which are all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Tuesday, there had been 3,652 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

At the moment, 13,207 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 2,498 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and of Porto Santo.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 144,826 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 18h00). Overall, 239,811 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 998 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, 26,385 calls have been made to this helpline.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/02/65-novos-casos-de-covid-19-175-suspeitos-28-recuperados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/03/99-novos-casos-de-covid-19-45-pessoas-em-internamento/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/04/numero-de-novos-infectados-com-covid-19-e-hoje-de-110/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/04/numero-de-novos-infectados-com-covid-19-e-hoje-de-110/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114237/Madeira_regista_mais_uma_morte_por_covid-19

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114252/Mais_uma_morte_na_Madeira_devido_a_covid-19

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/05/912-casos-activos-na-regiao-neste-momento/


New Covid-19 policies

The Madeira Regional Government held an emergency meeting on Sunday and decided to implement the following policies (will be applicable until January 15th at 23h59):

Remote working – The regional civil service will reduce to the absolute minimum the amount of work carried in the office and will opt for remote working whenever possible. This measure will be in place until January 15th.

Care Homes – All visits are suspended until January 15th. Testing and vaccination of staff and residents will continue and staff will be prevented from working in different care homes as much as possible.

Circulation in public – It is prohibited between 23h00 and 05h00.

The following exceptions apply:

– Travel for professional reasons;

– Healthcare professionals, professionals from healthcare and social care institutions, civil protection professionals, military personnel, ARAE (Autoridade Regional das Atividades Económicas) inspectors, security forces personnel, diplomatic personnel and clergy;

– For health reasons, emergency shelter of domestic violence or human trafficking victims, to provide care to vulnerable or disabled people, for parental duties and urgent veterinary treatment;

– Journalists are also exempt;

– Travel to the airport to collect or drop passengers;

– For short walks and to walk pets;

Bars and restaurants – Bars and restaurants must close by 22h30. This is also applicable to takeaways and restaurants in big commercial surfaces.

Gatherings – maximum of 5 people (in public areas, commercial areas and restaurants and bars) unless they are from the same households.

Non-professional sport – Current rules will be applicable until January 18th.

More monitoring – The authorities will keep monitoring to ensure compliance with the rules in the entire Region.

https://www.madeira.gov.pt/Governo-Regional-Madeira/ctl/Read/mid/4829/InformacaoId/69254/UnidadeOrganicaId/2/CatalogoId/0

https://www.madeira.gov.pt/Governo-Regional-Madeira/ctl/Read/mid/4829/InformacaoId/69254/UnidadeOrganicaId/2/CatalogoId/0


New rules for passengers arriving in the Region

The following passengers arriving in the Autonomous Region of Madeira are exempt from being tested on arrival:

– Passengers who show a document certified by a Doctor and issued in the previous 90 days stating the passenger has recovered from Covid-19

– Passengers who show a document confirming the passenger was vaccinated against Covid-19 in accordance with the vaccination plan and having complied with the expected activation period.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114239/Passageiros_com_documento_medico_ou_vacinados_contra_a_covid-19_nao_terao_de_fazer_teste_a_chegada


New Covid-19 ward being built at Hospital dos Marmeleiros

The exponential increase of Covid-19 cases in Madeira has led the Madeira Regional Government to set up a Covid-19 wards in other hospitals. Work is currently underway to transform an entire floor at Hospital dos Marmeleiros into a Covid-19 ward. Hospital dos Marmeleiros will have 72 beds for Covid-19 patients. This will complement Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, which as 100 beds.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114316/Governo_prepara_um_piso_nos_Marmeleiros_para_doentes_covid


Vaccination update

Vaccination in Madeira’s care homes started yesterday. A total of 29 residents and 21 members of staff from Lar Bela Vista, in Funchal, were vaccinated.

Overall, 1,015 vaccine doses have been administered (965 on healthcare professionals and 50 on care home residents and staff).

Pedro Ramos, the Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary, announced the expected arrival of a further 14,000 vaccine doses means Madeira will have received 25,000 vaccine doses by February 1st. He added the Region will receive 2,5% of all vaccine doses purchased by Portugal.

So far, Miguel Albuquerque is happy with the vaccination process in Madeira. However, his only issue is the lack of enough doses of the vaccine. He explained that although an average of 200 vaccinations have taken place everyday, he hopes to ramp up vaccination if the additional 14,000 vaccine doses arrive before February. He is also hopeful that all care home residents will have been vaccinated within a week.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114293/Madeira_totaliza_25_mil_doses_ate_1_de_fevereiro

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114323/Vacinacao_ja_comecou_nos_lares_da_Regiao

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/05/912-casos-activos-na-regiao-neste-momento/


Rapid testing in schools

All teaching and non-teaching staff of schools in high-risk or higher-risk municipalities (Funchal, Câmara de Lobos, Ribeira Brava and Porto Santo) will be tested for Covid-19. About 100,000 antigen rapid test kits were acquired and 21 healthcare professionals were deployed.

Testing started yesterday, with 1,007 tests being carried out on teaching and non-teaching staff from schools in the municipality of Câmara de Lobos. An additional 1,500 rapid tests are due to be carried out today on teaching and non-teaching staff from schools in the Funchal municipality. It is hoped 6,495 people will have been tested by Saturday, with testing taking place at Escola Profissional Dr. Francisco Fernandes, in São Martinho. Teaching and non-teaching staff from schools in Ribeira Brava are scheduled to be tested on the 8th of January at Escola Padre Manuel Álvares. There is still no scheduled date for 160 teaching and non-teaching staff from schools in Porto Santo to be tested.

Testing in all schools is being carried out because it is possible that cases could increase after the reopening of schools. Schools are due to reopen pending the test results.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114333/Mais_de_mil_testes_rapidos_efetuados_hoje_em_Camara_de_Lobos

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114252/Mais_uma_morte_na_Madeira_devido_a_covid-19

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114297/Ate_sabado_sao_testados_6495_docentes_e_nao_docentes


Renewal of the State of Emergency

Miguel Albuquerque gave his approval to the renewal of the State of Emergency in Portugal, after being asked by the Presidency of the Portuguese Parliament to provide his view on this issue. The Portuguese President had proposed to Parliament the renewal of the State of Emergency.

https://www.dnoticias.pt/2021/1/5/245363-miguel-albuquerque-deu-parecer-favoravel-a-renovacao-do-estado-de-emergencia/


Appeal for information on missing German tourist

Jascha Hardenberg (aged 28) went missing on a mountain in Calheta (Rocha Vermelha trail) on the 29th of December. His relatives spoke to Rádio Calheta and asked for news of his disappearance to be spread more widely. They also asked anyone who has any information to contact the Police (PSP).

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114211/Familia_de_jovem_alemao_apela_a_difusao_da_noticia_do_seu_desaparecimento

 



Algarve Situation Report – Wednesday 6th January 2021

CHUA is receiving patients from Lisbon and Alentejo

Given the disrupted situation in many hospital units, the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA) is receiving Covid patients from other areas of the country.

In a statement issued CHUA states that, at this stage, it has a reserve of “significant” capacity with regard to hospitalization and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) assigned to Covid-19.

According to the Board of Directors of CHUA, an increase in demand has been registered in the last few days, “which, thanks to the timely implementation of the contingency plan”, has allowed to receive users from hospitals in the areas of Central Lisbon and Alentejo.

Currently, CHUA is in phase 2 of the contingency plan for the response to covid-19, and the plan has the capacity to expand to phase 4. The Algarve First knows that in terms of infirmary the occupation in the CHUA round 65% and in the UCI the 53%.

On the first day of vaccination at the Faro and Portimão units, Horácio Guerreiro, CHUA’s clinical director, told our newspaper that the hospital centre has been working intensely on this pandemic issue, as it has always maintained its response capacity, “although the regional reality is relatively favourable, thanks to the cooperation of the population, local authorities and public health authorities that have allowed the infection to be controlled. As for the hospital, I can say that we have a very large reserve for the assistance of Covid cases, without prejudice to other needs”.

The clinically responsible person ensured that CHUA has the capacity to respond to any need  arises, “except if it is an absolutely uncontrolled and catastrophic situation, but I can say that we are very far from exhausting our capabilities”, he assured.


Vilamoura International College Christmas Campaign raised a ton and a half of food

The Christmas Campaign of the International College of Vilamoura (CIV) managed to collect a ton and a half of food.

In addition to food, distributed by the Quarteira Social Refectory, Existir Association and Algarve Network for Families in Need, the community also collected clothes, shoes for children, women and men, books and toys, which were donated to the Quarteira Social Refectory, an institution which serves 160 cooked meals daily and provides hygiene services to individual people (baths, clothes and shoes) with social and financial problems.

This institution also supports 60 families each month with a basket of basic foods, similar to the Existir Association, which provides support to 20 families in the municipality of Loulé (in the areas of food, clothing, public baths and furniture) and who, with food received, according to its director Paulo Graça, allowed “to reinforce support to his community in a crisis and pandemic situation”.

Gunilla Zandin, a volunteer at Algarve Families in Need, reinforced the importance of this social support, distributed mainly by families in the municipalities of Loulé and Faro, but also by family nuclei in Albufeira, Carvoeiro, Lagoa and Lagos. In total, 200 families are supported.

Through the sale of raffles, whose draw will take place next Wednesday, January 6th, the CIV community maintained its support for the Big Hand Project, through which it sponsors five Mozambican children.


Mayor of Tavira suspends 2nd and 3rd cycle classes over concerns regarding increases in municipality

The increase in cases of Covid-19 in Tavira led the Regional Health Authority to suspend the 2nd and 3rd cycle classes and secondary education in the municipality, the Mayor of the city, Ana Paula Martins, confirmed to Lusa.

Speaking to Lusa, the mayor said she was “very concerned” about the “sudden” increase in cases registered in the municipality in the last week, which led the authorities to determine the suspension of classroom classes for the 2nd and 3rd cycles and secondary education of all school groups in the municipality.

In the statement in which it informed the municipality about the suspension of classes in these teaching cycles, which applies for a period of seven days starting today, the Algarve Regional Health Authority justified the measure with “the existence of 262 confirmed active cases of Covid-19, with a 14-day incidence rate greater than 960 cases / 100,000 inhabitants”.

This number of contagions leaves Tavira among the “extremely high risk” counties and the situation will be reassessed on January 10, added that official in the statement released by the municipality of Tavira on social networks.

“What I can say is that I see this increase with great concern, mainly because we are witnessing a virus – at least in comparison with what had happened here in the municipality – much more contagious, with a greater degree of contagion, and then also, this growth ”, said Ana Paula Martins to Lusa.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 6th January 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 3,017 tests carried out in the Region over the last four days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for Covid-19 is 174. There were 158 on the island of São Miguel, 13 on the island of Terceira and 1 on Faial.

There have been 130 recoveries recorded, 105 on São Miguel, 17 on the island of Terceira, Faial 6 and São Jorge 2.

The current situation on the region.

There are 23 patients in hospital.

20 at the Hospital of Divino Espírito Santo in Ponta Delgada (2 of which in the ICU);

3 at the Hospital of Santo Espírito in Angra do Heroísmo (2 of which in the ICU).

There are 69 transmission chains

59 in São Miguel (6 in the last 24 hours);

8 in Terceira (2 in the last 24 hours);

1 in São Jorge

1 Faial

97 chains are now extinct. (12 of them in São Miguel and 2 in Terceira, in the last 24 hours).

There are currently 436 active positive cases in the Region, 392 in São Miguel, 35 in Terceira, one in Pico, two in São Jorge, two in Flores and four in Faial.

2,173 cases of infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 disease, have been detected to date, with 22 deaths and 1,621 recoveries.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/   or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: // www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line Covid-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.

Portugal Situation Report Saturday 2nd January 2021

Introduction

Firstly, a Very Happy New Year to you and a big thank you to all the very kind comments posted following the announcement of my award of an MBE from HM the Queen. I have tried to respond to these individually, but with several hundred on the Facebook alone, I may be unable to reply to all. If not then collectively I thank you very much indeed.

This award reflects well, I feel not only, on us all at Safe Communities Portugal, but the Portuguese government. Without the latter’s support and collaboration it would be very difficult for us to operate in the way we do. The fact that the Head of State, namely HM the Queen, recognises this give to me some pride that Safe Communities is  part of a bigger picture in how Portugal works to keep its citizens safe – in fact the 3rd most peaceful country in the world. (Source Global Peace Index).

Yesterday we posted on Facebook the Prime Minister’s New Year’s message and I was inspired by the following part in particular from this:

“The collective mobilisation of the Portuguese, the ability to convert our industry and its workers to the production of individual protection means, the prompt adaptation to teleworking, especially of teachers and students, and the extraordinary dedication of health professionals and professionals and other essential services allowed us to overcome the first wave of the pandemic. It was a year in which we reinforced our sense of belonging to a community that did not give up hope, resisted, fought, which surpassed itself as a nation. And so we continue to contain this second wave and prevent further upsurge”.

It is these sorts of positive messages, tempered with realism and the undoubted ability to deliver, that in my view makes Portugal a great place to live and visit. In my opinion from everything I read, Portugal could well be one of the first places to bounce back from the pandemic because it has the will and leadership in place to do so – helped perhaps a little by the fact that Portugal yesterday assumed its fourth presidency of the Council of the European Union!

The 1st January saw new restrictions in place concerning travel between the UK and Portugal. It is important that those planning to travel are aware of these.  This has arisen from the further extension of Portuguese law (which has been extended at 15 day intervals since April), until January 15th, 2021, of the measures applicable to air traffic to and from Portugal, within the scope of measures to combat the disease Covid-19. The difference on this occasion, however, is that UK is now a Third Country – hence subject to the measures applicable to Third countries rather than within the EU.  Law in English Here

 This has been set out on the Brits in Portugal Facebook page, where it stated the following:

“From 1 January 2021, UK nationals will be subject to a new set of Covid-related restrictions when travelling to Portugal. This is due to the UK now being treated as a third country. From 1st January (and until further notice), only those UK nationals travelling for essential purposes will be able to enter Portugal. Essential purposes are defined as travel for professional, educational, health or humanitarian reasons or to reunite with your family. You should expect to be required to provide evidence to support your reason for travel to your airline and on arrival in Portugal.  Please note this restriction does not apply to UK nationals already legally resident in Portugal or any other EU member state. You will be required to show proof of residence to be able to travel”.

If you are planning to travel then check all the requirements in place through Gov.UK travel advice Portugal here. 

With the launch of the Government’s vaccination program on 27th December we have added a Vaccination Page in English to our website so you can see in English such details as the Program itself, access to FAQs, and generally keep up to date with the main details. This is linked to the official government websites and pages in Portuguese. The page can be accessed here. https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/covid-19-vaccinations-updates/

Lastly, again a very cold start to the morning, with IPMA Yellow level cold weather warnings in place extending to 4th January. Even the Algarve will see minimum overnight temperatures of just above 0C to 3 C, so be prepared!

Have a Safe and Happy New Year 


DGS Covid-19 Situation 

On Friday, Portugal recorded 66 more deaths related to Covid-19 and 6,951 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, according to the daily report of the Directorate-General for Health.

There were 4392 recoveries since Thursday bringing the total to 338,668 recovered.

Taking into account the number of new cases, deaths and recoveries there are now 74,989 active cases.

The good news is in the number of hospitalisations, which is going down again for the fourth consecutive day: less 34 patients admitted to Portuguese hospitals, which now have 2806 beds occupied. There is one more person hospitalised in Intensive Care Units (ICU), with a total of 483 patients.

There are 91,527 people under surveillance contacts.

The North region accounts for another 2745 infected people, which is equivalent to about 39% of the total of new infections. Lisbon and the Tagus Valley follow, with 2131 new contagions. In the Centre region, there are over 1474 cases; in Alentejo 308; and in the Algarve 199. The Azores archipelago registers 53 new cases and Madeira, 41 more.

Since the start of the pandemic there have been 420,629 confirmed cases and 6972 deaths due to Covid-19 in Portugal.


Health

Covid-19. Number of deaths in the outbreak at Mora’s home rises to 15

The number of deaths in the outbreak of coronavirus infections in a home in Cabecção, in the municipality of Mora (Évora), rose on Friday from 14 to 15, with the death of another resident, revealed the institution.

“This morning, another user of the institution died,” Lusa Joaquim Mansinho Gens, from the directorate of Home of the Association of the Solidarity Association for Elderly Workers (ACSTI), told Lusa agency.

In total, this outbreak of the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease has already infected 90 people at the institution, more precisely 55 elderly people, of whom 15 died, and 35 employees.

“We have 40 active cases among users and 34 among employees, because one has already recovered and had a negative test result”, explained the element of the home management.

On Thursday, questioned by Lusa regarding criticisms of the alleged lack of support for this home made by the Mayor of Mora, Luís Simão, the Social Security Institute (ISS) noted the reinforcement of resources.

In a reply sent by email, the ISS indicated that a nurse had already been placed in the institution and that four assistants would start working that day.

Questioned by Lusa today, Joaquim Mansinho Gens indicated that, on Thursday, “the Red Cross appeared with a nurse and two assistants and, at night, two more assistants arrived”.

“But only the assistants stayed. The nurse was at the institution and then left,” said the same person in charge.

With this reinforcement, which joins the five employees of the home that are in office and awaiting the institution “the arrival of two more assistants, today,” Joaquim Mansinho Gens said he believed that “it will be possible to balance things “, to support the elderly.


Covid-19. Outbreak in Miranda do Douro home with 76 active cases

An outbreak of infections with the new coronavirus affected 60 of the 74 residents and 16 of the 42 employees of the Lar de Misericórdia of Miranda do Douro, in the Bragança district, the provider of the institution told Lusa this Thursday.

“130 people were tested among users and employees. Of this total, 60 are users to which 16 more employees are added”. It is a relatively serious outbreak, although users have not had symptoms to date “, said Jacinta Fernandes.

According to the provider, all spaces in the Home have already been subject to a disinfection process carried out by a specialised company, and the institution’s Contingency Plan was immediately activated.

All users and employees will be tested again early next week, he said.


Covid-19. Nine deaths and 87 infected in outbreak at home in Vila do Conde

An outbreak of coronavirus infections in the home of the Third Order of S. Francisco, in Vila do Conde, Porto district, caused the death of nine residents of the institution, confirmed this Thursday the president of the Council to the Lusa agency.

Elisa Ferraz considered the situation “worrying”, with 87 people infected between users and employees, but guaranteed that the municipality has already made available all the resources at its disposal to help control the outbreak, namely by reinforcing human resources to support care for the elderly.

“Even before Christmas, we were aware of the outbreak and we were asked for help. We then hired the services of a specialised company that sent people home to help care for the users and we called in nurses from our volunteer bank”, explained the mayor.

Elisa Ferraz said she was “surprised” on Wednesday with information on the number of deaths and returned to contact the institution to find out what more needs were there to stop the outbreak.

“We realised that personal protection equipment was beginning to be lacking and we gathered a large amount that was immediately sent, together with disinfection products. Everything we were asked to do, we managed to provide and we continue to monitor the situation very closely”, guaranteed the president of Chamber.

In addition to the nine users who have not resisted the complications associated with Covid-19, there are three more who remain hospitalised, and in the institution there are 53 elderly people who are infected, and properly isolated, as well as 34 employees who also contracted the virus.

“If necessary, the municipality has rear beds in its own infrastructure to accommodate users who are not infected and to be able to isolate them, but so far we have not been asked. We continue to monitor the situation daily,” said Elisa Ferraz.


Vaccinations

Ordem dos Médicos wants to favour age factor in the Vaccination Plan

The Order of Doctors (OM) proposed yesterday the change of vaccination criteria against the Covid-19, favouring the age factor, to facilitate the identification of the target groups and to allow to reduce the mortality and pressure in the services.

Corroborating that doctors and other health professionals “should be considered a priority”, the OM proposed, “a change in the operationalisation criteria of population groups with known risk factors, privileging, for example, the factor age, which would facilitate the identification of target groups and would reduce mortality, morbidity and pressure on services “.

To justify this conviction, the order led by Miguel Guimarães stresses that “the lethality rate varies from about 0.3% in the 50 to 59 age group to 13.6% in the 80 age group”.

“In this sense, professionals and residents in nursing homes, long-term care units and those elderly people who are directly followed by families, would benefit from the vaccine in the first stage. Likewise, as far as health professionals are concerned, we defend that the factor age and associated diseases should be considered in the initial selection, regardless of the health unit, region of the country or sector in which they develop their activity “, he argues.

In a letter addressed to the ministry of Marta Temido, the OM also expressed “concern about the lack of operational criteria for health professionals who do not work in the NHS [National Health Service] and for citizens who are followed exclusively at the hospital level in the country. SNS and those that are followed only in the social and private sectors “.

The position of the OM appears in the “sequence of some news that show that it fully corroborated Portugal’s strategy to start vaccination against Covid-19 by health professionals”.


BioNTech increases vaccine production to meet EU demand

The German company BioNTech, partner of the North American consortium Pfizer in the development of the first vaccine against the new coronavirus, will increase the production to cover the needs of the countries of the European Union (EU), in difficulties to be able to immunize the population.

In an interview with the magazine “Der Spiegel “, the CEO of BioNTech attributed the current shortage in part to the EU’s purchasing policy, considering that the process was slower than in other parts of the world.

“The process in Europe was not as fast and direct as in other countries and this is also due to the fact that the EU did not authorize direct requests, otherwise the countries would also have had their opportunity. In a negotiation that requires a clear announcement, this is something that can take some time, “Ugur Sahin told Der Spiegel.

“There was an idea that many other companies with vaccines would appear. Apparently, there was the impression that there would be enough and that things would not be serious, and that surprised me,” he added.

This determined, according to Sahin, that there was a shortage because “there is a lack of other authorized vaccines” and BioNTech will have to “fill that void”.

The interview with Sahin comes when Germany is criticized for its slowness in the vaccination campaign, which started on December 27th.

BioNTech’s medical director , Ózlem Türeci, said, for her part, that the idea of creating a basket of vaccines from several producers seemed right at first, but then it was realised that not everyone would respond in time to orders.

The increase in production, according to Türeci, is not easy because “there are no specialised factories on the planet that can produce overnight with the necessary quality”.


Covid-19 Passengers with flights cancelled up to two weeks before departure not entitled to compensation

European Union (EU) passengers with flights cancelled up to two weeks before departure due to the Covid-19 outbreak are not entitled to compensation under Community law, as this pandemic is equivalent to extraordinary circumstances.

“The Commission considers that, when national authorities adopt measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, those measures are of an extraordinary nature and origin to the normal exercise of the activity of [air] carriers and are beyond its control” the community executive argues in guidelines released today regarding the rights of passengers and carriers at a time of pandemic.

These guiding guidelines also serve to mitigate the economic impacts of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, so the community executive clarifies that, as far as the aviation sector is concerned, current circumstances come under the name “extraordinary”, which means that certain rights – such as compensation for a flight cancelled two weeks before the departure date – “cannot be claimed”.

Thus, in situations such as travel restrictions imposed by countries and border closures, air carriers that cancel their travel 14 days or more in advance are not required to compensate passengers.

If the flights are not cancelled with such advance and, even so, they are not operated or are made late, the indemnities remain and can reach 600 euros, depending on the distance, origin and destination.

In general terms, passengers with trips cancelled due to the outbreak are entitled to request a refund or referral to their final destination and, if they are the ones to cancel, they should receive a voucher.

“If passengers see their trip cancelled, they can choose between refunding the ticket price or re-routing to reach their final destination”, as soon as possible and through another mode of transport, informs the community executive.


New Year Day 

Not even the pandemic stops the tradition of bathing in Carcavelos – against advice of the Maritime Police

Without cold and without fears, some people followed the tradition of diving into the sea on the beach of Carcavelos, Cascais, to celebrate a new year and with the wish that the Covid-19 “disappears for good”.

This year, there were more people on the beach than in the water, to celebrate the first day of the year, but the irreducible adherents of this tradition entered fearlessly, between screams, arms in the air and splashing in the small waves.

Filomena, 63, residing in Oeiras, was overflowing with happiness, lying on the sand, by the sea, like a child. “It’s very good fun,” she told the Lusa agency.

The bather explained that she has been performing this ritual for 14 years and that it is rare to catch a cold. “This is to kill ‘the Covid’, to see if he goes away with the cold. There is no Covid to beat us,” he said.

For 2021, Filomena called for “a lot of peace and a lot of health and for the pandemic to go away quickly. And for people to have a minimum of attention and care to take precautions”.

On the beach, and already with a towel around his shoulders, Joaquim Tomás, 74, from Lisbon, told the Lusa agency that he is a regular beach goer in winter, two to three times a week, for health reasons, after having had several heart operations. “The tension has dropped and I feel healthier,” he said.

Comment

Earlier the Maritime Police had advised people not to take to the sea on New Year’s Day on safety grounds. There is no evidence that Covid-19 does not go away with the cold.


Other News

Fado singer Carlos do Carmo (1939-2021) died

The fado singer Carlos do Carmo died this Friday morning, at the Hospital de Santa Maria, in Lisbon, where he had been admitted the day before with an aneurysm. He was 81 years old and “was the victim of a post-operative period for an abdominal aortic aneurysm”.

The Council of Ministers yesterday approved, January 4th, 2021 as a day of national mourning as a way of paying fair homage to Carlos do Carmo, one of the greatest voices in Portugal and an unavoidable name in culture National and international.

With more than 50 years of career, Carlos do Carmo de Ascensão Almeida marked Portuguese music and culture in general, and Fado, in particular, having contributed to its classification as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011.

One of his greatest contributions to Portuguese culture was the way in which he militantly renewed fado and prepared it for the future, freeing it from the stigma of symbol of the dictatorship and bringing it to democratic Portugal. Such militancy mobilized new composers and poets, encouraged new performers and captured new audiences.

Carlos do Carmo was awarded numerous distinctions and decorations, including the Commander of the Order of the Infante Dom Henrique (1997), the degree of Grand Officer of the Order of Merit (2016) and the Cultural Merit Medal (2019) .

Notable fado singer, acclaimed by the public and critics, contributed undeniably to the universal cultural heritage, which is why he was awarded the Latin Grammy “Lifetime Achievement Award” (2014), one of the most important distinctions in the international music industry.


Small earthquake 2.9 Richter Scale 16 kms SSE of Vimioso, Bragança

Bragança, 01 Jan 2021 (Lusa) – A 2.9-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale, with an epicentre located about 16 kms south-southeast of Vimioso, was felt today (Friday) in mainland Portugal at 7:10 am, revealed the Institute Portuguese Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA).

This earthquake, according to the information available so far, “did not cause any personal or material damage and was felt with maximum intensity (modified Mercalli scale) in the Bragança region, in the municipalities of Miranda do Douro and Mogadouro”, read the statement.

The location of the epicentre of an earthquake is a complex physical and mathematical process that depends on the data set, the algorithms and the seismic wave propagation models. Different agencies can produce slightly different results, explains the IPMA.


Contested change of government management of pet animals came into force yesterday

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Action will start to protect pet animals in Portugal, which fall outside the competence of Agriculture, in a change contested by veterinarians, farmers, hunters and academics.

In July, after dozens of animals were burnt to death in a fire that destroyed two illegal shelters in the Serra da Agrela, Santo Tirso, the Minister of Agriculture, Maria do Céu Antunes, announced the departure of pet animals from the scope of the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Veterinary, which will continue with the competence of farm animals.

Maria do Céu Antunes argued that the “immense number” of almost 2.75 million pets registered in Portugal should be treated independently, as well as stray animals.

Following the death of about 70 animals from the illegal shelters “Cantinho de Quatro Patas” and “Abrigo de Paredes”, on the weekend of 18th and 19th July, the Director-General of Food and Veterinary (DGAV) resigned.

Reacting to the death of the animals, the Prime Minister, António Costa, considered the event intolerable and announced at the time that changes in the “organic of the State” would be studied.

The government changed the organic law of the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF) so that it assumes responsibility for the welfare of pet animals and created the Animal Ombudsman, which will be led by Professor Laurentina Pedroso and former president of the Order of Veterinarians.



Region Reports

Madeira 30th December to 1st January 2021 by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 216 new Covid-19 cases, 80 recoveries and 2 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Wednesday, there were 67 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Germany, 1 passenger who had arrived from Slovakia, 5 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 60 cases of local transmission), 19 recoveries and 1 death. All new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital increased to 37, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 73 new Covid-19 cases (from 6 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 3 passengers who had arrived from France, 3 passengers who had arrived from Venezuela, 1 passenger who had arrived from Brazil, 1 passenger who had arrived from Germany, 1 passenger who had arrived from Spain, 4 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Azores and 49 cases of local transmission), 30 recoveries and 1 death. A 65 year old female patient, who had been in hospital since the 16th of December, became Madeira’s 14th fatality from Covid-19. All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital increased to 44, 3 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 76 new Covid-19 cases (from 3 passengers who had arrived from Venezuela, 3 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from France, 1 passenger who had arrived from Russia, 10 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 58 cases of local transmission) and 31 recoveries. This was the highest number of Covid-19 cases in a single day in Madeira. Most cases of local transmission had already been linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital decreased. There were was 40 hospitalised patients, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 697 active cases, of which 177 were imported while the other 520 cases were a result of local transmission. There are 51 transmission chains but there isn’t any community transmission. More than 70 cases were detected in December, after the mandatory 2nd Covid-19 test had been carried out. This led Miguel Albuquerque, to ask for prophylactic isolation to be mandatory between the 1st and 2nd Covid-19 test. So far, there have been 1,836 cases, 1,125 recoveries and 14 deaths.

There are currently 32 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 625 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 40 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, 4 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 168 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which are all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Friday, there had been 3,296 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 142,202 samples had been collected until Friday (at 20h00). Overall, 232,951 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

At the moment, 23,874 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 2,253 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and of Porto Santo.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 1,144 calls from Sunday to Friday. Overall, 25,387 calls have been made to this helpline.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/30/madeira-com-novo-recorde-67-novos-casos-de-covid-19-e-mais-uma-morte-em-24-horas/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/31/2020-termina-na-madeira-com-recorde-diario-73-novos-casos-de-covid-19/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/31/14a-morte-por-covid-19-na-ram-no-ultimo-dia-de-2020/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/01/76-novos-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-no-primeiro-dia-de-2021/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113973/Albuquerque_diz_que_primeira_leva_de_vacinas_e_destinada_a_Saude_e_Protecao_Civil


Sanitary cordon and lockdown warning

The regional government and health authorities have not ruled the introduction of new restrictions, including sanitary cordons and even a new lockdown in January, if the pandemic situation worsens. And Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, demanded compliance with prophylactic measures. He reminded that non-compliance with isolation requirements led to an outbreak in Ribeira Brava, where at least 30 Covid-19 cases have been linked to a pig slaughter event that had not complied with Covid-19 rules. Several Portuguese expats, who had arrived from the UK, attended the event and appeared not to have complied with isolation requirements and other Covid-19 rules. They have been identified by the health authorities. 

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113942/Governo_admite_novo_confinamento_na_Madeira

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113974/Albuquerque_pondera_cercas_sanitarias_

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113899/Matanca_do_porco_ja_vai_em_cerca_de_30_casos_positivos


Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Madeira

The first shipment of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine arrived at Cristiano Ronaldo Airport (Funchal) on Wednesday evening, at 23h45. The 10 boxes, containing 9,750 vaccine doses, arrived on TAP flight 1693 and were then taken to Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. Pedro Ramos (Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary), Herberto Jesus (Regional Health Director) and several members of staff witnessed the arrival of the vaccine at the hospital. The PSP (Polícia de Segurança Pública – Public Security Police) provided heavy security during the delivery of the vaccines in Madeira. The vaccines will be stored in special fridges in a secure and restricted area of the hospital. On Friday, a Portuguese Air Force aircraft shipped some vaccine doses to Porto Santo so that 30 frontline workers could be vaccinated. A second shipment of 14,625 vaccine doses is scheduled to arrive in the Region at the start of February. The Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines are also likely to become available.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113937/Covid-19_Primeiras_vacinas_da_Pfizer_ja_estao_na_Madeira

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113939/Covid-19_Secretario_e_diretor_regional_da_Saude_na_chegada_das_vacinas_ao_hospital

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113938/Covid-19_PSP_acompanha_esperanca_contra_a_pandemia_ate_o_hospital_dr_Nelio_Mendonca

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113973/Albuquerque_diz_que_primeira_leva_de_vacinas_e_destinada_a_Saude_e_Protecao_Civil

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114018/Veja_como_decorreu_o_inicio_da_vacinacao_contra_a_covid-19_no_Porto_Santo_com_imagens

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114016/30_profissionais_da_linha_da_frente_do_Porto_Santo_recebem_vacina_contra_a_covid-19


First Covid-19 vaccines administered in Madeira

The first Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered in Madeira on Thursday morning at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The first vaccine doses were administered to 5 frontline professionals: Pedro Balsa (doctor), João Caires (nurse in the Covid-19 unit), Ana Silva (Operational Assistant in airport screening), Ludivina Freitas (Diagnosis Technician and Clinical Analysis Therapist at the SESARAM laboratory) and Adérito Delgado (SESARAM ambulance crew). Susana Pedro, one of the five nurses who administered the vaccine to the first 5 healthcare professionals, said this was one of the highlights of her career and said there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 Miguel Albuquerque (President of the Madeira Regional Government) and Pedro Ramos (Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary) witnessed the start of the vaccination in Madeira. A total of 85 people were scheduled to be vaccinated on Thursday and 180 were scheduled to be vaccinated on Friday. The first vaccine doses were administered in Porto Santo on Friday. Miguel Albuquerque, Pedro Ramos, Herberto Jesus (Regional Health Director) and Rafaela Fernandes (SESARAM President) flew to Porto Santo on the same Air Force flight that carried the vaccine in order to witness the start of the Covid-19 vaccination on the golden island.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/31/principiaram-hoje-as-vacinacoes-no-sesaram/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113972/Madeira_ja_comecou_vacinacao_contra_a_covid-19_

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113968/Ha_uma_luz_ao_fundo_do_tunel_diz_enfermeira_antes_da_administracao_da_primeira_vacina

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113966/Covid-19_265_pessoas_serao_vacinadas_entre_hoje_e_amanha_na_Madeira

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113973/Albuquerque_diz_que_primeira_leva_de_vacinas_e_destinada_a_Saude_e_Protecao_Civil

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114016/30_profissionais_da_linha_da_frente_do_Porto_Santo_recebem_vacina_contra_a_covid-19

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114018/Veja_como_decorreu_o_inicio_da_vacinacao_contra_a_covid-19_no_Porto_Santo_com_imagens


Travellers to Porto Santo to be tested on the 5th day

Miguel Albuquerque informed that passengers arriving in Porto Santo must be tested on the 5th day after arrival. This is because in January it will only be possible to travel to Porto Santo by airplane.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114020/Viajantes_nos_voos_para_o_Porto_Santo_fazem_teste_ao_quinto_dia


Search for missing German tourist

Police (PSP) are investigating the disappearance of a 28 year old German tourist in a forest in Calheta. The tourist went missing on Tuesday. He had called a friend at about 14h00 to warn him that he had become lost on a trail in Rabaçal. A search and rescue operation was launched at about 20h00, which was when the authorities had been informed of his disappearance. The entire area was searched by the Fire Service, Forest Police (Polícia Florestal) and the Police (PSP). The search and rescue operation was called off on Thursday and the PSP took over the investigation.

https://tvi24.iol.pt/sociedade/turistas/caso-do-turista-desaparecido-em-area-florestal-na-madeira-passa-para-tutela-da-psp


New Year celebrations

Thousands of people witnessed the 8-minute long New Year firework display in Funchal. The Regional Government had set up specific areas where people could have watched it. The designated areas, known as “bolsas” were clearly marked and separated, where up to 5 people (preferably from the same family) could have stood while complying with social distancing and the use of face masks. The 2,060 designated areas had a maximum capacity of 10,300 people. It is thought that around 25,000 people from outside the Region, such as returning university students, tourists and expats, had attended the celebrations. Three cruise ships, carrying 1,400 people, were in the Funchal bay during the fireworks display. All bars in Funchal closed at 1am.

Miguel Albuquerque expressed his gratefulness for the “exemplary behaviour” of the Region’s population during the New Year celebrations. He said people watching the New Year firework display in downtown Funchal and in viewpoints had rigorously complied with the Covid-19 rules. 

A video and some photos of the New Year firework display can be watched on the following website: https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114006/E_foi_assim_a_despedida_de_um_ano_para_esquecer_com_video_e_fotos

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114021/Albuquerque_agradece_comportamento_exemplar_da_populacao_na_passagem_de_ano

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114010/Madeira_assinalou_passagem_de_ano_com_oito_minutos_de_fogo_de_artificio


First baby of 2021 in Madeira

Maria Leonor was the first baby to have been born in Madeira in 2021. She was born at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça on the 1st of January, at 12h53, and weighed 3,425 Kg. Both baby and mother are doing well. Pedro Ramos (Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary) visited the hospital to deliver the first Kit Bebé (Baby Kit) card to her father. The card has the baby’s name, is worth €500, was introduced in 2019 to promote an increase in the regional birth rate and is given to all children who are born at this hospital and in private health clinics in the Region. It can be used until the child’s 1st birthday, It can be used for the purchase of goods, such as medication, vaccines that are not included in the National Vaccination Plan (Plano Nacional de Vacinação), which are crucial to a baby’s well-being, health, safety and growth. These goods can be purchased at any pharmacy in the Region. So far, more than 3,500 families have been given a Kit Bebé card.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/01/primeiro-bebe-do-ano-chama-se-maria-leonor/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/114034/_Secretario_regional_da_Saude_entregou_o_1_cartao_Kit_Bebe_de_2021


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be power cuts in the following days, due to planned work on the electricity supply network. These works must not be postponed. The following areas will be affected:

FUNCHAL

5th January – 09h00 to 12h00 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Travessa do Tanque (numbers 18 to 51)

– Beco do Abrigo de Nossa Senhora de Fátima (number 16)

However, power could be restored during the time frame mentioned above. So, for safety purposes, it should be assumed that there will be power at any time during this period of time. 

If necessary, customers can contact the free Customer Support Service (Serviço de Apoio ao Cliente): 800 221 187.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/02/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-100-2020/



Algarve

Covid-19 Data from ARS Algarve

These are the statistics as at 23:59 hrs 31st December

New cases last 24 hrs – 197

Confirmed to date – 7695

Hospitalised – 54 – In ICU 11 (7 ventilated)

At home: 1372

Recovered last 24 hrs -76

Recovered to date: 6245 (81.1%)

Deaths to date – 78

No under Contact active surveillance – 2372

More details by council area

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/mapa-de-casos-de-covid-19-no-algarve/


Portimão registers the highest number of daily cases in the last 14 days

The highest daily value of the last 14 days, was recorded on the last day of 2020.

According to the municipality on its Facebook page, 19 new cases were registered on Thursday, 7 of which occurred in the same household.

The bulletin of the local health authority also confirms 101 active cases and 6 recovered. At the moment, the municipality is at a moderate risk level, with 11 cases of re-entering the level of high risk of contagion.

The municipality calls for compliance with the restrictions set until the 4th of January, namely the circulation on the public road after 13:00 (until the 3rd).


The news on this last day of the year is not encouraging for the municipality of Lagos.

According to DGS data, 24 cases in Lagos were confirmed yesterday, bringing the cumulative total of the last 14 days to 91 cases, with the municipality having “high risk” values.

On the Facebook page, the municipality warns that the situation is “urgent”, because if the growth trend continues, “it is possible that we may even enter very high risk levels”, in the next reassessment by the Council of Ministers, he stresses.

The municipality speaks of a situation that can bring “very serious consequences”, not only in terms of public health, but also for the lives of families and the local economy, appealing both to residents and visitors, who adopt it especially during this New Year period though preventive behaviour to avoid the increase of new cases.

At the moment the municipality has 92 active cases and 7 more recovered.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 2nd January 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

On Thursday, the 31st December, the Vice-President of the Government, Artur Lima, was present at the start of the vaccination process against Covid-19, on Terceira Island, which took place at the São Francisco Xavier Social Centre for the Elderly, in the parish of Raminho.

In this first phase of vaccination, the priority of the Regional Government of the Azores is for the elderly, who will be the first to receive the vaccine.  Employees and health professionals from homes and residential structures for the elderly will also be vaccinated, so that protection is as adequate as possible.

The Vice-President of the Government, Artur Lima, announced that the Regional Government will implement, next year, a training program in outbreak management in homes and residential structures for the elderly, aimed at home employees.

It is a qualification and training programme for professionals in these homes, it will enable these professionals to manage outbreaks of any kind and will give our elderly more protection. We need to prepare for the future, the Vice President of the Government said.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 3,649 tests carried out in the Region over the last three days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for COVID-19 is 143, a big increase on recent days. There were 127 on the island of São Miguel, 8 on the island of Terceira, 4 on São Jorge, 2 on Faial and 2 on Flores.

There have been 47 recoveries recorded, 42 on São Miguel and 6 on the island of Terceira.

The current situation in the region:

There are 22 patients with Covid-19 in hospital

20 at the Hospital of Divino Espírito Santo in Ponta Delgada (1 of which in the ICU);

2 at the Hospital of Santo Espírito in Angra do Heroísmo (both in ICU).

There are currently 70 transmission chains.

57 in São Miguel (four new chains in the last 24 hours);

11 in Terceira

1 in São Jorge

1 in Faial

There are 80 extinct chains, two of which in Ponta Delgada and Ribeira Grande, in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 435 positive cases in the Region, 339 in São Miguel, 38 in Terceira, one in Pico, five in São Jorge, two in Flores and nine in Faial.

To date, 2,001 cases of infection have been detected by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19 disease, with 22 deaths and 1,491 recoveries.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/ , or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: / /www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line Covid-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus.



Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 30th December 2020

David ThomasEnd of Year Message by David Thomas

As this will be our 180th and last Covid-19 situation morning report for 2020, I thought I would give a personal view of the challenges we at Safe Communities Portugal have faced in dealing with this crisis over the last 10 months and how we have dealt with these.

No one can ever prepare for a situation such as Covid-19, but at Safe Communities we have, over the last three years or so, established our building blocks through qualifying and becoming the only Civil Protection Voluntary Organisation under Portuguese law serving the international community in Portugal. This is much more than just a title, but instead developing an organisation, recognised officially by government, which helps communities in areas such as rural fires, crime prevention, cybercrime and more recently Covid-19.

How we serve you

Our Facebook page is in in many ways the “shop window” of our organisation and when you enter you see the full array of services we offer, which are displayed on our website. When we started monitoring Covid-19 on 26th January 2020, we needed extra space so we enlarged our site creating a section for Covid-19, which has expanded considerably over the last 10 months. To ensure we could deliver the services we enlisted volunteers, some 18 to date, who have worked virtually 24/7 since then helping with enquiries, translations, the website and Facebook, for example. We try and keep up to date, by researching and providing relevant and official information free of charge to all communities.

Customer services is vital and so is effective communication during a crisis. Although we use radio (thanks to KissFm), newsletters, written and on-line media and magazines in getting key messages across, our main communication tool has been through Facebook during this crisis. Our followers have increased from around 17,000 to over 36,000 in just 10 months. From the beginning of March to November, according to Facebook Insight, our total reach was over 6 million, an average of 23,529 per day, the highest being 103,000 for a single post in November. Although this shows we are reaching people, this has presented a challenge – simply put, the more followers, the more interaction that needs monitoring and more questions that need answering!

Responding to questions and comments, quickly where possible, with the correct answers has been perhaps the greatest challenge we have had to face. Enquiries and comments during the period have totalled around 60,000 i.e.an average of 235 per day of which we estimate 70% required a response. In addition, we received over 2000 messages and 1300 emails. Many of these come from overseas.

Keeping positive

Often we receive enquiries, from people who are worried and sometimes fearful of what lays ahead. This is a natural reaction when facing the unknown and it is therefore important to try and allay those fears whenever possible. This is why negativity in a crisis is never helpful, as is the spreading disinformation, which we have encountered from time to time. Working on facts not supposition and hearsay is important so people are kept properly informed.

As a pro-active measure to encourage positivity and at the same time put a smile on people’s faces we created “SCooP”, the Pug dog, who supplements the delivery of information and advice in a less formal style. We also created a “Positive Messages” page on our website which contains comments from you that have appeared on our Facebook and other sources. Please take a look at these from time to time and it will help lift your spirits during the darker days.

Questions and answers

In many ways we are the “first line” (similar to a call centre) for many, in obtaining the answers and clarification required. We receive enquires in many forms of media, particularly through our Facebook page. Spending many hours each day dealing with concerns, emotions, even anger on occasions, I can assure you is not easy for us and has placed considerable demands on our free time. We have to keep positive and when our spirits maybe temporarily dampened by the few who are quick to pass judgement and criticise, (usually in the absence of the facts), there are many, many more of you who give us tremendous support that keeps us going – this support is priceless and we thank you for the thousands of kind remarks we have received. 

Talking of time, there is a joke in our team that the Government always announces new laws around dinner time! We now adjust our eating schedules accordingly!

In trying to help so many people, as we have tried to do over a period of nearly year, is to say the least demanding. Faced with many new laws sometimes amounting to 30 or so pages in Portuguese, can be daunting and has presented considerable challenges in deciphering what is important, so the foreign community and tourists are kept informed. A few incorrect words can send everyone in the wrong direction very quickly! Also naturally people require and deserve answers to questions, and although we may not have these at all at hand at the time, we are able to liaise closely with government, the police, tourism agencies and civil protection, Embassies and other authorities to try and ascertain these where we can. In this respect I send special thanks to the British Embassy Consular team whom we liaise with virtually on a daily basis and our contact points with the GNR and PSP. 

The Portuguese Government

We work on the basis and belief that the Portuguese government has done an amazing job in dealing with what was at the beginning a “faceless and unknown” enemy. It is important that we have trust in government to make the right decisions, at the right time based on the scientific evidence available. Personally I feel that this has been amply demonstrated from the President and Prime Minister downwards with timely and effective laws and initiatives, in the absence of which many more lives would have been lost. We have a fantastic national health service (SNS) in Portugal, well led by the Director and Health Minister, and our gratitude goes to all the nurses and doctors and health workers, and others who are certainly the front line in dealing with this pandemic.

Laws are off course meaningless without compliance, and I feel we are privileged to live in a country where the population has generally followed the rules closely throughout the pandemic, often with great hardship to themselves and families. I believe that the actions of the population is one of the reasons why Portugal has suffered less than certain other countries in Europe.

Turning the corner

We have now turned a new corner in the fight against Covid-19 with the implementation of the Vaccine program which started on 27th December. The Government has a well prepared Vaccination plan, supported by a dedicated page on the DGS website, and even a simulator where people can ascertain approximately when they will be vaccinated. There is clearly a well-defined structure in terms of priorities, supply, logistics and distribution of the vaccine and now we just have to wait our turn. Of course we are all dependent on the supply by the manufacturers with Portugal having on order 22 million doses.

A Thank You

I therefore thank our volunteer team members, who are involved with the Covid-19 work namely: Clare, Daniel, Elise, Eliana, Fernanda, Jane, Jennie, Jenny, Louise, Mike, and Sven, plus our key players who help keep the association running: Carlos, Colin, Jim, Lilia, Peter and Raoul. 

So with that positive note I would like to thank  you for all your support and to wish you on behalf our team at Safe Communities, a Very Happy New Year – Stay Safe everyone. 

David Thomas

President

Safe Communities Portugal


Covid-19

COVID-19 DGS SITUATION 29TH DECEMBER 2020

On Tuesday, Portugal counted 74 more deaths related to Covid-19 and 3,336 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, according to the daily report of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

The bulletin also reveals that 6,112 more patients have recovered, bringing the total to 327,794

Taking into account the number of new cases, deaths and recoveries the number of active cases stands at 65,457 this Tuesday 2,850 less compared to Monday. This is the lowest daily number since November 4th.

As for hospital admissions, the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 2,930 people are hospitalized, 37 less than yesterday, and 486 in intensive care, 17 less.

Health authorities have under surveillance 91,141 contacts, 1,995 fewer compared to Monday.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has registered 6,751 deaths and 400,002 cases of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The North region had more than 1494 infected people: Lisbon and Tagus Valley, with 995 new infections; the Centro region, there are over 628 cases; in Alentejo 52, and in the Algarve 90.  The Azores archipelago registers 27 new cases and Madeira, another 50 cases (1526).


Health

Ricardo Jorge Health Institute “does NOT confirm” that a new variant is in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region

The National Institute of Public Health Ricardo Jorge is currently following two leads to detect the new variant in the national territory, including the history of recent trips to the United Kingdom, explained João Pedro Rodrigues, INSA researcher

After all, there is still no indication that the new variant of SARS-COV2, originally from the United Kingdom, is circulating in the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo. “Despite the existence of a case associated with Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, this information is not confirmed”, said João Paulo Gomes, a researcher at the Ricardo Jorge Institute of Public Health, at the usual press conference to monitor the epidemiological situation in Portugal.

“All cases are associated with the Madeira archipelago,” he added. Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Government of Madeira, had confirmed to the media that, of the 18 cases of the new strain detected in the archipelago, one would have come from Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, and the rest from British citizens.


Covid-19 Cases in Prisons

The Directorate-General for Reintegration and Prison Services (DGRSP) today registered 42 active cases of the new coronavirus, including 13 prisoners and 29 prison staff.

According to a note from the DGRSP, in the population of 11,279 prisoners, there are 502 clinically recovered, while the group of workers who recovered amounts to 272.

As for young people admitted to Educational Centers, there are no active cases to report.

Twelve of the prisoners are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of Covid-19, however, they are in prison wards.

Another inmate, a foreign citizen, after recently entering the prison system, was transferred to an NHS hospital unit.


Covid-19. More than 7,500 health workers vaccinated in two days

In the last two days, 7,585 health professionals were vaccinated against the new coronavirus, in five hospital centres, the Director General of Health, Graça Freitas, announced this Tuesday.

According to the same official, about 80% of the vaccine doses made available to these hospitals in the current phase were administered.

Graça Freitas insisted that vaccination does not dispense, at this stage, “in any way”, the recommended protective measures, such as physical distance, frequent hand washing and the use of a mask, as well as the ventilation of closed spaces.


Infarmed – Standard and Information Circular for logistics, distribution and use of vaccines against Covid-19

With the introduction of the Comirnaty vaccine to the European market on December 21st, 2020, and with the start of the vaccination campaign in Portugal, the disclosure of the rules to be applied to the logistics, distribution and use of those referred to, is urgent.

Vaccines are being received in Portugal in a single central warehouse, with a Wholesale Distribution Authorization for medicines kept at cold temperature, issued by INFARMED. These vaccines are transported in qualified thermal boxes (thermal transport container, company shipper) at ultra-low temperature (ULT, -90ºC to -60ºC).

Each container shipper contains 5 trays; each tray (secondary packaging) contains 195 multidose vials and each multidose vial (primary packaging) of 0.45 mL of concentrated vaccine solution for dilution with 1.8mL NaCl 0.9%, allows the reconstitution of 5 doses of 0.3mL.


Vaccine Distribution

Covid-19 – 11 military personnel from the Armed Forces support the Ministry of Health in the planning and logistics of vaccine distribution

“The Armed Forces are supporting the Ministry of Health in the planning and logistics of the distribution of the vaccine against Covid-19”, the General Staff of the Armed Forces (EMGFA) said in a statement. This support involves the efforts of 11 military personnel from the EMGFA Decision Support Centre.

In the Situation Room of the Ministry of Health are three military personnel who provide advice and decision support to the Secretary of State for Health on vaccination planning. The military collects and analyses data that is used in models for predicting and optimizing the distribution of vaccines, the note said.

At the National Logistics Centre, located in the Common Use Service of Hospitals, in Montemor-o-Velho, two soldiers are part of a planning cell responsible for the Organization of Logistics Operation, from the receipt of vaccines, storage and preparation of delivery orders to distribution and transport to vaccination posts.

In the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) there is a military pharmacist to support the vaccination plan, namely in the establishment of priority groups and in the monitoring of the work being carried out by the other Member States of the European Union.

The statement also specifies that the EMGFA has five military personnel behind the planning of the vaccine distribution.

The Ordem dos Médicos (OM) criticized today the lack of information about when clinicians in the private and social sector will be vaccinated against Covid-19, claiming that the pandemic affects all areas of health.


Order of Doctors criticizes “lack of information” about vaccination of private doctors

The Order of Doctors has received contacts from “several doctors working in the private and social sector, and from the health units themselves, as they have not received any information about when they may be vaccinated against Covid-19,” said the institution.

In a statement, the OM said that this concern has already been transmitted by President Miguel Guimarães to the Assistant Secretary of State and Health.

“Doctors who work outside the National Health Service must have the same right to be vaccinated”, considered the head of the Order, for whom it is necessary that the vaccination plan be a “factor of equity and national cohesion”.

According to the President, many of the patients carry out their consultations, complementary exams and surgeries in health units in the private and social sector, through conventions and agreements with the National Health Service, and even by individual decision.

To “help speed up and facilitate the process”, OM is promoting an investigation among doctors who are outside the National Health Service and who want to be vaccinated, considering their activity and specialty, a “list that will be shared with the guardianship”.

On Monday, the Minister of Health assured that there will be no exclusion of health professionals from the private sector, within the scope of the vaccination plan against Covid-19 that is taking place in the country.

 “Health professionals are covered regardless of their employer and the option to start vaccinating in the NHS is due to its central character in the Portuguese health system. At another time, we will collect information from eligible professionals in other sectors and forward the doses”, assured Marta Temido.


Covid-19: Minister requests urgent inquiry on vaccine incidents in Évora

The Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, today ordered the opening of an urgent inquiry by the Inspector General of Internal Administration (IGAI) about the “incidents” in Évora in monitoring vaccines “against Covid-19.

The minister, “in view of the incidents that occurred today in the follow-up of the vaccine distribution of Covid-19 in Évora”, between the PSP and GNR, determined the opening of an urgent inquiry” by the IGAI, can be read in the statement released by the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI).

In addition, added the same note, sent to the Lusa agency, Eduardo Cabrita “asked the Secretary-General of the Internal Security System for information on the rules for monitoring and clearing the traffic defined to make this distribution effective.”

TVI reported tonight that “a conflict of interest between PSP and GNR ended up with the PSP preventing the van which was leaving to distribute the vaccine in the south of the country”. The PSP blocked the passage of a van that was going to the Algarve because it was being escorted by the GNR.

The vehicle was leaving the hospital in Évora, where the first batch of vaccines had been delivered, and still with a shipment destined for the Algarve.

“It is up to the GNR to ensure that these vans are safe throughout the country, but the PSP of Évora had another understanding, considering that it is their area of jurisdiction”, says the news published on the website of that television station.

“The conflict ended up being resolved with an escort shared between the GNR and the PSP”, also said TVI.


Recruitment of doctors

During the months of the pandemic, 180 more doctors retired than in the previous year. There are more professionals leaving and less entering. More than a third of the vacancies open to hire doctors for hospitals and public health in the NHS were left unfilled.

The competition was opened in September, 950 places were available for doctors who finished the specialty. The aim was to strengthen the NHS hospitals and public health. But, according to Jornal Público, almost 38%, more than a third of the vacancies, were left unfilled.

Only 611 doctors were placed. Only 593 have actually signed a contract and are practicing. Waiting lists and overtime are proof, say the unions, that there is a lack of doctors in the National Health Service.

The scenario in the area of general and family medicine is not much better. In September, 435 vacancies were opened. The young doctors flocked mainly to places in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo and in the North region, but still 120 were left unfilled.

The situation is becoming more serious because the number of doctors in retirement is increasing. The newspaper Público reports that 519 people retired during the nine months of the pandemic. This is 181 more than in the same period last year.

The results of the September competition were not encouraging, but a second round of applications is now open. There are 462 places available, 307 in hospitals, 140 in general and family medicine and 15 for public health doctors.


Legislation

‘Official information at your fingertips’ is the motto for launching the campaign of the Diário da República Eletrônico, at a time when your consultation is increasingly sought after by all citizens. Held by the National Press-Casa da Moeda in partnership with the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the campaign will be on the air on several television channels, radio stations, print and online media, as well as on social networks.

One of the main initiatives and features of this portal is the area dedicated to legislation on Covid-19, where it is possible to consult the more than 1200 measures published since March, both by thematic area and in chronological order. The measures are updated immediately after their publication, alteration or regulation, making this portal the site of choice to ensure that citizens have the correct information, in a perceptible way, at any time.

For INCM, this is another step towards bringing the Diário da República closer to the citizens, placing at their service the result of the strong bet on innovation made by the company in Portugal. This dynamic has allowed INCM to develop several projects and, once again, to follow the growth and needs of the country. Anticipating the challenges of globalization and the digital transition of the economy and society, INCM has made a strong investment in innovation in the different areas where it operates, at the service of citizens, companies and the Public Administration.


SMS concerning vaccinations

National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority and the General Directorate of Health have sent SMS on vaccination against Covid-19

The National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC), in collaboration with the General Directorate of Health (DGS), sent this Saturday a warning to the population by SMS, in order to raise citizens’ awareness of the vaccination period against Covid-19, which has already started.

SMS, in Portuguese and English, was delivered to a total of 11.2 million active numbers in Portugal.

The message informs that the vaccine is optional, but recommended and free, and that citizens must wait for contact from the National Health Service to be vaccinated.

The SMS content was sent by ANEPC electronically to mobile communications operators, which in turn sends it to their customers – which allows a very significant coverage of the population to be reached.


Covid-19: 990 pandemic-related transport complaints received in 1st half of 2020

The Mobility and Transport Authority (AMT) received, in the first half of the year, 7,756 complaints, of which 990 are related to the pandemic, such as requests for reimbursement for cancellation of service and non-compliance with rules of sanitation.

“According to the information collected, it was also possible to verify that of the total of 7,756 complaints found, 990 are related to the pandemic”, concluded the Report on Complaints in the Mobility and Transport Ecosystem of the first half of 2020, today released by AMT .

According to the transport authority, of the main reasons for complaints related to the pandemic, there are, above all, situations referring to “requests for reimbursement due for the cancellation of services”, “non-compliance with hygiene rules”, “non-compliance with hygiene rules” physical distance ”,“ security issues ”and“ wearing masks ”.

The report also concluded that the road sector is the one that comprises most complaints related to the reasons listed, accounting for 59.6% of the total, followed by the railway sector, with 35.4%, and the river sector, with 4.1%.

In the first three months of the year, there were more complaints than in the same period of 2019: 67% more in January, 71.8% in February and 30.6% in March.

However, in the second quarter of the year, there was a decrease in complaints, compared to the same months last year, “as a result of the pandemic, with the months of April, May and June showing reductions in the order of 52.7%, 70.9% and 44.2% respectively”.

“These values are explained by the restrictions on the mobility of people imposed after the first state of emergency was decreed, on March 18, 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reflected in significant supply reductions, a situation that was suffering fluctuations due to variations in demand ”, pointed out the AMT.


Spain

Covid-19. Spain will keep track of people who do not want to be vaccinated – and the information will be shared with “European partners”

Spain will keep a register with the names of people who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19, the country’s Minister of Health said on Monday. In an interview with “La Sexta” television, Salvador Illa recalled that the Spaniards will not be forced to be vaccinated, but informed that whoever refuses will be included in that register, a document that will not be made public but that “will be shared with other European partners”.

The list will be made “with the greatest respect for data protection”, guaranteed the minister. It will include the names “of those people who were offered the vaccines and who simply rejected them,” explained Salvador Illa.

A recent survey carried out by the public demographic institute revealed that 28% of Spaniards are against immediate vaccination, although 40.5% say they are ready to receive the vaccine now and 16.2% say they will do so if the medicine is “Safe” and “reliable”.

The consultation shows a greater degree of acceptance of the vaccine since the previous survey, carried out in November, when 47% of the interviewees guaranteed that they would not do it.

Spain, which officially accounts for around 50,000 deaths and more than 1.8 million people infected since the start of the pandemic, began its program on Sunday to immunize the population, giving priority to residents and home workers.


Other News

Cold start to 2021

The entry into 2021 in mainland Portugal will be marked by cold weather, due to the joint action of an anticyclone located northwest of the Azores archipelago and the depression Bella, according to the IPMA.

According to a note from the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) released today, the end-of-year forecast indicates that the Bella depression will originate a northern flow that will carry a mass of cold air over the continental territory in the coming days, if the cold weather continues at least until the 1st of January.

According to the IPMA, the anticyclone located northwest of the Azores archipelago and the depression Bella, which will move to the region of Scandinavia, passing through northern France, is responsible for the cold weather in Portugal.

According to the organization, the maximum temperature should not exceed 15ºC in practically the entire territory until the end of the year.

In Beira Baixa, Beira Alta and Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro the maximum should vary approximately between 3º C and 10° C and the minimum between -4 and -1° C.

In regions closer to the coast, minimum temperatures should vary between approximately 3° C and 9° C.

Between December 28th and 31st, rainfall is forecast, which will be snow in general above 800/1000 meters of altitude, with the amount varying throughout the week in the North and Centre mountains, with the passage of a new cold front surface at the end of the 30th and beginning of the 31st.

Formation of ice or frost is also expected, especially in the interior regions and morning fog or mist. The wind will blow moderately from the west quadrant, becoming from the north quadrant throughout the week, sometimes strong with gusts up to 70km / h, such that the intensification of the wind will cause an increase in thermal discomfort.


WUHAN may have had 10 times more cases of Covid-19 (550,000 in total) than official figures say, reveals study by Chinese CDC

The investigation, which was carried out after the first wave ended and before mass vaccination, found an antibody prevalence rate of 4.43% for Covid-19 among residents of Wuhan, a city of about 11 million.

The China Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has indicated in the last few hours that almost 500,000 people may have been infected with Covid-19 in Wuhan, the original epicentre of the health crisis, which will be 10 times higher to the official count, tells CNN.

The CDC study used samples from 34,000 people from Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province, as well as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, Jiangsu, Sichuan and Liaoning provinces, says that television channel.

The investigation, which was carried out after the first wave ended and before mass vaccination, found an antibody prevalence rate of 4.43% for Covid-19 among residents of Wuhan, a city of about 11 million. .

According to CNN, Wuhan recorded and identified 50,354 cases of infection, that is, a far cry from the nearly 500,000 infected that the CDC now admits. The investigators still warn that these conclusions cannot be taken into account as final statistics regarding the exposure to the virus in a certain area. Basically, the idea was to estimate the scale of past infections, specifies the television station.



Regions Reports

Madeira 28th and 29th December by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 107 new Covid-19 cases and 37 recoveries from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Monday, there were 47 new Covid-19 cases (from 6 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 2 passengers who had arrived from Luxembourg, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Czech Republic, 1 passenger who had arrived from France, 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 35 cases of local transmission) and 23 recoveries. All new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 27, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 60 new Covid-19 cases (from 3 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from France, 1 passenger who had arrived from Spain, 6 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 49 cases of local transmission) and 14 recoveries. Most cases had already been linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Epidemiological investigations were still taking place. The number of patients in hospital increased to 35, 4 of whom are in intensive care.

There are currently 563 active cases, of which 163 were imported while the other 400 cases were a result of local transmission. So far, there have been 1,620 cases, 1,045 recoveries and 12 deaths.

There are currently 55 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 473 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 35 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, 4 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 120 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which are all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Tuesday, there had been 3,080 suspected cases.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 140,223 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 18h00). Overall, 228,399 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

At the moment, 26,653 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 2,185 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/28/47-novos-casos-de-covid-19-mais-116-casos-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/29/60-novos-casos-de-covid-19-ha-35-pessoas-internadas-no-hospital/


Rules for New Year firework display

Eduardo Jesus, the Madeira Tourism Secretary, asked people and not to leave their homes to watch the New Year firework display in Funchal. The firework display can be watched on RTP-Madeira (TV channel) and on naminhaterra.com (online TV channel).

However, there are still ways for people to watch the firework display outside their homes. The Regional Government will set up specific areas where people can watch it. Designated areas, known as “bolsas” will be set up and clearly marked and separated, where up to 5 people (preferably from the same family) can stand. Social distancing and the use of face masks will be mandatory. There will be 2,060 designated areas, where as many as 10,300 people will be allowed to watch the firework display.

 The designated areas (“bolsas”) will be located in the following places:

– Praça CR7

– Avenida Sá Carneiro

– Avenida do Mar

– Miradouro da Nazaré (Nazaré Viewpoint) & miradouro das Neves (Das Neves viewpoint) – access will be controlled and limited to 380 people

– Miradouro Pico dos Barcelos (Pico dos Barcelos Viewpoint) – up to 515 people

On the 31st of December, bars and restaurants can be open until 1am on the 1st of January.

Three cruise ships will be on the bay of Funchal, where 1,400 passengers will watch the firework display without disembarking.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113741/Governo_pede_para_os_madeirenses_verem_o_fogo_em_casa

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/29/ja-comecaram-as-ser-desenhadas-no-chao-as-mais-de-2-mil-bolsas-para-ver-o-fogo/


More details on the new Covid-19 variant detected in Madeira

It was revealed that 18 Covid-19 patients were infected with the new variant that had been initially detected in the UK. One of the patients had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region while the remaining 17 had arrived from the UK. Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, assured that all these passengers had been taken into isolation after their arrival and had complied with the prophylactic isolation requirement. The Madeira health authorities had sent 21 samples for analysis at Instituto Ricardo Jorge. More samples are due to be sent to the same institution.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/28/vacinas-devem-chegar-a-31-18-infectados-com-a-nova-estirpe-do-coronavirus/


Vaccine arrival

Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, said he was not sure if the vaccines will arrive today or tomorrow. The vaccines had been due to arrive on Monday. Nevertheless, he assured that everything is ready so that vaccines can be defrosted in just 6 hours and administered. He also informed that a representative from Pfizer is in Madeira to provide training on the vaccine and its administering.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/28/vacinas-devem-chegar-a-31-18-infectados-com-a-nova-estirpe-do-coronavirus/


British couple refused entry into Madeira

On Sunday, a British couple who had arrived in Madeira via Bucharest, refused to be tested for Covid-19 and to go into isolation. As a result, they were refused entry into the Region and were deported.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/28/vacinas-devem-chegar-a-31-18-infectados-com-a-nova-estirpe-do-coronavirus/

https://observador.pt/2020/12/28/covid-19-madeira-nao-sabe-ainda-quando-ira-receber-vacinas/



Algarve

Portimão says goodbye to 2020 with Music at the Door

On December 31st, Portimão will say goodbye to the old year and welcome 2021 without the usual cultural animation and traditional fireworks, however the municipality has prepared an alternative for pandemic times: “New Year’s Eve at Home – Music at the Door”.

In a press release, the city announced that, to mark the New Year and respecting the rules and constraints enacted by the Government, and the recommendations of the Directorate-General for Health, two large trucks will be circulating, between 3 pm and 9 pm, around Portimão, to the sound of the live concerts starring César Matoso, Filipa Sousa, Gabriel de Rose and Filipe Konx, with DJ Ari Girão and Virgul as headliners.

The same publication advances that, despite the pandemic times, Portimão will not fail to welcome the arrival of 2021.

It should be noted that, although Portimão is still classified as high risk, it is about to return to the list of municipalities at moderate risk, therefore, the municipality warns that “the contribution of citizens is fundamental, based on understanding and responsibility”.

In this sense, the trucks’ itinerary will not be disclosed, “so that everyone has the good sense to comply with the rules and stay at home, having fun at the window with the music that will pass at the door”, stressed the same source.


Covid-19: Operational Program of the Algarve released until October, 19.7 million to minimize the effects of the pandemic

The Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR Algarve) published the second edition of the Covid-19 Algarve Bulletin, with the latest information on the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in the region and on public policy measures adopted with funds from European funds allocated to the Algarve Operational Program, in support of companies and institutions in the Algarve.

In a statement, the CCDR explains that the elaboration of the second edition of the bulletin coincides with a period in which Portugal is in a state of emergency, whose measures implemented by Portugal and most countries to contain the spread of the pandemic, «caused a strong contraction of the demand and supply, both domestically and globally, with significant consequences for employment and the economy”.

In recent months, following the country’s trend, the Algarve presented milder negative year-on-year rates of change than in the initial period of the pandemic, in most of the indicators followed. Despite this, the region continues, in many cases, to record falls above the national average, translating into a more marked economic and social impact in the Algarve. According to the same document issued today to the media, September and / or October showed slightly more severe breaks than in previous months.

In this context, until October 31, the Operational Program of the Algarve mobilized 19.7 million euros for the adoption of measures aimed at minimizing the effects generated by the pandemic, with 17 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and 2.4 million from the European Social Fund (ESF).

To date, nine notices have been launched and 214 operations have been approved in the three notices already completed, resulting in a total of 7.26 million euros of eligible investment, corresponding to 4.7 million European funds, adding up to all support provided in terms of unemployment benefits, social inclusion income food support.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 30th December 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 1,513 tests carried out in the Region over the last two days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for COVID-19 is 55. There were 51 on the island of São Miguel, 4 on the island of Terceira.

There have been 31 recoveries recorded, 23 on São Miguel, 7 on the island of Terceira and 1 on Pico.

There was one death on the 28th of December of a 72-year-old man at 2:15 pm, at the Hospital Santo Espírito de Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira Island.  The patient had underlying health problems.

The current situation in the region. 

There are 17 patients in hospital.

15, at the Hospital of Divino Espírito Santo in Ponta Delgada (one of which in the ICU)

2, at the Hospital of Santo Espírito in Angra do Heroísmo (both in ICU)

There are 59 transmission chains

48 on São Miguel (two new chains in the last 24 hours).

11 on Terceira (a new chain in the last 24 hours).

76 chains are now extinct.

Five of them in Ribeira Grande and three in Angra do Heroísmo, in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 296 positive cases active in the Region, 253 in São Miguel, 34 in Terceira, one in Pico, one in São Jorge and seven in Faial.

– 1,858 cases of infection with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 disease, have been detected to date, with 22 deaths and 1,449 recoveries.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/ , or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: / /www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line Covid-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.



Portugal Situation Report Monday 28th December 2020

Introduction

Firstly, I hope you all had a Happy Christmas given the unique circumstances this year.

The biggest vaccination process in history has started in the European Union. The campaign against Covid-19 started yesterday in several Member States, Portugal included, less than a week after the approval of the first vaccine to be administered in European territory.

10:07 hrs Sunday 27th December was an historic occasion in Portugal, with the vaccination of Doctor António Sarmento at the Hospital de São João, in Porto, thereby launching the vaccination program in the country against Covid-19.

Nurse Ana Isabel Ribeiro who administered the vaccination said “that vaccination provides more security to professionals to face the difficult times that may still come” adding that it is “a moment of hope”. She added “It is an honour to be here. It has been a very hard month, we have seen patients very seriously ill, patients we have not been able to save and others who have remade their lives with restrictions,” she said.

I feel her words are very poignant. Often we read the opinions of people concerning the vaccine, but seldom the frontline nurses themselves, who have to work in the most dangerous of circumstances treating those infected with this disease. Let us all hope that the roll out of the vaccination program goes according to plan and, although it will take some time, we can return to normality as soon as possible.   

This phrase “moment of hope” was echoed by the Prime Minister on his Twitter page. At Safe Communities we see this very much as a turning point. This will not be a short journey but the “fight back has begun” and it is a battle that can be won.

This was emphasised by the President of the Portuguese Medical Association, Miguel Guimarães, who stated yesterday that it is necessary to have 70% of the Portuguese vaccinated to have group immunity, “to win the war”. Regarding the new variant, he stated that we should not be afraid of the new variants, considering that there is an exaggeration in relation to this.

It is important now that we are patient and await to be called for taking the vaccine in accordance with the Government vaccination plan. The plan summary can be downloaded here.

Government has a comprehensive list of FAQs concerning the vaccinations which we have translated into English; these can be downloaded here.

What is also very important is that we do not let our guard down – it will take several months for the vaccination program to reach group immunity and it is more important than ever that we continue with social distancing, wearing of face masks, avoid gatherings and follow ingthe rules in place.

Please be reminded that only Portuguese nationals and foreign nationals legally resident in Portugal (and their family members) are permitted to enter the country if arriving from the UK. This law is in place until 23:59hrs 31st December, but could be extended further. 

On arrival in Portugal including Madeira, Porto Santo and the Azores, passengers will be required to provide a certificate confirming a negative test result for SARS/Covid-19 taken in the previous 72 hours. Airlines are likely to deny boarding if you cannot provide this at check-in. You should check with your airline in advance of travelling.

A reminder that in High, Very High, and Extreme Risk municipalities the curfew period for 28th, 29th and 30th  December starts at 23:00 hrs until 0500 hrs the following day. During the curfew period you may not leave home except for imperative urgency or health reasons.

The prohibition of travelling between municipalities for ALL municipalities (regardless of risk) in the mainland Portugal comes into effect midnight 30th December meaning ALL DAY 31st lasting up to 05:00 hrs on 4th January 2021. We will cover this more in our Wednesday report.

Please have a Safe Day



Headlines

António Costa marks a historic day “of encouragement and hope”

Prime Minister António Costa today published a message on the social network Twitter marking the historic day today (Sunday)of the beginning of the vaccination plan against Covid-19 in Portugal, which “gives encouragement and hope”.

“There are days that will remain forever in our memories. As planned, the vaccination process started, which will occupy us for months and which forces us to maintain all care. But it is a day of encouragement and hope that gives us the strength to continue working with the same determination”, reads the official page of the socialist leader.

António Costa is himself in prophylactic isolation, despite having tested negative for the new coronavirus, at the São Bento Palace, after having been in contact with the infected French president, Emmanuel Macron.

On the day of the start of vaccination against Covid-19 in Portugal, the Hospital de São João, in Porto, administered all the 2125 vaccines it had available. In Lisbon, 1241 health professionals were vaccinated at Hospital de São José and Curry Cabral. In Santa Maria, another 515 people were vaccinated and in Coimbra, 720 vaccines were administered.

That is, on the first day of vaccination more than 4600 health professionals received the first dose of Pfizer vaccine.

Covid-19 DGS Situation 

This Sunday Portugal registered 63 deaths related to Covid-19 and 1,577 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, according to the bulletin Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

The bulletin also reveals that 3,075 people had recovered bringing the total to 319,746. 

Taking into account the number of deaths, recoveries and new infections in the last 24 hrs there are now 1,561 fewer active cases the total now being 68,208.

A total of 2,870 people are hospitalized, 80 more compared to Saturday, of whom 504 are in intensive care, 9 less than the previous day.

Health authorities have 92,069 contacts under surveillance, an additional 1,751 in relation to Saturday.

Regarding the 63 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, 24 occurred in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 23 in the North region, 11 in the Centre region, four in Alentejo and one in Madeira.

Also according to the DGS bulletin, the North region was the one that registered the highest number of new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the last 24 hours (717); in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, 464 new infections were reported; in the Centre region there were 279 more cases; in the Alentejo, 32 more cases were reported; in the Algarve region there were 38 new cases; and Madeira 37 new cases and the Azores 10 new cases.

According to Lusa – The Regional Secretariat for Health and Civil Protection of Madeira confirmed yesterday the presence of the new strain of SARS-CoV-2, in travellers who arrived in the region from the United Kingdom.

“Following the genetic analysis requested by the Regional Health Directorate to the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge for a sample of some positive cases detected in the RAM [Autonomous Region of Madeira], the presence of the new strain of the United Kingdom virus was confirmed in Madeira”, revealed the regional secretariat, adding that “it was detected in travellers who arrived in Madeira from the United Kingdom”.

According to the same note, which does not specify the number of infected, “this identification was only possible thanks to the work developed by the Screening Centre of Madeira International Airport which allows to track, identify and forward positive cases to isolation, when detected”.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has registered 6,619 deaths and 394,573 cases of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


Health

President of the Portuguese Medical Association appeals to Portuguese people to “not be afraid to get vaccinated”

The President of the Portuguese Medical Association (OM), Miguel Guimarães, who this morning was vaccinated against Covid-19 at the Hospital de São João in Porto, took the opportunity to appeal to the Portuguese that “do not be afraid to get vaccinated”.

“The challenge that I give to the Portuguese is that they are not afraid of getting vaccinated”, said Miguel Guimarães, considering that this is “an act of citizenship”.

The President of OM is a urologist at the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de São João, having been called by the administration of this hospital unit for the first phase of vaccination against Covid-19 for his activity in the area of kidney transplantation.

Miguel Guimarães was vaccinated at about 11:45. He told the journalists that “it was very fast, it doesn’t give you any pain and the administration is extremely simple”.

“I have already taken other vaccines, there are more painful vaccines, this is not the case, this is a very simple vaccine, well applied, without any type of problem”, he described.

The doctor recalled that “immunity takes time to arrive” and that “it will be necessary to make a second dose on January 17th” and that “from there, yes, immunity is more strengthened”.

“We must use all means of individual and collective protection”, he stressed, adding that “as everyone gets vaccinated, everyone gets more protected and it will be possible to achieve group immunity, which in practice means winning the fight against this virus”.

The President considered that the moment today, the start of the national vaccination plan against Covid-19 that occurs in five hospital centres in the country – São João and Santo António, in Porto, Coimbra Hospital, as well as Lisbon North and Central Lisbon – and has the monitoring of the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, is “a symbolic act” that can “help” the most indecisive Portuguese.

Like other European Union countries, in Portugal the vaccine is optional, free and universal, being provided by the SNS.

Outbreak in the Alcáçovas home causes second death and three more infected

An elderly woman who was hospitalized at the Hospital do Espírito Santo, in Évora, is the second fatal victim of the Covid-19 outbreak in the home of Santa Casa da Misericórdia in Alcáçovas, the provider, João Penetra said yesterday.

The institution’s services, in the municipality of Viana do Alentejo, detected three more infected users, a number that increases the total number of users with active infection by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 to 50, in an outbreak that has already registered 73 positive cases, of which of which 21 are employees.

All residents and employees who had a negative result a week ago will be tested again on Monday by the Health Authority, João Penetra told Lusa, admitting that the new tests may reveal some more cases.

Even so, the possibility of transferring users to other places does not exist, since the home facilities were certified last week by a team from Public Health and the Health Centre Group (ACES) of Alentejo Central.

“We have several buildings and people are separated by buildings with and without Covid-19 to prevent further contagion. All safety measures were verified, as well as the circulation circuits to make sure that they do not cross, and a green light was given so that all users could remain on the premises”, explained the provider.

At the moment, there are 48 users diagnosed with Covid-19 in the facilities of Santa Casa da Misericórdia in Alcáçovas and two in Hospital do Espírito Santo, in Évora.

Vaccinations started in Europe

The vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in the European Union started yesterday in several Member States, Portugal included, less than a week after the approval of the first vaccine to be administered in European territory.

Approved on December 21st by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission, the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech started to be distributed at the same time to the 27 Member States – a Brussels commitment to ensure equal treatment for all – although not everyone starts to administer it today.

In Hungary, doctors and health professionals began to be vaccinated on Saturday, following the arrival of the first shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, with Slovakia indicating that it would also start the campaign on the same day. Also in the Saxony-Anhalt region of northeastern Germany, vaccines began to be administered on Saturday.

The European Commission, moreover, pointed to the start of the campaign in Europe for a period of three days, the so-called “EU Vaccination Days”, 27th, 28th and 29th December, and today will be the day when effectively more Member States members will begin to administer the vaccine, even if symbolically, in the overwhelming majority of cases to health professionals or the elderly, groups considered priority.

Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Germany and Belgium are among the EU countries that today begin to use the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which for some time began to be administered in other countries around the globe, including the United States and the United Kingdom. United Kingdom, while several countries have advanced to the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by Russia. But other Member States will start vaccination on other days or even only next year, such as the Netherlands, for example, which will only start on January 8th, 2021.

Latest survey concerning vaccinations

About 62% of respondents in Portugal want to get the vaccine for Covid-19 as soon as possible. Trust is greater in the NHS than in the government.

More and more Portuguese are willing to get the vaccine for Covid-19. In one month, the percentage of people who expressed this desire rose 8% and continue to be the elderly and the population of the North, a region of the country where the number of infections is higher, expressing greater availability to the Aximage barometer for JN and TSF.

If, on the November barometer, 54% of the respondents reported their intention to get the vaccine, as soon as it was available, in December this ambition was marked by 62%. The will is majority in all regions, with special relevance in the North: it went from 63% in November to 71% this month. The interest in the vaccine is growing with the approach of the moment when the immunization of the priority population will start. Being voluntary, the elderly are those who show the greatest desire: 73% want to be vaccinated immediately. A month ago, it was 69%.

The second age group that also yearns for immunization is that of the Portuguese between 50 and 64 years old: 65% wait for the call of the National Health Service (SNS). Compared to last month’s barometer results, there is still a greater interest among men (67%) than among women (57%).

About 23% of respondents (31% in November) still suspect the vaccine. Of these, almost half fear side effects. It is the elders and residents in the metropolitan areas of Porto and Lisbon who express the greatest fear.

More than a third (36%) believe that immunization will not be effective (young people aged 18 to 34 are the age group that most doubt the effectiveness) and 5% do not believe in vaccines. Looking at the regions, this disbelief is slightly higher (7%) in the South and in the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores.

Despite kicking off the vaccination plan today, most respondents are convinced that the return to normality will not be soon: 37% are convinced that it could happen within a year, towards the end of 2021. However, 23% are more pessimistic and aim to return to normal for two or more years.


Use of technology in care homes

Care homes were forced to act in the face of the constraints posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and by investing more in digital resources, aiming to put the elderly and their families in contact with each other.

Examples of this adaptation common for many care homes in the country are Nova Casa, in Lisbon, and Póvoa e Meadas, in Portalegre.

At Lar Nova Casa there are 42 users “90 years old and up,” 40 of whom have a computer and a cell phone from the institution to make video calls on Skype and Whatsapp, accompanied by employees, and only two users use devices on their own, with ‘wi-fi’.

The video calls took place twice a week, but despite the stipulation, the former collaborator Tânia Gil explains that there was also the possibility of making additional calls according to the availability of the family.

To the two users with their own devices, the former cultural animator of the institution, Tânia Gil gave computer classes, once a week, which served to accompany them in the use of social networks.

Dona Zilda, a user with sclerosis, always needed to wait for computer classes to stay ‘online’.

“Even if I left the laptop on, she couldn’t click the button”, says the former animator of the institution who also accompanied another user with difficulties: “Mr. António has a ‘tablet’, but he can’t connect it, because he had a stroke and only the right hand works”.

The vice-president of the Portuguese society of geriatrics and gerontology, Maria João Quintela argues that in the homes are the most dependent elderly and that it is important that they feel useful to have “quality of aging”, a phenomenon determined by the diseases that can accentuate the problems cognitive.


Other news

National Road Safety Campaign launched

The National Road Safety Authority (ANSR) today launches the road safety campaign “Advance to 2021 in complete safety”, which will run until January 5th.

In a statement, ANSR says that the campaign will look back on the year 2020, through the animation of several traffic signs, “reminding the constraints experienced this year and wishing that 2021 is safer, at all levels”.

The desire for 2021 underlying the campaign is to be able to count on all citizens to reach the only acceptable number of fatalities on the road: zero.

The campaign, which will be broadcast on television and radio, will have the partnership of 89 entities that have accepted the challenge of joining another initiative in favour of road safety and whose goal is to end road deaths.

Accident data in Portugal published by the National Authority reveal that, in 2019, there were 35,704 accidents with victims, including 626 fatalities, 2,168 seriously injured and 43,183 minor injuries.

Between January and September this year, 19,214 road accidents caused 299 deaths, 1,356 seriously injured and 22,406 slightly injured.



Region Reports

Madeira 23rd – 27th December by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 224 new Covid-19 cases, 77 recoveries and 2 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Wednesday, there were 54 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from Switzerland, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 50 cases of local transmission), 10 recoveries and 1 death. A 64 year old male, who was infected with Covid-19, died at his home after having had a cardiac arrest. He became Madeira’s 11th fatality with Covid-19.

All new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Three of the new cases were from 3 healthcare professionals, 1 of whom was linked to a positive case from outside a professional context. The number of patients in hospital increased to 22, 1 of whom was in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 38 new Covid-19 cases (from 8 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from Angola, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Czech Republic, 1 passenger who had arrived from Switzerland, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 26 cases of local transmission) and 10 recoveries. 

All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital increased to 25, 1 of whom was in intensive care.

On Friday, there were 48 new Covid-19 cases (from 3 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 3 passengers who had arrived from Spain, 5 passengers who had arrived from Northern Portugal, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 36 cases of local transmission) and 26 recoveries.

All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital increased once again. There were was 29 hospitalised patients, 1 of whom was in intensive care.

On Saturday, there were 35 new Covid-19 cases (from 3 passengers who had arrived from France, 3 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 2 passengers who had arrived from Germany, 1 passenger who had arrived from Switzerland, 3 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 23 cases of local transmission), 17 recoveries and 1 death. A 91 year old female patient, who had been in hospital since the 21st of December, became Madeira’s 12th fatality from Covid-19.

All new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 27, 2 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Sunday, there were 49 new Covid-19 cases (from 7 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 2 passengers who had arrived from the Czech Republic, 4 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 35 cases of local transmission) and 14 recoveries.

Most cases had already been linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Epidemiological investigations were still taking place. As for the new cases, 15 were identified (13 residents and 2 members of staff) after contact tracing in a private long-term healthcare unit where a new case had been identified on Saturday. The number of patients in hospital increased to 30, 4 of whom are in intensive care.

There are currently 493 active cases, of which 145 were imported while the other 348 cases were a result of local transmission. So far, there have been 1,513 cases, 1,008 recoveries and 12 deaths.

There are currently 61 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 402 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 30 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, 4 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 244 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which are all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Sunday, there had been 2,973 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 138,212 samples had been collected until Sunday (at 19h00). Overall, 224,244 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

At the moment, 26,653 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 2,185 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 1,326 calls from Tuesday to Sunday. Overall, 24,243 calls have been made to this helpline.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/23/recorde-de-54-novos-casos-de-covid-19-na-madeira-em-24-horas/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113415/Madeira_regista_11ª_morte_com_covid-19

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/24/38-novos-casos-de-covid-19-114-casos-suspeitos-10-recuperados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/25/48-novos-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-160-casos-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/26/madeira-com-35-novos-casos-positivos-e-uma-morte-por-covid-19-nas-ultimas-24-horas/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/26/madeira-regista-mais-uma-morte-por-covid-19-sendo-agora-12-as-vitimas-mortais/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/27/49-novos-casos-de-covid-19-244-suspeitos-14-recuperados/

Important information on 2nd Covid-19 test 

Unidade de Emergência de Saúde Pública (UESP – Public Health Emergency Unit) informed that if passengers, who are on their 4th day after arrival in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, have not been contacted to book a 2nd Covid-19 (SARS-Cov-2) test, they can call the following numbers: 966 735 594 or 969 381 326. Tests can take place from 09h00 until 21h00.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/23/informacao-sobre-testes-covid-19-na-ram/

Proof of prophylactic isolation

The Regional Health Directorate informed that proof of prophylactic isolation can be requested though the following website:

http://apps.iasaude.pt/S-Alerta/COVID19/DIP/

This form can be used to justify absence from the workplace as a result of prophylactic isolation.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113498/Saiba_onde_pode_pedir_a_sua_declaracao_se_estiver_em_Isolamento_profilatico_na_Regiao__

New Covid-19 variant detected in Madeira

On Sunday, it was confirmed the new Covid-19 variant, which had spread throughout the UK, was detected in passengers who had arrived from the UK. The Regional Health Directorate (Direção Regional de Saúde) had sent samples from Covid-19 patients for genomic sequencing at Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113634/Confirmada_a_presenca_da_nova_estirpe_do_virus_do_Reino_Unido_na_Madeira

Covid-19 vaccination in Madeira

The Autonomous Region of Madeira will receive 400,000 vaccine doses. Senior citizens, people with certain pathologies and healthcare professionals will be among the first to be vaccinated. This means 50,000 people are expected to be vaccinated in the 1st phase, 50,000 people in the 2nd phase and 100,000 people in the 3rd phase.

The 1st phase is likely to start before the new year. Although 9,750  Pfizer vaccine doses were originally scheduled to arrive in Madeira in the first week of January, they have arrived in the mainland earlier than expected and are likely to arrive in the Region today. 

Military and security forces, under coordination by Comando Operacional da Madeira (Madeira Operational Command), led by Admiral João Dores Aresta, will be responsible for the delivery of the vaccine to the Region. 

Today, SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) healthcare professionals will be provided training on administering the vaccine. Vaccination will be optional and free of charge. The vaccine must be administered twice.

From today, a Covid-19 vaccination helpline (800 210 263 – available from 09h00 to 20h00 – for administrative support) and email address (vacinacao@sesaram.pt – for queries and vaccination bookings) are available. 

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/23/madeira-tera-tres-fases-de-administracao-da-vacina-contra-a-covid-19/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/23/linha-regional-de-apoio-a-vacinacao-covid-19-operacional-a-partir-de-28-de-dezembro/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113592/Vacinacao_arranca_na_Madeira_antes_do_fim_do_ano

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113455/Covid-19_Idosos_doentes_e_profissionais_de_saude_sao_os_primeiros_a_receber_a_vacina_

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113495/Covid-19_Comando_Operacional_vai_coordenar_transporte_da_vacina_na_RAM

SESARAM provided medical treatment and psychological assistance after Northern Madeira floods

Several residents were unable to leave their homes as a result of the floods that hit the Municipality of São Vicente. As a result, SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) covered the dialysis treatments of 4 citizens who had been affected by the floods. The Fire Service helped some of these patients leave their homes and provided transport so they could receive treatment. SESARAM also made inquiries to assess the needs of other patients, particularly in regards to the provision of medication. 

A team of SESARAM psychologists was also deployed to provide psychological support to those who were affected by the floods. This team can be contacted by calling the São Vicente Health Centre (Centro de Saúde de São Vicente – 291 840 065).

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/26/sesaram-responde-aos-doentes-da-ponta-delgada-e-proporciona-apoio-psicologico/

Clean up after Christmas Day floods

Most roads in Ponta Delgada, apart from Lombinho (due to reopen today), have been reopened to traffic. However, drivers are asked to be cautious because there is still some damage and cleaning and repair work is still underway. Drivers are advised to drive in affected roads only in case of extreme need.

Two days after the floods, the sunny weather in Ponta Delgada helped to speed up the removal of debris from roads and homes. Water supplies have been mostly restored. However, Miguel Freitas, President of the Parish (Freguesia) of Ponta Delgada, said the most worrying situation is access to the higher areas of the parish, particularly the 3 Lombadas.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113662/Acessibilidades_repostas_na_Ponta_Delgada_com_excecao_do_sitio_do_Lombinho

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113662/Acessibilidades_repostas_na_Ponta_Delgada_com_excecao_do_sitio_do_Lombinho

Cruise ships arriving in Madeira

In more cheerful news, the cruise ship Mein Schiff 3 will be sailing along the Funchal bay during the New Year celebrations. The ship is currently approaching Porto Santo and will stay in the Region until the first minutes of January. In addition, the cruise ship MS Europa 2from Hapag Lloyd Cruise Lines, is scheduled to sail around Madeira after the New Year fireworks. None of the ships will be docking in Funchal.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113644/Mein_Schiff_3_chega_esta_noite_MS_Europa_2_esta_a_caminho



Algarve

Covid-19: Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA) to start vaccination on Tuesday

The Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA) will start vaccination against Covid-19 on Tuesday, the president of the centre’s board of directors, which includes hospitals in Faro, Portimão and Lagos, told the Lusa agency today.

“We will start vaccinating on the 29th, Tuesday,” said Ana Castro, clarifying that CHUA has planned to vaccinate “professionals and patients who meet the criteria” defined in the vaccination plan until January 31st.

Asked when vaccines will arrive at the hospital and when time is needed later to operationalize the administration of the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, the same source replied that he is still not sure of the arrival date, but assured that “as soon as they arrive [vaccines], you start vaccinating right away ”.

“From the moment they arrive, we start immediately, because we have a ready and assembled team, which will be dedicated to just that. So, as soon as the vaccines arrive, we start vaccinating, we have the list of people and it is to start calling them, which will be easy and immediate, because we have the list of people, everything is prepared, we know where people are and what services belong, so it’s getting started, ”he said.

Ana Castro acknowledged that she still has no information on when the vaccine will actually be delivered, but guaranteed that the process will start without delay on the 29th.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 28th December 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores 

The Government of the Azores has announced that the first batch of 9,750 doses of vaccine against covid-19 in the region is on the way.  They should arrive by Tuesday 29th December.

The vaccines, said in a statement the regional secretary of Health, Clélio Meneses, will be delivered directly to the island of Terceira, and will be transported on a SATA plane.

“The supplier has already informed that the delivery will take place on the 28th or 29th of this year”.

The 9,750 doses of the vaccine will be administered to 4,875 people, with half reserved for the second inoculation, since the vaccine is administered in two doses per person, 21 days apart.

In the region, up until March, the first residents to be vaccinated, will be the institutionalized elderly in homes, residential structures, and long-term care network and health homes.

At the same time, health professionals and people identified in the regional vaccination plan with disease or pathology will be vaccinated.

“From March to June, the vaccines that arrive will be administered to other people, namely elderly people over 65 and people between 50 and 64 years old, with pathologies. From July, the inoculation is generic”.

The first vaccines will be available on the islands of Terceira and São Miguel, as they are the islands where there is community transmission of the new coronavirus.

Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 6,619 tests carried out in the Region over the last five days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for COVID-19 is 105. The rate of infection seems to be on the decline.

87 on the island of São Miguel, 12 on the island of Terceira,4 on Faial, 1 on Pico and 1 on São Jorge.

There have been 181 recoveries recorded, 129 on São Miguel and 52 on the island of Terceira.

The current situation in the region 

There are 20 people in hospital

14, at the Divino Espírito Santo Hospital in Ponta Delgada (1 of which in the ICU)

6, at the Hospital de Santo Espírito on Terceira Island (2 of which in ICU)

There are 60 transmission chains.

46 in São Miguel

14 in Terceira

From today there are 67 extinct chains.

6 of which in São Miguel in the last 24 hours (4 in Ribeira Grande, 1 in Ponta Delgada and 1 in Vila Franca do Campo)

There are currently 273 positive cases in the Region, 225 in São Miguel, 38 in Terceira, 2 in Pico, 1 in São Jorge and 7 in Faial.

To date, 1,803 cases of infection with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have been detected, which causes COVID-19 disease, with 21 deaths and 1,418 recoveries.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/ , or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: / /www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic

 



Portugal situation report Wednesday 23rd December

Introduction

A reminder that starting 00:01 hrs 24th December the State of Emergency law comes into effect for the period up to 23:59 hrs 7th January 2021. These are the same measures as found in the existing law, except for changes in the lists of municipalities within each risk group and the special measures for Christmas and the New Year periods. These have been previously published on the Safe Communities Facebook page and in our newsletter.

We have now updated our website pages with the table, lists of municipalities and map, plus a summary of the relevant measures. This is a “One-Stop-Shop” of all the information that you need. This is taken from government websites and the Decrees themselves. In this respect we are finding that on official government sites there are occasional errors, and when in doubt we use the Decree laws to ensure accuracy. This is in itself a challenge, and if we find we have made a mistake we promptly correct this. We will publish on Facebook this morning

So far over 40 countries have imposed restrictions on flights from the UK.  These have not been co-ordinated, with countries imposing different restrictions with different start dates/times and for varying durations. In the case of Portugal these restrictions are in place from 00:01 hrs 21st to 23:59 hrs December 31st. The Portuguese Order regulating this, translated into informal English, can be downloaded here.

As a result of the very short notice from the Portuguese Government just a few hours prior to implementation, this did not give sufficient time for many travellers to obtain the required negative test results within 72 hrs prior to boarding or for some airlines to prepare for this. As such, passengers arrived in Portugal without tests and were duly tested at arriving airports. In the case of Faro, this resulted in long queues due to lack of testing resources to cope with the influx.  Given the short notice, it is surprising that the likely consequences were not anticipated and additional resources put in place to cope with an expected surge.  The Ministry of Internal Affairs has since stated that addition resources will be deployed hopefully avoiding a repetition of the situation. Last night the Portuguese Government announced that as of December 24, airlines will be fined if they allow boarding of nationals or legally resident citizens from the UK who do not test Covid-19 negative. As such travellers should ensure they are tested in the UK or may not be allowed to board.

Meanwhile the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office have advised those in the UK with plans to travel, or trying to return to the UK, take action now as follows: If you are in the UK with plans to travel, firstly, contact your airline or transport provider. Check travel rules that apply to where you live. Read the advice for your destination carefully. Prepare for disruption, delays and cancellations. Sign-up for email alerts to receive updates. Get travel insurance – or check your existing policy.

If you are returning to the UK, complete your journey if you can. If you are unsure, contact your airline or transport provider. Read the travel advice for your country. Sign-up for email alerts to receive updates.

Yesterday the Prime Minister, António Costa, signed an Order granting a day off on Christmas Eve to workers who exercise public functions in the services of the direct administration of the State. This however does not include those providing “essential services”. Having served in the police myself, I know that Christmas can be a tough time for many families if a family member is required to work over the festive period. This year will be even more so, with doctors, nurses, care workers, police, ambulance crews, civil protection fire fighter and many others both in the public services and in the private services as well, unable to join their families this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; this being the most important festive occasion (along with Easter) for the Portuguese.

If you have a friend or family member on duty during this period please give them a call, or if not possible, text them to say thank you for keeping us safe and wish them a Happy Christmas. They are the “front line” in the fight against Covid-19 and this will make a world of difference to them, I am sure.

I thank our Daniel Fernandes in particular this morning for a really informative and comprehensive Madeira report and would suggest anyone planning to travel there either for Christmas and/or New Year to read this first.

This is our last morning report before Christmas Day. Given that this, the day before Saturday when we would normally publish, we will instead defer the Saturday edition to Monday, so our team have a work free Christmas Day!

Finally thinking of Christmas gifts! Think no further – “The best gift this Christmas is to take care of yourselves and by doing so take care of everyone.”

Wishing you a Happy and Safe Christmas.


Headlines

Covid-19: Brussels asks 27 to preserve essential links with the United Kingdom

The European Commission today recommended Member States to establish travel restrictions with the United Kingdom in a co-ordinated manner, following the detection of the new variant of Covid-19, while preserving essential connections and supply chains.

Following the discovery of the new coronavirus strain detected in the south of England, many EU Member States, including Portugal, have reintroduced restrictions on links with the United Kingdom, including border closures.

Today, the European Commission has adopted a recommendation to have a common and harmonized approach among the 27, that guarantees the continuity of the transport of goods and allows the transit of citizens towards their countries of origin or residence.

“While it is important to take temporary preventive measures quickly to limit the spread of the new strain of the virus and all non-essential travel to and from the UK should be discouraged, essential travel and transit of passengers should be facilitated. The prohibitions on flights and rail connections must be lifted, given the need to ensure essential travel and avoid disruptions in the supply chain”, defends Brussels.

To that extent, the community executive recommends to the 27 that, in the light of the current epidemiological situation in the United Kingdom, they continue to discourage all travel to and from that territory until further notice, but maintains that “all EU and UK citizens who need to travel to their country of origin or residence, as well as citizens of third countries who enjoy free movement rights in the EU, should be exempt from further temporary restrictions as long as they undergo testing and quarantine.

Companies “can and should” ban travel to Portugal without testing in the UK

As of December 24th, airlines will be fined if they allow boarding of nationals or legally resident citizens from the UK who do not test Covid-19 negative.

“Airlines can and should prohibit” boarding British English emigrants and people with legal residence from the UK without Covid-19 testing. The clarification was made to the JN by the Ministry of Infrastructure, arguing that “order 12344/2020, of December 20th, determines that the United Kingdom is included in the list of countries with origin from which passenger boarding is subject to the presentation of a test with negative result in the 72 hours prior to departure”.

The same law provides, however, that, in cases where this boarding is allowed by the airline, “nationals or those legally resident in Portugal are not prevented from entering and can take the test on arrival”. In other words, companies incur a fine, but passengers can board. “Basically, the law is made to prevent them from boarding without testing, but it leaves the safeguard of not being sent back if there are companies that break the rule”, explains the ministry.

The ministry also noted that the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) is not charging fines to airlines until the end of December 23rd. “All national citizens or legally resident in Portugal who arrive after that date will have to bring a negative test, under penalty of the airline that has allowed their boarding to be fined and, therefore, may prevent boarding of the passenger who does the negative test “, he adds


DGS Covid-19 Situation

As of yesterday Portugal has 63 more deaths related to Covid-19 and 2,436 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus compared to Monday, according to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

The DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 3,095 people are hospitalized, 63 fewer than on Monday, of whom 508 are in intensive care an increase of six.

The bulletin also reveals that 5,222 persons recovered, bringing the total to 304,825.

Taking into account the new cases, number of deaths and recoveries there are now 67,577 active cases, 2,849 less than on Monday.

Health authorities have 86,334 contacts under surveillance, 1,185 more compared to Monday.

Regarding the 63 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, the bulletin reveals that 26 occurred in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 17 in the Centre region, 15 in the North region, four in the Alentejo and one in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

According to the DGS bulletin, the Northern region recorded the highest number of new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the last 24 hours (1,047).

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the North region has registered 195,957 cases of infection and 2,941 deaths;

Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, 639 new infections were reported, with 122,074 cases and 2,156 deaths so far;

Centro region, 428 more cases were registered, with a total of 41,671 infections and 889 deaths to date;

Alentejo, 232 more cases were reported, totalling 9,405 infections and 173 deaths since the epidemic began in Portugal.

Algarve region has yesterday reported 38 new cases, totalling 6,661 infections and 64 deaths to date.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has registered 6,254 deaths and 378,656 cases of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus,


Health

Parliament extends wearing of facemasks in public spaces for another 3 months

Parliament yesterday approved the PSD diploma that renews the mandatory use of masks in public spaces for another three months, a measure that has been in force in Portugal since 28th October and which would end on 5th January.

The bill approved today extends, without changes, the validity of the current law, which imposes the mandatory use of masks in public spaces and provides for fines between 100 and 500 euros for non-compliant parties.

Vaccination against Covid-19 starts on the 27th December

On the day that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the first vaccine to be administered in the EU, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, the Minister of Health points the 27th (next Sunday) for the start of the vaccination plan against the new coronavirus in Portugal.

On the 26th, 9500 vaccines are expected to be delivered and “on the 27th we are ready to start vaccination,” announced Marta Temido.

Health professionals at university hospital centres in Porto, São João, Coimbra, Lisbon North and Central Lisbon will be the first to be vaccinated against Covid-19, he added.

“We chose these five structures because they represent what the National Health Service (SNS) hospital referral network is, the designated end-of-line institutions”, explained the minister at the end of a working meeting on the Vaccination Plan for combating Covid-19, in which there are several ministers, representatives of the “task force” and the prime minister who participated by videoconference for being in prophylactic isolation.

The minister explained that they are designated as such because they are institutions in which it is necessary to “preserve in their capacity to respond not only to the Portuguese, of course, but also to support other health units”.

Marta Temido said that the professionals covered in this first phase of vaccination are already receiving emails asking if they want to be vaccinated, since the vaccine is not mandatory and “mass responses” are being received.

The Vaccination plan in summary table format translated in to English by Safe Communities can be downloaded here.

Covid-19: New coronavirus variant may not decrease vaccine effectiveness

The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) said today that, according to the data at its disposal, the new variant of coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom may not decrease the effectiveness of vaccines developed against Covid-19.

“Vaccines have been shown to be able to induce the production of protective antibodies in humans against various regions of the virus spike, so, based on the opinion of UK experts, there is no data to suggest the loss of effectiveness of vaccines in this new variant ”, explains DGS, in a written reply sent to Lusa.

British authorities have alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) to the discovery of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, which, according to DGS, “has” multiple mutations in one of the virus proteins (in the spike protein) “.

“These changes may be associated with an increase in the transmissibility of the new coronavirus. The virus mutations, which made this variant the dominant one in the United Kingdom, are being monitored by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and by health authorities in Portugal”, adds the note.

DGS says that, “according to the available evidence, the new variant does not appear to have an impact on Covid-19 mortality”, although the information is “insufficient for definitive data to exist on the new variant and its impact on the pandemic”.

“It is expected that with the continuous transmission of an RNA virus, evolution and adaptation processes will occur, as is the case with SARS-CoV-2. Most mutations do not increase the risk for humans. However, some mutations or combinations of mutations can provide the virus with a selective advantage, such as increased transmissibility or a greater ability to evade the host’s immune response, DGS stresses, over the new strain that accelerates the transmission of the virus until 70%.


Day off on December 24th for civil servants, except for essential services

According to the order, signed by the Prime Minister, António Costa, published in Diário da República, a day off on Christmas Eve is granted to workers who exercise public functions in the services of the direct administration of the State, whether central or deconcentrated, and in public institutes.

The Prime Minister justifies the decision with the existing tradition of granting a day off in non-essential public services at Christmas time, noting that, “despite the pandemic context, many people are displaced from their places of residence in the Christmas period” and that the Government approved rules applicable to the Christmas period to allow the holding of family meetings, in the light of the recommendations of the Directorate-General for Health.

Out of the possibility of the day off according to the order, are the workers of the essential services that, for reasons of public interest, must remain in operation on December 24th, “in terms to be defined by the competent Government member”.


Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection (Deco) calls for enhanced information for passengers from the UK

On Monday, dozens of passengers from the United Kingdom were held for several hours at Faro airport to take the Covid-19 test, for which they would have to pay 100 euros.

The situation arises from the restrictions enacted on Sunday by the Portuguese Government for the entry of passengers on flights from the United Kingdom, which is now allowed only to nationals or legally resident in Portugal, following the identification in that country of a more contagious variant than new coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 disease.

Upon arrival in Portugal, passengers must present a negative SARS-Coov-2 screening test carried out in the last 72 hours.

According to the government decree, if they do not have a negative test on Covid-19, passengers will be directed to carry out the test inside the airport, through health professionals qualified for the purpose “, being in isolation.

Speaking to the Lusa agency, the lawyer for the Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection (Deco) Susana Correia said that “what happened at Faro airport is unacceptable”, also lamenting “the lack of assistance during the hours they were held up”.

“Consumers have to be cautious and defended in their economic interests, because these passengers had no information and, in fact, had the chance to carry out the test in time and then were faced with a cost of 100 euros on arrival”, he stressed.

Susana Correia considered that, in addition to air carriers, also ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal and the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) have responsibilities, in terms of information and assistance to passengers.

The lawyer said that many of these passengers “are families who come to spend Christmas, some with families of four and who have to support 400 euros that were not foreseen and for which they were not prepared”.

“Many people do not have this amount of money to make the payment and Deco understands that, in this case, they should not be responsible for this payment, because the costs were not communicated in a timely manner”, he stressed.


International Travel

Ryanair “cannot exclude” more dismissals but wants to protect jobs in Portugal

The low-cost airline Ryanair “cannot exclude” more redundancies in Portugal, but guaranteed that everything will be done to protect the 360 ​​jobs it has in the country.

As indicated to Lusa the Human Resources director of the carrier, Darrell Hughes, in addition to the 23 planned in Porto and 6 in Lisbon there are no “more plans for dismissals”, neither in Ponta Delgada nor in Faro, where Ryanair is also present.

“We have no more plans, but our flight schedule for the year is not yet finished. We cannot exclude this possibility [of further dismissals], but we will try to protect jobs”, he said.

Over the weekend, the National Civil Aviation Flight Personnel Union (SNPVAC) accused Ryanair of starting a new process of collective dismissal, now at the Lisbon base, after having done so in Porto.

“Ryanair decided, in an incomprehensible way and without any management criteria, to start a new collective dismissal process, now at the Lisbon Base, involving six crew members, who curiously refused to sign, despite Ryanair’s pressure, an addendum that, like the union warned at the time, it is illegal “, said the SNPVAC in a statement.

The union also stresses that it learned that Ryanair resumed, on December 1st this year, the process of collective dismissal of cabin crew at the base of Porto, which reached 23 people.

Darrell Hughes stressed that the carrier has already achieved “agreements with 100% of the pilots and 99% of the crew” to obtain cost and efficiency savings that are then returned over a period of four years.


Other news

National minimum wage increase approved

The Government approved this Tuesday, in Council of Ministers, the increase of the national minimum wage to 665 euros, 30 euros more than what is in force.

The announcement was made a few moments ago at the usual press conference after the Government meeting.

The measure will benefit more than 740 thousand people, which corresponds to 21% of workers.

“The decision to increase the SMN to 2021 in the amount of 30 euros means that the new amount will reach 665 euros during the next year, continuing what has been the path of sustained increase in the minimum wage and is a step in the realization of what is in the Government program with a view to reaching 750 euros at the end of the legislature, in 2023 “, said Gabriel Bastos.

This increase will have a greater weight in the accounts of companies: for each employee who earns the minimum wage, companies will have a monthly cost plus 37 euros – the increase amount plus the single social fee (TSU).

The Government also promises to ensure an increase for workers who render services to the State and who earn the minimum wage.


Slaughter of 540 animals. Nature Conservation Institute suspends Torre Bela Hunting Zone license

The Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests will present to the Public Ministry a report of crimes against the preservation of fauna.

The Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF) will suspend the license for the Hunting Area of ​​Torre Bela, in Azambuja, with immediate effect, presenting to the Public Ministry a participation in a crime against the preservation of fauna.

“The ICNF will proceed to the immediate suspension of the license for the Torre Bela Tourist Hunting Area (No. 2491-ICNF), following the slaughter of 540 animals in that fenced estate. part of the hunting zone concessionary entity, namely those concerning the promotion and sustainable management of fauna, among other non-compliances “, can be read in a statement released by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Action.

The authority mentions that, in conjunction with the ICNF, “it will proceed immediately to a participation with the Public Prosecutor’s Office about the events in Herdade da Torre Bela”, in the district of Lisbon.

“In the investigation process carried out by the ICNF, in which it is being assisted by a GNR / SEPNA brigade, strong evidence of crime against the preservation of fauna was collected during a mount held on December 17th and 18th, in which they will have 16 hunters participating “, he says.

The note recalls that the Minister of Environment and Climate Action, João Matos Fernandes, will also convene the National Hunting Council to, at the beginning of the year to hold a reflection on the practice of mounts in Portugal. “It is the understanding of the ministry that amendments to the law are necessary to prevent the vile events reported from being repeated,” he adds.


Region Reports

Madeira Reports 19th – 22nd December by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 142 new Covid-19 cases, 96 recoveries and 2 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Saturday, there were 43 new Covid-19 cases (from 11 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from France and 31 cases of local transmission) and 26 recoveries.

All new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. One of the new cases was from a member of staff of a care home. The number of patients in hospital increased to 19, 1 of whom was in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 31 new Covid-19 cases (from 10 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from Italy, 4 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Central Portugal, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 14 cases of local transmission), 19 recoveries and 1 death. A 97 year old female patient, who had several pre-existing conditions, became Madeira’s 9th fatality from Covid-19.

All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Among the new cases of local transmission, 1 was from a hospitalised patient and 1 was from a healthcare professional who had contact with an infected person outside work. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 16, 1 of whom was in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 26 new Covid-19 cases (from 7 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 2 passengers who had arrived from Central Portugal and 17 cases of local transmission), 23 recoveries and 1 death. An 80 year old female patient, who had several pre-existing conditions and who had been in hospital since the 11th of December, died from Covid-19.

All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Among the new cases of local transmission, 1 was from a SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) healthcare professional, 2 were residents from a private care home where there had already been Covid-19 cases. The number of patients in hospital was 16, 1 of whom was in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 42 new Covid cases (from 9 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 3 who had arrived from Venezuela, 2 who had arrived from Mexico, 1 who had arrived from the Netherlands, 1 who had arrived from Angola, 1 who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 25 cases of local transmission and 28 recoveries. So far, most cases of local transmission have been linked to previously identified cases or contacts. One of the new cases of local transmission was from a SESARAM healthcare professional who had contact with an infected person outside work. The number of patients in hospital increased to 23, 1 of whom is intensive care.

There are currently 348 active cases, of which 110 were imported while the other 238 cases were a result of local transmission. So far, there have been 1,289 cases, 931 recoveries and 10 deaths.

There are currently 36 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 289 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 23 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, 1 of whom is in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 145 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which are all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Tuesday, there had been 2,749 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 130,661 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 20h00). Overall, 213,157 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

At the moment, 22,097 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. The number of visitors under monitoring more than doubled in the last week, which reflects the increase in the number of passengers who have been arriving in the Madeira archipelago. There are also 1,940 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) has so far received 22,917 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/19/43-novos-casos-de-covid-19-mais-63-casos-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/20/31-novos-casos-131-novos-casos-suspeitos-de-covid-19-na-regiao/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/20/morreu-mais-uma-doente-com-covid-19-na-madeira-ja-sao-nove/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/21/madeira-soma-10-mortos-com-covid-19-hoje-ha-26-novos-casos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/22/42-novos-casos-de-covid-19-mais-145-casos-suspeitos/


Mandatory testing for UK arrivals

The Madeira Regional Government informed that all travellers arriving in the Region from the UK (only Portuguese citizens or foreign nationals legally resident and their relatives can travel to Portugal) who do not have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test must be tested on arrival. While awaiting for the test results, they must also remain in prophylactic isolation in their own accommodation or in a hotel requisitioned by the Regional Government. They must also be tested for a second time, between the 5th and 7th day after the 1st test had been carried out, and must remain in prophylactic isolation in their own home or accommodation.

https://observador.pt/2020/12/21/covid-19-viajantes-do-reino-unido-sem-testes-negativos-a-chegada-a-madeira-obrigados-a-dupla-testagem/

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal?fbclid=IwAR3jGDUNjcmCIve_OHQ5hSiMM3aDoRkRXy16MUvy9nTy8CSrnFzhw4Pyc0s


President of Madeira Regional Government criticised treatment of BA passengers

Miguel Albuquerque said it was very unpleasant that passengers on a British Airways flight that had landed in Funchal had been forced by SEF (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras – Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service) to stay aboard the aircraft for about 3 hours, despite the fact an airport room had been arranged where passengers would have been more comfortable while waiting for the outcome of their situation. The flight had been carrying more than 40 passengers who are not Madeira residents. He made it clear this situation is not compatible with Madeira’s welcoming tradition.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/21/caso-do-aviao-britanico-tudo-isto-foi-muito-desagradavel/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113280/Covid-19_Proibicao_do_desembarque_de_43_passageiros_ingleses_foi_excesso_de_zelo


Genetic sequencing to be carried out

The Madeira Regional Government will carry out genetic sequencing to check if a more aggressive variant of Covid-19, which was first spotted in the UK, is present in Madeira. The research will be carried out in cooperation with Instituto Ricardo Jorge.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113278/Governo_vai_fazer_analise_genetica_para_ver_se_variante_detetada_no_Reino_Unido_esteve_ou_esta_na_Madeira

Miguel Albuquerque informed that the 9,750 doses of the new Covid-19 vaccine are due to arrive in the Region in the first week of January. The fridges that will be used to store the vaccine arrived in the Region last week and are ready to be used. Albuquerque assured that Madeira and Porto Santo have all the necessary conditions for the vaccine storage, logistics and administration. He added that the regional team in charge of the vaccine rollout have been in regular contact with the national vaccine task force.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/21/9750-vacinas-contra-a-covid-19-deverao-chegar-em-janeiro/


New Year fireworks display to go ahead

Miguel Albuquerque insisted the planned New Year fireworks display will ahead. Viewpoints, squares and Avenida do Mar will be monitored to ensure compliance with social distancing. Bars, restaurants and other similar places must close at 1am on the 1st of January and customers should return home while avoiding gatherings. He added that each person must behave responsibly and that people either comply with the rules, ensuring a controlled situation in January or do not comply with the rules and the consequences will not be good.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/21/fogo-de-fim-de-ano-esta-programado-e-vai-ser-dado/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113287/Albuquerque_diz_que_locais_mais_procurados__para_ver_o_fogo_de_artificio_vao_ser_alvo_de_controlo_apertado


Appeal for compliance with Covid-19 rules

Miguel Albuquerque appealed for every person to comply with social distancing rules, hand hygiene, the use of face masks, otherwise there will be a big price to pay. He advised families to avoid meals with people from other households, to avoid unnecessary travel and to be very careful when meeting with older relatives. He reminded that this is currently the most dangerous period and that more must not be demanded from the healthcare teams.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/21/albuquerque-nao-ha-ate-agora-transmissao-comunitaria/


Non-compliance with mandatory isolation

There have been reports of students who had arrived in Madeira from outside the Region and who had not complied with mandatory isolation. For instance, some students were spotted meeting relatives and friends even before the results of the first Covid-19 had been known. Reacting to this, Miguel Albuquerque said it was an absolutely irresponsible situation and that the police must take action whenever such situations are known.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113280/Covid-19_Proibicao_do_desembarque_de_43_passageiros_ingleses_foi_excesso_de_zelo


Big supermarkets and shopping centres threatened with closure

Miguel Albuquerque said bars and restaurants are now complying with the Covid-19 rules after a period of time when this was not happening. On the other hand, he showed his frustration with the situation in big supermarkets and shopping centres. He had visited one and had witnessed large numbers of customers doing Christmas shopping while not complying with temperature measuring, social distancing and other rules. He warned there could be a big price to pay as far as public health is concerned. He added that Madeira can not afford to jeopardise everything now that the vaccine is due to arrive. He also issued a final warning to big supermarkets and shopping centres, threatening to close them if they do not comply with maximum capacity limits and other Covid-19 rules. To aid in monitoring capacity limits, Madeira Shopping security guards have been provided an app that allows them to check how many people are inside the premises.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/21/miguel-albuquerque-agastado-com-as-grandes-superficies-comerciais/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113362/Aplicacao_permite_ver_quantas_pessoas_circulam_no_Madeira_Shopping


Madeira testing capacity

Miguel Albuquerque stressed that Madeira’s testing capacity has been constantly improved and adjusted as necessary. At the moment, the SESARAM laboratory is capable of processing over 2,000 tests per day. In contrast, at the start of the pandemic it was only capable of processing 50 tests per day.  He praised the laboratory for its performance. He also revealed that as of Sunday, 46,513 Covid-19 tests had been carried out in the Portuguese mainland on passengers that had been due to travel to Madeira. As a result, 252 tests came back positive, which meant Madeira managed to prevent the arrival of dozens of infected travellers. Furthermore, the mandatory second Covid-19 test, carried out between the 5th and 7th day after the arrival of passenger in Madeira, has enabled the detection of 11 Covid-19 cases. As of Monday, 6,011 second Covid-19 tests had been booked since the 2nd of December.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/21/miguel-albuquerque-agastado-com-as-grandes-superficies-comerciais/


Number of Covid-19 beds can be doubled within 24h

Miguel Albuquerque informed that the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça has 65 beds, 20 of which are currently being used. The Covid-19 unit for suspected cases has 25 beds, 10 of which are currently being used. He assured that if necessary, the number of beds in both units can be doubled within 24 hours. He also said that a new Covid-19 unit, with 12 negative pressure rooms, will be set up below the Accident & Emergency department in the first fortnight of January 2021.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/21/miguel-albuquerque-agastado-com-as-grandes-superficies-comerciais/


Additional measures introduced after outbreaks in care homes and healthcare providers

In response to Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes and healthcare providers, Miguel Albuquerque said additional measures were taken. These include the ban on long visits, more testing of professionals, residents and visitors and the restriction on professionals to move between different health centres and care homes.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/21/miguel-albuquerque-agastado-com-as-grandes-superficies-comerciais/



Algarve

Aljezur Municipality supports institutions in the municipality in the purchase of protective material

The Municipality of Aljezur decided to grant financial support, of approximately 7,500 euros, to the institutions of the municipality, for the purchase of individual protection material and disinfection.

This support was decided under the “Aljezur – Present Municipality” program, created by the municipality to promote support to minimize the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Municipality of Aljezur stresses that this is “a considerable financial effort, not allowing this type of material to be lacking in the municipality’s institutions, namely the Casa da Criança do Rogil (Integrated Long Term Care and Maintenance Unit (ULDM)) Aljezur and nurseries), the Santa Casa da Misericórdia of Aljezur and the Association of Voluntary Firemen of Aljezur”.

Also within the scope of the support measures, the Aljezur municipality financially supported the Juventude Clube Aljezurense, in the amount of 978.25 euros, to cover the operating expenses of its headquarters building, namely the payment of water, electricity and telecommunications.

“These measures will continue to be assumed and supported by the autarchy and understood as essential, at this point in the life of the associations, which have been at the forefront of the fight against Pandemic”, adds the municipality.


Albufeira Municipality attributes “Vale Restauração” to professionals who deal with the pandemic on a daily basis

Within the scope of the “Present Municipality” program, a new initiative was approved yesterday, this time aimed at the catering sector. This is the “Vale Restauração”, a voucher with a unit value of 20 euros and which will be distributed to professionals who deal with the pandemic daily.

The initiative results from a tripartite protocol between the municipality of Albufeira, ACRAL – Association of Commerce and Services of the Algarve and AHRESP – Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Services of Portugal.

In a statement, the municipality adds that the investment is around 120 thousand euros and that this is yet another initiative to apply the funds initially planned for the organization of the Christmas and New Year’s events, “in responses that can boost the economy and support the families of the municipality ».

For the Mayor, José Carlos Rolo, “it is a gesture of recognition for those who have given so much for others, often in situations of extreme mental and physical fatigue, but also a way to support restoration local, one of the sectors of activity that has suffered the most from the contingencies of the current economic situation”. In total, more than 5,700 beneficiaries will be covered by this measure, whose investment is around 120 thousand euros.


Faro municipality offers 400 king cakes to security forces, firefighters, hospital and INEM

The municipality of Faro has announced that it will symbolically offer 400 king cakes to GNR, PSP, INEM, Firefighters Sapadores de Faro, Voluntary Firefighters from Faro and Hospital de Faro.

The delivery of these cakes traditionally alluding to the Christmas season will take place on Christmas Eve, December 24, and intends, according to the municipality, to recognize “the extreme importance of the work, commitment, altruism and notion of public cause of the professionals of these entities in a year marked by a very difficult situation due to the situation of pandemic crisis”.

The local authority invested a value of 3,618 euros in the purchase of 400 bolo-rei, plus VAT at the legal rate in force.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 23rd December 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Vaccine. 

The Azores should have about 28 thousand people in the first group for vaccination against covid-19, revealed the head of the monitoring committee.

“We have so far identified more than 12,000 members of the public who meet the ‘risk’ group criteria, that is, individuals over 50 who have heart failure, chronic kidney disease or another of the chronic conditions that are identified, we have about 7,000 health professionals identified and about 9,000 other employees from multiple social response areas. These numbers still need some confirmation”, said Gustavo Tato Borges.

The chairman of the Monitoring Committee on the Fight against Pandemic in the Azores spoke, in Angra do Heroísmo, at a hearing, by videoconference, at the Social Affairs Committee of the Legislative Assembly of the Azores, in which he participated together with the regional secretary for Health and Sports, Clélio Meneses, and with the regional director of Health, Berto Cabral.

Gustavo Tato Borges stressed the region should receive about 2% of the number of vaccines attributed to Portugal, noting that the official number is not yet known.

“It is not possible to say at this point how many people per island will be vaccinated, nor how many vaccines per island will be distributed, because the number of vaccines that are going to reach the Portuguese Republic is not yet official”, he stressed, adding that both Pfizer and AstraZeneca have already announced a reduction in the quantities initially indicated.

The head of the monitoring committee stressed that priority will be given to nursing homes.

“Taking into account what happened in ‘Nordeste’, in the first phase, we will prioritize the vaccination of residents who are in care homes and employees who work there,” he said, referring to a home where 12 residents died.

Gustavo Tato Borges said that the vaccines will be stored in a first phase at the hospital in Terceira, but Ponta Delgada also has storage capacity at a later stage.

“Bearing in mind that the Pfizer vaccine needs to be kept at -70 degrees and five days to thaw, we will take advantage of the trips to allow this vaccine to thaw, so that vaccination can take place as soon as possible,” he said.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 4,537 tests carried out in the Region over the last four days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for Covid-19 is 60. A big reduction on recent days.

54 on the island of São Miguel and 6 on the island of Terceira.

There have been 82 recoveries recorded, 54 on São Miguel and 28 on the island of Terceira.

The current situation in the region.

There are 16 people in hospital

11, at Divino Espírito Santo Hospital in Ponta Delgada

5, at Santo Espírito Hospital on Terceira Island (2 of which in ICU)

There are 67 active transmission chains

49 in São Miguel (1 in the last 24 hours, shared between Ribeira Grande, Lagoa and Ponta Delgada)

1 chain shared between São Miguel and São Jorge

17 on Terceira Island (1 new chain in Angra do Heroísmo in the last 24 hours)

49 chains have been extinct to date (3 in São Miguel and 2 in Terceira, in the last 24 hours).

There are currently 353 positive cases in the Region, 270 in São Miguel, 79 in Terceira Island, 1 in Pico and 3 in Faial.

1,698 cases of infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 disease, have been detected to date, with 21 deaths and 1,237 recoveries.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/ , or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: / /www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.



Portugal Situation Report Saturday 19th December

Introduction

Good morning – Certainly the news on Thursday regarding the extent of the changes to the measures over the New Year period, caught many by surprise. The main changes were the bringing forward of curfew times to 2300 hrs on 31st December and 1300 hrs on 1st, 2nd and 3rd January, the consequently earlier closing times of restaurants, as well as the fact that this will apply to all municipalities on the mainland regardless of risk. The ban on travelling between municipalities between 00.01 hrs on 31st and 2359 on 4th January 2021 also remains. There are no changes to the Christmas measures.

At this point I would like to thank my colleagues Eliana Tavares and Fernanda Goncalves for their work late Thursday night and early Friday morning in helping with updating our information, translations in publishing this on our Facebook page etc.

As expected there has been quite a response to the restrictions: concerns over loss of income in the hospitality industry coming in an already bad year and secondly why these increased measures should focus on New Year rather than Christmas, where the previously announced measures remain unchanged.

Firstly the Prime Minister did say over two weeks ago that the government would evaluate the situation on 18th (it appears this was done earlier) and the existing law is also clear that the previously announced Christmas and New Year measures were only provisional and could change if the situation so dictates.

When we compare Christmas and New Year, some on social media have commented that both should be treated the same as far as the imposition of measures are concerned. However, we need to remember that we are in Portugal and for the Portuguese there are two major festivities where the family traditionally get together – Easter and Christmas.

The main Christmas celebration in Portugal is the night of 24th and it’s at home, not in restaurants. Usually what families do when they have to, is divide themselves between more than one family house for the celebrations. Often this means having the 24th dinner/night at one family relations house and on the 25th lunch/afternoon in the other family relations house. Usually this happens when the husband’s family are living in one concelho and the wife’s family in another concelho far away, or the other way round.

That’s why freedom of movements on those nights are so important

This year about 90% of the families didn’t get together for Easter, so for Christmas it would have been almost impossible for the government to impose a lockdown, without the risk of people disobeying the measures.

Comparing with New Year, there’s no “cultural tradition” of doing this; it’s usually a celebration with friends and some family if possible, BUT out at a party, either a restaurant or at an event. So it has a lesser impact on the feeling/emotional relations that people have with the date compared to Christmas. In other words Christmas is much more important.

I have tried to explain this at length to show that when laws are enacted they take into account, where possible, the culture and tradition for the vast majority of the population. When commenting on social media this should be respected, and not complain bitterly “does this mean I cannot go to the gym then” for a couple of days, when there are far more traditional family values at stake.

The new list of municipalities within each municipality have now been publish by Government, and are on our Facebook page with our website being updated in the next day or so for when they come into effect on 24th December. Again some of the pundits in the media were proved wrong with forecasts even as late as Wednesday, that there would be no High Risk municipalities in the Algarve when the following days announcement that there were three: Portimão, Faro and Loulé. This is why we do not speculate and instead wait for Government announcements.

This week end or Monday we expect the publication of the full law but the exemptions for curfews and travel between municipalities will almost certainly remain the same. A reminder again that this does not prevent travel to the airport for departure or arrival returning to your residence/accommodation. Borders with Spain are unaffected.

Finally a reminder that one hundred and thirteen municipalities at very high or extreme risk of transmission of covid-19 are this weekend once again in curfew starting at 13:00, with trade and restaurants having to close at that time. For those that are at high risk the curfew starts as at 2300 hrs as usual with restaurants closing at 2230 hrs. These times are also applicable to the new extension from 24th December except for the holiday periods as mentioned.

This is the sixth consecutive weekend in which the ban on driving on public roads from 13:00 to 05:00 at the weekend is applied in municipalities considered to be at very high or extreme risk of transmission by the new coronavirus.

With that please have a Safe weekend

David Thomas – President, Safe Communities Portugal

Covid-19 Situation Report

On Friday, Portugal counted another 75 deaths related to covid-19 and 4,336 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, according to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

As for hospital admissions, the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 3,061 people are hospitalized, 81 less than the previous day, of whom 484 are in intensive care, 10 less compared to Thursday.

Health authorities have 77,432 contacts under surveillance, 981 more than on Thursday.

The data shows an additional 3,662 recovered patients. Since the beginning of the epidemic in Portugal in March, 290,690 people have recovered.

Taking into account recoveries, deaths and new cases, there are now 70,285 active cases this Friday, 599 more than on Thursday.

Of the 75 deaths since Thursday, 27 occurred in the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 31 in the North region, 12 were recorded in the Centre region, 4 in the Alentejo and one in the Azores.

One of the fatal victims, male, belongs to the age group between 10 and 19 years old. It is the second death in this age group since the arrival of the pandemic in Portugal.

As regards the 4,336 new cases, 2,001 are registered in the North region, 1,360 in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 674 in the Centro region, 195 in the Alentejo, 67 in the Algarve, 21 in the Azores and 18 in Madeira.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has registered 5,977 deaths and 366,952 cases of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus,

Transmission Rates updates

The North region has concentrated more than half of the new cases of contagion by the new coronavirus in the last 14 days, according to the National Statistics Institute, which points to a national incidence rate of 534 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.

The number of deaths in the Northern region of the last two weeks was also 1.4 times higher than in the same period in the average of the last five years, more than the national value of the same indicator: 1.26 times above the average.

In all, 53 percent of new cases recorded in the last 14 days were diagnosed in the North, especially in the areas of Alto Tâmega, Ave and Cávado, which had more than 1,000 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

In the covid-19 data bulletin released today, the National Statistics Institute (INE) reports that between 18 and 3 November there was a “progressive decrease” in the number of new weekly cases, which on December 16 was 27,409 in the previous seven days.

On December 8, 19 of the 25 counties belonged to the northern region, which were above the threshold of 960 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, the limit defined to be considered of extremely high risk and to be subject to the most restrictive circulation limitation measures.

Trofa, Póvoa de Varzim, Vila do Conde, Espinho, Felgueiras, Lousada, Esposende and Barcelos were among the municipalities with the highest number of cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.

As for the rest of the country, the Metropolitan Area of ​​Lisbon had an average of 445 cases per 100,000, the Center with 417 and the Alentejo with 342, which correspond to high risk.

In the Algarve there was an average of 207 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, 163 in the Azores and 76 in Madeira, corresponding to a moderate risk level.

The number of deaths in Portugal has been above the reference value for the last five years since March and in the last few weeks, it was higher in 209 of the 308 municipalities.

Health

Covid-19: University of Évora with “several” new cases suspends face-to-face classes

The University of Évora (UÉ) has suspended classroom classes at the academy, starting on Thursday, as “several cases” of students and teachers with positive results for SARS-CoV have been reported -2, the institution revealed today.

The suspension of classroom teaching activities, between Thursday and the beginning of the Christmas holidays, scheduled for next Monday, was decided today by UÉ’s dean, Ana Costa Freitas, the higher education institution revealed, in a statement sent to Lusa agency.

“In the past week, several cases of students and teachers with positive results for SARS-CoV-2 have been reported”, communicated the dean in an internal information, to which the statement sent to Lusa refers.

According to UÉ, the suspension of classes is “an additional measure in order to avoid a greater number of cases”.

Fonte da UÉ told Lusa that the number of cases existing at the university infected by the new coronavirus, which causes the covid-19 disease, will only be released on Friday, when this week’s epidemiological report is known at the institution.

In the dean’s internal communication, to which Lusa had access, Ana Costa Freitas indicated that, “in order to avoid an accelerated / uncontrolled dissemination” of the cases of infected with SARS-CoV-2, the “that nobody wants”, the classes will be taught, until the Christmas holidays, through the Internet, using the ZOOM platform.

Vaccination delivery schedules

Health Minister Marta Temido said this Friday that Portugal expects to receive about 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against covid-19 between this month and the first quarter of 2021.

“We still don’t know for sure whether they will happen in a single moment or in several weeks of these months. There are 312,975 (doses) in the accumulated of December and January, 429 thousand doses in February and 487,500 in March, that is, a total of 1.2 million doses, if Pfizer’s deliveries are confirmed during the first quarter. But I insist that it depends on the production and distribution of third parties and we have to monitor “, he stressed.

Speaking at a joint hearing between the parliamentary health committee and the contingent committee for monitoring the implementation of measures to respond to the pandemic and the economic and social recovery process, Marta Temido also assumed “high expectations in the vaccine process da Moderna and AstraZeneca “, although he recognized that they are at a later stage of market launch.

Regarding the start of vaccination, the official reiterated that the arrival of the first doses “is scheduled for December 26 and what the country is prepared to start vaccinating on the 27th”, remembering that the dates follow the other member states of the Union European Union and that the decision to launch vaccination against covid-19 between the 27th and 29th represents an “important sign of the ability of the various countries to work together”.

Covid-19: Serological study estimates 1.9% of the infected population in the first wave

A national serological study, with the objective of measuring the prevalence of antibodies against the virus that causes covid-19, estimates that 1.9% of the Portuguese population has been infected with SARS-CoV -2 in the first wave of the pandemic.

“The results now presented allow an estimate of 1.9% of the global seropositivity of the population to the SARS-CoV-2 virus by September 2020”, which is equivalent to about 195 thousand people, announced today the João Lobo Antunes Institute of Molecular Medicine (iMM) that developed this study, financed at two million euros by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Society and the Jerónimo Martins group.

The Covid-19 National Serological Panel (PSN), which took place between September 8 and October 14 in 102 municipalities in mainland Portugal and the islands, included a sample of about 13,000 volunteers, distributed across nine strata that crossed population density and the age group almost proportionally to the Portuguese population.

According to the private research institute, the PSN allowed “to make a portrait of the first wave of covid-19, through the proportion of the population that, through serological evaluation, developed specific antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus”.

Regarding the results by age group, the study indicates that the estimated prevalence of covid-19 was higher in young people under the age of 18, but “without statistical significance on a national scale”.

In the group of minors, the prevalence was estimated at 2.2%, compared to 2.0% in the group of volunteers between 18 and 54 years old and 1.7% over 54 years old.

“The estimated prevalence increases with population density, assuming a statistically higher value in regions with high density: 2.5% in regions with high population density, compared to 1.4% in regions with medium density and 1.2 in regions with low density ”, says the study.

Covid-19: Mourão municipality promotes more than 300 tests and says that Public Health united has not acted quickly enough

The Câmara de Mourão yesterday promoted more than 300 tests for the detection of the covid-19 virus in the municipality, considering that Public Health “has not acted quickly and effectively “.

In a statement sent to the Lusa agency, the municipality of Mourão, in the Évora district, indicated that it has proceeded with “mass testing”, which involves an investment “greater than 12 thousand euros”, because the covid-19 virus is “installed” in the community. ”

In addition, the Alentejo autarchy claimed that the Public Health Unit “has not acted as quickly and effectively as the situation requires, which could have prevented the increase in cases in the community”.

Contacted by Lusa, the Mayor of Mourão, Maria Clara Safara, explained that the cause is an outbreak of covid-19 detected in late November, whose first known case of infection was that of a teacher from the school group.

At that time, according to the mayor, the Municipal Civil Protection sent “a list of about 94 people who should be tested”, because they had contact with positive cases, but “Public Health, in epidemiological studies, understood that there was no danger of the outbreak pass to the community “.

Restaurants

Restaurants have to close at 10:30 pm on New Year’s Eve. “There were already reservations made and they are being cancelled, that is to behead the sector”

Restaurants will have to close early on New Year’s Eve, and on the first three days of January at 1 pm. The National Restaurant Association says the small “oxygen balloon” expected in this period is resulting in a “catastrophic situation”

The Government decided to “pull the brakes” and tighten up the restaurant hours on New Year’s Eve. On December 31st, restaurants in mainland Portugal will have to close at 10:30 pm, and not at 1:00 am as planned two weeks ago, according to the decision taken this Thursday at the Council of Ministers on the new rules for the festive season.

Also on January 1, 2 and 3, restaurants will have to close at 1 pm, and may remain open from then on for home deliveries only, and not at 3:30 pm as anticipated.

The National Association of Restaurants (ProVar) received “with amazement” the new measures announced by António Costa, bringing a tightening of rules for the New Year, and on the other hand greater tolerance towards Christmas.

“There were already reservations made for the New Year’s Eve, we are following dozens of restaurant owners who are calling to say that reservations are being cancelled,” said Daniel Serra, president of ProVar. “Customers looking for a restaurant obviously had the expectation of being there until 1:00 am, and spending the year.”

Also contested by the National Restaurant Association is the decision of restaurants to close at 1 pm on January 1, 2 and 3, instead of 3:30 pm as planned.

“It is a catastrophic situation. For the sector this period was a small oxygen balloon, what was the difference between being able to be open until 3:30 pm these days? Closing at 1:00 pm is worse because it will cause gatherings, and for us it will be another quarter lost, “stresses Daniel Serra, recalling that restaurants had already invested in strengthening stocks for these days taking into account reservations, which are now being cancelled.

 

Vaccinations

Covid-19: SNS users will be contacted by SMS to say if they want to be vaccinated

Users of the National Health Service will be contacted by SMS to say whether they want to be vaccinated against covid-19, according to the covid-19 vaccination plan released today

Users will be identified based on the list of Shared Services of the Ministry of Health (SPMS), which will be made available to Health Centre Groups (ACES), and will then be contacted by SMS message for “checking interest for covid-19 vaccination”, according to the document presented today at a meeting with journalists by the coordinator of ´task force´ for the vaccination process, Francisco Ramos.

According to the plan, users will answer yes or no and based on their answers, actions will be triggered: if the answer is “no” or if there is no answer, the user is not summoned for vaccination and is sent for “manual treatment” at health Centre.

In case the answer is “yes”, the scheduling is carried out and the user will receive a new SMS with the date, time and place of the vaccination.

At the moment, according to the plan, measures are being implemented related to the monitoring system to evaluate the performance of vaccines, the application of cybersecurity tests to the vaccines platform, which will be the basis for consultation and registration of inoculations and guaranteeing technical conditions ( Access to systems) at vaccination posts.

A vaccine administration monitoring system will also be developed, which will be linked to the distribution system for stock management and scheduling.

“This system will allow monitoring of administration activity by region, location, type of vaccine and other attributes that are identified”, says the document.

Covid-19: Parliament approves extension of rent protection until June

The deputies today approved the Government proposal that extends until June 30, 2021 the suspension of the assignment of non-housing lease contracts and includes protection measures for establishments that have been closed since March.

The proposal was approved with the abstention of PSD, CDS-PP, Chega and Liberal Initiative and the favourable vote of the remaining parliamentary groups.

Approved was the BE project that also extends the suspension of contracts until June 30, 2021, an initiative that had the favourable vote of PS, BE, PCP, PEV and PAN, the vote against PSD and CDS-PP and the abstention from Chega and the Liberal Initiative.

A proposal by the PCP that intended to prolong this suspension until the end of next year was rejected.

The PAN initiative was also approved, which clarifies the exceptional regime applicable to contracts for the exploration of properties for commerce and services in shopping centres, with the initiative to be made possible with the favourable votes of the PSD, BE, PCP, PEV and PAN, the vote against PS, CDS-PP and Liberal Initiative and Chega’s abstention.

International Travel

Covid-19: Number of passengers at national airports falls 74% in October – INE

The number of passengers at national airports fell 74.1% in October this year compared to 2019, accentuating the decrease seen in September (69.0%), the National Statistics Institute reported today ( INE).

“In October 2020, there was a movement of 1.4 million passengers in national airports, representing a decrease of 74.1%, (-69.0% in September)”, can be read in the fast statistics of the air transport today released by INE.

According to the institute, in October “9.7 thousand aircrafts landed at national airports on commercial flights, which represents a year-on-year variation of -51.9% (-50.2% in September and -46.4% in August) “.

 

Region Reports

Madeira Report 16th – 18th December by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 59 new Covid-19 cases, 68 recoveries and 2 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. Once again, the vast majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Wednesday, there were 24 new Covid-19 cases (from 6 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 2 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 16 cases of local transmission), 17 recoveries and 1 death. An 87 year old female patient became Madeira’s 7th fatality from Covid-19. She had several pre-existing conditions and been hospitalised in the Covid-19 unit since December 3rd.

All new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Two of the new cases were from hospitalised patients who had been tested for Covid-19 while in hospital and 2 were from social care (1 beneficiary and 1 member of staff). There were 14 patients in hospital, 1 of whom was in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 18 new Covid-19 cases (from 4 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland and 13 cases of local transmission) and 32 recoveries. All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases or contacts. Among the new cases of local transmission, 4 were from hospitalised patients and 1 was from a healthcare professional at SESARAM (Madeira Health Service). The number of patients in hospital increased to 18, 1 of whom was in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 17 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Italy and 16 cases of local transmission), 19 recoveries and 1 death. A 92 year old female patient, who had several pre-existing conditions, died in hospital. Her death means Madeira has 8 deaths from Covid-19.

As of Friday, there have been 1,147 cases, 835 recoveries and 8 deaths.

The following data is from Thursday, as no updated figures were provided on Friday:

On Thursday, there were 307 active cases, of which 72 were imported while the other 235 cases were a result of local transmission. Also, 44 cases were from non-residents while 263 were from Madeira residents.

On Thursday, there were 35 patients in isolation at a dedicated hotel, 253 patients in isolation at their own accommodation and 18 patients in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, 1 of whom was in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 122,036 samples had been collected until Thursday (at 18h30). Overall, 201,117 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

Also on Thursday, 12,103 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There were also 1,986 people, who had contact with positive cases, being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) had received 446 calls from Tuesday to Thursday. Overall, the total number of calls made to this helpline was 21,413.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/16/24-novos-casos-positivos-de-covid-66-suspeitos-e-mais-uma-morte/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/16/mais-uma-vitima-idosa-da-covid-19-na-madeira-eleva-numero-de-mortes-para-sete/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/17/mais-18-casos-de-covid-19-129-novos-casos-suspeitos/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113073/Faleceu_mais_um_doente_covid_na_Madeira

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113069/Madeira_com_mais_17_novos_casos_e_apenas_um_importado

New Covid-19 prevention measures to be announced on Monday

Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, will hold a press conference on Monday at 17h00. He will comment on the outcome of the measures that had been  previously implemented and will also announce new measures that will be applicable during the Christmas and New Year period.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113013/Covid-19_Miguel_Albuquerque_anuncia_novas_medidas_de_prevencao_na_segunda-feira

Students, teachers and school staff tribute to healthcare professionals

On Thursday morning, students, teachers and staff from Escola Dr. Horácio Bento de Gouveia paid tribute to the SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) professionals. The Madeira Education, Science and Technology Secretary was in attendance. The school courtyard is in front of Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça and the group launched balloons and sang Christmas songs. In response, the healthcare professionals thanked the group for their gesture. A video of the tribute can be watched on the following website:

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/112819/Veja_aqui_a_bonita_homenagem_que_a_escola_Horacio_Bento_de_Gouveia_prestou_ao_SESARAM__Video

Motorcycle group made donation to food bank

Bikers from a motorcycle group (Guardiões da Madeira Moto Clube) visited the Banco Alimentar da Madeira warehouse, where they delivered a donation of food. Carlos Ventura, the founder of this motorcycle group, said the current social and economic crisis is a source of great concern to its bikers and hope this donation will help the Region in the fight against hunger. Fátima Aveiro, the director of Banco Alimentar da Madeira, hosted the group and expressed her gratitude for the donation.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/113065/Motards_solidarios_com_o_Banco_Alimentar_da_Madeira

Tourism in Madeira in better performance than the rest of the country

Eduardo Jesus, the Madeira Tourism Secretary, said Madeira has been having more success than other Portuguese tourists destinations. He said Madeira has been losing fewer tourists than other destinations in Portugal (Madeira had a reduction of 63% while Lisbon Airport had a reduction of 80%). Eduardo Jesus said the resilience of Madeira’s businesspeople had helped to provide trust in Madeira as a safe destination. He added that the Regional Government has been doing everything possible for tourism to recover and to provide support to the tourism sector.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/112978/Madeira_tem_registado_desempenho_turistico_melhor_do_que_o_pais

Regional Government to donate 10 patrol cars to the PSP

Pedro Calado, the Vice-President of the Madeira Regional Government, will preside over the handover ceremony of 10 patrol cars to the PSP (Polícia de Segurança Pública – Public Safety Police). The donation is based on a collaboration protocol signed between the Autonomous Region of Madeira, through the Vice-Presidency of the Madeira Regional Government and Parliamentary Affairs (Assuntos Parlamentares), and the PSP. As a result of this protocol, 1 all-terrain search and weather vehicle, 4 900cc motorbikes, 6 125cc motorbikes, search and rescue and mountain rescue equipment (individual and collective), 2 emergency lighting systems, 1 laser radar and 2 sound level meters have been provided to the PSP.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/112970/Governo_Regional_vai_entregar_10_carros_patrulha_a_PSP

 

Algarve

Three Municipalities at High Risk

Prime Minister António Costa announced this Thursday, new restrictive measures to curb the contagion of the covid.19, namely for the New Year period.

After reviewing the epidemiological situation in the country, the Council of Ministers updated the list of risky municipalities.

In the Algarve there are 3 counties at “high risk”: Faro, Portimão and Loulé, (the latter rose to “high risk”). There are 3 other municipalities that have gone down to “moderate risk”: Lagos, Monchique and Lagoa.

The remaining counties, namely Albufeira, Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim, Olhão, São Brás de Alportel, Silves, Tavira, Vila do Bispo and Vila Real de Stº António, remain at “moderate risk”.

The new measures take effect on November 24.

Covid-19: RTA President predicts “significant impact” on demand for Christmas and New Year

The president of the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA) today acknowledged that restrictions to contain the covid-19 pandemic will have a “significant impact” on demand in the region at Christmas, but especially over the New Year.

“There are no specific estimates, but we know that there will be a significant impact,” said considering that the tightening of the restriction measures that the Government imposed on Thursday for the New Year will prevent “some expected activity” in a context more permissive.

The president of RTA regretted that the “less serious” epidemiological situation in the Algarve, compared to other regions of the country, was not taken into account by the Government when, on Thursday, it tightened up the restrictions for the New Year, imposing the 23: 00 as the time limit for curfew on the 31st and limiting the circulation on public roads until 13:00 on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of January.

“I am sure that there will be a lot of people coming to their second homes in the Algarve, but [the decision to tighten restrictions on New Year’s Eve] will have a lot of impact on tourism and is a very difficult year extension”, he said .

João Fernandes considered that, although circulation between municipalities remains the same as predicted before the aggravation decided by the Government on Thursday, “the impossibility of circulating on public roads from 13:00 on 01, 02 and 03 will also limit the enjoyment of what in the Algarve is a special condition, which is being able to walk outdoors for a good part of the day”.

“It was a year in which this demand was obviously very important, the coincidence of the 31st being on a Thursday and 01 Friday allowed for a long weekend, but these measures – which come to condition the period of pre-booked dinners, New Year’s Eve festivities and New Year’s lunch, as well as circulation on the public road in the following days – end up dictating a loss of the potential we had for this period”, he argued.

Arrivals of illegal immigrants to the Algarve do not reveal a migratory route

The arrival in the Algarve of illegal immigrants, less than 100 people, does not yet make it possible to say whether there is a new migratory pattern or whether Portugal is just a transit point, according to the Secretary of State for Migration, Cláudia Pereira.

“There are less than 100 people who have arrived. I know that they had a lot of media visibility, but there are less than 100, which still doesn’t allow us to know if it is a new migratory pattern. We still don’t even have data to understand if they wanted to come to Portugal or if they wanted to leave Portugal and go to other countries. More than half have applied for asylum”, but none of these people have yet been given any status, the Secretary of State for Integration and Migration, Cláudia Pereira, said in an interview to Lusa, regarding the International Migration Day, which is being celebrated today.

Since December 2019, small groups of migrants on boats, originating in Morocco, have sporadically arrived in the Algarve.

This reality led the Portuguese State to decide to speed up a process that was already underway to reach a bilateral agreement with Morocco, to be worked on by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to frame migrations based on the demand for work in Portugal, said Cláudia Pereira, who also mentioned that, so far, the Government is unaware of any other possible route besides this one.

 

Azores

Situation Report Azores – 19th December 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Starting today, December 19th, passengers traveling from the airports on the islands of São Miguel and Terceira will have to test Covid-19 negative.  These tests will be paid for by the regional government and this applies to flights going to the other islands in the archipelago.

Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 4,279 tests carried out in the Region over the last three days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for COVID-19 is 89.

60 on the island of São Miguel and 25 on the island of Terceira, 1 on Pico and 3 on Faial.

There have been 170 recoveries recorded, 145 on São Miguel, 24 on the island of Terceira and 1 on Faial

The Current Situation

  • There are 15 patients in hospital
  • 8 at the Divino Espírito Santo Hospital in Ponta Delgada
  • 7 at the Hospital de Santo Espírito on Terceira Island, two of which are in the ICU.
  • There are 72 active transmission chains.
  • 50 in S. Miguel (three new chains in the last 24 hours, one in Ponta Delgada and two in Ribeira Grande);
  • A chain shared between São Miguel and São Jorge;
  • 21 in Terceira (a new chain in the last 24 hours in Angra do Heroísmo).
  • 36 transmission chains have been extinct to date, two of which in the last 24 hours, one in Ponta Delgada and the other in Ribeira Grande.
  • There are currently 377 active positive cases, 272 in S. Miguel, 101 in Terceira Island, one in Pico and three in Faial.
  • 1,638 cases of infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 disease, have been detected to date, with 21 deaths and 1,155 recoveries.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/ , or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: / /www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.

 

Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 16th December 2020

Introduction

Good morning –  I would like to start this morning report by highlighting the excellent work of the National Federation of Youth Associations (FNAJ), who will be promoting tomorrow an initiative in more than 18 Portuguese schools that aims to “create awareness” by young people to adopt safe behaviour during the Christmas holidays.

 “Let’s save the future – Be the hero of this cause” aims to make young people aware of “acting with greater restraint and safety” during this vacation period so that future can return to “a full life.” Tiago Rego, president of the FNAJ, added that if they want to go on vacation with friends, go to summer festivals and have picnics then this is now the time to be cautious so that they can have such normality and peace in the future,” 

I had the pleasure of meeting Tiago and his team during the summer when they were carrying out an awareness scheme aimed at safety on the beach at Albufeira during Covid-19. A great inspiration to everyone and a very positive message – well done.

This of course is an important week as we await the outcome of the review of the progress made during the current State of Emergency, which is due to expire on the 23rd December at 23:59 hrs. The current measures contained in the Decree Law are provisionally in place until 7th January, depending on the outcome of the review on 18th December.

A day prior to this December 17th (Thursday), the Government participates in the following debates in the plenary session of the Assembly of the Republic: – Presentation and discussion of the Report on the application of the Declaration of the State of Emergency from November 24th to December 8th, 2020 and a Debate on the request to renew the State of Emergency from the 24th December, covering the Christmas and New Year periods until 7th January. Should the review be favourable and the extension of the State of Emergency be approved (most likely), it will then be a simple carrying forward of the measures already in place. 

One thing that will change however, will be the listings of municipalities in the four categories; Moderate, High, Very high and Extreme. Hopefully, with the decreases in new cases seen in the last 10 days or so, this will result in more municipalities moving out of the more restrictive very high and extreme risk categories. 

There have been some worries expressed on social media concerning vaccinations, at a time when most people are celebrating their arrival. It is important to understand that their relative quick arrival is based on current science, different to that which existed years ago. At an on-line conference yesterday, a virologist explains the scientific basis which led to the discovery of the vaccine in record time.  He added that “fear is not a solution”, although it is “a very important reaction in evolution”: “[Fear] cannot be perpetuated in time”. This is a very interesting read and we have included this as our headline today.

In that context we are pleased to learn yesterday that fire fighters will be included in the first priority phase to receive the vaccination.

The Deputy Director of DGS yesterday set out 10 ways of reducing the risk of contracting Covid-19 at Christmas, at a time of family gatherings. We published this yesterday on this Facebook page. 

He concluded that at Christmas, “we have to have fewer people at home, airy spaces, have a mask and we are properly spaced. Families have to realise that they have to protect the most vulnerable people”. This can be downloaded here if you missed it.

With this in mind please have a Safe day


Headline

Discovery of the vaccine in record time has “scientific logic, not a miracle”, says Pedro Simas by Pedro Simas virologist

Virologist, Pedro Simas, emphasised yesterday the need to convey that the discovery of vaccines for Covid-19 in record time is based on scientific logic and not to fear them.

“It was not a miracle and it is all logical. It is important to pass this on to people to give them the security to adhere to the vaccine and not think it was a hasty thing and that the vaccine is not safe, “said the virologist as he attended yesterday afternoon’s conference “How are we going to live after the pandemic?” organised by Jornal de Notícias ,in partnership with the Vila Nova de Gaia chamber.

In the session, which took place ‘online’, Pedro Simas explained “the combination of three things” that allowed vaccines against the new coronavirus to be reached, starting with the current “technological advance that allows us to do everything much faster” and remembering that “the community scientific and industrial came together and concentrated efforts to cut all bureaucracies ”.

“The third factor – and the most important of all because this is what makes this not a miracle – is that based on the knowledge we had of coronaviruses, we knew that we could produce a vaccine that would produce a good response,” he said. 

Pedro Simas explained that “this knowledge has existed for at least 50 years for these viruses”, making a counterpoint with others such as HIV [Human Immunodeficiency Virus] that causes AIDS to explain that “this yes continues to be a great problem today challenge”.

“In science there are no miracles. It was knowledge that allowed us to develop a vaccine in such a short time. For us scientists, it was not that short of time because we knew what we had to develop”, said the virologist.

The expert also defended that “fear is not a solution”, although it is “a very important reaction in evolution”: “[Fear] cannot be perpetuated in time”, concluded Pedro Simas pointing out that “there will be more pandemics”, but science exists “to deal with them and to try to make them less frequent”.

Regarding the measures for the coming Christmas period, he warned that “with a population immunity of around 10%, which means that 85% to 90% of the population is susceptible to the virus, the risk has never been greater because it is spread all over the country”.


DGS Covid-19 Situation

On Tuesday DGS announced 84 more deaths related to Covid-19 and 2,638 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, according to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

The number of recovered patients in the last 24 hrs is 5761, more than double that of newly infected cases.

Taking into account new cases, deaths and recoveries there are 67,805 active cases 3,207 less than Monday. This is the lowest total for 40 days.

As for hospital admissions, the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 3,206 people are hospitalised, 48 less than the previous day, of whom 506 are in intensive care, seven less.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has registered 5,733 deaths and 353,576 cases of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


Health

Urgent cases in Portugal dropped 35% and in paediatrics they dropped 57% – study

The number of emergencies in public hospitals dropped 35% from March to September, compared to the same period, with 1.3 million fewer visits, and the biggest drop was in paediatrics (-57%) , according to a study presented today.

The work, developed by the Spanish multinational IASIST and which resulted in an article to be published in this month’s edition of the magazine of the Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators (APAH), indicates that the months of April (-51%) and May (-43%) were those where there was a more pronounced decrease in the number of emergencies.

The drop in these two months had a special weight in paediatric urgency, with -77% and -72%, respectively. Between March and September this year, the urgency that fell the least in attendance was that of psychiatry (-20%).

Looking at the urgency that represents the highest volume of cases – the general urgency – the drop in demand was 30%, that is, 822 thousand fewer observations than in the previous year.

The study also indicates that the profile of emergency care according to the Manchester screening – which assigns colours according to severity – has not changed.

“We could think that with the reduction in going to the emergency room, only those who really needed it would go and the so-called ‘false urgencies’ disappeared. But that didn’t happen” explained Manuel Delgado, from IASIST to Lusa.


Health systems “must be more resilient”

The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, stated that the inauguration of the General Emergency Service – Area Dedicated to Respiratory Patients at the Hospital Professor Doutor Fernando Fonseca (Amadora-Sintra) is framed in the need to increase the adaptability and resilience of health systems. 

Marta Temido underlined the relevance of “working with resilience to the answers to those who need it most” and stressed that the conclusions of the European Observatory on Health Systems and the OECD point to the “need for adaptation, recovery and response to two very difficult needs to balance: Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients’.

“The smoother and faster the ability to respond to these two needs, the better we will be able to respond to the needs of those who need us,” added the Minister.

Health systems must be able to “maintain the capacity to respond to normal production, respond with safety and quality to the needs of the pandemic, be able to learn lessons and incorporate them”.

The new building will guarantee a response for respiratory patients, who may or may not be infected with Covid-19, maintaining an area for the needs of other patients.


Covid-19: Outbreak with 24 infected in Torres Vedras home

Twenty-four people are infected at Lar Vida Maior, in Maceira, in the municipality of Torres Vedras, confirmed the health delegate at the Municipal Assembly today.

“We have a cluster in a home with more than 20 infected people,” said Nuno Rodrigues.

In the municipal epidemiological bulletin, dated Sunday, this municipality in the district of Lisbon reported the existence of 24 cases in Lar Vida Maior, of whom 16 are users and six are employees.

The health delegate said that there is “transmission in all contexts”, being Torres Vedras, in the district of Lisbon, among the “very high risk counties”.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Torres Vedras has recorded 1662 confirmed cases, of which 296 are active, 1342 recovered and 24 died.


Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa formalizes purchase of the Red Cross Hospital

Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa now holds the majority (54.9%) of the capital of the Management Company of the Hospital da Cruz Vermelha Portuguesa, after the formalization of the acquisition already announced.

Santa Casa bought the entire capital of the Red Cross in that institution, as part of a negotiation process that “creates the necessary conditions for the reinforcement of the mission of that prestigious hospital in the Portuguese health system”, says a joint statement.

The subscribing entities stated that the transaction took into account “the responsibility for the recapitalization of the HCV Management Company”, as well as the short-term development of a program to restructure the operational activity, which will be assumed by Santa Casa, as the majority shareholder.

The Hospital da Cruz Vermelha (HCV) will keep its name and identity, as well as all clinical activity, with “a reinforcement of its intervention in the scope of the third sector”.


Covid-19: Firefighters are included in the first vaccination phase 

Firefighters will also be vaccinated against the Covid-19 during the first vaccination phase, according to the President of the Portuguese Firefighters League (LBP), who questioned the secretary of state for internal administration today about the subject.

At the end of the meeting, in which the inclusion of firefighters in the priority groups in the vaccination program against Covid-19 was one of the topics on the table, Jaime Marta Soares told the Lusa agency that the issue was clarified.

“I think about 12,500 firefighters could be vaccinated in the first period. This is a perspective that is duly clarified, but which will also include the amount of vaccines that the country can import”, he said.

After presenting the first version of the Covid-19 Vaccination Plan, in which the priority groups for the first phases are defined, the LBP regretted that firefighters “are not expressly mentioned” in the group of critical service professionals.

At the time, the League stated that the plan seemed to “forget who has been throughout the country in the first line of the response to the pandemic with increased effort and associated risks”.

The doubt has now been clarified and the expectation that the Government has transmitted, according to Jaime Marta Soares, is that between January and March (the period in which the first phase should take place), 12,500 of the more than 30 thousand firefighters in Portugal will be vaccinated.


Covid-19: Health centres are already identifying priority vaccine users

The guidelines have not yet reached health centres, but they are already identifying users over 50 and with associated pathologies. The goal is to know “where are these patients and where can they get the vaccine”

Health centres have already started to prepare the first phase of vaccination against Covid-19, which is expected to start early next year. The nursing teams of each Group of Health Centres (ACES) are identifying users over 50 and with associated pathologies, who will be the first to get the vaccine.

“Although these guidelines have not yet arrived, we know they will arrive. And the health centres already know what will need to be done, as we have a National Vaccination Plan with a very well-established system. They know that it is better not to leave everything to do until the 29th “, explained António Carlos Silva, regional health delegate from Lisbon and Vale do Tejo. The goal is to know “where these patients are and where they can get the vaccine,” he added.

Rui Nogueira, president of the Portuguese Association of General and Family Medicine, argues that this process must be done as quickly as possible: “Certainty only when we know how many vaccines we will have, but fine-tuning criteria, creating phases within the phases, is essential, because there will be no time to wait “.


Vaccinations

Covid-19. European regulator expected to approve Pfizer vaccine on December 23rd.

The European Medicines Agency (AEM) is expected to issue a positive opinion on the vaccine against the new coronavirus from Pfizer, in partnership with BioNTech, already on December 23rd, the Reuters agency said this Tuesday, citing a source from the German Government.

“Yes, EMA will take place on December 23rd,” said the source, referring to the review of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine regulator, which puts EU countries on track to move closer to the United States and Britain. , where immunization campaigns are ongoing.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn also said at a press conference that he hoped the European Union would approve the vaccine before Christmas, paving the way for inoculations before the end of the year.

EMA said in early December that it intended to issue its opinion on the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine by December 29th, and on another inoculation developed by Moderna by January 12th.

The vaccine is already being launched in countries including the United States, Britain and Canada, following positive verdicts by regulators in those countries.

An EMA spokeswoman reiterated that the regulator would decide by December 29th, at the latest, as part of the ongoing review of a conditional approval application for marketing.


Budgeting for the purchase of vaccinations

The Government has authorised the payment of 11.2 million euros to the European Commission’s emergency fund, which is ensuring the production of Covid-19 vaccines and sufficient supplies from all Member States.

Through a resolution of the Council of Ministers, published this Tuesday morning in Diário da República, the Government authorizes the Central Administration of the Health System (ACSS) to pay the Portuguese participation in the reinforcement of the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI, English) for the purposes of the European vaccine strategy for Covid-19.

The national amount – 11,209,005 euros – is paid in full this year 2020 with funds entered in the ACSS budget.

But, according to the diploma, the expense will later be covered with European subsidies from the Recovery Plan for Europe (REACT-EU).

According to the resolution of the Council of Ministers, the Member States of the European Union subscribed to the strategy for Covid-19 vaccines and jointly secured a financing of 750 million euros. Each country’s contribution was calculated based on gross national income.


SPMS and DGS distinguished with the “Self-Report & TraceCovid-19” project in an international recognition program

The Shared Services of the Ministry of Health (SPMS) and the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) were distinguished by the International Hospital Federation (IHF), in the context of combating the pandemic, with the project “Self-Report & TraceCovid- 19”.  

In the “Covid-19 Response Recognition Program” (“IHF Beyond the Call of Duty for Covid-19”), SPMS and DGS were two of the winning entities of the National Health Service. In all, there were 13 SNS entities distinguished by the IHF who, on Tuesday, December 15, receive a certificate “Beyond the Call of Duty for COVID-19?

Self-Report & TraceCovid-19 has been a fundamental tool in supporting the approach of people with suspected and confirmed infection by SARS-CoV-2 and their contacts, supporting daily provision of health care in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and the intervention health authorities and public health teams.

Since April, there have been 2 million and 735 thousand users on the platform, monitored by more than 15 thousand health professionals. More than 132 thousand users (132,710) in isolation reported the evolution of their health status through the “Register Symptoms”. Self-reporting is done daily on a digital form.

This tool has proven to be an asset in the daily management of pandemic response, allowing, on the one hand, to support the surveillance of users and, on the other hand, to relieve the pressure of Covid-19 in the NHS, to reduce the effort and time spent in surveillance by health professionals and avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus. Since June, more than 521 thousand self-surveillance operations have been submitted, which translates into savings of around 50 thousand hours of work over these months.


International; Travel

Covid-19: Restrictions on flights outside the EU extended until the end of the year

The Government extended, until the end of the year, the restrictive measures in force to air traffic outside the European Union and the Schengen Area, which continues to be limited to “essential travel” and subject to negative prior testing to Covid-19.

Order no. 12202-A / 2020, today published in Diário da República, extends from 00:00 hrs on Wednesday until 23:59 hrs on 31st December the restrictive regime provided for in order no. 3427- A / 2020, of March 18th, which has since been successively extended “taking into account the assessment of the epidemiological situation in Portugal and the European Union and the guidelines of the European Commission”.

According to the Government, “taking into account the trend of growth in the number of cases of contagion of the Covid-19 disease in recent weeks in Portugal and the epidemiological evolution verified in the present”, “the need to extend traffic restrictive measures remains by air, properly aligned with the current public health concerns. ”

These measures can be revised “at any time, depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation” and “the ministers of Internal Affairs and Health can adopt, through a joint order, specific health control measures that are necessary depending on the origin of the flights […] and the assessment of the epidemiological situation by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention”.

Full measures in the law download in English here.


International Travel

World Council for Tourism and Travel argues that the sector can relaunch itself “safely” without having to wait for the effect of vaccines, giving priority to testing before departure.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and major international industry bodies have joined forces to call for the immediate restoration of international travel using proven processes and without waiting for or requiring vaccinations.

WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, along with Airports Council International (ACI), the World Economic Forum (WEF), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), say the world cannot wait for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

WTTC recognises that public health is paramount and welcomes the recent roll out of the game changing vaccines, which in the long-term will play a major role in combating coronavirus and restoring international travel.

However, they must not be a requirement to travel as this will further delay the revival of the already ailing Travel & Tourism sector, which needs to restart now to save itself, millions of jobs in the sector and beyond, and the global economy. Getting people back to work will also provide enormous health benefits to those around the world, whose livelihoods have been affected by the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.

The international body representing the private sector of the tourism and travel industry, argues that “the world does not you can wait for Covid-19 vaccines to be implemented “, while recognising that” in the long term, they have an essential role in fighting the coronavirus and restoring international travel “.


Covid-19: Thirteen SNS entities distinguished by the International Federation of Hospitals

Thirteen entities of the National Health Service (SNS) are part of a total of 103 institutions from 28 countries that were distinguished by the International Federation of Hospitals for the “exceptional services” they provided in combating the pandemic of Covid-19.

The International Federation of Hospitals (IHF) designated today, December 15, as a worldwide day of awareness for hospitals and health systems that have provided exceptional services in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, it said in a statement.

According to the International Federation of Hospitals, the distinguished entities instituted changes in the provision of health care, from technological innovations in diagnosis and treatment, to the restructuring of workflow systems and doctor-patient interactions.

Of the 103 institutions distinguished by IFH, 13 Portuguese entities are included, namely the Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia / Espinho, the Cascais Hospital, the Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte, the IPO of Coimbra Francisco Gentil, the Local Health Unit of Guarda and the National Institute of Medical Emergency (INEM).

Also distinguished were the Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Centro Hospitalar de Entre Douro e Vouga, Centro Hospitalar de Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Centro Hospitalar Universitário de São João, Hospital Archbishop João Crisóstomo, in Cantanhede , and the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health (SMPS) in partnership with the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

The Ministry of Health said in a statement that the projects were submitted to tender in the “Response Recognition Program for Covid-19”, which recognized actions and responses from health care providers around the world and that went “beyond what is required ” in combating Covid-19.

This recognition was attributed to more than 100 institutions from 28 countries that “proactively put into practice responses or organizational actions of excellence and with an innovative character in the fight against the pandemic Covid-19, at the regional or national level”, he adds to the Ministry of Health.


Other news

Antonio Costa refutes any merger between PSP and SEF

The Prime Minister stressed this Tuesday that the Government has a general orientation on the projected reform of the security and police services and said that in the coming weeks there will be developments, but avoids the scenario of police mergers.

António Costa was speaking at a press conference at the end of a meeting of the coordinating team for the Recovery and Resilience Plan, which took place in São Bento, after being questioned about the possibility of police mergers.

“I don’t want to fuel speculation. Regarding the reform of the police system, this is a job that will be carried out. At the moment, no final decisions are being made, there is a definite general orientation and it certainly does not involve police mergers,” replied the prime minister.

Before the journalists, the leader of the executive cited the Government’s Program on the reform of SEF.

“This reform has been prepared and will be carried out under the terms provided for in the Government’s Program”, he said.

According to António Costa, it is predicted that, “in the coming weeks, there will be a development of what is registered in the Government Program, which provides for a very clear separation between police functions, border policing, and the administrative dimension of relationship with the foreigners residing in Portugal “.

“There must be a clear separation,” reinforced the prime minister.

This comes following a statement by the National Director of the PSP, following a meeting with the President of the Republic that a possible merger was being “worked on”.



Region Reports

Madeira Situation Report 16th December by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 63 new Covid-19 cases, 56 recoveries and 1 death from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. Once again, the vast majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Wednesday, there were 29 new Covid-19 cases and 20 recoveries. All new cases were cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases. Five of the new cases were from children, aged 8-15, who attend schools in the municipalities of Funchal, Machico and Santa Cruz;  1 new case was from a healthcare professional from SESARAM (Madeira Health Service); 5 new cases were from social care professionals (1 who works in the Municipality of Santa Cruz, 1 who works in the Municipality of Funchal and 3 who work at an institution in the Municipality of Funchal); and 2 of the new cases were from professionals working for the Municipality of Funchal. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 13 and 4 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 15 new Covid-19 cases (from 7 passengers who had arrived from the UK and 8 cases of local transmission), 22 recoveries and 1 death. 

An 80 year old female patient, who had several pre-existing conditions and had been in the Covid-19 unit of Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça since the 6th of December, became Madeira’s 3rd fatality from Covid-19. The office of Pedro Ramos (Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary) expressed its deepest condolences to her grieving family. 

Most new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases. One of the new cases was from an adult who works at an educational institution in Funchal. Another new case was from a social care professional working in the Municipality of Funchal. There were 13 patients in hospital and 4 of them were in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 19 new Covid-19 cases (from 3 passengers who had arrived from the UK and 16 cases of local transmission) and 14 recoveries. Most cases of local transmission had already been linked to previously identified cases. Among the new cases of local transmission, 3 were from children, aged 4-10, who attend educational institutions in the municipalities of Machico and Santa Cruz; 1 was from an adult who works at another educational institution in the Municipality of Machico; 2 were from 2 patients who were already hospitalised in SESARAM and 1 was from a healthcare professional who works in public and private healthcare providers. The number of patients in hospital increased to 14, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 265 active cases, of which 54 were imported while the other 211 cases were a result of local transmission. Also, 28 cases are from non-residents while 237 are from Madeira residents. So far, there have been 997 cases, 729 recoveries and 3 deaths.

There are currently 16 patients in isolation at a dedicated hotel, 235 patients in isolation at their own accommodation and 14 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, 4 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

At the moment, 8,347 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,868 people being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

There are currently 194 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, of which 1 was identified through airport screening while the remaining 193 are linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Friday, there had been 2,457 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 116,012 samples had been collected until Friday (at 18h30). Overall, 190,134 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 623 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, the total number of calls made to this helpline is 20,302. 

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/09/29-novos-casos-de-covid-19-130-novos-suspeitos-ha-4-internados-nos-cuidados-intensivos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/10/mais-15-casos-de-covid-19-e-143-novos-suspeitos-no-dia-em-que-se-verificou-mais-uma-morte/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/10/morreu-mais-uma-doente-com-covid-19-no-hospital-dr-nelio-mendonca/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/11/mais-19-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-quase-200-novos-casos-suspeitos/

 


Madeira recognised by IHF’s Beyond the Call of Duty for Covid-19

The International Hospital Federation has recognised Madeira for its integrated response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It praised the Regional Secretariat for Heath and Civil Protection for having adopted an approach that “showed that early and decisive action is crucial to fight a pandemic”. Pedro Ramos, the Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary, said this award is an international recognition for all the work carried out to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in the Region and is a source of pride for all healthcare and civil protection professionals who took part in this integrated response.

The Beyond Call of Duty for Covid-19 award was also awarded to several other Portuguese hospitals:

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/15/distincao-internacional-para-resposta-integrada-a-covid-19-na-ram/


Day care centres ordered to close as a Covid-19 prevention measure

Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, has ordered day care centres to close from Friday onwards in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Although he said the existence of Covid-19 cases in a hospital setting means the virus reaches hospitals and care homes, he stressed the sanitary authorities are still in control of the transmission chains and testing is ongoing. He added that from today care home professionals will not be allowed to work in different care homes. Care home visits will still be possible while taking all precautions. Miguel Albuquerque said an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases is to be expected and reinforced the need to control the transmission chains.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/15/albuquerque-diz-que-centros-de-dia-vao-fechar-como-prevencao-contra-a-covid-19/


Municipality of Ribeira Brava delivering 3,150 face masks to students

Yesterday, the Municipality of Ribeira Brava started the delivery of 3,150 face masks to students from educational institutions in the municipality. Each student from 1º Ciclo, 2º Ciclo, 3º Ciclo and Secondary School will receive 2 face masks, made from textiles and by professionals from the Region. The aim of this measure is to make young people more aware of what needs to be done to fight Covid-19 in the Region, particularly in the Municipality of Ribeira Brava. This includes the use of face masks, frequent hand washing and disinfection, social distancing and respiratory etiquette. The correct use of a face mask is crucial to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This is why the municipality decided to deliver 2 face masks to each student, so that each mask can be used and replaced according to the instructions. Young people were also encouraged to be Public Health agents and to encourage their relatives to comply with all Covid-19 guidelines.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/15/ribeira-brava-inicia-distribuicao-de-cerca-de-3150-mascaras-a-alunos/


More firefighters and Covid-19 equipment for Porto Santo Fire Service 

Pedro Ramos, the Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary, was in Porto Santo, where he took part in the swear-in ceremony of 12 new Firefighters and in the delivery of new equipment for the Porto Santo Fire Service. There are now 42 civil protection professionals. The Porto Santo Fire Service also received a BIO-BAG EBV – 30/40IN-CH capsule, a pioneering equipment that enables patients with infectious diseases, namely Covid-19, to be safely transported. Pedro Ramos highlighted the role of the Porto Santo Fire Service and expressed the importance of reinforcing its operational capacity not only through the provision of more equipment but also through professional recognition and training of its staff. He also explained that investment in civil protection has been a reality and stated that the Regional Government has invested more than €22M in the current Regional Government term.


https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/12/porto-santo-reforcado-com-a-entrada-de-uma-duzia-de-bombeiros/

Fares discount on Madeira-Canary Islands flights

Binter has reduced fares on flights between Madeira and the Canary Islands. The discount will apply to flights booked until the 27th of December, for travel between the 11th of January and the 28th of February 2021. Fares will start at €72,86 for flights to the Canary Islands on Wednesdays. These fares are valid per flight if a return flight is booked but the fare could be different, depending on the route. Checked luggage, seat selection and a high-quality in-flight service are included in this discount campaign. Flights can be booked online (www.binter.pt), by phone (291 290 129) or through travel agencies.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/15/binter-avanca-com-promocao-para-voar-entre-a-madeira-e-as-canarias/


Water supply disruptions

There will be water supply disruptions in the Municipality of Câmara de Lobs, to allow for scheduled work to be carried out in the water supply network in order to prevent water leaks. The disruption will affect the following areas:

17th December (09h00 to 13h00) – Parish of Câmara de Lobos (Ribeiro Leal, Lourencinha and Fajã) & Parish of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos (Covão, Panasqueira and Vargem)

17th December (11h00 to 15h00) – Parish of Câmara de Lobos (Fajã, Palmeira and Torre)

18th December (09h00 to 13h00) – Parish of Câmara de Lobos (Saraiva)

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/13/arm-alerta-para-interrupcao-no-fornecimento-de-agua-em-camara-de-lobos/



Algarve Report

Situation Report Wednesday 16th December 2020

Marcelo: “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a lifetime, to thank João de Deus”

I’ve been waiting for this moment for a lifetime, to thank João de Deus for what has changed in me almost 70 years ago. With him, I started to learn to love Portugal more, when I still didn’t know what Portugal was, and I doubt that I would understand better what would transform my life knowing how to read and write in Portuguese. But it transformed my life. Mine and that of millions of Portuguese. Thank you João de Deus!”

That was how the President of the Republic ended, this Monday, his address at the Closing of the Commemorations of the 190 Years of the Birth of João de Deus, which took place in São Bartolomeu de Messines, hometown of the pedagogue and poet.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s first words even went to Algarve researcher Maria João Raminhos Duarte, who would shortly present his most recent work, the book «João de Deus Immortal and Timeless».

The head of state spoke a word “for his work and for his talent in research, writing, concern for the reader, in affective identification with today’s great honouree”.

The President would also commend his hostess Rosa Palma, Mayor of Silves, stressing her work in defence of the municipality.

Considering that “there is no future that can dispense with the experiences of the present and the lessons of the past”, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa highlighted the “rich and unexpected life of João de Deus, so well celebrated in his land”.

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/2020/12/marcelo-andei-uma-vida-inteira-a-espera-deste-momento-para-agradecer-a-joao-de-deus/


Eight thousand children and young people from Albufeira will receive a gift check from the municipality

The municipality of Albufeira, in collaboration with ACRAL – Association of Merchants of the Algarve, will offer a voucher that will work as a gift voucher directed to the entire school population.

In a press release, the municipality clarifies that the gift voucher will have a one-year value of 15 euros, and is intended for all children and young people who attend institutions in the municipality, from day care centres, kindergartens, 1st, 2nd, 3rd students cycles and secondary.

 In total, about 8 thousand children and young people will benefit from this measure, whose investment is around 120 thousand euros. According to the municipality, the objective is to support families in this area, channelling resources in order to boost the local economy.

 “We will allocate a substantial part of the resources initially allocated to the organization of events connected to the court, namely Christmas and New Year, to initiatives aimed at supporting families and the local economy» explains José Carlos Rolo. The municipality also hopes to implement other measures aimed at catering and transport, which will be announced shortly.

In the same statements, the mayor argues that “it is necessary to strengthen support for the economy, interconnecting the social needs of current families and working in a network with municipal services, IPSS and business associations”.


Municipality of Vila do Bispo delivers 90 Christmas baskets to needy families

In order to provide a dignified Christmas dinner to the most needy families, the Vila do Bispo City Council promotes the delivery of 90 Christmas baskets, until December 23rd.

In a press release, the municipality notes that the baskets, which are appropriate to the composition and characteristics of each household, include foodstuffs such as cod, olive oil, flour, sugar, milk, canned goods, rice, pasta, bolo-rei, among other goods.

According to the same publication, the beneficiaries of the Christmas baskets were identified by the municipality’s Social Action services in conjunction with the local Social Security Service of Vila do Bispo (NLI), the Figueira Cultural and Social Center and Santa Casa da Misericórdia Vila do Bispo – CLDS – Dignitate of Vila do Bispo, through the Food Bank Against Hunger and FEAC.

The council says that this measure of support for needy families, “is part of the strategy that the municipality has been applying in the area of social action, and that is particularly important in this Christmas season”.



Report Azores – 16th December 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Rabo de Peixe 

Between the 3rd and the 13thof December the village of Rabo de Peixe had been closed off to the rest of São Miguel with a sanitary fence.  The fence was used to help control the number of infections springing up locally.  

Currently, according to data from the Azores Health Authority, there are 221 active cases in the village, with the region having a total of 459 patients with Covid-19.

The coordinator of the fight against Covid-19 in the Azores, Gustavo Tato Borges, had also told journalists at the beginning of the testing operation that there would be a significant increase in the number of infections, but, after ten days, a number of people would recover from the disease.

Despite the end of the fence, the Government of the Azores determined to maintain the closure of the schools of Rabo de Peixe until the end of the current school term.

The measure was justified with the “close, present and permanent assessment of the various entities involved”, and with the fact that there are five days until the end of the first term of the school year.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 4,264 tests carried out in the Region over the last four days, in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for Covid-19 is 162, a big increase.

130 on the island of São Miguel and 32 on the island of Terceira.

There have been 114 recoveries recorded, 73 on São Miguel, 40 on the island of Terceira and 1 on Pico.

The Current Situation :

The number of patients in hospital is 15

9 at Divino Espírito Santo Hospital in Ponta Delgada

6 at Hospital de Santo Espírito on Terceira Island – 3 of which in the ICU

Active transmission chains – 67

São Miguel – 49 (four new chains in the last 24 hours, two in Vila Franca do Campo and two in Ribeira Grande);

A chain shared between São Miguel and São Jorge.

Terceira – 15 (with two new chains identified in the last 24 hours in Angra do Heroísmo).

31 chains have been extinct to date, three of which on the island of S. Miguel (one shared between Ribeira Grande and Ponta Delgada and two in Ponta Delgada).

There are currently 459 positive cases, 358 in S. Miguel, 100 on Terceira Island and one in Faial.

1,549 cases of infection with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 disease, have been detected to date, with 21 deaths and 985 recoveries.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/ , or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: / /www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available by email   esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.



Portugal Situation Report Saturday 12th December 2020

Introduction

Good morning.  A reminder for those living in the very high/extreme risk municipalities, that the curfew will be in place today from 1300 hrs through to 0500 hrs on Sunday and again on Sunday extending through to Monday. This does not apply to those of you in high risk municipalities where the curfew is in place from and 2300 hrs to 0500 hrs and in moderate risk municipalities where there is no curfew in place at all. Regardless of the risk, however, there is freedom of movement between municipalities. The overriding rule however is the civic duty to remain as much as possible at home unless your journey is necessary. The more we reduce travel the more we reduce the risk of catching the disease. A reminder also that these measures are in place until the 23rd December 23.59 hrs whereupon a new State of Emergency will come into effect wef 00.01 hrs on 24th. The current law allows a “foreseeable” extension until January 7, with content identical to the one in force, namely maintaining the rules that allow restrictive measures to contain the Covid -19 by group of municipalities”

One point that it is important to remember is that wef 24th December there will be some changes in the lists of municipalities in the four groups namely: moderate, high, very high and extreme. In some cases in low populated municipalities, where there have been even a small number of new cases, or indeed a reduction in cases, the group your municipality is in could change significantly. This could prove important in planning Christmas.

An interesting report yesterday was the increase in appointments for PCR testing just prior to Christmas, as people see testing as a way to create an additional safeguard in order to be with their families on Christmas. Although testing can be seen as another safeguard, the emphasis is that the Christmas dinner should be held with a small number of people, with physical distance and with the use of masks whenever possible. Eating and drinking in close proximity without a mask, and often relaxed attitudes and related risk-taking behaviour by individuals are common in a festive context, adding further to the risk of transmission.

We highlight the comments yesterday from the Minister of Health regarding the possibility of shortages of vaccines at the very early stages of the vaccination program. She stated, “We are not interested in being the first to have vaccines. We are interested in having quality, safe and effective vaccines, “also clarifying that health authorities are following “with great caution” the allergic reactions that may arise. There has naturally been some concern on this topic and this this statement is a welcome confirmation that the government is well aware of these issues as outlined in the vaccination plan. We should not build up expectations that the supply of vaccines will always go as planned. This is also a major global logistical challenge, dependent on production and delivery scheduling at an unprecedented level, and there are bound to be set back along the route.

Most importantly the arrival of the vaccine is not a signal that in any way we can relax our guard. We must continue with the wearing of face masks, social distancing and hygiene in particular with special focus on crowded areas. With the lead up to Christmas and more people shopping for gifts, it is vitally important to take precautions by shopping at less crowded times for example. Another important tip is to avoid unnecessarily handling items unless you intended to purchase. In supermarkets always use hand disinfectant after using trolleys. Simple things but could make a big difference.

Lastly, Tomorrow magazine Aljezur to Lagoa December 2020 edition, includes an article by Safe Communities “Communication during a Crisis”. The magazine is available free of charge from various states. Thank you to the Editor Sophie Sadler for including.

Thank you Sven for uploading the report onto the website this morning and to Daniel for the Madeira report. An early start for our team.

Have a Safe Day

 

Covid-19

Covid -19 DGS Situation

Since Thursday, Portugal registered 5,080 more cases of infection and 95 more deaths associated with the disease, according to the bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health of this Friday. A further 4,100 patients have recovered bringing the total to 263,648.

There are two fewer patients admitted to the Intensive Care Units, totalling 507. In relation to hospital admissions in the ward, there are fewer 74 people hospitalized, now totalling 3,230.
DGS also says that health authorities have 74,894 contacts under surveillance, 739 fewer than in relation to Thursday. Taking into account the number of new cases, deaths and those recovered. There are a further 885 active cases bringing the total to 71,266. With regard to 5,080 new cases, 2,395 registered in the North, 1,618 in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 787 in the Centro region, 193 in the Alentejo, 66 in the Algarve, 16 in the Azores and 5 in Madeira.
Of the 95 deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic, 41 occurred in the North, 32 in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 16 in the Centro region, two in the Alentejo, two in the Algarve, one in the Azores and one in Madeira.

Confirmed cases are distributed across all age groups, with the highest number of infections between 20 and 59 years of age. The new coronavirus has infected at least 152,955 men and 187,198 women in Portugal. Of the total fatalities, 2,816 were men and 2,557 women.
The largest number of deaths continues to be concentrated in people over 80 years of age.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 5,373 people have died in Portugal, out of 340,287 confirmed cases of infection

Covid-19: Portugal has 529.3 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants

The incidence rate of covid-19 in Portugal stands at 529.3 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days, which, according to the Minister of Health, remains a concern although close to more controllable values. Marta Temido, who spoke yesterday at a press conference to update the pandemic in Portugal, highlighted a special concern with some municipalities in the country, namely in the area of ​​the Northern Regional Health Administration, which has an incidence rate of 802 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days.
Yesterday, the North region had the highest number of new SARS-CoV-2 infections (2,395), totalling 178,378 cases and 2,578 deaths since March. To give an idea of ​​regional asymmetries, the minister referred to the cases of the Algarve, as opposed to the case in the North, which has 202 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days.
The Minister of Health also referred to the Effective Risk of Transmission (RT) currently verified in Portugal, revealing that it stands at 0.97, slightly below 1, but that she considers it necessary to go further down and maintain it in a sustained manner.
Portugal today counted 95 deaths, a new maximum of deaths related to covid-19 in 24 hours and 5,080 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, according to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

 

Health

Covid-19: Portuguese schedule tests before Christmas to be able to be with the family

Many Portuguese are scheduling tests with Covid-19 for the days before Christmas to be able to reunite with the family, according to Unilabs Portugal, which only on December 22 has 1,500 appointments so far.

“Since the communication [on December 5th] of the Prime Minister regarding how Christmas will be, namely from Monday and Tuesday, we have had a very large increase in testing requests, namely PCR tests and also antigen tests, for the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of December, ”the president of the clinical diagnosis network told Lusa. For Luís Menezes, this situation demonstrates that “people see testing as a way to create an additional safeguard”, in addition to the measures indicated by the Government. The director-general of Health, Graça Freitas, called, in a recent press conference on covid-19, that the population does not take tests on their own initiative, and should wait for a request or for medical advice. A position supported by Luís Menezes, affirming that the diagnostic centres “are available to support public authorities and individuals individually in this request, but it is necessary to remember that everything that is being said by public health authorities must be taken into account”.
“Testing can be seen as another safeguard”, but the Christmas dinner should be held with a small number of people, with physical distance and with the use of masks whenever possible.

Covid-19: Outbreak at home raises concern in Penamacor

Wikipedia

The numbers of new cases of Covid-19 in Penamacor have been rising significantly this week, partly due to the outbreak recorded at Lar D. Bárbara Tavares Silva. A total of 43 users who had already been isolated on one floor of the unit, as well as 12 employees, tested positive. The institution is guaranteeing the functioning of the services, has triggered the rest of the contingency plan and continues to promote more tests.  Naturally, this situation generates concern in a municipality that currently has eight dozen infected, according to the latest update of the ULS of Castelo Branco.

 

Covid-19: INSA points out four peaks of mortality in the country in 2020

The National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA) has recorded four mortality peaks in Portugal since the arrival of the covid-19 pandemic in Portugal, according to the analysis presented today by epidemiologist Ana Paula Rodrigues. In the intervention entitled “Response to the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic: from serology monitoring to mortality monitoring”, the public health doctor explained that, according to the data available until December 7, in the all-cause mortality indicator , the four periods – in which the last is still taking place – were responsible for 5,763 deaths in excess compared to what was estimated.

The first period lasted three weeks and took place between 22 March and 12 April, in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic in the country, in which there was an excess mortality of 1,057 deaths, “16% above expected”, said Ana Paula Rodrigues. The second peak of mortality was the shortest and lasted only one week, between the 25th and 31st of May, which resulted in 363 deaths, 19% more than the estimates for those dates. The third period, on the other hand, was the one that exceeded mortality forecasts, representing 2,199 deaths and a 30% excess in relation to expectations, having been observed between July 6 and August 2. Finally, the researcher said that the ultimate peak of mortality “coincides with the intensity of the pandemic wave and is still going on”. According to INSA’s analysis, this period is already the longest of the six-week mortality peaks, and started from October 26, registering an excess of 16% and 2,144 deaths by December 6 in relation to predictions.

Vaccinations

António Costa points to start of vaccination against covid-19 for January 5

Prime Minister António Costa stated this Friday, December 11, that the start of vaccination against covid-19 in Europe should happen, in a coordinated way between the various EU Member States, in the first week of January. Speaking to journalists in Brussels, after a meeting that lasted since late yesterday morning, the Prime Minister leader drew attention to the need for EU Member States to coordinate their national vaccination plans, to speed up group immunity across the region.
“I suggested that we could try to coordinate so that we could all get started on the same day with the vaccination,” he said at the end of the European Council in Brussels. “To have group immunity, it is not enough for a country to reach it.” António Costa said that the European Medicines Agency should authorize the use of the first vaccine against covid-19 on the 29th of December, so that the arrival of the first doses to the Member States should happen in the first days of January.

The prime minister explained that the manufacturer of the first vaccine to be distributed in Europe – Pfizer – has already guaranteed that after the regulator’s license will deliver the first doses of the vaccines “in the immediate days”, allowing the vaccination to start right at the start of the year. “I think that if we start the vaccination operation on a European scale for the first week of January, it would be a good goal that we should all be committed to,” said António Costa, adding that January 5 “is an excellent day” to point out start up.

Managing scarcity” of the vaccine will be the first challenge, says Minister of Health

The Minister of Health admitted that the first challenge of vaccination will be “managing some scarcity”. “We have known for many months that, even if we had a vaccine available, it would always be scarce at first,” said Marta Temido, adding that the start of distribution of the vaccine in Portugal is scheduled for the first days of January, although not has specified the exact number of doses that the country will receive in the first phase.

We have to be patient and realize that there are steps that we cannot underestimate or devalue”, namely the technical meetings associated with the vaccination process. “We are not interested in being the first to have vaccines. We are interested in having quality, safe and effective vaccines,” noted the minister, also clarifying that health authorities are following “with great caution” the allergic reactions that may arise. “We know that these are aspects that can be verified and it is important that they are treated with transparency”, said the head of the Pasta da Saúde, pointing out that Portugal is counting “with the entire portfolio” of pharmaceutical companies with which there is a contract, precisely for prevent delays,

The initial plan for the first phase of vaccination “involves using the network of health centres of the National Health Service,” explained Marta Temido. “If everything goes well, there will be a time when we will have a much larger number of doses of vaccines and then the challenge will be the speed of administration”, she added, making it known that the reinforcement of professionals in health centres is on the table and even the use

Vaccination against Covid-19. Minister considers reinforcement of professionals in health centres.

The Ministry of Health is considering strengthening professionals in health centres, within the scope of the vaccination plan against covid-19. The news was released this Friday by Marta Temido during the usual press conference of the Directorate-General for Health. “We are considering a reinforcement not only by our own professionals, but also by other sectors and even volunteers,” said the Minister of Health. Health. The ministry is also considering using more vaccination points, including community ones, in the later stages of the vaccination plan.
Still on the vaccine against covid-19, Marta Temido said that there are still no figures on the number of doses that will arrive in Portugal in the first phase – in which people aged 50 or more with pathologies such as heart failure, coronary disease will be vaccinated, kidney failure and chronic respiratory disease – but he acknowledged that some “shortage” of vaccines is expected, at least in a “first moment”.

“We have known for several months that availability will be a challenge. It is important to be patient and realize that there are steps that we cannot underestimate or devalue”, said the minister, adding that “the distribution of vaccines to the various countries is scheduled for the first days of January”. The Portuguese Government is “preparing for vaccines to be administered in the first days of January”, she said. Asked about the news of adverse reactions caused by the Pfizer vaccine in people with allergies, Marta Temido replied that Portugal is aware of the matter.

Patient transfers

3,287 transports of suspected patients in one week

The National Institute of Medical Emergency (INEM) and its partners in the Integrated System of Medical Emergency carried out a total of 3,287 transportations of patients with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection between 30 November and 6 December.
In geographical terms, the Northern Regional Delegation (DRN) continues to be the one that carried out the largest number of transports of this type, more specifically, 1,348 users with symptoms compatible with COVID-19, followed by the Southern Regional Delegation (DRS), which carried out 1,188 transports. The resources allocated to the Regional Delegation of the Center (DRC) transported 634 cases and those of DRS – Algarve, 117. With regard to the collection of biological samples, there was a reduction in activity compared to last week. INEM teams performed a total of 675 services, with the DRN team collecting 395 samples, the DRS 144, the DRC 27 and the DRS-Algarve 26.

 

Aviation industry

TAP’s restructuring plan aims to ensure medium-term sustainability

The Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, and the Secretary of State for the Treasury, Miguel Cruz, stated that the main objective of TAP’s restructuring plan aims to guarantee the viability and sustainability of the Portuguese airline in the medium term. In Lisbon, at a press conference to present the details of the initial proposal submitted to the European Commission, the two members of the Government explained the significant transformation that the State intends to implement in TAP through measures of operational efficiency, fleet resizing and reduction personnel expenses.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Housing stressed that TAP should start the year 2021 with 88 aircraft – the minimum number so as not to jeopardize the role of hub it performs – and promote a «replacement of airplanes with smaller and more energy efficient ones”.
“Portugal has an advantage that no other geographical location in Europe has: it connects to the United States and northern Brazil with these smaller planes (A321 Long Range), gaining a competitive advantage», he said.
Pedro Nuno Santos also referred to the need to adjust the number of workers needed for a company that will have 88 planes flying and with the expected hours of use. “What we have to do is fundamental to being able to save the company, so that it can continue to exist at a level of greater competitiveness and that it manages to grow and regain some of the job that it cannot keep at this moment,” he said.

Innovation

#EstudoEmCasa wins Portugal Digital Awards 2020

estudioemcasa.dge.mec.pt

The Ministry of Education welcomes the selection of two projects developed by the services it oversees, in the 5th edition of the Portugal Digital Awards – the #EstudoEmCasa project, which won in the special category “Best Digital Social Responsibility Project” and the electronic application E72 , finalist in two categories. The 2020 edition of the Portugal Digital Awards featured 350 entries divided by all sectors of the Portuguese economy, with 139 projects validated. The purpose of the Portugal Digital Awards is to publicize and reward the best digital transformation projects of national organizations, and it is very important that the Ministry of Education is able to be at the forefront of this design, which has become even more pressing due to the pandemic.

The Ministry of Education also salutes the winner in the category of best digital transition project in the field of Education – Escolaglobal, of the Colégio das Terras de Santa Maria. Developed in partnership with RTP, the #EstudoEmCasa was created in an emergency moment, offering thematic teaching blocks to students away from school due to the pandemic.

After the widespread recognition of the added value and impact of this resource – which proved to be fundamental in monitoring the activities of students, at a very specific time of confinement, having also been a resource used across borders and followed by a diverse set of people outside school age – the Ministry of Education and RTP relaunched and extended the #EstudoEmCasa. As a consequence of the desire to welcome all students in this project, the #EstudoEmCasa 2020/2021 also started to contemplate Secondary Education, becoming a tool available to teachers (in the face-to-face or distance work they develop), a support for students at home, and / or a “study partner”.

Available throughout the school year, with 150 weekly themed educational blocks from the 1st to the 12th year, the #EstudoEmCasa is accessible on RTP Play and the app created for the project, with the broadcast of each day made available in blocks as well as on the website of the Directorate-General for Education, thus becoming the most complete set of educational resources in Portuguese, accessible to all, and in television format (since basic education classes are broadcast on RTP Memory).

Armed forces support the Alentejo Regional Health administration in the screening of Covid-19

As part of the response to the pandemic in the Alentejo region, a Navy team composed of 26 military personnel is supporting the Regional Health Administration of Alentejo in the epidemiological screening of Covid-19, having already monitored 147 cases (epidemiological surveys). In this front of collaboration with public health authorities, 265 military personnel from the Navy, Army and Air Force are currently involved across the country, divided into 19 teams, 12 of which are operating (209 military).

As a back-up support for patients with Covid-19, Air Base No. 11, in Beja, maintains 76 beds available for temporary reception without the need for hospitalization. This unit recently welcomed 54 elderly women from the Lar da Mansão de São José. In the Alentejo region, 260 beds are currently available in the Portalegre district, 334 beds and 2 tents in the Évora district, 285 beds and one tent in the Beja district, 50 beds and 2 tents in the Setúbal district. The Army is also providing support to the Espírito Santo Hospital of Évora, namely through the Évora Military Health Center, with the provision of medical offices and waiting rooms, among other services.

The Armed Forces are also carrying out awareness actions on hygiene in Residential Structures for the Elderly in the region, having already carried out 220 face-to-face actions (75 in the district of Portalegre, 73 in the district of Évora, 54 in the district of Beja and 18 in the Alentejo coast). In response to requests from various entities and different government areas, awareness-raising activities were also carried out in 5 Prisons in the region, in the Port of Sines and in 42 Schools.

 

Region Reports

Madeira Report 12th December by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 63 new Covid-19 cases, 56 recoveries and 1 death from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. Once again, the vast majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.
On Wednesday, there were 29 new Covid-19 cases and 20 recoveries. All new cases were cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases. Five of the new cases were from children, aged 8-15, who attend schools in the municipalities of Funchal, Machico and Santa Cruz;  1 new case was from a healthcare professional from SESARAM (Madeira Health Service); 5 new cases were from social care professionals (1 who works in the Municipality of Santa Cruz, 1 who works in the Municipality of Funchal and 3 who work at an institution in the Municipality of Funchal); and 2 of the new cases were from professionals working for the Municipality of Funchal. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 13 and 4 of whom were in intensive care.
On Thursday, there were 15 new Covid-19 cases (from 7 passengers who had arrived from outside the UK and 8 cases of local transmission), 22 recoveries and 1 death.

An 80 year old female patient, who had several pre-existing conditions and had been in the Covid-19 unit of Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça since the 6th of December, became Madeira’s 3rd fatality from Covid-19. The office of Pedro Ramos (Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary) expressed its deepest condolences to her grieving family. Most new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases. One of the new cases was from an adult who works at an educational institution in Funchal. Another new case was from a social care professional working in the Municipality of Funchal. There were 13 patients in hospital and 4 of them were in intensive care.
And on Friday, there were 19 new Covid-19 cases (from 3 passengers who had arrived from the UK and 16 cases of local transmission) and 14 recoveries. Most cases of local transmission had already been linked to previously identified cases. Among the new cases of local transmission, 3 were from children, aged 4-10, who attend educational institutions in the municipalities of Machico and Santa Cruz; 1 was from an adult who works at another educational institution in the Municipality of Machico; 2 were from 2 patients who were already hospitalised in SESARAM and 1 was from a healthcare professional who works in public and private healthcare providers. The number of patients in hospital increased to 14, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 265 active cases, of which 54 were imported while the other 211 cases were a result of local transmission. Also, 28 cases are from non-residents while 237 are from Madeira residents. So far, there have been 934 cases, 729 recoveries and 3 deaths. There are currently 16 patients in isolation at a dedicated hotel, 235 patients in isolation at their own accommodation and 14 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, 4 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit. At the moment, 8,347 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,868 people being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.
There are currently 194 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, of which 1 was identified through airport screening while the remaining 193 are linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Friday, there had been 2,457 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed. As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 116,012 samples had been collected until Friday (at 18h30). Overall, 190,134 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 623 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, the total number of calls made to this helpline is 20,302.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/09/29-novos-casos-de-covid-19-130-novos-suspeitos-ha-4-internados-nos-cuidados-intensivos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/10/mais-15-casos-de-covid-19-e-143-novos-suspeitos-no-dia-em-que-se-verificou-mais-uma-morte/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/10/morreu-mais-uma-doente-com-covid-19-no-hospital-dr-nelio-mendonca/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/11/mais-19-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-quase-200-novos-casos-suspeitos/

 

Remarks from the President of the Madeira Regional Government on the pandemic

On Wednesday, Miguel Albuquerque ruled out, once again, the creation of a sanitary cordon in Machico. He argued a sanitary cordon will only be imposed the situation gets “out of control” and there is community transmission. He also said he had received classified information pointing to the increase of cases in Machico and reinforced the view that Madeira is currently facing one of the most complicated phases and a period of great risk. He appealed for the Covid-19 rules to be fully complied with and warned there will be rigorous inspections to check compliance with them on bars and restaurants. He specifically asked business owners to be very careful and to ensure compliance with social distancing rules, to prevent gatherings, to ensure hand hygiene and the use of face masks. Miguel Albuquerque also said that although a recent outbreak at Santa Casa da Misericórdia had been brought under control, it could have been much worse. He added that all transmission chains have been identified, which means there is no need for sanitary cordons to be imposed. However, he guaranteed he will not hesitate to impose a new lockdown if Madeira starts to face a situation of active community transmission even if it means disrupting the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/112093/Albuquerque_rejeita_cerca_sanitaria_em_Machico_mas_avisa_que_havera_fiscalizacao_rigorosa

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/112350/Confinamento_na_Madeira_nao_esta_fora_de_hipotese

Warning on fake phone calls to elderly residents

The Municipality of Santa Cruz has issued a warning about fake phone calls being made to several elderly residents. The fake callers have been telling elderly residents to head towards a van that is supposedly parked next to the the football pitch (campo de Futebol das Faias) in Achada de Gaula, in order to be tested for Covid-19. The Municipality made several contacts, including to the local health authorities, and confirmed that this information is false. The aim of these fake calls is not known and the Municipality has warned the population to be alert and not to head to the aforementioned place.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/09/camara-de-santa-cruz-alerta-para-telefonemas-falsos/

Air Force airlifted 8 patients in the last week

From the 30th of November until the 6th of December, the Portuguese Air Force airlifted 8 patients for urgent medical treatment. A total of 5 patients were airlifted within the Azores, 1 from the Azores to the Mainland, 1 within Madeira and 1 from Madeira to the Mainland. The Air Force used C-295M aircraft from 502 Squadron “Elefantes“, Falcon 50 aircraft from 504 Squadron “Linces” and EH-101 Merlin helicopters from 751 Squadron “Pumas” to carry out these missions, which had a total flight time of 21h35.
https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/112164/Forca_Aerea_transporta_oito_doentes_na_ultima_semana_

Disruptions due to public works

The Municipality of Funchal announced the following traffic disruptions will take place, due to public works, on the 14th of December:
Modernisation of the water supply network at Caminho de Santo António, scheduled to last until the 4th of January 2021:
– Caminho de Santo António (between Rua Nova do Pico de São João and Rua das Maravilhas) to be cordoned off, except for residents;
– Access to Caminho de Santo António from Travessa da Cruz de Carvalho to be cordoned off, except for residents:
– Drivers at Levada de São and Travessão de São João, heading towards Caminho de Santo António, will be diverted to Rua das Maravilhas

Road resurfacing at Caminho da Igreja, in São Gonçalo, scheduled to last until the 16th of December:
– Caminho da Igreja (between Rua Conde Carvalhal and Caminho da Bica de Pau) cordoned off for road traffic, except for residents;
– Bus service number 37 (Horários do Funchal bus company) – heading upwards will head through Rua Conde Carvalhal towards Estrada da Camacha and will then resume its scheduled route & heading downwards will head through Estrada da Camacha towards Rua Conde Carvalhal and will then resume its scheduled route.
https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/11/cmf-avisa-para-condicionamentos-devidos-a-obras-publicas/

Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be power cuts in the following days, due to planned work on the electricity supply network. These works must not be postponed. The following areas will be affected:

FUNCHAL
15th December – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00
– Estrada do Lombo chão (numbers 31 to 51)
– Vereda das Balseiras (numbers 9, 11 and 37)
– Impasse das Balceiras

16th December – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00
– Estrada da Fajã dos Cardos (numbers 95, 99 and 101)
– Vereda da Fajã dos Cardos (number 21-A)
– Vereda da Fajã do Capitão
– Vereda da Beira do Palheiro

ARCO DA CALHETA
16th December – 10h00 to 12h00
– Sítio do Pinheiro

CANHAS
16th December – 10h00 to 12h00
– SítIo do Pomar; Sítio da Levada do Poso (including britadeira AFA); Sítio das Eiras; Sítio do Chope; Sítio da Cova grande; Sítio da Malhadinha (including britadeira)
– Parque Empresarial dos Canhas
– Vacaria
– Ovo Girão

However, power could be restored during the time frame mentioned above. So, for safety purposes, it should be assumed that there will be power at any time during this period of time. If necessary, customers can contact the free Customer Support Service (Serviço de Apoio ao Cliente): 800 221 187.
https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/12/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-97-2020/

 

Algarve Report December 12 of 2020

Regional Covid19 update

The District Civil Protection Commission of Faro yesterday revealed new data on the current epidemiological situation in the Algarve with 1,729 active cases of covid-19.
According to the regional health delegate, 5,838 infected were registered until yesterday, 80 more in the last 24 hours and 4,046 recovered (cumulative).
37 people are hospitalized, 11 in the Intensive Care Units and 4 ventilated. The same source said that since the beginning of the pandemic, 63 deaths have been recorded in the region.  Currently, 2,089 people are under active surveillance and 236 (cumulative) were discharged. In relation to last week’s bulletin, another 66 active cases and 428 new cases are confirmed. Another 356 people are recovered. There are less 6 people hospitalized (37), 3 less in intensive care (11) and the same number of ventilated patients (4). Under active surveillance there are 33 fewer people.

Lagoa exchanges Christmas lights for support to the local community

Source bePortugal

Lagoa Municipality will provide 102 thousand euros to encourage residents to buy in local stores, stimulating the county’s economy. In a statement it said, “in this very unusual year, the Christmas season will continue to be celebrated among all, but with the awareness and responsibility that the current situation imposes, having taken the decision to redirect the funds destined to the Christmas lighting, which in previous years reached expenses between 50 thousand and 65 thousand euros, for a direct support of 102 thousand euros to residents and traders”

This amount will be introduced into the local economy through the approximately 1300 unemployed, registered at the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP), residents of the municipality of Lagoa, who will receive at home a voucher to make purchases in the local commerce and through raffles to be held at the end of January, February, March, April and May. In all, the municipality will distribute around 52 thousand euros for the unemployed and raffle 50 thousand euros for the population, awarding prizes ranging from 1500 euros to the lowest, which will be 20 euros. The municipality is preparing the mechanisms to put this initiative into practice, which will involve “the delivery of a coupon for every 10 euros in purchases, in the adhering establishments, in a total of 10 coupons for each purchase, which will be placed in symbols and drawn at the end of each month. Winning citizens will receive vouchers to spend on local businesses”.

In 2020 Christmas spending is higher in the southern region

According to data from Observer Cetelem Natal 2020, the Portuguese intend to spend around 216 € during the Christmas period, 172 € less than the 388 € registered in the previous year. Most of this amount (55%) is expected to be spent on gifts. However, this percentage also decreased compared to the same period last year (minus 6 percentage points). For this category of spending, an average budget of € 119 is set – € 115 less than in 2019. After the gifts, the grocery store is the second largest expense, although like the gifts this category has also suffered a sharp decline, going from 41% of the budget in 2020 to only 36% in 2019, with a budget stipulated for this category of € 88.

Christmas decorations are the category that will gain the least from the Portuguese, as only 4% intend to spend money on seasonal decorations, with an average budget of 9 €. The highest values ​​will be spent by the age groups between 35 and 54 years, while the lowest values ​​are indicated by respondents between 18 and 24. It was also found that the Portuguese intend to spend an average of 64 € on gifts for children, 51 € less than in 2019. With the end of the year festivities, the Portuguese intend to spend an average of 85 € – a break of 90 €. It is in the South that the average value will be higher, around 306 €. Next, respondents from Greater Porto intend to spend € 248 and those from Greater Lisbon an average of € 188. At the end of the table are residents in the North and Center regions with an average spending intent of € 179 and € 172 respectively.

 

Fund supports companies in Albufeira with 1.2 million euros

The payment for the second phase of the Business Support Fund, promoted by the Albufeira Council, is completed. In total, 591 applications were accepted and support of almost 1.2 million euros was granted. With an initial allocation of 1 million euros, the Fund reached a total of 235 approved applications in its first phase, 131 from individual entrepreneurs and 104 from commercial companies, which translated into support of 470 thousand euros. According to the Albufeira Council, “individual entrepreneurs, commercial companies, cooperatives and professionals were the beneficiaries. The support resulted in the allocation of a two thousand euros non-refundable grant, for each of the approved applications », with« Albufeira being one of the pioneer municipalities in the implementation of this support instrument”.

However, “since the amount allocated to the Fund was not exhausted in the first phase, a second was opened which widened the range of recipients. At this stage, the number of approvals reached 356 applications, with 238 from individual entrepreneurs, 19 from self-employed professionals, 97 from commercial companies and 2 from cooperatives”. Adding the two phases of candidacies, the amount initially stipulated was exceeded by 182 thousand euros, which led the municipal executive “to extend the budget allocation in order to fully respond to all requests under conditions of approval”. This measure allowed a total value of 1,182,000 euros to be reached.

 

Azores Report

Report Azores – 12th December 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores Situation  

The Regional Health Authority says, from 3,350 tests carried out in the Region since the 9th of December in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of positive cases for COVID-19 is 58, many fewer cases than in recent weeks. 36 on the island of São Miguel and 22 on the island of Terceira.  There have been 93 recoveries recorded, 62 on São Miguel and 21 on the island of Terceira. Some of the cases have been discovered as part of the SARS-CoV-2 screening test carried out on arrival at ports and airports and through the analysis performed after the sixth day in the regionMost cases now are as a result of local chains of transmission.

CURRENT SITUATION IN THE REGION:  

There are 12 patients in hospital.

6, at the Divino Espírito Santo Hospital in Ponta Delgada
6, at Santo Espírito Hospital on Terceira Island – 3 of which in ICU.
The only patient who was admitted to the Hospital da Horta was transferred in the last hours to the Hospital of Ponta Delgada, to perform a procedure, with the return to the Hospital da Horta expected soon.

ACTIVE TRANSMISSION CHAINS – 50:

– 35 in São Miguel
– An active chain São Miguel + São Jorge
– 14 on Terceira Island
– 26 chains have been extinct to date, the last of which in Ponta Delgada, in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 411 active positive cases, 301 in S. Miguel, 108 in Terceira Island, 1 in Pico and 1 in Faial.  1,387 cases of infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 disease, have been detected to date, with 21 deaths and 871 recoveries.  Yesterday, one death was recorded on the island of S. Miguel, of a 73-year-old man, resident in Fajã de Baixo, admitted to the Hospital do Divino Espírito Santo.  Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations. It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at  https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/  , or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at  https: / /www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/  .
The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available the email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt    for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus

 

Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 9th December

Introduction

Good morning – A reminder that the new State of Emergency law came into effect at midnight last night covering the period up to 23:59 hours 23rd December 2020.  Thankfully, they are almost the same as the last ones which we are now used to.  Also included in the law are the provisional arrangements for the Christmas and New Year periods up to 7th January 2021. It is important to remember that these will only be confirmed subject to a review of the situation on 18th December. Any worsening of the Covid-19 situation could result in a strengthening of measures. Also please remember that these festive periods will be covered in more detail when the new State of Emergency law appears covering the period 00:01 hrs 24th December. 

To help you, we have updated four pages on our website in English regarding the measures covering Moderate, High, Very High and Extreme Risk municipalities showing the measures in place, cross referenced to the various articles under the new law 11/2020 as well as tables and our map, created by Stephen Edney, showing in detail the boundaries of municipalities. Thank you Stephen.

As you know, our information comes from official Government sources, plus ECDC and WHO etc. In respect of the Portuguese Government information, we translate this because on official government sites we cannot rely on automatic translates in visiting the various pages. We have also found that sometimes when information has been produced in English, such as the Christmas and New Year measures table, the English used requires clarification to ensuring understanding, hence in these cases we use our own translations, which are accurate and also easier to understand conveying the actual meaning.

There has naturally been some concern that the easing of restrictive measures over Christmas may result in a spread of the disease the effects to be felt in January. This is especially so, given the recent slowing down of new cases, hospitalisations and those in ICU. That however is up to all of us. 

The Prime Minister has underlined that we all “want Christmas to be a time for families to share and meet, but we must not forget that this is not a Christmas under normal circumstances”.  The Government did not want, unlike other countries, to set rules on the organization of family life, but it is essential that families understand that they should organize their celebrations taking into account the risk” “Every time we breathe or speak we expel particles that are suspended in the air and that others can breathe”, for which reason he appealed “to all families to avoid fraternization with many people, or in closed, small and poorly ventilated spaces, and to avoid long periods without a mask”

To reinforce this Safe Communities will be publishing reminders up to then, focusing on the basic measures to help reduce the risk of transmission. This will be a matter of common sense so that families understand the risks and plan their Christmas celebration to mitigate the risk as much as possible.

Yesterday was a milestone with the first people taking part in UK’s mass vaccination programme

A 90-year-old woman became the first person to take part in the UK’s mass vaccination programme, when she was given the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, received the first of two doses of the vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry. She told the BBC, “I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19, it’s the best early birthday present I could wish for.” William Shakespeare, 81, was the second person to receive the injection at the same hospital. Vaccinations have also taken place today in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. 

If you have not already done so, please find time to study the measures in place relevant to your municipality. We get many questions which we try our best to answer and I would particularly like to thank Fernanda Goncalves in promptly answering in detail the various questions on our Facebook page, as well as Eliana Tavares for her translations, particularly over the last few days which can be quite demanding.

Have a Safe Day


Covid-19 Situation 

Portugal registered, since Monday,  2,905 more infections and 81 more deaths associated with the Covid-19 disease, according to the bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health of this Tuesday,

There are 104 less patients admitted to hospital now totalling 3,263. Regarding ICU admissions, there are 14 fewer people hospitalized, now totalling 499.

DGS also says that the health authorities have 77,765 contacts under surveillance, 267 more than on Monday.

A total of 6,585 people have recovered, an accumulated total of 252,428 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The North region accounts for more than 1584 infected people, which is equivalent to about 54.5% of the total of new infections, increasing the total number of infected people to 172,536. Lisbon and Tagus Valley follow, with 758 new contagions (and a total of 106,896). In the Centre region, there are 418 more cases (in 33,572), in Alentejo another 40 (in 6990), and in the Algarve another 75 (in 5789). The Azores archipelago registers 15 new cases (in 1207) and the Madeira one more 15 cases (986).

Of the deaths forty-four victims were recorded in the North, 22 in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 13 in the Centre, one in the Alentejo and the other in the Azores. As for age, 57 people were over 80 years old (25 men and 32 women), 13 were between 70 and 79 years old (ten men and three women), ten were between 60 and 69 years old (seven men and three women), and a man died in the 50-59 age group.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 5,122 people have died in Portugal out of 327,976 confirmed cases of infection.


Health

Vaccinations

UK health authorities made available yesterday the first doses of vaccine against Covid-19, initiating a global immunization program that should be boosted as more serums are being approved.

The first dose was administered at one of the hospitals in a chain spread across the country, where the initial phase of the program has already been dubbed V-Day, health officials announced.

The first person in the UK to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, developed by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German associate BioNTech, was a 90-year-old woman.

Margaret Keenan was filmed while being vaccinated at around 06:30 (GMT) – at Coventry University Hospital in central England.

British regulators last week gave the green light to this vaccine, which from today will start to be administered to risk groups in the United Kingdom.

The country achieved this breakthrough in the vaccination project, after, on December 2nd, British regulators gave emergency authorization for the vaccine, produced by the American drug manufacturer Pfizer and the German company BioNTech.

US and European Union authorities are also reviewing the vaccine, alongside other “rival” preparations developed by the American biotechnology company Moderna, and a collaboration between the University of Oxford and the drug maker AstraZeneca.


Hugging at Christmas

The Head of Emergencies of the World Health Organization (WHO) advised yesterday not to be too close to family members during the holiday season and to avoid hugs, in order to stop the proliferation of the new coronavirus.

Michael Ryan spoke during an online press conference at the organization’s headquarters and relied on the “shocking” numbers of Covid-19 and death cases, especially in the United States, to defend the distance between close people during the Christmas season.

The WHO Emergency Chief answered a question about whether hugs could be considered “close contacts” that the United Nations health agency has recommended avoiding in areas with a high spread of the virus.

“It is horrible to think that we would be here as a World Health Organization telling people not to hug. It is terrible. But that is the brutal reality in places like the United States right now,” admitted Michael Ryan.

“It is frankly shocking to see that one to two people per minute die in the United States, a country with a wonderfully strong health system and fantastic technological capabilities,” said Michael Ryan”.


Covid-19: Ordem dos Médicos warns that there is no Christmas or New Year for the virus

The Order of Doctors (OM) warned yesterday that for SARS-CoV-2 there is no Christmas or New Year and that all meetings are opportunities for transmission and infection, sometimes with irreparable consequences.

In a note sent to the newsrooms, the president and the OM Crisis Office for Covid-19 state that the number of new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, at national level, remains “Very high”, continuing to represent “a significant risk to the safety” of all and the integrity of the National Health Service.

“In this period of greater festivity and family proximity, adherence and respect for measures to prevent the transmission of the pandemic are essential and indispensable to protect our family members, and in particular those most at risk, such as the elderly and those with chronic diseases”, reads a statement issued by doctors.

OM recommended that anyone who has a fever or respiratory complaints, has been in contact with suspected or confirmed cases or has tested positive in the last 10 days, maintain isolation and respect the rules to protect the family.

“Postpone non-essential trips, always wear your mask, wash your hands frequently and avoid crowds of people, even if they are family or friends,” he appealed.


Vaccinations

Analysis of the results of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine confirms effectiveness up to 90%

A joint analysis of the preliminary results of the vaccine from the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca confirmed an average effectiveness of 70.4%, but that can go up to 90% if the doses are varied, according to an article published in the specialized magazine Lancet.

The study is the first to be published after peer reviewed analysis by other scientists of the preliminary results of phase 3 of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, based on clinical tests carried out with 11,636 volunteers in the United Kingdom and Brazil.

The combined analysis of the results shows that the average vaccine efficacy, at least 14 days after the second dose, was 70.4%, having shown an efficacy of 62.1% when the volunteers received two full doses and 90% when they received a lower dose followed by a full dose.

These results are similar to those released by the group on 23rd November.

For Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, the analysis of the results of clinical tests confirms the vaccine’s efficacy in preclinical tests and hopes that the vaccine, currently subject to evaluation by the regulatory authority of the Health and Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is approved.

“We hope this vaccine will be in use soon to start saving lives,” said Gilbert, in a statement from the British university.


Economy

Eurozone GDP rose 12.5% in the 3rd quarter, the highest since 1995

According to data released today by Eurostat, the eurozone’s Gross Domestic Product grew 12.5% between July and September, the largest chain rise since the beginning of the time series in 1995

The economies of the eurozone and the European Union (EU) recorded, in the third quarter, the largest chain increases, of 12.5% and 11.5%, respectively, reversing the downward trend of the previous two, according to this Tuesday’s report. Eurostat

According to data released today by the European statistical office, the euro area’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 12.5% between July and September, the largest chain rise since the beginning of recording in 1995, and a recovery from to falls of 11.7% in the second quarter of 2020 and 3.7% in the first.

In the EU, GDP increased 11.5%, also a record in the chain variations, and reversing the downward trend of 3.3% in the first quarter and 11.3% in the second.

Compared to the same quarter of 2019, GDP decreased by 4.3% in the euro area and 4.2% in the EU between July and September, a partial recovery after having sunk 14.7% and 13.9%, respectively, in the previous quarter.

Between July and September, Portuguese GDP grew 13.3% in the quarterly variation and decreased 5.7% year-on-year, in both cases with values above the average.

Compared to the previous quarter, France (18.7%), Spain (16.7%) and Italy (15.9%) registered the highest GDP growth rates between July and September, after having registered these same countries, the biggest decreases between April and June.

Greece (2.3%), Estonia and Finland (3.3% each) and Lithuania (3.8%) showed the smallest increases in GDP and, with the exception of Greece, whose GDP fell 14.1%, two other countries also had the smallest chain drops in the second quarter.


Aviation Industry

Ministers met extraordinarily during the night, to discuss and approve the restructuring plan of the Portuguese airline, which has to be delivered in Brussels by Thursday. Plans provide for fleet reduction, redundancies and salary cuts. And more public funding by 2024, because of the crisis caused by the pandemic. Government discussion can lead to votes in the Assembly

António Costa called on the ministers to analyse and (hopefully) approve TAP’s restructuring plan, which will have to be delivered in Brussels in the next few days, confirmed the Express. The issue is of enormous political sensitivity: the Portuguese airline, in addition to a fleet reduction, redundancies and salary cuts – to comply with European competition rules and remain sustainable by European standards – will need even more public funding until 2024 .

According on Tuesday to the online newspaper Echo, the plan that was drawn up by the company with knowledge and participation of the Government, provides for new public funding, “up to a value of around 1.8 billion euros”, either through injections of public funds or state guarantees to new loans. This figure – which the Express found to be slightly lower, at 1.6 billion – will have to add to the 1,200 million aid in 2020. And it points to an amount clearly higher than the 500 million euros already budgeted for 2021, in the OE that was approved by Parliament.

In the last paper edition, which came out on Friday, Expresso explained that the restructuring plan that the Ministry of Finance will present in Brussels, foresees that the carrier will keep 88 planes in operation, 11 more than it had when Neeleman and Humberto Pedrosa became shareholders – but below the 105 with which the year 2020 began. It is a minimum number to guarantee TAP a dimension that justifies the hub at Lisbon airport and that will allow it to continue making transcontinental flights to Brazil and USA, in fact, those in which the company has a competitive advantage.

TAP’s management has also admitted that, in order to achieve the objectives of a financial break-even at the end of 2021, 2,000 company workers could have to leave, in addition to those hired on a fixed basis – a number that was not yet final. All that is fixed is the cut in the wage bill, which will be 25%, equivalent to around € 185 million

Aviation. Portugal (and seven more EU countries) fears sector dominated by transnational companies

Pedro Nuno Santos and seven EU ministers warn of the problems that will result from the aviation crisis. They speak of the “emergence of transnational companies”, of the legal uncertainty about the applicable labour and tax legislation, of “the growth of atypical forms of employment of airline crew and different levels of social protection for workers”. They challenge Europe to prepare legal frameworks for what is to come. All of this in the decisive week for the restructuring of TAP

The Portuguese Minister of Infrastructure, Pedro Nuno Santos, and counterparts from seven other countries of the European Union (EU) showed this Tuesday great concern with the social protection of aviation workers in the post-crisis period of the covid-19. The statement was signed by Pedro Nuno Santos and Transport Ministers from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Luxembourg, calling on everyone to “socially responsible connectivity to sustain aviation recovery” after the crisis generated by the pandemic.

Recalling that “the European aviation sector was strongly affected by the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, with serious repercussions on air connectivity, on companies and organizations and on the many employees in the entire sector”, the officials say they fear “profound changes in the aviation sector, which represent a challenge for airlines, their staff and national authorities “, according to information released to the press in Brussels.

The joint declaration thus warns of the problems that “the crisis is in danger of accentuating”, including the “emergence of transnational airline companies based across Europe, the legal uncertainty about applicable labour and tax legislation, the growth of atypical forms of employment of airline crew and different levels of social protection for workers, the uneven playing field between airlines and the inadequate application of rules at national level “, according to the statement.



Other News

ASAE discovers fraud with gas cylinder filling

ASAE detected in a warehouse in Alcanede, Santarém, about a hundred bottles of butane / propane gas that were fraudulently filled with LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) and later sold.

The operation was carried out by inspectors from the Southern Regional Unit – Santarém Operational Unit, who carried out various home and non-home searches in a gas cylinder storage location, as part of an investigation for suspected fraud crimes on goods.

In a statement, ASAE “confirmed the collection of evidence of fraud in the filling and marketing of butane / propane cylinders with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)” and found that “the necessary procedures were not met in view of the associated risk handling and storage of the product concerned “.

Approximately 100 gas cylinders of different capacities (45 kg, 13 kg and 2 kg) and their adapters were seized, valued at approximately 3400 euros,

The action had the collaboration of the National Entity for the Energy Sector (ENSE).



Region reports

Madeira Report by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 76 new Covid-19 cases and 43 recoveries from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. Once again, the vast majority of new cases were cases of local transmission.

On Saturday, there were 11 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from Russia, 1 who had arrived from the UK, 1 who had arrived from Venezuela and 7 cases of local transmission) and 7 recoveries. All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases. The number of patients in hospital increased to 11 although none were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 23 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from outside the UK, 2 who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 2 who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 17 cases of local transmission) and 11 recoveries. Four children, 3 of whom from educational establishments in the municipalities of Funchal and Machico, and 2 healthcare professionals from SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) were among the new cases. The number of patients in hospital increased to 13, with 2 of them being in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

On Monday, there were 29 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Romania and 28 cases of local transmission) and 14 recoveries. Seven children from schools in the municipalities of Câmara de Lobos, Funchal and Machico and 3 professionals from the security and military forces were among the new cases of local transmission. Most cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases and 1 was still under epidemiological investigation. The number of patients in hospital increased to 17, with 3 of them going into the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

And on Tuesday, there were 13 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 who had arrived from Poland, 1 who arrived from Germany, 1 who had arrived from Venezuela and 9 cases of local transmission) and 11 recoveries. All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases. Among the new cases of local transmission, 1 was from a child who attends an educational establishment in the municipality of Funchal, 2 were from adults who work at an educational establishment in the municipality of Machico, 1 was from a healthcare professional who works in health and social care in both private and public sector and 1 was from an adult who works for the Municipality of Funchal. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 14, 3 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 259 active cases, of which 50 were imported and identified through airport screening while the other 209 cases were a result of local transmission. Also, 29 cases are from non-residents while 230 are from Madeira residents. So far, there have been 934 cases, 673 recoveries and 2 deaths.

There are currently 23 patients in isolation at a dedicated hotel, 222 patients in isolation at their own accommodation and 14 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, 3 of whom are in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit..

At the moment, 8,087 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,503 people being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

There are currently 203 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, of which 10 were identified through airport screening while the remaining 193 are linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Tuesday, there had been 2,394 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 113,979 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 18h30). Overall, 187,197 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 654 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, the total number of calls made to this helpline is 19,679. 

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111800/Covid-19_Madeira_regista_hoje_11_novos_casos_sendo_7_de_transmissao_local

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111801/Covid-19_Doentes_internados_passam_a_ser_11

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/06/23-novos-casos-de-covid-19-na-ram-319-suspeitos-13-internados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/07/mais-29-casos-de-covid-19-os-internados-sao-ja-17-143-novos-casos-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/08/mais-13-casos-activos-203-novos-casos-suspeitos-de-covid-19/


12 Madeiran companies donated more than 1.7 Tonnes of food to Food Bank

Banco Alimentar da Madeira (the Madeira branch of Banco Alimentar – one of the most famous food banks in Portugal) received a donation of 1,773 Kg of food through Operation Christmas Tonne (Operação Tonelada de Natal). This donation by 12 Madeiran companies aims to reinforce the effort to respond to an increasing number of requests for help. Fátima Aveiro, the leader of Banco Alimentar da Madeira praised the “commendable” attitude of these companies, which have also been facing their own troubles. She explained a regular volunteer to the institution had challenged this group of businesspeople to join forces to collect food to donate. Despite this sizeable donation, she explained the importance of increasing the number of donations.

The increase in unemployment highlights the urgent need to help whoever has lost their livelihoods as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. She added that Banco Alimentar da Madeira needs plenty of food to be donated because it is not known how the pandemic situation will develop. According to her, the number of requests for help increased by more than 100% in comparison with the period before the pandemic. At the moment, 8.500 families in the Autonomous Region of Madeira are being supported by Banco Alimentar da Madeira. All food donated to Banco Alimentar da Madeira is distributed to several institutions in the region which subsequently deliver it to families in need.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111834/12_empresas_madeirenses_doam_mais_de_17_toneladas_a_Banco_Alimentar


Two people arrested for drug trafficking

The Regional Command of PSP Madeira (Comando Regional da Polícia de Segurança Pública da Madeira) announced the arrest of two males, aged 30 (from the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos) and 32 (from the Municipality of Funchal), for hashish and heroin trafficking. 

One of the men was arrested on the 5th of December at his home, where Police seized 5 cannabis plants and dried cannabis leaves that were ready for consumption weighing 286.30 grams. He is subject to a statement of identity and residence. 

The other man was arrested in the early hours of Sunday after being stopped in a traffic stop and attempting to escape. Police seized 396 doses of hashish, 376 doses of cocaine, a digital scale, a motorbike and a wide range of equipment for use in illegal trafficking of drugs. He was remanded in police custody while waiting to appear at court.

The Regional Command of PSP Madeira reiterated its commitment to fight against drug trafficking and highlighted that the Câmara de Lobos Police Division has already made 21 arrests for drug trafficking this year.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/07/psp-deteve-dois-individuos-por-trafico-de-haxixe-e-cocaina/


Volunteers invited to help clean coastal areas in Porto Santo

The project “Porto Santo Sem Lixo Marinho” (Porto Santo Without Marine Litter) will be taking place from the 14th to the 19th of December. The aim of this project is to clean coastal areas and even streams and other areas that contribute to the build-up of potential marine litter. If you are interested in helping, you must gather a group of people from your family or friends (maximum 5 people), choose a day and time you are all available, choose the place where you would like to help, sign up for the project and head to the city hall (Câmara Municipal de Porto Santo) to collect the cleaning equipment. Applications can be made until the 11th of December at 12h30 by sending an email to rubinabrito@cm-portosanto.pt

Below is a translation of the application form:

Ficha de Inscrição – Application Form

Local da limpeza – Place to clean up 

Coordenadas GPS (não obrigatório) – GPS coordinates (not required)

Nome Participante – Name of the volunteer

Data de Nascimento – Date of birth

Nº do Cartão Cidadão – Citizen Card Number (Passport number may also be accepted)

NIF – Tax Number (perhaps not required)

Morada – Address

Código Postal – Post Code

Localidade – Location

Contacto Telefónico – Phone number

Endereço de E-Mail – Email address

https://cm-portosanto.pt/porto-santo-sem-lixo-marinho-2/


Water supply disruptions

As a result of scheduled work on the water supply chain, there will be water supply disruptions in the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos. The following areas will be affected:

– 9th December (from 09h00 to 13h00) – Parish of Câmara de Lobos (Nogueira and Pedregal) & Parish of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos (Garachico)

– 9th December (from 11h00 to 15h00) – Parish of Câmara de Lobos (Nogueira)

– 10th December (from 09h00 to 13h00) – Parish of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos (Nogueira and Pedregal)

http://www.aguasdamadeira.com.pt/noticias.aspx?n=200#.X9BswS10cWo


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be power cuts in the following days, due to planned work on the electricity supply network. These works must not be postponed. The following areas will be affected:

FUNCHAL

10th December – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Caminho de São Roque (numbers 1 to 84-A)

11th December – 00h00 to 07h00

– Caminho do Monte (numbers 155 to 240)

– Caminho dos Pocinhos

– Caminho da Lombada (numbers 49 to 54)

– Caminho das Lajinhas (numbers 3 to 28)

– Caminho do Desterro (until number 62)

– Caminho da Confeiteira (number 1)

– Caminho das Babosas (numbers 8 to 10)

– Azinhaga da Cancela (number 39)

– Largo das Babosas

– Beco do Pereira

– Vereda das Quintas (until number 33)

– Vereda do Cabeço (numbers 3 and 7)

CÂMARA DE LOBOS

10th December – 09h00 to 11h00

– Estrada de Santa Clara (between even number 174 and odd number 203)

However, power could be restored during the time frame mentioned above. So, for safety purposes, it should be assumed that there will be power at any time during this period of time. 

If necessary, customers can contact the free Customer Support Service (Serviço de Apoio ao Cliente): 800 221 187.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/05/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-95-2020/



Algarve

Moncarapacho and Fuseta to receive 500 Christmas Baskets

The Union of Parishes of Moncarapacho and Fuseta, as has been customary every year during this festive season, will start distributing Christmas baskets to 500 needy families in the parish, starting tomorrow, Wednesday, 9 December.

In this year of 2020, this solidarity action was reinforced in relation to previous years, given the increase in the number of precarious situations due to the pandemic caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

The executive of the Union of Parishes of Moncarapacho and Fuseta intends, above all, to contribute so that those who need it most, can have a happier festive season, providing a more dignified and comforting Christmas dinner, in the best possible conditions.

Orders from more than 100 children await sponsors at Refood in Faro

More than 100 children supported by Refood de Faro can have a happier Christmas if the population sponsors an initiative by the institution to purchase gifts requested by children.

There are many letters hanging on the Christmas tree, all with requests from the children of families supported by the Faro branch, which can be collected by the community to fulfill the wishes of the youngest.

“Anyone in the community who wants to help us and provide a happier Christmas for these children, just go through Refood, take one of these letters, see the children’s wishes and provide one of the requests,” Carlos Reis, one of the coordinators, told Lusa in Faro from the institution, which collects and distributes surplus meals from restaurants, but also made by volunteers, and food baskets.

Refood will “keep in touch” with whoever takes the letter and once it has the gift it will be stored for later delivery to all children.

The idea also emerged in the confinement phase, when the voluntary movement took the baskets to the families’ homes and came across children who “were delirious with a box of cereal”, Paula Matias, also coordinator, told Lusa.

To try to “minimize the impact” that families are having this year with the crisis generated by the covid-19 pandemic, at a time when requests for food aid increased significantly, the organization seeks to provide more “some joy to these children ”.


Unstable cliff repairs at Porto de Mós beach Lagos

The Maritime Police followed, on Sunday morning, the works of controlled collapse of an installable cliff in the area to the east of Porto de Mós beach, in the municipality of Lagos.

Following a partial collapse of this cliff, on the 21st of November, the National Maritime Authority (AMN), said in a statement, that it was necessary to re-establish its stability, using controlled collapse works, which were coordinated by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA – ARH do Algarve).

On site were members of the Civil Protection of the Municipality of Lagos and four members of the Local Command of the Maritime Police of Lagos with two vehicles, carrying out the security perimeter of the affected area, having interdicted the area to the east of Porto de Mós beach. , as well as the access rails to the cliff.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 9th December 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores   

Rabo de Peixe 

The Rabo de Peixe health quarantine, in force since the 3rd of December, was extended until the 13th of December because of the high potential for active community transmission of Covid-19.  The parish is in the municipality of Ribeira Grande.

119 cases of the infection have been identified following the mass testing of the village.  To date 7,000 people have been tested.

Sadly, there has been another death, an 89 year-old woman from the island of Terceira.  It happened yesterday, at 12:36 pm, at the Hospital de Santo Espírito.  She had just entered the Health Unit a few hours earlier. She lived in the parish of Doze Ribeiras, in the municipality of Angra do Heroísmo.

The Regional Health Authority says, from 8,120 tests carried out in the Region since the 5th of December in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for Covid-19 is 202.

173 on the island of São Miguel, 27 on the island of Terceira and 1 on Pico.

There have been 107 recoveries recorded, 68 on São Miguel, 35 on the island of Terceira, 2 on Flores, and 2 on Pico.

The number of patients in hospital at the moment is 13,

6 at the Divino Espírito Santo Hospital in Ponta Delgada

6 at the Hospital de Santo Espírito on Terceira Island – three of which in the ICU

1 at the Hospital of Horta.

49 transmission chains are active, 34 in S. Miguel (with the emergence of a new São Miguel + Vila Franca chain, a São Miguel + S. Jorge chain, and 14 in Terceira (two new chains, one in Angra do Heroism and another at Praia da Vitória).

23 transmission chains are already extinct, the last of which are on the island of São Miguel, one in Ribeira Grande and the other in Ponta Delgada.

There are currently 447 positive cases, 328 in S. Miguel, 117 on Terceira Island, one in Pico and one in Faial.

1,329 cases of infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 disease, have been detected to date, with 20 deaths and 778 recoveries.

 



Portugal Situation Report Saturday 5th December

Introduction  

Believe it or not there is news other than Covid-19!

And the news is snow! Yesterday, Depression Doris, resulted in warnings be issued regarding maritime agitation, high winds and even snow in several areas of the north of the country. As of 12:00 hrs yesterday there were over 140 recorded incidents, including blocked roads. The Weather forecasting was timely and allowed plenty of warning regarding precautions that should be taken. 

This morning minimum temperatures in much of the centre and northern parts of the country are down to 2 – 3C and in several areas below zero. Even in the Algarve, temperatures this morning were 4 – 5C, probably colder in Monchique. In this respect Safe Communities Portugal has plenty of advice from government channels in English concerning low temperatures which can be downloaded here.

However, the news was dominated yesterday by the approval to extend the State of Emergency until the 23rd December 23:59 hrs with, what appears to be with similar or even identical, measures as the current law. Not only is this good news as it will make it easier people to understand, but it also importantly shows that the current measures are working. Certainly there have been decreasing trends in new cases over the last two weeks with also fewer hospital and ICU admissions. There is a note of optimism here and the message is clear, that if everyone continues to comply with the laws and measures in place, the nearer we are to a return to normality. This was reflected in a recent survey, which we published a few days ago, which showed that 67% of those surveyed felt that the effects of the State of Emergency were positive in dealing with the disease.

Regarding vaccines, we welcome the government Vaccination Plan announced on Thursday, in particular that priority that will be given to the 40,000 nurses in the national health service. This is in our view a very wise decision as they are on the front line – “saving their lives will help save many more”! 

Again, we have to warn on the amount of disinformation there is concerning this subject and this is likely to grow. The fact that the vaccination will be free should help in deterring people from trying to source cheaper suppliers whose products have not been authorised or tested. We have seen disinformation concerning facemasks and PGR testing previously and it seems a great pity when we face so many challenges, that there are people who deliberately, or having been misled by incomplete or unreliable news, promote these within local communities.

Today we await the announcement of the Prime Minister concerning the measures in respect of Christmas and the New Year period up to 7th January. This will be followed by the Council of Ministers Communiques and subsequently the decree law which will provide more details and we will publish as soon as available – please be patient before asking your questions! 

 

As advised previously, the list of those municipalities published by DGS on Monday showing infections by 100,000 over 14 days, is only up to the 25th November and is already 11 days old. As such there is bound to have been a change in trends since then in some areas.  We cannot take it for granted therefore that these figures will be reflected 100% in the final decision as to which municipalities are in the four bands; Moderate, High, Very High and Extreme. This happened last time, when the list dated 16th November did not fully tally when the current State of Emergency was published on 24th November. There were variations then and there will be variations, I am sure, this time. So please wait and see. We expect this to be published either by the Prime Minister or the Council of Ministers Communique. 

Anyway it will certainly be a long and busy day at Safe Communities as we await the measures and bring these to you.

Please take care with the colder weather and have a Safe Day.


Headline

Parliament approved on Friday afternoon the extension of the State of Emergency for another 15 days. The decision had the favourable vote of the PS and PSD and the non-registered deputy Cristina Rodrigues. BE, CDS and PAN abstained, as did Joacine Katar Moreira. PCP, PEV, Chega and IL parties voted against.

The presidential decree approved today establishes that the new State of Emergency will “last 15 days, starting at 00:01 hrs on December 9th 2020 and ending at 23:59 hrs on December 23rd 2020”. But Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa underlines this time that “it is foreseeable that this renewal will have to extend at least for a period until January 7th, allowing the Government to predict and announce the measures to be taken during the Christmas and New Year periods”. 

In substance, the rights limitation framework provided for the next 15 days is identical to the one in force in the past two weeks, maintaining the possibility for the Executive to impose curfew measures and circulation restrictions – the measures being adopted to “be calibrated according to the degree of risk of each municipality”.

Within the general framework outlined by the President of the Republic, the Government decides tomorrow, in the Council of Ministers, which measures to apply during the Christmas and New Year period, until the date of 7th January 2021.


Address by the President of the Republic

State of Emergency renewed until 23rd December. “Pressure in intensive care” and “high death toll” worry the President.

The decision to renew the State of Emergency, despite the slowdown in cases, is due to “pressure in intensive care” and “high number of deaths”, the President of the Republic said this Friday at 20:00 hrs in a statement to the country. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that it was important to maintain efforts to relieve the pressure in hospitals. On vaccinations, he confirmed that the “arrival to all Portuguese” follows “extended timetables” and that “it will be a matter of weeks” rather than days. The President hopes that “this will be clear so as not to create excessive expectations and, therefore, immediate disappointments”.

The less intense regime on Christmas, will be designed for families to achieve the “desired and legitimate” encounter, but avoiding uncontrollability. The President of the Republic stressed the importance of these meetings being made with caution in order to avoid a possible “third wave” and lack of control in January. The aim, explains Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is to live Christmas, “but without concentrating on a single moment and with increased respect for the rules that can prevent widespread family contagion”.

The President of the Republic also left a message of praise to the Portuguese, for, in general, complying with the rules, quoting the State adviser and neuroscientist António Damásio, who, in an interview with PÚBLICO, said: “There is a great distribution of generosity, patience and calm in the Portuguese”.

The presidential decree to renew the State of Emergency, despite having a maximum validity of 15 days, should be renewed in the same way during Christmas week, to be in force until 7th January. The decree provides for approximately the same restrictions of rights that were already in force, and it is now up to the government to define the specific rules for each period. On Saturday, the Council of Ministers will meet again to define the specific measures which will be in force during the same period, in particular the Christmas and New Year periods. 

“This decree keeps unchanged the framework that allows to impose, between 9th and 23rd December, the same rigour for the current period and underlies the same purpose for the following period, until January 7th, with the possible exception that is expected to be well understood and well experienced at Christmas,” said the President. “It is obviously in everyone’s interest that January may represent a consolidation of the steps taken in December and not a new and frustrating rise that will eventually accentuate the dimension of a dreaded third wave,” he warned.

Meeting the constitutional deadlines, the renewal of the State of Emergency will last 15 days, beginning at 00:00 hrs on 9th December 2020 and ending at 23:59 hrs on 23rd December 2020. But renewal is already guaranteed on these terms, at least until 7th January 2021.

According to the Constitution, this legal framework, which allows for the suspension of the exercise of certain rights, freedoms and guarantees, may not last more than 15 days, without prejudice to possible renewals with the same time limit.


DGS Covid-19 Situation

Since Thursday, Portugal registered 79 more deaths and 4,935 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, according to the bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health this Friday.

A further 5,020 patients have recovered, now totalling 234,038.

There are a further 35 patients hospitalised, totalling 3,295. In the Intensive Care Units, another 1 was hospitalized in the last 24 hours, totalling 526

The document also reports an additional 5020 recovered, bringing the total to 234,038 people. Taking into account the number of new cases, deaths and recoveries the number of active cases decreased by 164 people, to 73,712.

Hospitalizations are also decreasing for the second consecutive day: in the last 24 hours there are 35  less people hospitalized (total: 3295) and one more in intensive care units (total: 526).

The North again recorded the highest number of deaths (45), followed by Lisbon and the Tagus Valley (15), Centro (14), Algarve (3), Alentejo and Azores (both with a fatal victim). The lethality rate, the relationship between confirmed cases and deaths, remains at 1.54%.

There are now 77643 contacts under surveillance, 345 fewer than the day before.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 4,803 people in 312,533 confirmed cases of infection have died in Portugal

The North added 2577 more cases in the last 24 hours, which translates to 52.22% of the total. Lisbon and Tagus Valley (1508), Centro (626), Alentejo (111), Algarve (73), Azores (26) and Madeira (14) follow.


Health

More vacations and money for Health personnel who fight Covid-19: regulation has finally arrived

Professionals involved in fighting the pandemic will be entitled to half an extra salary. Decree-law comes into force yesterday and provides for the financial premium to be paid later this year, while extra vacation days will have to be taken by the end of 2021.

It should have been ready by the end of August, but only this Thursday was published in Diário da República. The decree-law that regulates the granting of compensation to workers of the National Health Service (SNS) involved in combating Covid-19 comes into force this Friday and covers, under certain conditions, not only doctors and nurses, but also pre-hospital emergency medical technicians, medico-legal service professionals, prison health unit workers and civilian workers at the Armed Forces Hospital.

The award of a prize to health professionals involved in combating the pandemic was already approved in July, but since then its regulation and respective entry into force of the measure proposed by the PSD was awaited. It was necessary to wait until December, but the document now approved foresees that the performance bonus, “equivalent to 50% of your basic monthly remuneration, not added by any other, regardless of the nature of the remuneration or supplementary remuneration”, will be paid in only once in 2020.

The extra vacation days that are also provided for in the decree-law – one day for each period of 80 hours of “normal work actually performed during the State of Emergency” and one day for each period of 48 hours of “overtime” – will have to be enjoyed over the next year.

Covid-19: Nelas municipality home has 52 infected users

The care home of the Lopes da Fonseca Foundation, in the municipality of Nelas, has 52 of its 80 users with Covid-19 and a specialized team of volunteer firefighters will today disinfect all facilities, said the mayor.

In a statement, José Borges da Silva explains that home users, located in the parish of Lapa do Lobo, are asymptomatic and were tested following positive diagnoses to employees at the “beginning of their seven-day work shift”.

This rotating shift was “long practiced in terms of job performance, having proved to be an effective method in controlling the pandemic”, says the mayor, recalling that he was even advised by health authorities.

“Users were immediately separated into completely different facilities”, he stresses.

José Borges da Silva explains that meals and laundry services started to be provided “by companies outside the home, minimizing any internal or external contagion effect and freeing up human resources to support users, especially in this period of great difficulty”.

“The medical and nursing support services have already been reinforced in order to guarantee the best health care, and all institutions linked to the health area, local and regional, are mobilized for this situation”, he assures.

Eight thousand tests in three days: the “major operation” to contain the Covid-19 in Rabo de Peixe

Tests on the population began to be carried out this Friday by 230 health professionals and will run until Sunday. The rabo-peixenses are joining “without constraints”, says the regional director of Health to the PUBLIC.

After the health quarantine was implemented in Rabo de Peixe , it is time to test (almost) the entire population of one of the largest parishes in the Azores. There are about 230 professionals, including doctors, nurses, firefighters and security forces, mobilized to stop the spread of covid-19 in the parish with the most positive cases in the archipelago. In a region with 356 active cases, Rabo de Peixe registers 78 infected so far.

“It is a great operation, which involves very large logistics, with hundreds of professionals, mainly doctors and nurses”, explains to the PUBLIC the regional director of Health, Berto Cabral, who in the final stretch of the first day of tests was already taking stock “very positive” of the measure. “Everything is going very well. People are joining without constraints or problems”.

In total, it is estimated that about 7 to 8 thousand tests” will be carried out quickly on a population that, according to the 2011 censuses, was 8,866 inhabitants – a number that is expected to have already increased to around ten thousand. From mass testing, children up to the age of six are left out – “unless they have symptoms or the parents want them” – and “people who have been tested in the last seven days” and who, according to regional standards, will have to do another test six days later.


Face masks

Infarmed recommends not using masks from Shantou T&K Medical

Although not sold in Portugal, Infarmed recommends that the devices mentioned above are not purchased in another country or used.

The National Medicines Authority this Friday recommended not to use masks for clinical use, from the manufacturer Shantou T&K Medical equipment factory Co, Lda, after being banned for non-compliance with the requirements established by the European Union.

Infarmed points out that no records of commercialization of medical devices by this manufacturer were identified in Portugal, but, given that there is free movement of products in the European Economic Area, it recommends that the devices mentioned above are not purchased or used.

In a note posted on the website, Infarmed states that the competent German authority has ordered a ban on the marketing and collection of medical devices for clinical use, from the manufacturer Shantou T&K Medical equipment factory Co., Lda, since those do not comply with the requirements set out in Regulation (EU) 2017/745 on medical devices.

If detected in Portugal, these devices must be reported to the Infarmed Health Products Department.


Vaccinations

40,000 nurses in the National Health Service, to be vaccinated as a priority

The vaccination plan against Covid-19 that will start in Portugal in January “will be homogeneous throughout the territory”, not discriminating against regions due to having a greater or lesser number of cases, according to this Friday, António Lacerda Sales said, Assistant Secretary of State for Health, after visiting health facilities in the north of the country to monitor the epidemic situation.

“We are well prepared, with a robust vaccination plan, and in an important alliance with the Armed Forces and the security forces, so that from January there will be a new light and new hope for the Portuguese,” he said.

Lacerda Sales recalled that, by the end of the first semester, 3.6 million people will be vaccinated in Portugal against Covid-19, which includes 950 thousand in the first phase, aimed at health professionals, residents of homes and people with more serious pathologies, and 2.7 million in a second phase.

The Assistant Secretary of State for Health also emphasized that the vaccination plan is “flexible and adaptable” to the scientific evidence that is constantly emerging with the evolution of the pandemic.

“The scientific evidence today is the error rectified tomorrow”, stressed Lacerda Sales. “If tomorrow they say that the priorities are different, they will fit the plan”.

In the first phase, the immunizer will be administered in the 1200 vaccination posts nationwide and “further ahead”, there may be other more massive vaccination campaigns, in schools or pavilions “, said the official.

“We have 40,000 nurses in the National Health Service, and they are the ones who are going to be vaccinated as a priority,” said Lacerda Sales, leaving open “reinforcements” in this field, should they become necessary.


‘Let’s Save Portugal’. Pilot project between Câmara de Gondomar and ARS-Norte detects contagions in 24 hours

The delay in epidemiological inquiries to Covid-19 fell from six to one day in Gondomar, a municipality that dropped the rate of contagion from 1600 positive cases per 100 thousand inhabitants to 980. Screening for infected persons and contacts is being carried out by employees of the municipality, dentists and military

A week after the Câmara de Gondomar established a protocol with ARS-Norte to expedite screening inquiries for Covid-19, Marco Martins says that the time interval between contacts with patients who tested positive decreased from six days to 24 hours. “This collaboration with public health proved to be essential to stop the chains of contagion”, says the Mayor of Gondomar and leader of the District Civil Protection Commission of Porto.

In addition to releasing health professionals from more bureaucratic functions “at a time of great pressure”, the mayor says that the formation of a team of 20 people – which includes five employees of the Chamber, five dentists who were without consultations and 10 military personnel – arose in response to the concern of the local population. “We started to receive many complaints from residents who, after having done the tests, spent almost a week at home without being contacted”, says Marco Martins, noting that in that time the chain of contagions was lost and the spread multiplied of the virus.

When the pilot project ‘Vamos Salvo Portugal’ took off on the ground just over a week ago, operating on the premises of Gondomar GoldPark, the population of potentially new cases that had been tested and had not been contacted for epidemiological inquiries was 1800 people . The ARS-Norte initiative is being replicated in seven other municipalities in the Porto district, including Matosinhos, Maia, Valongo and Famalicão. Read more here.


National Defence supports Health in the implementation of the Vaccination Plan to Combat Covid-19

The Vaccination Plan to Combat Covid-19 will count on the Armed Forces’ contribution in the development of the logistical operation that will guarantee the distribution of vaccines through different vaccination points throughout the country.

National Defence continues to support Health on multiple fronts of the strategy to combat the pandemic. In the context of the epidemiological screening of Covid-19, teams of military personnel were made available, consisting of officers, sergeants and officers, in order to strengthen the screening capacity of the Regional Health Administrations and the respective Health Centre Groups.

As of today, 260 military personnel from the Navy, Army and Air Force are involved in this collaboration front with the public health authorities, divided into 14 teams, and 7 teams (122 military) are already operating in response to the Administration’s requests. Regional Health Council of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, the Regional Health Administration of the North and the Regional Health Administration of Alentejo. The Armed Forces’ commitment to strengthening the screening capacity could reach, if necessary, 500 military personnel.

The Armed Forces’ temporary reception capacity is also activated, with a total of 674 beds available in the 9 Patient Reception Centres, located in military units of the three Ramos.

The Armed Forces keep their device in readiness, in order to respond quickly and effectively to the multiple requests of various entities and different governmental areas, which in addition to Health also encompass sectors such as Education, Justice or Social Security, with training actions and sensitization to clean spaces in 570 schools, 55 actions in prisons and, more recently, 1445 face-to-face awareness actions already carried out in homes from north to south of the country.


Prisons

Prison services account for 165 cases

According to a note from the DGRSP, in the population of 11,315 prisoners there are registering 405 clinically recovered cases, while the group of clinically recovered workers amounts to 184.

As for young people admitted to Educational Centres, there are no active cases to report, with the number of clinically recovered cases remaining four.

The DGRSP, which covers a population of about 20 thousand people, states that at the Lisbon Prison (EPL), 86 of the 93 prisoners and six of the seven workers tested positive for the new coronavirus were discharged.

At the moment, there are seven prisoners and one worker awaiting the results of the evaluation aimed at obtaining a discharge, considering the DGRSP that “is back to normal” in this chain.

Regarding the Tires Prison (EPT), the DGRSP indicates that 124 of the 127 inmates were discharged from the clinic, with three prisoners now awaiting a new assessment for discharge, which allows to say that life is “normalized in that female prison.

On the other hand, in the Faro Prison – according to the DGRSP – 53 out of 62 prisoners were discharged and the four workers who had had positive results were also discharged.


European disease centre warns of “big risks” at Christmas

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned this Friday of “significant additional risks” from holiday festivities, such as Christmas, noting that the increase in Covid-19 infections is “very likely” in this time.

The likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 infection during the next holiday season is considered to be very high for both the general population and vulnerable individuals,” warns ECDC in a report released this Friday about the risk transmission of covid-19 related to the holiday season.

In the document, this European agency points out that the restrictions adopted by the Member States of the European Union (EU) in recent weeks have led to a “general downward trend in the notification rate” of new cases, namely in Portugal.

However, “the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the EU, European Economic Area and the United Kingdom remains high compared to the low levels seen during the summer,” notes the ECDC, speaking of “significant additional risks for intensified transmission” during Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This is because “the festive season at the end of the year is traditionally associated with activities such as social gatherings, shopping and travel” and, in addition, there is an “aggravating factor” related to “pandemic fatigue”, in which “some people are unmotivated follow the recommended protective measures, especially during this period “.

The European centre therefore leaves a reinforced warning to countries: “Withdrawing [restrictive] measures too soon would result in an increase in cases and hospitalizations and this would be particularly rapid if measures were abruptly lifted”.


Madrid cancels New Year festivities

Usual parades on the eve of Dias de Reis will only be allowed in closed spaces with all spectators seated.

This Friday, the regional government of Madrid cancelled all traditional New Year celebrations, including the main event in Plaza Puerta del Sol, when thousands eat one pass at every stroke of midnight.

This restriction is part of a series of new measures aimed at ensuring public health and safety at Christmas and New Year to try to prevent an increase in infections by Covid-19.

“The Community of Madrid has agreed to suspend all New Year celebrations in public squares or streets in the region,” said the regional health authority.

The number of visitors will also be limited at Christmas markets, as well as at events where children present their Christmas wish lists to Santa Claus and the three wise men.

The usual parades on January 5th, on the eve of Kings Day, usually marked by large crowds of people in the city centre, will only be allowed in closed spaces with all the spectators seated.

The traditional ritual of eating raisins during New Year’s Eve at Plaza Puerta del Sol is generally broadcast live on almost all Spanish television channels and watched throughout Spain and also in Latin America.

On Wednesday, the Spanish government said that holiday travel between regions will only be allowed for visits by family members, while Christmas parties will be limited to 10 people.


Other News

An order was published yesterday, authorizing the recruitment of 803 candidates to attend the 2020 PSP Agent Training Course.

The same order determines to the Public Security Police (PSP) the immediate opening of a new recruitment reserve aiming at admitting up to 1,200 candidates for courses to start in 2021.

The 1,200 new vacancies will not only make it possible to fill the total number of vacancies opened in 2020, but also fulfil the design of rejuvenation, maintaining high levels of readiness and operational effectiveness of PSP staff. It is recalled that it is the Government’s intention to proceed to the admission, in the PSP, of 1,000 new elements per year between 2020 and 2023.

In the new recruitment reserve for 2021, the PSP should seek to reinforce the current communication strategies, whether regular, but above all specific in the context of the opening of competitions, in order to promote the participation of candidates. Currently, 8% of the staff in the agent category is made up of women.

In the recruitment of 2020, the ‘feminization’ rate was around 14% and it should be the objective of the PSP to reach, at this level, the 20% in the admissions to be made in 2021.

The PSP must also reinforce the current communication strategies, whether regular, but especially those specific in the context of the opening of calls for tenders, in order to promote the participation of candidates from areas within its territorial jurisdiction and who are adequately representative / the diversity of social and cultural contexts in which this Security Force operates.


Region Reports

Madeira Situation Report 5th December by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 60 new Covid-19 cases and 38 recoveries from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. Once again, the vast majority of new cases were cases of local transmission. On Friday, Madeira registered the highest ever number of new Covid-19 cases in a single day.

On Wednesday, all 13 new Covid-19 cases were cases of local transmission. One of the cases was from a healthcare professional working in the private sector. There were also 10 recoveries.

On Thursday, there were 15 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from the UK and 13 cases of local transmission) and 14 recoveries. All new cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases and 3 of them were from children (aged 5-12) attending schools in the municipalities of Funchal and Câmara de Lobos.

And on Friday, there were 32 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 31 cases of local transmission) and 14 recoveries. Most cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases while 3 are still under epidemiological investigation. Five of the new cases were from children (aged 2-16) with 4 of them attending schools in the municipalities of Funchal and Machico. One of the cases was from an adult who works at the same school in the municipality of Machico.

There are currently 226 active cases, of which 42 were imported and identified through airport screening while the other 184 cases were a result of local transmission. Also, 27 cases are from non-residents while 177 are from Madeira residents. So far, there have been 858 cases, 630 recoveries and 2 deaths.

There are currently 27 patients in isolation at a dedicated hotel, 190 patients in isolation at their own accommodation and 9 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça.

At the moment, 6,252 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,259 people being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

There are currently 136 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, of which 8 were identified through airport screening while the remaining 128 are linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service). As of Friday, there had been 2,2318 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 111,841 samples had been collected until Friday (at 18h30). Overall, 181,370 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 517 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, the total number of calls made to this helpline is 19,025. 

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111518/Madeira_com_mais_13_novos_casos_de_transmissao_local

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111610/Madeira_com_mais_15_novos_casos_13_de_transmissao_local

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/04/32-novos-casos-de-covid-19-136-suspeitos-actualmente-ha-9-internados-no-hospital/


53,000 rapid antigen tests available in Madeira

Yesterday, The Portuguese Air Force delivered a batch of 50,000 Covid-19 rapid antigen tests. Madeira had already received 3,000 rapid antigen tests last week. The health authorities hope to use these tests in very specific contexts, namely in situations in which the risks are known, in order to quickly identify and isolate positive cases. These tests can be processed without using any laboratory equipment and at the same place where the sample is collected.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111609/53_mil_testes_rapidos_de_antigenios_ja_estao_na_Madeira


Remarks from Miguel Albuquerque

Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, expressed approval for the renewal of the State of Emergency, said Madeira is facing “the most critical complicated, risky and difficult moment” in

the pandemic and advised young people to very careful. He warned young people can also develop complications from Covid-19. He is also worried that people have still not understood that this year’s festivities must be celebrated in a different way. 

As for the Covid-19 vaccine, he remains confident that the vaccine task force will present a “thoroughly structured plan” in due time. He confirmed the Region will receive 200,000 vaccine doses and said Covid-19 vaccination in Madeira is likely to begin at the start of 2021. He refused to commit to a specific date so as not to raise expectations.

He also praised Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, for having ordered vaccine supplies for all European Union countries despite Public Health not being an area of competence for the EU. He argued her intervention not only prevented a race and a dispute for the vaccine but also ensured equal treatment for all member-states.

On a lighter note, Miguel Albuquerque praised the Christmas lights that were set up in Funchal and highlighted the technological innovations, particularly at Largo do Chafariz.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/04/miguel-albuquerque-da-parecer-favoravel-a-renovacao-do-estado-de-emergencia/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111607/Albuquerque_elogia_iluminacoes_e_reforca_apelo_a_contencao_dos_madeirenses

https://www.dnoticias.pt/2020/12/3/241425-albuquerque-resfria-expectativas-sobre-uma-rapida-vacinacao/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111550/Albuquerque_alerta_jovens_que_a_covid_pode_trazer_consequencias_graves_nao_apenas_para_os_idosos



Levada do Barreiro walking route temporarily closed

The PR 4- Levada do Barreiro (Poço da Nave – Casa do Barreiro) walking route is temporarily closed for safety reasons due to the collapse of the canal and pavement at Levada do Barreiro as a result of bad weather, which caused obstructions along the route.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111580/Percurso_pedestre__da_Levada_do_Barreiro_encerrado_por_motivos_de_seguranca_


Porto Moniz hotel closed due to Legionnaires’ disease 

A case of Legionnaires’ disease was detected on a Madeiran resident who had stayed in a hotel in the Municipality of Porto Moniz. An epidemiological investigation carried out by the regional health authorities on the hotel building, equipment and water samples collected from the compound found traces of the Legionella bacteria. The hotel was closed and will remain so until there is no risk to public health.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111698/Bacteria_encerra_unidade_hoteleira_no_Porto_Moniz


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be power cuts in the following days, due to planned work on the electricity supply network. These works must not be postponed. The following areas will be affected:

FUNCHAL

7th December – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Estrada Dr. João Abel de Freitas (numbers 71 to 140)

– Rua do Cano

– Travessa do Cano (numbers 6 and 7)

However, power could be restored during the time frame mentioned above. So, for safety purposes, it should be assumed that there will be power at any time during this period of time. 

If necessary, customers can contact the free Customer Support Service (Serviço de Apoio ao Cliente): 800 221 187.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/05/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-95-2020/


Algarve

Deaths in the Algarve from Covid-19

A 92-year-old man, user of the Lar da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lagos, and a 70-year-old woman, resident in Faro, are the deaths by Covid-19 recorded this Friday, December 4th, in the Algarve. 

Source of the Regional Health Authority told the South Information that both people “were hospitalized”. The 70-year-old woman even had “other associated comorbidities”.

Although the Directorate-General for Health recorded three new deaths in the Algarve yesterday, the Regional Health Authority said to our newspaper that “there are only two registered”.

This Friday, December 4th, the District Civil Protection Commission of Faro released its regional situation of Covid-19, where it reports a total of 5410 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic (plus 69).

As for those recovered, there are now over 45, out of a total of 3690. The number of active cases has increased (+22) to 1663.

In Algarve hospitals, 43 people are hospitalized, 14 of whom are in intensive care. 4 are ventilated.

In this situation, it is also advanced that a Rapid Social Security Intervention Brigade was activated to support a Residential Structure for Elderly People (ERPI) in the municipality of Olhão and a Support Structure for People with Disabilities in the municipality of Lagos.

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/2020/12/utente-de-lar-de-lagos-e-mulher-de-faro-sao-os-mais-recentes-obitos-por-covid-19/


Covid-19: Algarve with lowest hotel occupancy in the last 24 years in November

In November, the Algarve recorded the lowest occupancy per room in hotels and developments in the last 24 years, with an occupancy rate of 12.3%, more than 70% below the value registered in the same month in 2019.

According to data released today by the Association of Hotels and Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA), since 2010, the year in which the occupation in the month of November in the Algarve was 26%, which was not so low.

Compared to 2019, hotel occupancy in November 2020 fell 71.7%, adds the largest regional association in the sector, one of the activities that has been most penalized by the covid-19 pandemic.

The British market was the one that most contributed to the decrease (86.9% less), followed by the German (84.6% less), Irish (56.1% less) and the domestic market (28.5% less).

Sales volume decreased by 72.5% compared to the same month of the previous year.

In accumulated values, the occupancy per bed has registered an average decrease of 56% since January and the volume of sales a decrease of 58.4%.

The data released by AHETA account for occupation in November since 1996 and until 2020.

Maximum occupancy per room was reached in 1999, with 55.8%.


Covid.19: Portimão implements “pioneering” measure to help lock transmission chains

In order to anticipate a possible increase in cases, following several outbreaks that appeared in the community in early November, the Portimão municipality says in a press release that the Permanent Municipal Subcommittee on Civil Protection for covid-19, decided to reinforce in the last weeks the nucleus of support to public health with six more senior technicians from the city council, dedicated to the areas of sport, culture and education, who join 12 more municipal technicians from other fields, already collaborating with this nucleus since March, a total of 18 elements.

In the same letter, it is mentioned that under the Municipal Emergency Plan for Civil Protection of Portimão, “a municipal command post was activated in the first few days of March, and these technicians are dependent on the operations cell, in a pioneering measure to National level”.

Installed in the Municipal Emergency and Civil Protection Centre of Portimão, and operating in the fire department, the unit of technicians of the municipality is divided between school health, in view of the high number of classes in prophylactic isolation, due to the emergence of cases isolated in the various educational establishments (public and private) in the municipality, and direct support in monitoring people under active surveillance. It is an operation considered essential to lock transmission chains that could affect various segments of the community “and cause irreversible consequences”, underlines the same source.

The functioning of this exception centre is based on the creation of a dynamic that relies on the technical coordination of a “regulating doctor”, permanently in the room, and who directs the activities, also responding to situations that exceed the skills of the technicians, ensuring differentiated support, whenever the situation justifies it, like the method used in other aspects of the emergency.

 The nucleus is reinforced with more health professionals (doctors and nurses) whenever the situation requires it.

 Also in the scheduling of tests, a communication / information circuit was established through the Municipal Room for Operations and Emergency Management, with the support of the Humanitarian Association of Voluntary Firefighters of Portimão, whose employees also carry out this «essential» action, underlines the authority.


Azores

Situation Report Azores – 5th December 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores  

Azores Airlines 

The airline SATA / Azores Airlines will reconnect Ponta Delgada to London and vice versa, starting in June 2021.

According to a statement, flights between Ponta Delgada and the British capital will begin on June 3rd, 2021 and continue until September 30th, 2021.

The carrier has planned three weekly connections, which will be operated on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.


Rabo de Peixe 

Jaime Vieira, the president of the Parish Council of Rabo de Peixe commented on the imposition of a sanitary fence around the village, which came into force yesterday, and the carrying out of tests on the approximately nine thousand inhabitants of the parish with more cases of Covid-19 in the Azores (78).

“It will be a mega operation. We know that it is impossible to test everyone, but this operation is ‘very complex’ and involves several institutions. Only with this union of efforts will we do what we intend and we know that everything will be fine” he said.

The testing of residents of the village in the municipality of Ribeira Grande will start on Friday and will run until Sunday.

According to the chairman of the board, there will be five mobile units, which will be in “strategic points” of the parish, so that “people do not have to walk far to go to this mobile unit”.

Jaime Vieira pointed out that fixed testing stations will still be set up in the parish naval club and in front of the Ruy Galvão de Carvalho school.

“On Friday we will test a part of the village and Saturday and Sunday another part of the village, with mobile units going through the streets so that those who cannot drive and who have mobility difficulties are also tested,” he added.

“This village is to be congratulated so far for the way it is facing and behaving during this state of confinement,” he said.

The chairman of the board also stressed that the mass tests will make it possible to identify outbreaks of contagion and put a “brake” on the spread of Covid-19 in Rabo de Peixe.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 4,168 tests carried out in the Region since the 2nd of November in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for COVID-19 is 84.

59 on the island of São Miguel and 25 on the island of Terceira.

There have been 148 recoveries recorded, 129 on São Miguel, 16 on the island of Terceira, 1 on Flores, and 1 on Santa Maria

The Regional Health Authority also reported that a 70-year-old woman died on the island of São Miguel, on December 3rd, at 4:00 am, victim of Covid-19, resident in the municipality of Ponta Delgada.

The patient was not hospitalized.

With this further death, the Region has had 18 deaths.


41 transmission chains active in the Region

The Region has 41 active transmission chains, 30 in São Miguel (with the emergence of a new São Miguel chain in Ribeira Grande in the last 24 hours), a chain shared between São Miguel and São Jorge, one in Pico and nine in Terceira island (the connection between the elements of two transmission chains, which merge) is determined in Praia da Vitória. In the Region, 18 transmission chains have already been extinguished.

356 active cases

To date, there are 356 active positive cases, 225 in São Miguel, 126 in Terceira, two in Pico, one in Faial and two in Flores.

To date, 1,1128 cases of infection with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have been detected, with 18 deaths and 671 cases recovering.

18 hospitalizations

There are 18 patients in the region’s hospitals, seven at the Divino Espírito Santo Hospital in Ponta Delgada (one at the ICU), 10 at the Hospital de Santo Espírito on the Terceira Island (two of which at the ICU) and one at the Hospital of Horta.



Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 2nd December

Introduction

Good morning – Firstly, a reminder that the limitation of travel between municipalities applicable to the whole of the mainland Portugal finished at 05:00 hrs this morning. The next phase of the limitation commences 23:00 hrs on Friday 4th December and remains in place until 23:59 hrs Tuesday 8th December 2020. All other measures under the State of Emergency Law remain in place until 8th December at 23:59 hrs when the new law will take effect.

On Monday 30th November, DGS published a list of those municipalities showing infections by 100,000 in the 14 days up to the 26th November. By the time the new State of Emergency comes into effect, i.e. 9th December, the list will be nearly 2 weeks old, so we cannot take it for granted that these figures will be reflected 100% in the final decision as to which municipalities are in the four bands; Moderate, High, Very High and Extreme. This happened last time when the list dated 16th November did not fully tally when the current State of Emergency was published on 24th November. There were variations then and there will be variations, I am sure, this time. 

The good news is that with 2,401 positive cases, the country has not registered such a low number of transmissions since October 19th, the day on which 1959 cases were registered. There are now 75,008 active cases, 5,606 less than the previous day. This hopefully is a result of the restrictions in place, which if that is the case, would be a sign that they are working.

Now the not so good news – yesterday, the Secretary General of the WHO and Prime Minister gave the starkest warnings yet that gatherings between different households at Christmas pose an ‘unacceptable risk’. At Safe Communities last week we gave a similar warning concerning the risk of gathering and how we conduct our lifestyles and ways to mitigate this. Be in no doubt, the more we get together especially in confined spaces, and in particular around tables at meal times, the more likely it is that we will catch the disease or spread it to others.  

In fact, the Prime Minister himself echoed this today by stating “We all want a normal Christmas but it’s not going to be”, admitted Mr Costa – adding that “the more people round the table at Christmas, the more the danger because we are without a mask – and when people are at the table, the risk of contamination is greater…”

Whilst we await the outcome of the Council of Ministers meeting later this week, the Prime Minister has already said that the measures will be similar to last time. We hope so, as with four different categories, any changes in some but not others, could make it more difficult to understand. The key dates for announcements this week will be: Vaccination plan Thursday 3rd; Presidents’ address to the Nation on Friday 4th; announcement of detailed measures on Saturday 5th. What we do know is that when the renewal of the State of Emergency is announced, the measures will be announced until 6th/7th January”, as stated by the Prime Minister yesterday.

Lastly, the Prime Minister, António Costa, announced that today Wednesday will be a day of national mourning, of the death of essayist Eduardo Lourenço, at the age of 97. Professor, philosopher, writer, literary critic, essayist, civic intervenor, several times awarded and distinguished, Eduardo Lourenço was one of the most prominent thinkers of Portuguese culture. We send our condolences to his family and many friends.

Safe Communities Portugal was the first organisation, we believe, in Portugal to provide a regular reporting service using official information on the then new coronavirus, dating back to 26th January this year. Since then some others have copied our ideas, but this is not of concern to us as it is important that key messages get across to as many people as possible. What is not acceptable is when we come across instances where our work has been copied by cutting and pasting onto other Facebook pages without acknowledgement, even sometimes with links to our website removed! We operate an open Facebook page so important information and advice can be shared to the widest communities in Portugal (currently our following is 35,347), so please make use of the share button! If you do come across such instances please let us know.  

It will be a very busy time for our volunteer team over the next few days with seeking clarifications from the authorities, translations, posting on our website, answering many questions, and keeping you up to date on our Facebook page.  Believe me this is a great deal of work, and I would like to thank Eliana, Elise, Fernanda, Daniel, Jennie and Mike in advance for their work in the very busy few days that lay ahead. We will bring you the information as it is published.

Have a Safe Day


Headlines

WHO warns over gatherings at Christmas

Pointing to the festive season of December, common to “many cultures and countries”, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Ghebreyesus, said on Monday that “being with family and friends does not justify putting others or yourself at risk”.

“The pandemic will change how it is celebrated, but it does not mean that it cannot be celebrated”, he declared, arguing that one of the main precautions will be to avoid travel and recommending that it be celebrated within each household “avoiding gatherings with different households”.

Today the Prime Minister, António Costa, appeared to echo this this.

Prime Minister, António Costa, revealed this Tuesday that Christmas 2020 will be different and that there will be no New Year parties.  “It cannot be a normal Christmas,” said António Costa, stressing that “there will surely be no end-of-year parties”, with the farewell to 2020 being made “with all restrictions”.

In an interview with The Observer, the Prime Minister announced that the vaccination plan will be announced on Thursday, two days before the measures to combat the pandemic that will take effect for a month, instead of a fortnight, until 6th or January 7th.

Comment

It is worth viewing the 40 second message from the Secretary General of WHO as it gets across the message clearly and directly.


Prime Minister

Christmas with less traffic restrictions and New Year’s Eve without a party

The Prime Minister will announce the measures that will take effect until January next Saturday, but he foresaw that on the 24th and 25th there may be less restrictions on circulation. The end of the year will have tighter rules.

In the interview he gave this morning to Rádio Observador, the Prime Minister again referred that Christmas “will not be normal”, but the idea is to have “the maximum pedagogy and the minimum of rules”, which means the possibility that people can “move” on the 24th and 25th of December, and that in family contacts they can “find themselves safely avoiding the risks of contagion as much as possible”. The Prime Minister hopes that experts will be able to tell people “how they can have a Christmas as safe as possible”.

A different scenario will be that of the New Year: “There will be all restrictions”, said the Prime Minister. “There will surely be no New Year’s Eve party,” he added. This is because a third wave is still expected, in January / February, which may put “greater pressure on health services”.

President to speak to the nation this Friday

Meanwhile the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, will speak to the country this Friday, the 4th, at 20:00 hrs, after the Parliament has approved the renewal of the State of Emergency, to face the pandemic of Covid-19.

The news is advanced by Rádio Renascença, which says that the decree, released on Thursday, is being prepared and should be similar to what is currently in force.

The current emergency period ends at 23:59 hrs on December 8th. When it is renewed for another 15 days, the new State of Emergency will start at 00:01 hrs on December 9th and will end at 23:59 hrs on December 23rd.

Given the proximity to the festive season, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has already assured that the Portuguese will not have to wait for the assessment of what happens in those 15 days “to know what they are going to do during Christmas”.

“Although, in order to comply with the Constitution, the term for renewing the State of Emergency, the next one, if any, ends at 23:59 hrs on the 23rd of December, it seems common sense that in advance the Portuguese know how they can organise that weekend of Christmas: 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th”, he said. 


Covid-19 DGS Situation 

According to the bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health, since Monday 2,401 people were confirmed with the virus, the lowest number since October 20th, with 1,876 new cases.

The number of deaths in the last 24 hrs was 72 bringing the total to 4,577.

There are 4 less patients hospitalised in the Intensive Care Units, totalling 521. In relation to hospital admissions in the ward, there are less 67 people hospitalised, now totalling 3,275.

Within a day of completing 10 months on from the confirmation of the first two cases of Covid-19 in the country, Portugal has so far accounted for 300,462 infections; more than half in the month of November.

The North region continues to be the highest in the number of new cases with over 1,300 infected in 24 hours. Lisbon and Tagus Valley follow with 538 new cases, the Centre with 349, Alentejo with 129, Algarve with 48, Madeira with 20 and Azores with 17.


Health

National Vaccination Plan to be presented on Thursday

The national vaccination plan against Covid-19 will be presented on Thursday, announced today the Prime Minister, António Costa, who is meeting the day before with the team that is preparing this plan.

Today, in an interview with Observador radio, the Prime Minister announced that on Thursday the vaccination plan to combat Covid-19 will be presented, rejecting that Portugal is lagging behind other countries because it considers that the country is “well off”

The Prime Minister is confident in the vaccination plan against Covid-19 that is being drawn up and that will be known this Thursday, and guarantees that everything will be in place when there are vaccines available. 

But until then, and even after vaccination starts, there will be restrictions until an immunisation is achieved between 60% and 70% of the population. The next few times will still be difficult, he warns, because there is not only Christmas and New Year’s Eve, like January and February, which are usually very cold, when there is a confluence with the flu. Therefore, there are decisions that will be known next Saturday until the 6th or 7th of January.

Freixo de Espada a Cinta is the municipality with the highest number of cases per 100 thousand inhabitants

The municipality of Freixo de Espada a Cinta has the highest number of Covid-19 infections per 100 thousand inhabitants. It has already peaked at 143 cases, but patients who have since recovered have reduced the number of infected people to 120.

Moncorvo, also in the Bragança district, has two new outbreaks: one in the home of the village of Mós where there are 19 infected and another in the school cluster, where 60 students are in isolation after eight positive cases have been detected.

The district of Bragança, with most municipalities at high risk of contagion, has more than 1,150 active cases and 71 deaths.


Business

Covid-19: Restaurant business-people start indefinite vigil in Porto

Entrepreneurs of the Porto restaurants opened tonight, in front of the Porto Chamber, an indefinite vigil until the Government discuss support to the sector, said Lusa Branca Pereira, of the Women’s Movement for Restoration.

Four days after a group of businessmen started a hunger strike in front of Parliament, in Lisbon, “a spontaneous movement of businessmen gave rise to an indefinite vigil, on Avenida dos Aliados, until the Government looks at the sector”, he explained to White Pereira.

The “camp” will be next to the Almeida Garret monument, on whose steps dozens of lit lamps were placed: “they mean a warning cry, it means that we want a light for this moment that we are living in, because there are thousands of women living on support and that many of them have already lost their jobs and others will lose theirs “, he said.

Regarding the vigil, explained Branca Pereira, it will work “with six businessmen permanently, on site, for 24 hours, after which they will take turns”, stressing that they will stay with the Chamber of Porto “day and night as long as necessary”.

Although in solidarity with colleagues on a hunger strike in Lisbon, the Porto version of the protest does not provide for food inhibitions, said the head of the women’s movement, just guaranteeing that each day “six businessmen will be at the place 24 hours, sleeping in tents” .


Economy

Portugal received a tranche of three billion euros from the SURE – Costa program

Portugal today received a tranche of three billion euros of European funds, under the SURE program, to help various sectors in the face of the crisis caused by the pandemic of the new coronavirus, the Prime Minister announced yesterday.

“We received today the first tranche of the loan attributed to Portugal under SURE, a European program that supports Member States in their effort to protect workers and companies. I strongly welcome the transfer of this 3,000 million euros of European funds”, wrote António Costa in a message published today on the social network Twitter.

“These European funds are going to finance measures such as the ‘layoff’, support for self-employed workers, support for the country and the @SNS Portugal workers premium”, underlined Costa.

According to the prime minister, “SURE reflects the solidarity of UE and its prompt response to the crisis”, which allows us “to continue to protect the jobs and workers most affected”.

“We remain determined in the fight against the pandemic and in mitigating its social and economic effects,” said António Costa.

The Finance Minister, João Leão, had signed, on October 27th, the loan contract for the SURE program, to support employment, in the amount of 5.9 billion euros.

On the occasion, the Ministry of Finance said that this is “the European instrument of temporary support to mitigate the risks of unemployment in an emergency”, which will “allow the financing of measures to support the maintenance of employment contracts and other expenses related to health at work, in response to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”.


Travel

Tighter border controls have not been effective in containing the virus

The Minister of Internal Affairs on Monday considered that greater control at the internal borders of the Schengen area, during the first months of the pandemic, was not effective in containing the new coronavirus.

“At the level of internal borders, Portugal considers that the increase in border controls was not effective in stopping the virus, still creating problems for the internal market”, said Eduardo Cabrita.

This assessment was made by the Portuguese government official during the 1st Schengen Forum, which today brought together by video-conferences ministers of the European Union (EU) Internal Administration, members of the European Parliament and members of the European Commission.

During his speech, Eduardo Cabrita considered that the response of member states to the current health crisis should be co-ordinated and rejected unilateral measures against movement in the Schengen Area, defending instead the adoption of common criteria, in coordination with the ministries Health and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

“What we have seen happening all over Europe, with the imposition of quarantine on European citizens or with unilateral obligations to present PCR [diagnostic tests to Covid-19] for entry into some countries, is not an effective way to fight against the disease,”he said.

Speaking to Lusa, after the meeting, the minister explained that this is one of the factors that threatens to jeopardise the Schengen Area, which he classified as “one of the EU’s greatest achievements”, accompanied by other issues such as the prevention of terrorism and the management of irregular migratory flows at the external borders.


Other News

Day of mourning Wednesday 2nd December 2020

The Prime Minister, António Costa, announced that Wednesday will be a day of national mourning, for the death of essayist Eduardo Lourenço, at the age of 97.

“Tomorrow [Wednesday] will be a day of national mourning, on the day that we will bid farewell to Professor Eduardo Lourenço,” said António Costa, who was speaking to journalists on the side lines of the 1st December celebrations in Lisbon.

The essayist Eduardo Lourenço, 97 years old, died this Tuesday in Lisbon.

Professor, philosopher, writer, literary critic, essayist, civic intervenor, several times awarded and distinguished, Eduardo Lourenço was one of the most prominent thinkers of Portuguese culture.

Eduardo Lourenço Faria was born on May 23, 1923, in S. Pedro do Rio Seco, in the municipality of Almeida, district of Guarda.

“The Labyrinth of Saudade”, “Fernando, King of Our Bavaria”, “The Military and Power” are some of his main works.

He received the Camões Prize (1996), the Virgílio Ferreira Prize (2001) and the Pessoa Prize (2011).

He was a Grand Officer of the Military Order of Sant’Iago da Espada, of which he also had the Grand Cross, as well as of the Order of Infante D. Henrique and the Order of Liberty.

He was an Officer of the National Order of Merit, Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and the Legion of Honour of France.


Money transfers to voluntary fire brigade associations

Following news made public about transfers to the Humanitarian Associations of Voluntary Firefighters (AHBV), under the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device (DECIR) of 2020, the Ministry of Internal Administration clarifies:

Within the scope of the DECIR 2020 Ground Device, 26.6 million euros have already been transferred to AHBV this year. As an extraordinary expense (replacement and repair of vehicles, damage to equipment, food and lost wages) the amount of 6.5 million euros was determined, of which:

– 500 thousand euros were already settled in September;

– 4.8 million euros are able to be paid

– 1.2 million euros are not yet duly substantiated with accounting documents.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs recognises and values the irreplaceable role of our country’s voluntary firefighters, particularly in a year in which, in addition to rural fires, they were called upon to respond to events related to the pandemic.

This effort resulted in additional expenses with the purchase of personal protective equipment, in addition to the cut suffered in revenues from transporting patients.

In order to respond to this new reality, the Government has already transferred to the AHBV an amount of 1.9 million euros of exceptional and temporary support due to the pandemic, in a total of 6.5 million euros approved.

Also to deal with the context of the pandemic, the Government almost doubled the amount of the annual transfer – from 3% to 5% of the permanent financing of the AHBV – to the Social Protection Fund for Firefighters.

It was also possible to strengthen the response capacity through the creation of specialised teams in the field of health, with vehicles made available by firefighters paid daily by the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection, to ensure the necessary permanent availability.

As for the 7 million euros approved under the Supplementary State Budget, its payment is awaiting a budget increase that is expected to be available during the month of December.

It should also be noted that the State Budget for 2021 foresees an increase of 12.7% in transfers to voluntary firefighters, which represents an increase of 3.6 million euros.


Spain 

Spain has registered since 19,979 cases of Covid-19 since Friday, which confirms the tendency for new contagions to fall, but which raises the total number of infected people to 1,648,187, according to figures released today by the Spanish Ministry of Health.

The country still has 401 more deaths due to the disease reported over the weekend, a hundred fewer than the increase a week ago, with the total number of deaths now being 45,069.

The Spanish Secretary of State for Health, Silvia Calzón, said today in a press conference, to report the evolution of the pandemic, that the data confirms “the downward trend” and the improvement of the indicators, but warned that these figures continue to be worrying and have to continue to download.

The level of cumulative incidence (infected persons) in Spain continues to fall, with 276 cases diagnosed today (31 less than last Friday) per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, with the highest levels being those of Castile and Leon (431), La Rioja (422), Basque Country (411) and Asturias (406).

943 people were admitted to hospitals with the disease in the last 24 hours, including 152 in Andalusia, 141 in Catalonia and 121 in Madrid.

Across the country there are 14,503 people hospitalised with Covid-19, which corresponds to 11.85% of the beds, of which 2,629 patients are in intensive care units, which corresponds to 26.74% of the beds in this service, numbers that have been decreasing for several weeks.


Regional Reports

Madeira by our volunteer Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 46 new Covid-19 cases and 28 recoveries from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Saturday, there were 15 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from Germany, 1 who had arrived from Sweden, 1 who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 11 cases of local transmission) and 8 recoveries. Five of the new cases of local transmission were from children and young people (aged 11-19) who attend educational establishments in the Municipalities of Câmara de Lobos and Funchal, including a higher education establishment.

On Sunday, there were 12 new Covid-19 cases, all from local transmission. Three of the cases were from children (aged 8-12) who attend educational establishments in the Municipalities of Santa Cruz and Funchal; one case was from an adult who works at an educational establishment in the Municipality of Machico while another case was from a SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) healthcare professional. There was also 1 recovery.

On Monday, there were 14 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from France, 1 who had arrived from Luxembourg and 1 who had arrived from Poland and 9 cases of local transmission) and 9 recoveries. Most of the 25 cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified positive cases and 1 was still under investigation.

And on Tuesday, there were 5 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Spain and 4 cases of local transmission. Most cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases and 1 was still under investigation. There were also 10 recoveries from Covid-19.

There are currently 204 active cases, of which 42 were imported and identified through airport screening while the other 162 were a result of local transmission. As for the active cases, 27 are from non-residents while 177 are from Madeira residents. So far, there have been 798 cases, 592 recoveries and 2 deaths.

Below are the total number of Covid-19 cases by municipality (since the start of the pandemic):

Funchal: 198

Câmara de Lobos: 106

Santa Cruz: 94

Machico: 17

Ponta do Sol: 14

Calheta: 8

Ribeira Brava : 6

Porto Santo: 4

Santana: 2

São Vicente: 2

Porto Moniz: 1

There are currently 28 patients in isolation at a dedicated hotel, 173 patients in isolation at their own accommodation and 3 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, including 1 patient who remains in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

At the moment, 5,941 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,392 people being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

There are currently 119 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis. One of the suspected cases was identified through airport screening while the remaining 118 are linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline and to referrals by SESARAM. As of Tuesday, there had been 2,258 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 971 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 18h30). Overall, 178,672 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 488 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, the total number of calls made to this helpline is 18,508. 

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111143/Covid-19_15_novos_casos_11_de_transmissao_local

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111207/Covid-19_Madeira_tem_12_novos_casos_todos_de_transmissao_local

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111362/Madeira_com_mais_14_novos_casos_de_covid-19

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111427/Covid19_Ha_hoje_mais_um_doente_internado_no_hospital_dr_Nelio_Mendonca

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/01/5-novos-casos-activos-de-covid-19-119-novos-suspeitos-10-recuperados/


Overcrowded bars and restaurants

Two bars were forced to close and several owners were fined for not complying with social distancing and the maximum capacity limits. A joint operation by ARAE (Autoridade Regional de Atividades Económicas – Regional Economic Activity Authority), BIR (Brigada de Intervenção Rápida – Rapid Intervention Brigade) and the Criminal Investigation department of PSP (Polícia de Segurança Pública – Public Security Police) was carried out on Saturday evening and in the early hours of Sunday in bars and restaurants in the municipalities of Câmara de Lobos, Machico and Santa Cruz. There had been similar inspections in the previous 2 weekends.

Reacting to these developments, Pedro Ramos (Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary) revealed the Regional Government has been working to ensure there is a decrease in these situations and appealed for the public, particularly bar and restaurant customers to comply with the Covid-19 rules. He also praised the ARAE and the PSP for their role in enforcing compliance with these rules.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111206/Acoes_de_fiscalizacao_da_ARAE_e_PSP_apanham_bares_e_restaurantes_cheios

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111364/Pedro_Ramos_Governo_esta_a_acompanhar_a_situacao_dos_excessos_nos_bares_e_restaurantes


Small tourism recovery in October

It is estimated that 57,300 tourists visited Madeira in October and accounted for 285,800 stays. This is an increase from the number of stays in September. This is the first time there has been such an increase in the current century. It is also also estimated the number of stays was bigger in October than in August.

As for the main tourist markets, there was some recovery despite the figures being lower than in October 2019. For instance, the French market recorded the biggest fall in the number of stays (-80.2%). The German market fell by 67,7% while the British market had a smaller decrease (-46.6%. The British market also accounted for 34,400 more stays in October than in September.

It was also revealed that 50.4% of local tourist accommodation establishments were closed or did not host any guests in October, while 72.2% of hotels hosted guests (compared to 68.9% in September).

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111256/Alojamento_turistico_Dormidas_na_RAM_em_outubro_foram_superiores_as_do_mes_de_setembro


Christmas lights in Funchal

In some rare cheerful news, Christmas lights have been set up in Funchal. Locals and tourists have already been cheered by the sight of these lights. Readers can view photos of Funchal’s beautiful Christmas lights on the following link:

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/12/01/funchal-ja-refulge-com-as-luzes-de-natal/



Algarve

Covid-19 Statistics

An 80-year-old man, resident in Portimão, is the most recent fatal victim of Covid-19 in the Algarve and one of the two deaths reported today by the General Health Directorate. It will not be counted as being caused by the new coronavirus.

“One of the deaths recorded by DGS is that of a person who died and, after that, tested positive for Covid-19. However, this is not the cause of death, so we will not account for it and we will inform the National Health Authority” he said.

As for the man who died at Hospital de Portimão, “he was not connected to any home or to any outbreak” and “there is no information on related fatalities”.

Thus, there are now 55 deaths recorded by the Regional Health Authority, which also adds to the figures of the Algarve people who died from Covid-19 in the region, even though they lived outside the region – the DGS now counts 51, a number that should be corrected to 50 in tomorrow’s report.

Also according to regional data, there are today 37 new cases of Covid-19 in the Algarve, as many as those recovered. Even so, and due to the death that was registered, the active cases dropped by one, to 1,579.

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/2020/12/homem-de-portimao-e-a-mais-recente-vitima-mortal-da-covid-19-no-algarve-com-mapa/


HIV infections in the Algarve

After the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, the Algarve is the second region in the country with the highest rate of diagnosis of people with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection. Thus, in 2019, the number of cases diagnosed per 100,000 inhabitants was 13.7 in the district of Lisbon and 13.5 in the district of Faro.

In absolute terms, however, the Algarve is much less prominent, with 59 new cases of HIV infection (aged 15 years and over) diagnosed in 2019, being overtaken by Lisbon (391), North (162) and Centre (110).

Nevertheless, data on HIV infection, which, if left untreated, may give rise to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), is encouraging in Portugal, as the number of new cases has dropped again in 2019, maintaining the downward trend that has been observed since the year 2000. In other words, the year of 1999 is long gone, when 3,358 cases of HIV infection were diagnosed in Portugal.

Given the pandemic situation associated with the economic and social crisis, the municipality said that the usual distribution of the “Cabaz da Consoada” will reach this year a greater number of homes.


In São Brás de Alportel, Christmas will be “even more supportive”

In the impossibility of holding the traditional “Solidarity Dinner”, which seeks to provide the most vulnerable families with a special evening, with the help of local companies in offering all the food for their cooking, the municipality and the parish intend to repay the their solidarity, acquiring from many of these companies – butchers, sweets, food distributors – the foods that make up the basic basket of food needs.

In addition to food, the basket will also bring hygiene products this year. In this perspective, the Local Food Aid Platform launched the appeal to the community to collaborate in this campaign, with the delivery of personal and household hygiene and cleaning products, in the Cineteatro lobby, from Monday to Saturday, from December 3rd.

Also, in partnership with the Salvation Army and with the support of its partners, the solidarity project “Anjinhos de Natal” will be carried out, which awards children from needy families, gifts acquired according to their ages, for Christmas Eve.

Families who are socially vulnerable or who know someone who may need help should contact the Municipal Social Services located at the Community Support Center, through the contacts: tel. 289 840 020 or e-mail: solidariedade@cm-sbras.pt; or the Parish Council, at headquarters or by telephone: 289 842 174.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/em-sao-bras-de-alportel-o-natal-vai-ser-ainda-mais-solidario/35642-1



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 2nd December 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores  

In view of developments at the international and national level, with the declaration of a State of Emergency for the entire national territory, and taking into account the air connections from abroad to the islands of Santa Maria, São Miguel, Terceira, Pico and Faial, it is now justified the extension of the declaration of the Situation of Public Calamity in these islands, as well as the extension of the declaration of the contingency situation in the islands Graciosa, São Jorge, Flores and Corvo.

In an extraordinary meeting of the Government Council held by videoconference, it was resolved to:

1. To determine, to be in effect throughout the Autonomous Region of the Azores, in the period between 00:00 hrs on December 2nd and 23:59 hrs on December 8th, the following:

a) The closure of all drinks and similar establishments, with dance spaces;

b) The closing, as of 10:00 pm, of bars and other beverage establishments, with or without a show and with or without terrace service;

c) From 22:00 hours until 06:00 hours of the following day, fuel filling stations can maintain their operation, exclusively for the purpose of selling fuel and supplying vehicles to the public;

d) The closure of the Social Centers and suspension of visits to users of Residential Structures for the Elderly, except in exceptional situations, limited to one visitor, during restricted hours, and provided that the rules for wearing a mask, physical distance and respiratory label defined by the Regional Health Authority;

e) The suspension of all travel, inter-islands and out of the Archipelago, of regional administration workers, including public institutes and public companies, in service, unless absolutely essential, and the recommendation to other public and private entities in the Region that adopt the same procedures regarding the displacement of their workers to the outside of the Region, without prejudice to the displacement of the holders of political and high public positions;

f) The suspension of all trips to the archipelago by external entities requested by the regional administration, including public institutes and public companies, unless absolutely essential, provided they are authorized by the Regional Health Authority;

g) The suspension of the holding of public events promoted by the regional administration, including public institutes and public companies, and a recommendation addressed to all public entities, namely local authorities, and private ones for not holding events open to the public;

h) The suspension of opening to the public at sporting events and competitions.

2. To recommend to local authorities the signalling, with the security forces and competent inspection entities, of non-compliance with the rules provided for in the preceding paragraph, as well as with those arising from guidelines of the regional health authority.

3. To determine, at the level of readiness and response, within the scope of the Legal Regime of the Civil Protection System of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, between 00:00 hours, on December 2nd, and 23:59 hours on 8th, December:

a) The extension of the declaration of the situation of public calamity in the islands of Santa Maria, São Miguel, Terceira, Pico and Faial;

b) The extension of the declaration of the contingency situation in the Graciosa, São Jorge, Flores and Corvo Islands.

4. For passengers disembarking in the Region:

a) Recommend that, until the result of the SARS-COV-2 screening test, performed on the 6th day, limit travel to the essential and comply with the rules for the use of a mask, physical distance and respiratory label defined by the regional health authority;

b) When they intend to travel to another island (s), passengers must communicate this intention, upon arrival, to the health authority, by completing a declaration for this purpose and, when they arrive at the island of final destination, should contact the county health authority to perform the SARS-COV-2 screening test, on the sixth day, counting from the date of the test carried out within 72 hours prior to departure for the Region.

5. With regard to inter-island travel, recommend that they be limited to the essential, and must comply with the rules for the use of a mask, physical distance and respiratory etiquette defined by the regional health authority.

6. To determine that the implementation of the provisions of paragraph 3 of this Resolution is coordinated, under the terms of Regional Legislative Decree No. 26/2019 / A, of 22 November, by the Regional Civil Protection and Fire Service of the Azores, being he is already authorized to request the collaboration of the security forces, as well as the use of human and material resources from the regional administration.

7. The charges resulting from accommodation, in addition to that initially hired by passengers disembarked in the Region, pursuant to paragraph 4, for compliance with mandatory confinement derived from POSITIVE result to SARS-CoV-2, as well as for prophylactic isolation, determined by the health authority, are assumed by the Region, under the terms to be defined by joint order of the members of the Regional Government with competence in matters of finance, health and tourism.

8. Failure to comply with mandatory confinement or prophylactic isolation, when determined by the regional health authority, implies the immediate presentation, by the health authority of the municipality where you reside or is staying, of a complaint for the practice of the crime of disobedience.

9. The measures provided for in this Resolution can be reversed or cancelled at any time, taking into account the evolution of the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Region.

10. Under the provisions of article 6 of Regional Legislative Decree no. 26/2019 / A, of 22 November, this resolution takes effect from 00:00 hours, from December 1 until 23:59 on December 8th.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 5,690 tests carried out in the Region since the 28th of November in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of new cases for Covid-19 is 114.

79 on the island of São Miguel and 33 on the island of Terceira, and 1 on Flores and 1 on Pico.

There have been 33 recoveries recorded, 13 on São Miguel, 14 on the island of Terceira, and 1 on São Jorge.

Some of the cases have been discovered as part of the SARS-CoV-2 screening test carried out on arrival at ports and airports and through the analysis performed after the sixth day in the region.

CURRENT SITUATION IN THE REGION  

The Region now has 37 active transmission chains, 26 on the island of São Miguel, eight on the island of Terceira *, one shared between the island of São Miguel and the island of São Jorge, one on the island of Pico and one on the island of São Jorge.

* In the course of the epidemiological investigation in Angra do Heroísmo, the connection between the elements of two initially distinct transmission chains, which merge, was determined, and the island of Terceira now has eight active transmission chains.

1,044 cases of infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 disease, have been detected to date, with 17 deaths, 523 recovered cases and 421 active positive cases, of which one on the island of Santa Maria, 296 on the island of São Miguel, 117 on the island of Terceira, one on the island of São Jorge, two on the island of Pico, three on the island of Faial and two on the island of Flores.

There are 14 people who have been admitted to the hospital, six at the Hospital do Divino Espírito Santo in Ponta Delgada, seven at the Hospital de Santo Espírito on Ilha Terceira and one at the Hospital da Horta.


Parish of Rabo de Peixe to be placed under health quarantine

The parish of Rabo de Peixe, on the island of São Miguel, will be under a Health quarantine from 00:00 hrs until December 8, and the population will be tested, announced today the Government of the Azores.

According to a note from the press office of the Azorean executive, travel by land and sea between Rabo de Peixe, in the municipality of Ribeira Grande, and the rest of the parishes is forbidden, and the health authorities will proceed to carry out “rapid population tests “.

By parishes, the fishing village of Rabo de Peixe, with around ten thousand inhabitants, is the one that registers the most cases (61) in the Azores.

 



Portugal Situation Report Saturday 28th November 

Introduction

Good morning – Let’s start with some good news in that the Algarve, Lisbon and Madeira were winners in the World Travel Awards – well done Portugal! Please see our post this morning. 

This is the first day of the limitation of travel between municipalities which commenced at 23:00 hrs last night. Despite publishing this at least three times on our Facebook page as clearly as is possible, we are still receiving questions where people have seen something somewhere and are confused and require clarification. The answer is simple: visit our page in the first place, get the correct information, and save yourself time. 

To make it as easy as possible, we have a high definition map which clearly shows municipal boundaries, so please use that for reference. It can be downloaded here.

You will be forgiven, however, if you were referencing the Estamoson government site where you enter your municipality name to give the measures applicable to your municipality, as this has not yet been fully updated despite the introduction Decree Law 9/2020. Although it includes a very short, six-line summary of the new measures, it still wrongly mentions, for instance, that the maximum group gathering size is five, whereas under decree law 9/2020 it is now six. Also strangely, it refers to Decree 8A/2020, but not the consolidated law which incorporates this and is far more complete.

For this reason we are referencing two official documents: the Decree 9/2020 and the Government Summary. Using these we are updating our website pages where you can find everything you need.

I mentioned on Wednesday the risk posed by gatherings. Celebrations and events involve almost always a larger number of people. People might have the best intentions at these gatherings, not kissing, etc, etc, but it’s impossible to maintain social distancing in an event that is going to last hours and also being indoors most of the times; it’s too much time with so many people together. The risk of infection increases exponentially.

We really have to restrict gatherings and respect social distancing if we are to succeed. Six people around a table in a restaurant is within the law, but spending two hours without a mask in close proximity, is clearly a risk. Is it a risk worth taking?

I thank the Portugal News for publishing in this week’s edition, and giving prominence to, an article I wrote concerning risk awareness and ways to reduce that risk. We really do need to reduce gatherings and maintain social distancing if we are to reduce the spread of the disease.

You will notice that Mike Evans has taken over from Louise Birch the production of the Overseas Situation Report. Louise was the founder of these in the current format and since April has produced over 200 reports. These have consistently been of the highest standards and the information contained in them has reached thousands of people each day with much appreciation. Well done Louise for your fantastic contribution.

We welcome and thank Mike Evans for assuming this role with effect yesterday. The reports will appear on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Mike has considerable international experience having served as Head of Sales Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, working with the company for 27 years before retiring in 2019. Thank you, Mike, for this help as a volunteer with Safe Communities.

Have a Safe Day 


Headlines

President of Republic calls for early decisions regarding measures during Christmas period 

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa says that “it would not be very logical” for the Portuguese to only know the rules for Christmas when he renewed the next State of Emergency, predictably on December 24th. According to the President, it would not make sense to only know the rules for the Holidays so close to the date, so it is considers it “common sense” to define the measures for the Christmas weekend when the current State of Emergency is renewed, next Friday.

The President of the Republic spoke to journalists this Friday, at the end of an initiative by the newspaper “Público” about ‘fake news’.  “Next week there will be news about that,” he said. Explaining that “it does not make sense to make the Portuguese wait for the 24th of December [when the period of the State of Emergency that begins on the 9th will end] to know what they are going to do on Christmas night”.

“It seems to me common sense that, in advance, the Portuguese know how they can organise that weekend of 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th”, he added. A direct message to the Government, who is responsible for defining restrictions for each period during the pandemic.


DGS Covid-19 Situation Report

Portugal has recorded since Thursday, 5,444 cases of infection and 67 deaths associated with the Covid-19 disease, according to the bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) this Friday.

There are 10 more patients admitted to the Intensive Care Units, totalling 526. In relation to hospital admissions in the ward, there are 16 more people hospitalised, now totalling 3,208, after two days of falling numbers.

An additional 5,502 patients have recovered, 199,446 since the beginning of the pandemic. Taking into account the number of new cases, less recoveries and deaths there 125 fewer active cases compared to Thursday, now totalling 82,116. 

Health officials now have 80,713 people under surveillance, minus 654.

As regards the 5,444 new cases, 3,161 are registered in the North, 1,380 in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 631 in the Centro region, 136 in the Alentejo, 90 in the Algarve, 35 in the Azores and 11 in Madeira.

Off the 67 deaths in the last 24 hours, 39 occurred in the North, 15 in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 8 in the Centro region, two in Alentejo and 3 in the Algarve.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 4,276 people have died in Portugal, of the 285,838 confirmed cases of infection.


Health

New cases decrease in 43 northern counties and increase by more than 30% in 12 counties

The number of new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection has decreased in 43 counties in the North region and has increased by more than 30% in 12 counties, reveals the report of the Northern Regional Health Administration. According to the document, which Lusa had access to today, of the 43 counties that registered a decline, between the second and fourth week of November, 17 are in the district of Porto.

The bulletin, the most recent of the ARS-N, reports the epidemiological situation in the counties of the North region between the first (5th to 11th) and the fourth week of November (19th to 25th).

Among the 17 municipalities with the greatest decrease in new cases of infection in the Porto district, the highlights are Paços de Ferreira (which went from 735 to 397 new cases), Penafiel (855 to 539), Amarante (440 to 283) and Felgueiras (675 to 444).

Of the 18 municipalities in the district of Porto – which accounts for a 22% decrease in new cases of infection by SARS-CoV-2 -, only Baião did not follow this trend, registering a growth of 17% in new cases.

In the district of Braga, there were seven municipalities that registered a decrease, especially Vizela and Celorico de Basto, with a decrease of 44% and 34%, respectively.

According to the report, the district of Braga was the only one in the North that did not register an increase or decrease in new cases, stabilizing at 0%.

Looking at the Aveiro district [where the ARS-N covers seven counties], all, with the exception of Espinho, followed this trend, with Castelo de Paiva registering a 45% decrease, São João da Madeira 33%, Oliveira de Azeméis 24%, Arouca 19%, Santa Maria da Feira 16% and Vale de Cambra 6%.

Government says vaccination decision process “will continue in the coming days”

The Government explained that yesterday’s news about the vaccination plan against Covid-19 is based on portions of a technical and outdated document, stating that the decision process “will continue in the coming days”, culminating in political decision.

In yesterday’s briefing by the Council of Ministers, the Minister of State and the President were asked by journalists about the controversy surrounding a proposal by specialists from the Directorate-General for Health, reproduced yesterday’s in the newspapers, according to which the elderly are not a priority in vaccination against Covid-19, an idea that has already been rejected by the Prime Minister, António Costa, and by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

“The Ministry of Health has already announced that the news that has been made public today is news based on partial dimensions of a purely technical document that is, by the way, already out of date because new information about vaccines has been arriving every day”, he began by saying.

According to the Minister of State and the Presidency, “the decision-making process for the vaccination plan is a process that will continue in the coming days, with technical meetings on the vaccination criteria side, with meetings on the organisation’s logistics and distribution side. 

“And then, finally, with a political decision on the whole process that the Portuguese Government will communicate”, he said.

In reaction to the news published yesterday, the coordinator of the ‘task force’ created by the Government to define the entire vaccination plan against Covid-19, Francisco Ramos, explained today to Lusa that the proposal presented by DGS “has no age limit for people interned in homes ”.

The Prime Minister had already rejected today the possibility that all people over 75 without serious illnesses would not have priority access to vaccines against Covid-19, claiming that “there are technical criteria that can never be accepted by policy makers”.

“It is not permissible to give up protecting life due to age. Lives have no expiration date,” António Costa told the Lusa news agency, after being asked about the possibility, reported today by some media outlets, of all the major players.

Covid-19: Seniors are a priority in vaccination and no age limit – Government

The Assistant Secretary of State and Health, António Lacerda Sales, guaranteed today that vaccination for Covid-19 will have no age limit and that the elderly and patients with underlying health issues will be a priority.

“The elderly, will be a priority for this Government, in fact, as it has always been a practice of this Government to prioritiSe the most vulnerable groups”, he told reporters, stressing: “There is no limit for age”.

At a press conference at Air Base No. 11 (BA11) in Beja, Lacerda Sales insisted that the most vulnerable sections of the population, such as the elderly, namely those who are home residents, have been “a priority” for the executive, that will be maintained regarding the vaccination plan for Covid-19.

“We have the example of all the work we have done in homes, in residential structures for the elderly, and, therefore, it would not be now, and it will not be for sure, that age will be a limit for vaccination”, he said.

According to a proposal by specialists from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), reproduced today in newspapers, people between 50 and 75 years of age with serious illnesses, employees and users of nursing homes and health professionals involved in the direct provision of care services should be the first to be vaccinated against Covid-19, thus leaving out elderly people without diseases.

In reaction to the news published today, the co-ordinator of the ‘task force’ created by the Government to define the entire vaccination plan against Covid-19, Francisco Ramos, explained today to Lusa that the proposal presented by DGS “has no age limit for people interned in homes ”.

Covid-19: 125 more positive cases in two homes of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Chaves

registered 125 more cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection among employees and users of two homes, adding to the 32 already detected in other areas of the institution, the provider told Lusa today.

The new 125 cases of infection with the new coronavirus were detected after screening the Residential Structures for the Elderly (ERPI) of Vilar de Nantes and Vidago, both in the municipality of Chaves, district of Vila Real, explained the provider, Jorge Pinto de Almeida.

In the Vilar de Nantes home, 45 residents and 17 employees are infected, while in Vidago there are 48 positive users and 15 employees.

Jorge Pinto de Almeida stressed that, the users are asymptomatic and remain in the facilities.

“We were able, inside the home, to isolate the negatives and treat the positives”, he pointed out.

However, Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Chaves has already requested a reinforcement of nurses and assistants from the City Council and Social Security.

“For now, we are succeeding, but people are not made of iron and cannot stand too many days at work,” he recalled.

Support was also requested from the civil protection for the disinfection of one of the areas, while the other will be disinfected by a company with which Santa Casa already collaborates, he said.

Excess deaths compared with previous averages

Almost two-thirds of excess deaths occurred outside hospitals

Since the day the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 were diagnosed in Portugal, on March 2nd, and until November 15th, there were 9640 deaths in excess compared to the average of the last five years for the same period. Of this total, Covid-19 accounts for only 36%.

All told, there are 6168 deaths in excess from all other causes. The data released, this Friday morning, by the National Statistics Institute (INE), also show that almost two thirds of the excess deaths occurred outside the hospital context (at home or elsewhere).

In a regional analysis, the North accounts for 43% of this excess mortality, with the region registering the highest increase in deaths in the last five weeks. And here, yes, the data show a Covid-mortality correlation, with 81.9% of the increase in deaths recorded between the weeks of October 19th and November 15th being caused by SARS-CoV-2. Since the last two weeks, INE highlights, the proportion has been inverted, with nearly two thirds of deaths occurring in hospitals.

As already reported, the peak of excess mortality occurred in the week of July 13th to 19th (800 deaths), reminding the national statistics office that “the month of July 2020 was an extremely hot month with several waves of heat”. Correlation set aside by the Covid-19 Barometer of the National School of Public Health of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa: “In the period of May, the temperature did not exceed 32ºC and in July it did not exceed 36ºC, temperatures that can hardly explain physiological changes that cause excess of mortality of this magnitude “. For the researchers, the most plausible explanation is the population’s difficult access to health care, with thousands of consultations and surgeries not being performed. In fact, this situation was widely denounced by several health experts.


Business support

Support program with more than 10,000 applications submitted

With an overall allocation of 750 million euros in non-refundable funds, the Apoiar Program registered, until 11:30 am today, 27th November, more than 10,000 applications submitted, representing a total requested incentive of over 116 million euros by the companies operating in the sectors most affected by exceptional measures to mitigate the health crisis”, acoording to the offices of the Ministers of State, Economy and Digital Transition, and Planning with a statement.

The statement emphasises that “this data reflects an unprecedented demand in the incentive systems, having broken all the records of Portugal 2020, which, until now, had been reached with the Adaptar Program, which registered, in 11 days, 17 067 applications , with a maximum daily of 2687 submissions”.

These “good indicators also reflect the enormous effort to simplify access to the Apoiar Program, which presents the most simplified application form ever, thus making the experience of filling and submitting the application more automatic and less time consuming, both for the promoter and for the respective certified accountants, who, for the first time within the framework of community funds, have dedicated and exclusive access to validate the information uploaded”, the statement also advises.


Other News

Fines for use of mobile phones whilst driving are doubled

The use of the mobile phone while driving will have a fine between 250 and 1250 euros, according to the amendments to the Highway Code, today approved by the Council of Ministers.

The increase in about 100% of the fines for using the mobile phone while driving is one of the measures provided for in the amendments to the Highway Code approved this Friday by the Government.

“What is foreseen is that those that were at the level of 120 euros can go up to 250 [euros] and those that were at the level of 600 euros to 1250 “, said the Secretary of State for Internal Administration, Patrícia Gaspar, at the press conference held after the Council of Ministers

Comment

Use of mobile phones is one of the top causes of serious road accidents both in Portugal and overseas.



Region Reports

Madeira  Situation Report Saturday November 28th 

Covid-19 update

There were 45 new Covid-19 cases and 25 recoveries from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Wednesday, there were 7 new Covid-19 cases and 7 recoveries. All of these new cases were cases of local transmission, including those of a professional form the security forces and of a teacher and 2 children (aged 11-15) from 2 schools in the Municipality of Funchal and 1 school in the Municipality of Santa Cruz.

On Thursday, there were 12 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from Northern Portugal, 1 passenger who had arrived from Germany and 9 cases of local transmission) and 9 recoveries. A healthcare professional from SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) tested positive after returning to the Madeira Autonomous Region and another tested positive as a case of local transmission. Another 2 new cases were from a non-teaching member of staff at a school in the Municipality of Funchal and from a child who attends another school in the same Municipality.

And on Friday, there were 26 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from France while the remaining were cases of local transmission) and 9 recoveries. Most of the 25 cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified positive cases. An investigation is still ongoing on the contacts of 2 of them. And 6 new cases of local transmission were from students from educational establishments in the Municipalities of Funchal, Câmara de Lobos and Calheta. These establishments have already activated their Covid-19 contingency plans.

There are currently 189 active cases, of which 45 were imported and identified through airport screening while the other 144 were a result of local transmission. As for the active cases, 29 are from non-residents while 160 are from Madeira residents. So far, there have been 752 cases, 561 recoveries and 2 deaths.

There are currently 32 patients in isolation at a dedicated hotel, 155 patients in isolation at their own accommodation and 2 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. A patient remains in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

At the moment, 6,563 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,392 people being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

There are currently 98 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis. Five of the suspected cases was identified through airport screening while the remaining 93 are linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19 or to calls made to the SRS24 helpline. As of Friday, there had been 2,212 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 109,669 samples had been collected until Friday (at 18h30). Overall, 174,841 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 453 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, the total number of calls made to this helpline is 18,020. 

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/11/25/7-novos-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-7-recuperados-e-100-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/11/26/172-casos-positivos-na-ram-182-novos-casos-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/11/27/26-novos-casos-de-covid-19-quase-uma-centena-de-novos-casos-suspeitos/


Miguel Albuquerque remarks and announcements

On Wednesday, Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, made a speech on the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic and announced new measures to fight it. Important announcements were made on testing for travellers arriving in the Region and on guidelines for the Christmas and New Year festivities. Below is a summary of his speech:

Miguel Albuquerque thinks the pandemic is under control because all Covid-19 connections and local transmission circuits are currently known. He explained the current epidemiological situation in Madeira is not comparable at all with that of the rest of the country, which means there is no need for Madeira to introduce confinement or a ban on travel between municipalities. Indeed, he assured that the Portuguese Government decree renewing the state of emergency from the 24th of November (00h00) until the 8th of December (23h59) will not be applicable in the Autonomous Regions of Azores and Madeira. He also reinforced the need to avoid community transmission. 

Regarding testing, he was asked if mass testing of the population, as carried out in some Asian countries, would be a more efficient strategy. He said Madeira had already carried out a high number of tests (twice the national average) and had to test with some rationality and aims. He highlighted professionals from risk jobs have been tested, testing have been carried out in the night places (airports, ports) and so far the procedures have been successful. He also informed Madeira will spend over €12M on testing until the end of the year. He assured that the Region is ready to reinforce its testing capacity to cope with increasing demand from the 172 additional flights TAP is scheduled to operate. He explained there are currently 25 testing stations and the infrastructure is in place to deal with an increase in the number of tourists and visitors. He also praised staff from the Tourist, Healthcare and Security sector for their meritorious work at the airport.

Furthermore, he also announced that all Madeira residents, emigrants and students who have arrived at the Region’s airports and flown in from outside the Autonomous Region of Madeira will have to be tested twice, during an experimental period from the 27th of November until the 11th of December (23h59).

According to him, Madeira expects to receive about 200,000 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. He added that a task force has been activated in order to plan for its arrival and distribution.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110835/Covid-19_A_pandemia_neste_momento_esta_controlada_

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110836/Covid-19_Governo_corrige_decreto_e_esclarece_que_medidas_nao_se_aplicam_a_Madeira_e_Acores

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110834/Covid-19_Madeira_vai_gastar_mais_de_12_milhoes_em_testes_ate_ao_final_do_ano

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110831/Covid-19_Albuquerque_garante_que_operacao_de_testagem_no_aeroporto_esta_preparada_para_o_aumento_dos_visitantes

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110825/Covid-19_Madeira_espera_receber_cerca_de_200_mil_vacinas_

https://observador.pt/2020/11/27/covid-19-dupla-testagem-na-madeira-a-estudantes-e-emigrantes-tem-periodo-experimental/


Christmas and New Year festivities

Miguel Albuquerque also made the following announcements regarding the upcoming Christmas and New Year festivities:

– All food and drink vendors must only sell through take-away.

– They must also present a contingency plan that complies with sanitary regulation.

– There will be no evening markets, circus displays and theme parks.

– The Region’s markets can remain open at their usual opening hours and must present their contingency plans that comply with the sanitary regulation.

– No gatherings will be allowed in markets and surrounding areas

– The sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks will be forbidden in public areas, except for licensed outdoor eating spaces.

– All bars must close at 01h00 on the 1st of January.

– There will be the traditional New Year’s fireworks display.

– The public is advised to watch the fireworks display from their homes or accommodation. The Regional Government is aware not everyone will be able to do so. As a result, there will be a plan ensure social distancing in public areas such as squares and viewpoints in Funchal.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110822/Nao_havera_noites_do_mercado_circos_nem_parques_de_diversoes

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110823/Covid-19_Bares_encerram_a_01h_na_noite_do_fim_do_ano_

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110824/Fogo_de_artificio_deve_ser_assistido_nas_residencias_da_populacao_e_havera_limitacao_nos_espacos_publicos


Orange level warning for adverse sea

The north shore of Madeira and Porto Santo will be under orange warning from Sunday afternoon.  Waves are expected to be up to 12 metres high from Sunday afternoon until the early hours of Monday. For the time being, a yellow warning will be applicable from Friday (19h) until Monday (09h00). It will then become an orange warning. There will be very cloudy weather, showers until the end of today’s morning, in which rainfall will become less frequent. There will be moderate wind (20-35 km/h) until the middle of the morning. it will become stronger (25-40 km/h) in the afternoon. In higher points, there will be moderate wind (25-40 km/h) in the morning and strong wind (40-50 km/h) in the afternoon and gales (up to 85 km/h) are likely 

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/111076/Aviso_laranja_para_a_agitacao_maritima_a_partir_da_tarde_de_domingo


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be power cuts in the following days, due to planned work on the electricity supply network. These works must not be postponed. The following areas will be affected:

FUNCHAL

2nd and 4th December – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Rua dos Ferreiros (numbers 139 to 161)

3rd December – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Caminho de S. Roque (numbers 1 to 84-A)

– Rua Campo do Marítimo (numbers 29 and 31)

4th December – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Estrada Monumental (number 239 and numbers 403 to 606)

– Beco da Vitória

However, power could be restored during the time frame mentioned above. So, for safety purposes, it should be assumed that there will be power at any time during this period of time. 

If necessary, customers can contact the free Customer Support Service (Serviço de Apoio ao Cliente): 800 221 187.

Publicidade: O fornecimento de energia será interrompido nos dias horas e locais abaixo indicados – anúncio 93 – 2020



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report Saturday 28th November

Covid-19 statistics from ARS

The regional Health Authority released the following statistics and charts today 27th November

Today, the Algarve registers three more deaths by Covid-19, which occurred in Albufeira, Faro and Portimão, indicates the data from the Regional Health Authority, to which the South Information had access.

In the case of Portimão, our newspaper found that the victim is a 92-year-old woman, who was admitted to the hospital in that city. It is said that she was infected by a maid, who supported her in the house where she lived.

The South Information tried to get more information from the Health Authority on the other two deaths, but so far received no reply.

The Algarve region now totals 52 deaths, since the beginning of the pandemic.

However, according to regional data, the Algarve yesterday exceeded 5000 cases of Covid-19, in cumulative terms. Thus, since March, 5020 infections caused by the new coronavirus have already been registered in the region.

Despite this, since there are now 98 more people recovered (for a total of 3479), the number of active cases has even dropped in 19, to 1489.

As for patients with Covid-19, admitted to the hospitals in Faro and Portimão, there is this Friday minus 3 (total of 40). There is also one less ventilated patient, with the same 11 remaining in the ICU.

In the municipalities of Alcoutim, Aljezur and Castro Marim, there has been no new infection since yesterday. In Monchique, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António there were only 1 new case. Read further information in the report here.


HPA Group provides drive-through Covid-19 screening tests at Portimão Arena

Hospital Particular do Algarve in Alvor is carrying out Covid-19 screening tests in a drive-through system at the Portimão Arena.

“After CLÍDIS in Sines and the Hospital Particular da Madeira in Funchal, the Grupo HPA Saúde now also offers Drive Through Covid-19 Screening Tests at the Portimão Parque de Feiras e Exposições (Portimão Arena),” said the health group in a press statement.

Screening tests are carried out daily, from Monday to Sunday, from 9am to 6pm by UniLabs, partner of the Grupo HPA Saúde in the laboratory area.

RT-PCR testing is available for both those carrying a medical prescription issued by the national health service SNS, or individuals who wish to be tested privately (cost is €150).

Prior booking is necessary through this link or by telephoning the Call Center on +351 282 420 400.

This screening system is exclusively for “drive-through” testing and the vehicle’s number plate must be provided, as well as an insurance policy if any. Booking is mandatory and limited to three persons per car. Read further information here .



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 28th November 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores  

There will be no restrictions for the population travelling between municipalities over the next few weeks.

On Monday, a source from the office of the representative of the Republic for the Autonomous Region of the Azores told the press that the measures enacted by the Government of the Republic in the new State of Emergency due to the pandemic also applied in the archipelago, this was because the Initial version of the decree stated that “it is applicable to the entire national territory”.

The second amendment to the decree corrects throughout the decree the indication that it is applicable to the entire national territory, clarifying that “it is applicable to the entire continental national territory”, thus excluding the islands.

The Azores do not have counties with more than 240 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 15 days, according to the most recent report by the Directorate-General for Health, so they are not covered by the most restrictive measures, applied to high risk counties, very high risk and extreme risk, but could be subject to the other measures.

Covid-19 

There has been another death in the region, a 64-year-old woman, resident in the Municipality of Ribeira Grande.  This is the first death recorded for six months and brings the total to 17.  She had been in hospital for surgery fell ill at home during her recuperation.

The Regional Health Authority says, from 4,650 tests carried out in the Region since the 24th of November in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, the number of positive cases for Covid-19 is 95. 55 on the island of São Miguel and 38 on the island of Terceira, and 1 on Flores and 1 on Pico.

There have been 54 recoveries recorded, 50 on São Miguel and 3 on the island of Terceira, and 1 on São Jorge.

Some of the cases have been discovered as part of the SARS-CoV-2 screening test carried out on arrival at ports and airports and through the analysis performed after the sixth day in the region.


CURRENT SITUATION IN THE REGION

The Region now has 29 active transmission chains, 20 on the island of São Miguel, seven on the island of Terceira, one shared between the island of São Miguel and the island of São Jorge and one on the island of São Jorge.

To date, 930 cases of infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have been detected, which causes Covid-19 disease, with 490 recovered cases and 344 active positive cases currently, of which one on the island of Santa Maria, 231 on the island from São Miguel, 106 on Terceira island, one on São Jorge island, one on Pico island, two on Faial island and two on Flores island.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organisations.

It is reiterated the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, here , or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate,

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.

It is also available by emailing  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.



Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 25th November 2020

Introduction

Good morning – Firstly, I would like our team of volunteers who are involved in producing our morning reports, translating the various tables and other documents and posting and answering the many questions we receive particularly on Facebook. The last few days have been demanding with quite complex laws and I would like to give thanks to, Eliana Tavares, Jennie Kelly, Elise Slotte, as well as our regular contributors: Louise Birch and Daniel Fernandes for all their hard work.  Also included is Fernanda Goncalves who is now part of Safe Communities and has answered quickly and accurately many of the questions you have put on Facebook. And by many I mean we have replied to well over 500 in 7 days.

A typical day at Safe Communities starts around 06:30 hrs in the morning and can lead up to midnight, especially when the Prime Minister announces extensions to the State of Emergency followed by Council of Ministers communiqué and the publication of the decree law itself.

We thank you, therefore, by helping us to help you, by focusing on questions rather than long drawn out discussions which can make it more difficult to find the facts. This makes a big difference.

There has been a plethora of different dates and times in the new legislation 9/2020, especially regarding when specific measures are effective and in which areas.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic the Government has produced a really excellent summary consolidating the law (from 46 pages to just 7). It is well laid out and easier to refer to. We took the initiative to translate this and this has been forwarded to Government should they wish to use this. We ask you all to read this for the most accurate information and it can be downloaded here.  https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/State-of-Emergency-Table.-23rd-November-2020-docx.pdf

Portugal like many countries is facing an unprecedented challenge in dealing with this pandemic. Although there are many laws and measures in place which can sometimes be difficult to understand and remember, if we focus on why these laws are in place, what are they trying to achieve and the responsibilities that we have as citizens in collectively try and combat this disease, the clearer in my view it all becomes.

The fact is the disease spreads through close contacts with people and the more we reduce that close contact the less risk ithat we will catch it, the less it will spread and therefore less people will die of the disease. The current laws focuses exactly on this; identifying various days and times where there are greater concentrations of people. This is especially so at meal tables when people are not wearing face masks. 

So, if in the next two weeks or so, when according to health experts we are reaching the peak of this crisis, the more we can stay at home unless necessary, the more we reduce our contacts with others, the less we travel and the more we ensure strict compliance with the wearing of Facemasks, social distancing and hygiene etiquette, the more chance we will have of enjoying less restrictions at Christmas. There will be an article in this week’s Portugal News I have prepared on this subject.

Today, 25th November, is the Day of the Elimination of Violence against women. It is marked in Portugal by various initiatives being undertaken to help address this problem. Unfortunately in Portugal in 2019 ,domestic violence, where the majority of the victims were women, rose by 11% and it was the highest reported crime. We will report on this more during the day.

Stay Safe and have a Happy Day

David Thomas

President

Safe Communities Portugal


Headlines

Marcelo spoke to King of Spain about pandemic in both countries and vaccination

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, spoke on Tuesday on the phone with the King of Spain, Felipe VI, about the situation of Covid-19 in the two Iberian countries and learned about the Spanish vaccination plan.

This information is contained in a note posted on the Presidency of the Republic’s website, which reads that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa “talked this afternoon on the phone with King Felipe VI of Spain” about the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the same note, the two heads of state addressed the epidemiological situation in Portugal and Spain “and the actions that have been taken” in each of the countries.

According to the Presidency, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa “also learned about the vaccination plan approved today in Spain, about its priorities and pace of implementation”, and “informed the Spanish sovereign of the measures and perspectives in Portugal “.

The Spanish Council of Ministers approved, this Tuesday, the Covid-19 Vaccination Plan, which establishes that health personnel and residents of homes and centres with dependent people will receive the first doses of the vaccine, which are expected to arrive from January 2021.

This plan was presented at a press conference by the Spanish Minister of Health, Salvador Illa.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had already advised that the executive’s goal was to have “a very substantial part” of the vaccinated Spanish population, “with all guarantees”, in the first half of 2021.

DGS Covid 19 Situation

Portugal registered, since Monday, 3,919 new cases of infection and 85 more deaths associated with the Covid-19 disease, according to the bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) of this Tuesday.

There are now 506 persons in intensive care units for people diagnosed with Covid-19,  and those hospitalised has risen to 3,275 (34 more since Monday), according to the Directorate- General of Health (DGS).  

There were 7,406 patients who recovered from the disease, the highest in a 24 hour period,

Taking into account the number of new infections less those who have recovered or died in the last 24 hours the number of active cases now stands at 80,432 cases now active, 3,572 less than on Monday

The bulletin also states that health authorities have 82,160 contacts under surveillance, 135 more than on Monday. 

The North remains the territory that concentrates more new cases at national level: 2284, that is, 58.3% of the national total. This has been the region with the most cases for 48 days – the last time this did not happen was on October 7 (in this case, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo registered the most new infections).

There is a slight increase compared to Monday (2258) in the number of cases in the North, but the Alentejo also rose, from 68 to 83, representing this Tuesday 2.1% of the national total. Lisbon and Vale do Tejo registers 1018 new infections (26% of the national total), Centro 446 (11.4%), Algarve 65 (1.7%), Azores 18 (0.5%) and Madeira five cases (0.1%).

The majority of deaths – 50 – occurred in the North (58.8%), followed by Lisbon and the Tagus Valley with 20, Centro with 12 and Alentejo with three others.

In the past 24 hours, health authorities have identified 627 cases of infection in children and young people up to 19 years old (16%). With regard to the elderly population, the most vulnerable and punished in this Covid-19 pandemic, 874 new cases were added (22.3%). That is, more than a fifth of the newly infected are people over 60 years old.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in Portugal, 4,056 people have died out of the 268,721 confirmed cases of infection.


Health

Minister of Health, Marta Temido, laying the first stone for the Beato Family Health Unit, Lisbon

The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, reiterated the importance of a joint effort by the entire population to be able to “break transmission chains”.

“The National Health Service works every day to respond to all patients, but we need the entire population to work on breaking transmission chains. We are doing our part the best we can, trying to keep the professionals with courage, with support, with answers, but we need everyone’s help” she said.

At the launching ceremony of the first stone of the construction works for the Beato, Ajuda and Belém Family Health Units, Marta Temido appealed to the Portuguese to join their efforts with those of health professionals. “Only together will we be able to overcome this pandemic and endure these difficult and demanding days for everyone,” he added.

The Minister also pointed out that the Government is developing a four-dimensional plan for the distribution of the new vaccine for Covid-19: “The first is the target groups, the second the logistics component, the third the monitoring of the vaccine administration and the fourth the communication component.”

Health Units in Lisbon

The construction of the Beato, Ajuda and Belém Health Units is part of a program that provides for the construction and renovation of 14 health centres in the city of Lisbon.

The Beato Family Health Unit will cover 15,200 users, represents an investment of 2,130 million euros, 100% financed by the municipality, and should be inaugurated in 2022 with ten medical consultation offices, four nursing offices, three multipurpose offices, two rooms treatment, a family planning office, an oral health office, a movement room and a collection room.

The Family Health Unit of Ajuda will cover 11,400 users, represents an investment of 2.196 million euros, 100% financed by the municipality, and should be inaugurated in 2022 with ten medical consultation offices, five nursing offices, three multipurpose offices, two rooms treatment, a family planning office, an oral health office, a movement room and a collection room.

The Family Health Unit in Belém will cover 15,200 users, represents an investment of 2.975 million euros, 100% financed by the municipality, and should be inaugurated in 2022 with ten medical consultation offices, six multi-purpose offices, four nursing offices, two rooms treatment rooms, a family planning office, a movement room and a harvest room.

Campaign “Don’t Let the Mask Fall”

The Government launched the campaign “Don’t Let the Mask Fall” with the aim of promoting the use of reusable masks and raising awareness of the correct disposal of disposable masks.

The campaign comes within the scope of the several calls made by the area of Governance for the Environment and Climate Action for the use of reusable masks and also aims to avoid the production of waste and ensure deposition in the correct container instead of on the floor.

The campaign has the young population of school age as its target audience and appeals to their strong environmental awareness, hoping to reach a wider universe (parents and their families, teachers and other elements of the school community), warning of the individual responsibility for the use of mask and its contribution to the reduction of environmental impacts.

In the coming weeks, the #NoDeixesCairaMáscara campaign will be disseminated in various media, through spots for TV, Digital Media and radio. The campaign has a dedicated website and an Instagram account. 

With this initiative, in addition to supporting a product made in Portugal, exclusive designs were created that will be shared in open source on the campaign website, for institutions and companies that want to join this action.

Disposal of Facemasks

In Portugal, disposable masks are still not properly disposed of in the trash. To curb the use of these masks, the Government launched an awareness campaign.

Each month, around 150 million disposable masks are used in Portugal. A number that concerns the Ministry of Environment. The Secretary of State for the Environment, Inês Costa Santos explains that if only 1% are discarded, there are six tons of plastic, every month, “going to our natural system”.

“We are talking about contamination of rivers, rivers, seas and soils. They take about 300 to 400 years to degrade, that is, they will practically stay here forever”.

To end these scenarios, the Government has launched an awareness campaign in European Waste Prevention Week, which aims, above all, to stop the use of disposable masks, which after being used must always be placed in the common garbage container.

Waste production has increased compared to last year. The confinement and use of disposable masks are reasons that justify this increase.

Covid-19: Póvoa Varzim Hospital / Vila do Conde reaches limit of hospitalization capacity

The Póvoa de Varzim Hospital / Vila do Conde, in the Porto district, announced today that it has reached the limit in the capacity to treat patients infected with SARS-Cov-2, having the 39 beds allocated to the disease were filled.

The hospital unit, which provides assistance to around 140 thousand inhabitants of those two municipalities, recalled that, since October, the number of places for the admission of these patients has increased five-fold, from seven to 39 in about two months.

“With the current 39 beds allocated to patients infected with SARS-Cov-2, the Hospital Center has reached the maximum limit of the installed capacity for this purpose, which causes some constraints in the surgical activity. Of the seven beds used in the treatment of Covid-19, existing in October, the Hospital centre now has 39, due to the critical evolution of the situation, with the consequent increase in hospitalizations “, informed the unit, in a statement.

In the same text, the Hospital centre pointed out that “the sudden growth of the pandemic has hindered the projected conversion of the unit” into a Covid-free Hospital.

Thus, the entire 2nd floor of the building, where the surgery and internal medicine services operated, is now reserved for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, reaching the limit of possible installed capacity.

“The readjustment of hospital facilities to the scale of the pandemic caused the entire surgical area to be concentrated on the first floor of the Póvoa de Varzim unit, while the Vila do Conde unit was kept as a Covid-free unit for internal medicine patients”, added the Hospital centre.


Vaccinations

The Minister of Internal Affairs announced today that the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC) will be involved in the planning of the distribution of vaccines against Covid-19.

At the inauguration ceremony of the new President of the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection, José Manuel Duarte da Costa, which took place at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita highlighted the role of ANEPC in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Participation, together with entities from the health and national defence areas, in planning and in responding to the distribution of vaccines by the Portuguese as soon as it is available,” he said.

The minister also noted that the ANEPC has been involved, in recent weeks, in the co-ordination of the creation of rear support structures to accommodate people with Covid-19 without the need for hospitalization and home users.

The new president of ANPEC stressed that he will guarantee “always the maximum primacy for emergency response and for protection and relief operations”, but “the three fundamental vectors” that will guide his work “will be people, resources and the image of the civil protection system”.

Duarte Costa stressed that the initial priorities will go through the PREVPAP process (Program for the Extraordinary Regularization of Precarious Bonds in the Public Administration), the restructuring of the internal units of authority and the strengthening of mechanisms for the dissemination of what is organized and everything that is done by the civil protection system.


Health Expenses

Masks, visors and gel will be considered health expenses in the IRS in 2021

The ENP proposal unanimously approved during the voting process in the 2021 State Budget will make it possible for expenses on the purchase of protection goods against Covid-19 to be deductible to the IRS.

Expenditure for respiratory protection masks, visors and skin disinfectant gel will now be considered as health expenses and, as such, deductible from the IRS , according to an ENP proposal approved today in parliament.

“Respiratory protection masks, visors and skin disinfectant gel with the specifics contained in the order of the members of the Government responsible for the areas of economy, finance and health, are considered as health expenses, so they can be deducted (within the scope of IRS)”, refers the proposal today unanimously approved, during the voting process in the specialty of the State Budget for 2021.

The measure applies “regardless of the CAE [Economic Activity Codes] of the establishments where such products are purchased”.


Transport

Rede Exressos to suspend passenger journeys over next two weekends

Rede Expressos has decided to suspend all passenger transport activity for the next two weekends, and holidays, taking into account the government-imposed ban on travel between municipalities, the company announced today.

“Rede Expressos, in compliance with the resolution of the Council of Ministers, decided to suspend activity for the next two weekends due to the impossibility of traveling between municipalities,” the public transport company said in a statement.

Thus, the activity of Rede Expressos will be suppressed, in the area of passenger transport, between 28th November and 1st December inclusive and between 5 th and 8th December inclusive.

According to the company, the decision was related to the fact that “Rede Expressos would have many difficulties in carrying out an effective control of all passengers and of its basis for traveling between municipalities”.

Rede Expressos also clarified that all passengers who purchased their tickets in advance can be refunded or revalidate them free of charge.

Created in 1995, the Rede Nacional de Expressos emerged with the objective of ensuring fast connections between various Portuguese cities and towns, having subsequently expanded the activity to Spain, offering full Iberian coverage.

Currently, Rede Expressos operates the brands Rede Expressos, Renex, Mundial Turismo and Citi Express, with 300 national destinations, including 86 cities, with 352 transport vehicles.

Please contact the company direct for details of the cancellations and ticketing here


Spain

Covid-19: Spain with record of second wave deaths but contagions falling

Spain today registered 537 more deaths attributed to the Covid-19, a new daily maximum of deaths during the second wave of the pandemic, increasing the total number of deaths to 43,668, according to figures released by the Ministry of Health Spanish.

Health authorities also accounted for an additional 12,228 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of infected people in the country to 1,594,844 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The level of accumulated incidences (infected persons) in Spain has stabilized today in the 362 diagnosed cases (13 fewer than the previous day) per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, with the regions with the highest levels being Castilla y León (650) , Basque Country (578) and Asturias (579).

1,461 people were admitted to hospitals with the disease in the last 24 hours, of which 242 in Andalusia, 232 in Catalonia, 183 in Madrid.

Across the country there are 16,701 people hospitalized with Covid-19, which corresponds to 13.43% of the beds, of which 2,853 patients in intensive care units, which corresponds to 29.06% of the beds in this service, numbers that have been decreasing for about two weeks.

The King of Spain, Felipe VI, will be quarantined for ten days, after a person with whom he was in contact on Sunday tested positive for Covid-19.

The sovereign suspended all official activities that were scheduled during the period in which he will be isolated “following the sanitary rules”, while the queen, Princess Leonor and Princess Sofia “can continue their normal activities”.


Other News

MAI announces installation of victim support rooms in all PSP police stations

The Minister of Internal Affairs announced today a reinforcement of police with specific training in combating domestic violence and the installation of victim support rooms in all PSP squadrons (divisional stations) in 2021.

“Throughout the year 2021, the Ministry of Internal Administration’s firm commitment is to support the security forces in this priority [combating domestic violence], making this issue permanent, whether in the initial training of agents or officers, or in the training throughout their professional lives for agents, bosses and officers, ”said Eduardo Cabrita.

The minister participated, through a video message, in the opening session of the webinar “Challenges for the safety of women in the 21st century”, promoted by the Public Security Police, an online conference that anticipates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

The minister also advised of a reinforcement of new elements of the security forces with specific training in this area, as well as an increase in the presence of police of both genders in police stations.

Currently, according to the minister, 80% of PSP police stations have service areas dedicated to welcoming victims of domestic violence.

Eduardo Cabrita underlined that, next year, this number will increase, with the objective that all PSP squadrons will have this space.


Regional Reports

Madeira Report 25th November by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 47 new Covid-19 cases and 40 recoveries from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Saturday, there were 12 new Covid-19 cases and 8 recoveries. All of these new cases were cases of local transmission, including that of a child (aged 0-2) who was linked to previously identified cases at a nursery school in the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos.

On Sunday, there were 11 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the UK, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 8 cases of local transmission) and 11 recoveries.

On Monday, there were 8 new Covid-19 cases and 8 recoveries. All of these new cases were cases of local transmission that were linked to previously identified cases. Three of the new cases were from children (aged 7-9) who attend schools in the Municipality of Funchal.

And on Tuesday, there were 16 new Covid-19 cases (from 3 passengers – 1 from the UK, 1 from the Netherlands, 1 from Switzerland and 1 from the UK & 6 cases of local transmission) and 13 recoveries. All cases of local transmission were linked to previously identified cases, 3 of them from children (aged 10-14) who attend schools in the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos.

There are currently 169 active cases, of which 49 were imported and identified through airport screening while the other 120 were a result of local transmission. As for the active cases, 30 are from non-residents while 139 are from Madeira residents. So far, there have been 707 cases, 536 recoveries and 2 deaths.

There are currently 24 patients in isolation at a dedicated hotel, 141 patients in isolation at their own accommodation and 3 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. A patient remains in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

At the moment, 6,679 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1207 people being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

There are currently 61 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis. One of the suspected cases was identified through airport screening while the remaining 60 are linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19 or to calls made to the SRS24 helpline. As of Tuesday, there had been 2,167 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 109,110 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 18h30). Overall, 172,434 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 487 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, the total number of calls made to this helpline is 17,567.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110549/Covid-19_Identificados_12_casos_na_Regiao_todos_de_transmissao_local

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110591/Covid-19_Onze_novos_casos_de_infecao_e_onze_recuperados_hoje_na_Madeira

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110678/Mais_8_novos_casos_positivos__de_transmissao_local

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/11/24/16-novos-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-mais-61-casos-suspeitos-na-regiao/

New Covid-19 measures to be announced today

Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, will announce new measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly taking into account the upcoming Christmas season.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110768/Novas_medidas_anunciadas_amanha_as_12h00

Coordination between the Madeira Regional Government and the Covid-19 vaccine task force

Yesterday, Pedro Ramos (Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary) had a video conference with members of the Health Ministry task force that is dealing with the logistics of distributing and administering the Covid-19 vaccine to a significant proportion of the population.

The task force is composed of representatives from the DGS (Direção-Geral da Saúde – Directorate-General of Health), Infarmed (Autoridade Nacional do Medicamento e Produtos de Saúde – National Authority of Medicines and Health Products), the Armed Forces and Civil Protection.

The aim of the meeting was to prepare the coordination between the Health Ministry and the Autonomous Region of Madeira in rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine. A vaccination plan will be made. The plan will address issues such as who will be vaccinated, where the vaccination sites will be, where the vaccines will be stored, how potential side effects of the vaccine will be monitored and the communication strategy.

Pedro Ramos highlighted the importance of this coordination so as to take into the account the Region’s needs.

The Covid-19 vaccines will be delivered in the Portuguese mainland and the Portuguese Air Force will then airlift them to Madeira.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/11/24/madeira-ja-prepara-articulacao-com-a-forca-tarefa-responsavel-pelas-vacinas-contra-a-covid-19/

Adverse weather warning

Vessel owners are advised to ensure their vessels remain at docked because heavy wind (51-62 km/h) and heavy seas are expected today and tomorrow. Waves ranging from 5-6 metres are expected on the north shore and they could be 10 metres high.

On the south shore, heavier wind is expected today and tomorrow at Madeira’s highest points, with wind ranging from 70 km/h to 90 km/h. Temperatures will be around 12-13ºC. Snowfall is also a possibility.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110766/Capitania__do_Porto_do_Funchal_alerta_para_mau_tempo

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110757/Vento_forte_e_queda_de_neve_nos_picos_mais_altos_

Porto Santo Line service cancelled today

Porto Santo Line announced that the Funchal-Porto Santo and Porto Santo-Funchal services, which had been scheduled for today, will be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions that pose a hazard to the safety of the ferry and its crew and passengers.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110753/Viagem_para_o_Porto_Santo_de_amanha_cancelada

Former Funchal Mayor will not go on trial over deadly oak tree fall

Paulo Cafôfo, a former Funchal Mayor, will not go to trial over the death of 13 people as a result of the fall of a tree. However, Idalina Perestrelo (Deputy Mayor) and Francisco Andrade (Head of the Divisão de Jardins e Espaços Verdes – Municipality Division of Gardens and Green Areas) will go on trial. The decision was announced by Tribunal Judicial do Funchal (Funchal Judicial Court).

The tree fall, which happened in Monte on the 15th August 2017, killed 13 people (including a French woman and a Hungarian woman) and left about 100 people injured.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/11/23/paulo-cafofo-nao-vai-a-julgamento-responder-por-consequencias-da-queda-da-arvore-no-monte/

Christmas lighting being tested

In more cheerful news, Christmas lights are being set up in Madeira and some, in areas such as on the bridge at Ribeiro Sêco, have already been tested. It is hoped Christmas lighting will being some joy after such an unusual year.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110586/Luzes_da_Festa_ja_estao_a_ser_experimentadas


Algarve Report

Covid.19: Portimão has 230 cases accumulated in the last 14 days

The municipality mentions on Facebook that “the outlook is still not very favourable”. The number of cases [230] is not far from 266, a limit that represents the entrance of the municipality to the level of “very high and extremely high risk” and the implementation of more restrictions.

The Câmara de Portimão appeals, “so that each one of us can protect himself, avoiding risky behaviours as much as possible”. It is recalled that in terms of prevention, the mayor Isilda Gomes, was last Saturday morning in an awareness campaign in front of the Market of Av. S. João de Deus, within the scope of the campaign “I want my Christmas. I choose to comply! ”.

More than 50 community masks, among other information products related to the pandemic, were delivered to citizens, kits and distributed.

62 inmates and 4 Faro prison officials test positive for Covid-19

There are 62 inmates and four workers from the Faro Prison Established infected with the new coronavirus, the Directorate-General for Reintegration and Prison Services (DGRSP) revealed today.

In a statement, this entity explained that, after a prisoner from the Faro prison tested positive, therefore the prison facility’s contingency plan was activated.

This involved quarantining inmates and testing them, as well as employees, which happened on Saturday.

This Sunday, the results were known, which point to the existence of 66 cases.

The positive prisoners, who are asymptomatic, were all placed in the same wing of the prison, where they are in isolation and under clinical supervision, according to the directorate-general.

In all of the country, there are currently 351 cases of active prisoners, out of a total of 11,226, and 100 cases clinically recovered, including two children, daughters of prisoners in the Tires Prison.

Among the workers on the board, there are 74 active cases, in addition to 10 more external workers.

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/2020/11/62-reclusos-e-4-funcionarios-do-ep-de-faro-testam-positivo-a-covid-19/


In a time of pandemic Father Christmas sleighs through Loulé, Quarteira and Almancil

Due to the pandemic, the municipality of Loulé says it has adapted the Christmas animation program in the municipality of Loulé to the new normality, “so that the population can celebrate this season and the commerce develop its activity, in complete safety”.

“‘Christmas to stroll’ was the way found for the municipality to celebrate Christmas, because, in this season, and especially this year, it is necessary to reinforce the spirit of mutual help and support the most unprotected”, the municipal executive said in a statement.

On December 5th, Christmas lights will be switched on, which until the Kings Day (January 6th) will bring “a special charm to the cities, towns and villages of the municipality, spreading the spirit of the time and contributing to the dynamism of the local economy”, underlines the same document.

Father Christmas, accompanied by his elves and Mother Christmas, will show himself differently, traveling through the various arteries of the sled locations.

This “Santa Claus Walk” through the city of Loulé will take place on December 5th, in the afternoon. In Quarteira, this initiative will take place on the morning of December 6, and in Almancil it will take place on the same day, in the afternoon. Santa Claus’ sleigh will again take to the streets, on the 19th, in Loulé, and the 20th, in Quarteira and Almancil.


Azores report

Situation Report Azores – 25th November 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores  

New Government

The new Regional Government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores was sworn in today at a ceremony that took place in the city of Horta, Faial.

The new president is José Manuel Bolieiro who takes over from Vasco Cordeiro.  José Bolieiro was, until recently, President of the Camara Municipal of Ponta Delgada.

The new Regional Government of the Azores includes 10 regional secretariats and one undersecretary, in addition to the presidency and vice-presidency.

Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority says, from 5,587 tests carried out in the Region since the 21st of November in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, there has been another increase in the number of cases, 100 positive cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed. 75 on the island of São Miguel and 23 on the island of Terceira, and 1 on Santa Maria and 1 on Flores.  57 recoveries have also been recorded 51 on São Miguel and 3 on the island of Terceira, 1 on São Jorge, 1 on Faial and 1 on Pico.

Some of the cases have been discovered as part of the SARS-CoV-2 screening test carried out on arrival at ports and airports and through the analysis performed after the sixth day in the region.

The Region has 14 extinct transmission chains and 25 active transmission chains, 18 on the island of São Miguel, five on the island of Terceira, one shared between the island of São Miguel and the island of São Jorge and one on the island of São Jorge.

So far, 835 cases of infection with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have been detected in the Region, with 436 recovered cases and 305 active positive cases currently, of which one on the island of Santa Maria, 228 on the island of São Miguel, 71 on Terceira Island, two on São Jorge Island, two on Faial Island and one on Flores Island.

In terms of hospitalizations, there are nine people admitted to the Hospital do Divino Espírito Santo in Ponta Delgada and four to the Hospital de Santo Espírito in Angra do Heroísmo.

2533 people are under active surveillance.

 



Portugal Situation Report Saturday 21st November

Introduction

Good morning – The Assembly of the Republic yesterday passed the renewal of the State of Emergency law in Portugal for another 15 days, until 23:59 on 8th December, to allow for measures to contain the Covid-19 epidemic. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced this in a communication to the country, from the Palace of Belém, in Lisbon.The day started with the meeting at Infarmed, with the President of the Republic and Prime minister in discussion with various health experts, and other experts to gauge the current situation and their analysis concerning the pandemic. This part of the meeting was covered by the media, which we reported, and gave an insight into some of the challenges that Portugal currently faces, ranging from intensive care, to infection rates among younger people.

This was useful for the public to obtain reliable information, some not previously available, and at the same shows that the President of the Republic and Prime Minister are obtaining information from experts and a range of qualified stakeholders, in addition to DGS before they take key decisions that will affect all of our lives over the coming weeks. In this respect Portugal should be applauded for its openness in conducting these processes. The Council of Ministers then met throughout the afternoon and into the evening to decide the measures which will be contained in the law which will be published shortly. In the meantime, we await the official communique from the COM which will give a summary of the main measures we can expect. We wait and see.

With so much bad news around and the uncertainties regarding the situation over Christmas, it was pleasing last night to receive  a very positive and inspiring comment on our Facebook page from a Maggie Dunn, in response to the address to the nation by the President of the Republic in which she stated:“Thank you. We ALL, as citizens and residential immigrants of Portugal MUST respect this announcement. We live in this beautiful country and must protect everyone in it the best way we can. Please, please do the right thing. Do what is asked of us. Is it really so difficult! I know this remark will produce good and bad comments and that is fine. We are all entitled to our own opinions but please people maybe with your thoughts think outside the box?? Thank you and have a lovely, safe weekend….” It was liked by over 50 people and rightly so.

Her comments to me and many others, encapsulates the way we should be thinking and acting at this crucial time. Let’s all do the right thing. Follow the rules and help each other. When commenting or replying on social media remember to think of others not just oneself. Just one example we saw: “Well I would not have the vaccine if offered to me”, remember, that although that maybe your choice, the effect of this is that by not doing so you could be contributing to the spread of the disease to others! Another “Facemasks are proven to be ineffective I would not wear one”. Again your opinion but if you don’t wear one you could be spreading the virus to others. There are many other examples around.In this respect we are pleased to see that the European Council, as announced by the Prime Minister is to establish a strategy to counter disinformation regarding vaccinations. We are already seeing this as well, as a few posts by a handful of people who spread false information on various Facebook groups, or other information from dubious sources which is not helpful in containing the disease.

Today we await the official details and I, for one, hope that they are as clear and unambiguous as possible with a 3 or 4 tier structure, with the likelihood of different  measures applicable to each but also with some commonality as well. Please remember up to now everything from non-government sources is not yet official. As the Prime Minister stated at that time nothing has been decided.

By the time you read this report the Communique of the Council of Ministers may have been published, which will communicate the main points only. This will inevitably lead to many questions which cannot be answered until the Decree law is published a day or so later. In any event it will be a very busy day for us at Safe Communities Portugal, the country’s only qualified Civil Protection Volunteer Organisation serving in particular the international community in Portugal.

Please have a Safe Day and stay up to date with the facts and official information on this page.


Headlines

President Speaking at 20:00 hrs on 20th November

Speaking to the country today (Friday) at 20:00hrs, confirmed the renewal of the State of Emergency from the first hours of November 23rd until the last moments of December 8th.

Despite some signs of decline, “the number of deaths and hospitalisations is rising”, he emphasised. The President also pointed out that, as “experts confirm, the measures take longer and longer to produce the desired effects and that the later they are taken, the less effective they will be and the longer they will have to last”.”A third wave is likely to occur between January and February,” the President said, explaining that the number of cases in that period “will be all the higher as the number of cases one month earlier”. The pandemic process must be contained strongly in December” even if it appears to be slowing down, he noted.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said he was ready to renew the declarations of a State of Emergency as often as necessary. “Let no one be under any illusion, I will not hesitate for a second to propose them so that the government has sufficient basis to approve what has to be approved”, he assured. The President recalled the “brutal pressure” that national health systems are under and that “will increase in the coming days and weeks”, “which implies the duty to try to contain the pandemic in December” and the following months, in order to avoid critical situations and guarantee everyone the possibility of survival, especially since not everyone will have access to the vaccine at the same time. The President also referred to the “certainty” that it will be vital that “the State of Emergency lasts as long as necessary to combat the pandemic”. Marcelo says the vaccine will have to be for “everyone who wants it”, warning that this situation will still have to wait a few months. The situation of widespread collapse in hospitals must be avoided, in the name of public health. “There are other patients who have the same right to health and life as Covid-19 patients,” he said.

Covid- 19 – DGS Situation

Portugal registered since Thursday 6,489 new cases of infection and 61 more deaths associated with the Covid-19 disease, according to the bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) this Friday.
There are 23 more patients admitted to the Intensive Care Units, totalling 481. In relation to hospital admissions, there are 3,079 people hospitalized, 62 more compared to Thursday.

A further 5,076 patients were reported as recovered, 163,000 since the start of the pandemic.
Taking into account recoveries, deaths and new cases, DGS reveals that there are 1,352 more active cases of infection compared to Thursday.

Health officials now have 80,409 people under surveillance.
Regarding the 6,489 new cases, 3,630 are registered in the North, 1,805 in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 799 in the Centro region, 135 in the Alentejo, 90 in the Algarve, 29 in the Azores and one in Madeira.
Of the 61 deaths in the last 24 hours, 33 occurred in the North, 15 in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, 12 in the Centre and one in the Algarve.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has recorded a total of 3,762 deaths and 249,498 cases of Covid-19.


Health

Transmission rate is slowing down in Portugal

Transmission of Covid-19 slows down in Portugal, but each infected person continues to infect a person.

The average number of infections that an infected person causes has slightly decreased nationally, but in all regions of the country it has been above 1 for more than a month. In the case of the North, this has been happening for 113 days. The transmission rate (Rt) of Covid-19 in Portugal is above or close to 1 since the beginning of August, which reveals “a growing trend of new cases at the national level”. Still, this figure, which measures the average number of secondary cases resulting from an infected case, fell slightly from the previous week, a note that had already been left by experts during the meeting of experts at Infarmed, this Thursday. The conclusions, which include data from 11th to 15th November, are in the report published this Friday by the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA), which has been doing a weekly analysis of this indicator. The average value of R (t) for these days was 1.10, a slight decrease from 1.11 in the previous period.

Despite the drop in the average number of infections per infected nationwide, all regions of mainland Portugal were highlighted in the report because of the rise in cases in recent weeks . According to INSA, the North has Rt values ​​greater than 1 in the last 113 days, with an average of 3488 new infections per day. In this period, the Rt  varied between 1.01 and 1.38. The Center has Rt values ​​greater than 1 in the last 51 days with an average of 745 new infections per day – the Rt varied between 1.01 and 1.46. In Lisbon and Vale do Tejo , the Rt is above 1 in the last 87 days and its value varied between 1.02 and 1.2. This region had an average of 1544 new infections per day. The Alentejo , having Rt 1 over the last 40 days had an average of 108 new infections daily. And in that period, the Rt varied between 1.01 and 1.7. And finally, in the Algarve, the Rtis above 1 in the last 37 days, having varied between 1 and 1.3 – the region had an average of 92 new infections per day.

Covid-19: Five patients and two health professionals from Porto’s IPO infected

Five patients and two health professionals from the Portuguese Institute of Oncology (IPO) in Porto tested positive for Covid-19, being in “isolation and with all the necessary safety measures for this type of situation ”, revealed the institution today. In a written statement  sent to the Lusa agency, the IPO of Porto states that “five patients and two health professionals positive for Covid-19 were identified, all of them related to the 08th floor of Building A [surgery]”. In the note, which is signed by the board of directors, the IPO do Porto specifies that “the first case was detected yesterday [Thursday] in a patient who revealed fever and suspicious respiratory symptoms”.

“A second patient hospitalized on this floor was tested in the context of routine performance as preparation for diagnostic procedure”.
“As both tests were positive for Covid-19 and for patients on the same floor, it was immediately decided to test all patients, as well as the professionals with whom they had contacted, in close collaboration between the Infection Control Commission (GCL-PPCIRA) and the Occupational Medicine Office ”, describes the institution.

Following this testing, the cases of three more patients and two professionals were identified.

Covid-19: Number of deaths rises to eight in the outbreak in Misericórdia de Portalegre

The number of fatalities in the outbreak of Covid-19 in valences at the Santa Casa da Misericórdia in Portalegre has risen to eight, with the death of four more residents in recent days, the institution revealed today. In a statement sent to the Lusa agency at the end of yesterday, with updated information on the outbreak, the administrative commission of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Portalegre (SCMP) stated that it “regretted” a total of “eight deaths”.

As of Tuesday, according to a statement released by the SCMP that day, four users of the institution had already died, but four more deaths of elderly people have since been reported. Fonte da Misericórdia, contacted today by Lusa, explained that it was the death of two men, 83 and 90 years old, and two women, 68 and 99 years old, which occurred between Wednesday and today. “There are eight users and one employee hospitalized,” added the institution, indicating that, at this time, there are “67 residents and 26 employees” with positive results for the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the Covid-19 disease.

For this Saturday “it is scheduled to carry out about 45 rapid tests on employees and residents of the Reception Centre of Santo António” and, next Wednesday, “all residents and employees will be tested again by public health”, informed the SCMP. “Social Security is reinforcing our team with yet another Rapid Intervention Brigade, made up of 11 elements from Bragança and Lisbon”, joining “a first Brigade that, since November 12th, has been developing functions “, they said.

Government “does not consider, for now, to proceed with sanitary fences”

The Assistant Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales, guaranteed this Friday that, at the moment, the Government does not intend to advance with sanitary fences (areas under quarantine due to an infectious disease outbreak) in the municipalities most affected by the pandemic of Covid-19. “We have learned a lot in this pandemic process and sanitary fences are not being considered yet,” said António Lacerda Sales at the usual press conference to present the country’s epidemiological data. The confirmation comes at a time when new measures are planned, announced this Saturday, to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

The Assistant Secretary of State for Health also announced that, during the month of November, an average of 37,000 daily tests were carried out for Covid-19.  In addition, he revealed that Portugal made a reserve of 7.5 million rapid tests, through a European mechanism, which should arrive in early 2021. These tests, which, according to Fernando Almeida, President of the Directing Council of the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA), are “an amazing tool” not only “for us to be able to test with discretion but to be able to act quickly and interrupt chains of virus transmission “. Even so, the INSA official recalls that “great care” is needed in the regulation of these tests, which “must be prescribed by qualified professionals”.

Portugal prepared to purchase 16 million doses of vaccines

The Prime Minister said this Thursday that Portugal is prepared to buy around 16 million doses of three vaccines against Covid-19 and added that Brussels is preparing to combat disinformation campaigns in relation to vaccination. These positions were transmitted by António Costa at a press conference, at the end of the summit of heads of state and government on combating Covid-19, which took place by video-conference.

Before the journalists, the Prime Minister reiterated the idea that vaccines against Covid-19 “will be distributed according to a grid defined by the European Commission, taking into account the population of each Member State”.  “They will be distributed simultaneously in all Member States and under the same conditions”, reinforced the Prime Minister.  In the case of Portugal, according to António Costa, “for three of the vaccines, the doses to buy are already defined: in one 6.9 million; in another 4.6 million; and in the third, 4.5 million”.

“It is what is currently being planned as to the distribution scale that was defined according to the population of all Member States”, justified the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister also reported on an EC campaign which, “aims to prevent false information and counter-information campaigns – campaigns that are known to be being prepared against the vaccination program”.

Covid-19. Peak is expected to occur “between November 25th and December 5th”

Carlos Antunes, mathematician and professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, determined, together with Manuel Carmo Gomes, professor of epidemiology at the University of Lisbon, that the peak of the new wave of Covid-19 will be registered between the next two weeks and, in terms of deaths, in mid-December. In an interview with SIC Notícias, the mathematician explained that the risk of transmission – the so-called R, which indicates the average number of people that each patient is infected – is in a trend of approaching 1.0. In addition, the average rate of change in new cases is in the order of 2.7%, which means that there is a 2.7% increase in infected people every day.

It is with these indicators that Carlos Antunes is able to point out the period of occurrence of the peak of this second wave, which points to between November 25th and December 5th. He explains, however, that the peak may not run in a single day, turning into a plateau and extending over time. At the level of daily cases, it points out that, at this peak, it can reach 7,700 and lethality at an interval of 90 to 100 daily deaths.

Covid-19: WHO experts advise against using Remdesivir medication (and Portugal bought 100,000 vials for 35 million)

sol.sapo.pt

The panel of international experts considers that there is a lack of evidence that influences survival or the need for ventilation. In October, the Minister of Health announced the purchase of 100,000 bottles, at a unit price of 345 euros. A group of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) advised against using the antiviral drug Remdesivir to treat Covid-19, due to lack of evidence that it is effective. The panel of international experts, experts from around the world who are part of a WHO guideline development group, does not suggest the use of the drug in hospitalized patients with Covid-19, whether or not they are in serious condition, due to lack of evidence that influences survival or the need for ventilation. Remdesivir has been identified as a potentially effective treatment for severe cases of Covid-19 and is widely used to treat hospitalized people.

In Portugal, the Directorate-General for Health will acquire by March 2021 more than 100,000 vials of the medicine, under the trade name Veklury, for the treatment of patients with Covid-19.

The decision was taken on 22nd October in the Council of Ministers and announced by the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, who explained that “the acquisition of more than one hundred thousand bottles” will cost about 35 million euros, since each one costs 345 euros. The recommendation now released, according to a WHO statement, is based on a new review of evidence, comparing the effects of various drugs against Covid-19, and includes data from four international trials involving more than 7000 people hospitalized with Covid-19. After an exhaustive review of the evidence, the panel of experts concluded that remdesivir “has no significant effect on mortality or other important outcomes for patients, such as the need for ventilation or speed of improvement,” the statement said.

Increasing pandemic in the school-aged population in the North

Covid-19 is spreading among children and young people in the North, having increased in recent weeks and exceeding the numbers of the elderly. The increase is notorious: the growth rate is 32% among children under 10 years old and 24% among adolescents. This data came out this Thursday of the session with the experts at Infarmed, where it was also learned that, in the last week, more than 80% of the new cases did not have their origin identified; whereas the peak of the pandemic is expected to arrive in a week, with more than seven thousand infections daily; and that Intensive Care is on the verge of rupture.

It is against this backdrop that Parliament renewed this Friday the State of Emergency for another 15 days (starting on Tuesday) and that the Council of Ministers will define the strategy for combating it. According to Oscar Felgueiras, a mathematician at the University of Porto, the incidence in the North “is almost seven times higher than that recorded in April at the height of the pandemic”. In the district of Porto, despite the stabilization among the active population, the increase is noticeable among children and adolescents.


Prisons

Positive cases in Prisons up to 363 cases

The prison service reported on Friday the existence of 363 people infected with the new coronavirus among inmates (282), workers of the Directorate-General (70) and employees of external companies providing services to DGRSP (11). In a statement, the Directorate-General for Reintegration and Prison Services (DGRSP) states that, in a population that encompasses around 20,000 people, including workers, prisoners and young people hospitalized in educational centers, there are 282 infected prisoners, 70 DGRSP staff and 11 of workers from external companies providing services to chains and educational centres. As for the clinically recovered cases, there are 93 to be recorded, and there are also two children, daughters of prisoners from the Tires Prison, clinically recovered. According to the DGRSP, there are no longer any active cases in juvenile education centres, according to four clinically recovered cases of the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19 disease. On the other hand, the group of clinically recovered workers is 115.


Schools

“Schools are doing well”. Government does not foresee anticipating Christmas holidays in schools

In a press conference, António Lacerda Sales stated that schools are not a major contagion point for Covid-19, despite the fact that, at this time, there are 477 active outbreaks in schools: 291 in the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 72 in the area Center, 58 in the North, 29 in the Alentejo and 27 in the Algarve. “Nothing anticipates us” that it is necessary to change the school calendar, said the official, who considered that “health authorities do the job of segregating what are positive cases, high-risk contacts and low-risk contacts”. Classes, school zones or entire establishments only close “if the health authority sees fit, according to the risk stratification”. This information was subsequently updated.

Contrary to what the Assistant Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales, said during the DGS press conference, there are currently 68 active outbreaks identified in schools in Portugal. In a note sent to the newsrooms, the Secretary of State’s office corrects the figures, stating that “by mistake, active outbreaks in the country on November 16th 2020 were identified by DGS, in a total of 477, to the detriment of the number of active outbreaks in day are centres, schools and universities (of public and private education), totalling 68”. According to Monday’s data, there are therefore 68 active outbreaks in schools in mainland Portugal, including three in the North, 11 in the Centre, 50 in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, two in the Alentejo and two in the Algarve.


Spain

Spain with the lowest daily number of infected in the last month.

This Friday, Spain registered 15,156 new cases of Covid-19, the lowest number in November. The total number of infected people in the country since the beginning of the pandemic has been 1,556,730, according to figures released by the Spanish Ministry of Health. Health authorities also accounted for another 328 deaths attributed to Covid-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 42,619. 1,643 people were admitted to hospitals with the disease in the last 24 hours, of which 274 where in Andalusia, the same number in Catalonia, 200 in the Valencian Community and 192 in Madrid. Across the country there are 17,963 people hospitalized with the Covid-19, which corresponds to 14.52% of the beds, of which 3,054 patients are in intensive care units.


Other news

ASAE Officials among 33 defendants accused of corruption and influence peddling

The prosecution states that the defendants interfered in the inspection and administrative proceedings to prevent the establishments from being closed or fines being imposed or until they were not paid. The Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) accused 33 defendants, including ten companies and ASAE employees, of 66 crimes, including corruption, illicit prosecution, violation secrecy, influence peddling and abuse of power. According to the MP, it was indicated that, between October 2016 and February 2020, the two main defendants, former workers of the Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) , took advantage of privileged contacts with several officials of that authority and decided to outline strategies for the protection of economic operators targeted in administrative offenses.

The purpose of the scheme was to establish the necessary contacts to reduce the losses resulting from such processes and inspections for the companies targeted in the administrative offenses and in return they received for themselves and other ASAE employees, “free meals, food products, bottles of wine and tickets for sports events”. The MP considers that these two defendants acted together with others (some, at the time of the facts still in office at the Food and Economic Security Authority) taking advantage of the privileged positions in which they found themselves and the authority and prestige conferred by their status professional to obtain personal benefits.

The prosecution states that the defendants provided information, and exerted influences, interfering in the inspection and administrative proceedings to prevent the establishments from being closed or from being fined or until they were not paid. The 33 defendants are accused of 34 crimes of active corruption, 17 of passive corruption, eight crimes of illicit prosecution, three of breach of secrecy, two of influence peddling and two of abuse of power.


Other Regions

Madeira Situation report 21st November by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 44 new Covid-19 cases and 24 recoveries from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Wednesday, there were 23 new Covid-19 cases (from 4 passengers who had arrived from the UK, 4 passengers who had arrived from Germany, 3 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Czech Republic and 10 cases of local transmission) and 3 recoveries. Regarding the cases of local transmission, 6 of the cases were from children (0-1 year old) in 2 in nursery schools (1 in the Municipality of Funchal and 1 in the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos) while another case was from a healthcare professional from the Madeira Health Service.

On Thursday, there were 14 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Venezuela, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Autonomous Region of the Azores and 12 cases of local transmission) and 9 recoveries. And on Friday, there were 7 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 6 cases of local transmission) and 12 recoveries. Most of the new cases of local transmission are linked to previously identified cases and there are 2 cases that are still under investigation. One of the cases of local transmission was of a child (0-1 year old) who attends a nursery school in the Municipality of Funchal. The nursery school has activated its contingency plan.

There are currently 162 active cases, of which 58 were imported while the other 104 were a result of local transmission. As for the active cases, 40 are from non-residents while 122 are from Madeira residents. So far, there have been 660 cases, 496 recoveries and 2 deaths. There are currently 36 patients in isolation at a dedicated hotel, 121 patients in isolation at their own accommodation and 5 patients are in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça.

One of the patients in hospital is a Portuguese-Venezuelan man who is currently on a ventilator. He had recently arrived in Funchal and had tested negative for Covid-19 at the airport. A few days later he started showing symptoms and a test carried out in hospital came back positive on the 15th of November. His condition was already serious when he was hospitalised in the Covid-19 unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. On Wednesday his respiratory condition worsened and he was taken to intensive care, where he remains in critical condition and on a ventilator. At the moment, 7,886 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 879 people being monitored by the health authorities of several Madeira municipalities and in Porto Santo.

 

There are currently 93 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis. A total of 17 suspected cases were identified through airport screening while 98 are linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19 (including in schools) or to calls made to the SRS24 helpline. As of Friday, there had been 2,120 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed. As for Covid-19 testing on passengers who had arrived at Funchal and Porto Santo airports, 107,741 samples had been collected until Friday (at 17h30). Overall, 168,963 samples have been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 406 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, the total number of calls made to this helpline is 17,080.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/11/18/23-novos-casos-de-covid-19-na-ram-117-novos-suspeitos-quase-todos-locais/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110390/Mais_14_casos_por_covid-19_nas_ultimas_24_horas

https://funchalnoticias.net/2020/11/20/covid-19-7-novos-casos-93-casos-suspeitos-12-recuperados-um-doente-nos-cuidados-intensivos/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110365/Covid-19_Luso_venezuelano_nos_cuidados_intensivos_com_suporte_do_ventilador_

Water supply disruptions

There will be water supply disruptions due to scheduled work on the water supply chain in the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos in order to prevent water leaks. The disruptions will affected the following places:

Municipality of Câmara de Lobos

23rd November (09h00-13h00) – Parish of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos (Barreiros, Castelejo and Covão)
23rd November (11h00-15h00) – Parish of Câmara de Lobos (Barreiros, Casa Caída, Castelejo, Marinheira and Pomar do Meio)
24th November (09h00-13h00) – Parish of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos (Covão, Panasqueira and Vargem)
24th November (09h00-13h00) – Parish of Câmara de Lobos (Rancho)
25th November (09h00-15h00) – Parish of Câmara de Lobos (Nogueira and Pedregal)
25th November (11h00-15h00) – Parish of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos (Garachico)
26th November (09h00-13h00) – Parish of Câmara de Lobos (Ribeiro Real, Lourencinha and Fajã)
27th November (09h00-13h00) – Parish of Câmara de Lobos (Nogueira)

Municipality of Câmara de Lobos

25th November (09h00-13h00) – Parish of Campanário (Calçada, Carmo, Chamorra, Corujeira, Igreja, Lombo do Romão, Serrado and Rodes)

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/110480/Camara_de_Lobos_e_Ribeira_Brava_com_interrupcoes_de_abastecimento_de_agua


Algarve

Situation Report Algarve– 21st November 2020

Municipality of VRSA grants support to the Food Bank against Hunger

The Municipal Council of Vila Real de Santo António, in an ordinary meeting, attributed a financial contribution to the Food Bank against Hunger in the Algarve to the amount of 10 thousand euros. The measure aims to reinforce the support provided by this institution in the municipality, which, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has felt a worsening in the social scenario and an increase in requests for help.

Still in this context, the municipality says in a statement that the measure, “aims to respond to the appeal expressed by the Food Bank that, in the absence of food collection campaigns in supermarkets, due to confinement and security measures, it is prevented from collecting goods and so to face the increase in the number of families that have requested food support from partner entities”.  In the municipality of VRSA, the Food Bank Against Hunger supplies six Private Social Solidarity Institutions, namely, Santa Casa da Misericórdia, the Associação Beneficência Mão Amiga, Refood, the Portuguese Red Cross, SSVP – Confederação Nª. Mrs. Encarnação and Associação Pentecostal Trombeta Eterna.

October unemployment rose 134.2% in the Algarve

The number of unemployed registered in October, in employment centres in the Algarve, rose 134.2% in relation to the same month last year, according to data released today, 19 November, by the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP). In all other regions of mainland Portugal, it went down. In relation to September this year, unemployment in the Algarve increased by 13%. The Algarve is really the only region of mainland Portugal in which, compared to last month, unemployment has increased. The same happened in the Azores (+ 0.1%) and Madeira (+ 0.4%).

Lisbon and Tagus Valley, the region that had the second largest increase, stood at + 52.9%. Alentejo registered an increase of 19.4%. At the national level, the increase was 34.5%. According to the IEFP statistical bulletin, at the end of October, there were 24,088 enrolled in employment centres in the Algarve, 13,803 more than in the same month of 2019. In relation to September this year, there are more than 2,778 unemployed enrolled (+ 13%).

With regard to the total number of enrolments in the employment services of the Algarve, in October, the percentage increase in relation to the same period is 43.8%. In all, there were 5660 IEFP registrations, 1725 more than in August 2019 and 1973 (+ 53.5%) than in August this year. However, a worker can make more than one registration during the month, for example, if he leaves the job during the trial period, on his own initiative, or on the initiative of the employer. According to IEFP data, there were 259 job offers in October, 9 fewer than in the previous month.

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/2020/11/desemprego-registado-em-outubro-subiu-1342-no-algarve/


Acores

Situation Report Azores – 21st November 2020 – From our colleague in the Azores  

The Regional Decree regulating the compulsory screening tests for Covid-19 before departure, for anyone who intends to travel to the Azores, came into force on Friday, 20th of November. This diploma, which was approved by the Government Council and which was published yesterday in Diário da República, was the subject of prior articulation with the Representative of the Republic for the Azores and provides that this obligation to carry out screening tests for the new coronavirus before boarding will remain in force as long as the State of Emergency is in force.

There has been an amendment to this Regional Regulatory Decree No. 24/2020 / A, of 19th November, stating that all passengers who board at airports on the islands of São Miguel and Terceira bound for another island in the archipelago must present proof, in support digital or paper, of a document issued by a national or international laboratory, attesting to the conduct of a screening test to SARS-CoV-2, carried out by the RT-PCR methodology in the 72 hours before the flight departure, which contains the identification of the passenger, the laboratory where the test was performed, the date of the test and the negative result.  This amendment is yet to be approved.

The Regional Health Authority says, from 4,795 tests carried out in the Region since the 17th of November in the two reference laboratories in the Region and rapid tests carried out by other entities, there has been another increase in the number of cases, 94 positive cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed. 61 on the island of São Miguel and 32 on the island of Terceira, and 1 on Faial.  28 recoveries have also been recorded 20 on São Miguel and 3 on the island of Terceira, 4 on São Jorge and 1 on Santa Maria. Some of the cases have been discovered as part of the SARS-CoV-2 screening test carried out on arrival at ports and airports and through the analysis performed after the sixth day in the region.

The Region now has 14 extinct transmission chains and 18 active transmission chains, 11 on the island of , five on the island of Terceira, one shared between the island of São Miguel and the island of São Jorge and one on the island of São Jorge. So far, 735 cases of infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 disease, have been detected in the Region, with 379 recovered cases and 263 active positive cases currently, of which 205 on the island of São Miguel, 51 on Terceira island, three on São Jorge island, one on Pico island and three on Faial island.

Pandemic prevention and containment measures should be maintained and strengthened, whenever possible, by citizens and public, private and social sector organizations. The Regional Health Authority reiterates the need to comply with all recommendations already made public in this regard, especially that, in case of symptoms, do not seek a Hospital or Health Unit, but call the Azores Health Line – 808 24 60 24.

For more information, visit the website created by the Government of the Azores on pandemic control in the Region, at https://destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt/ , or the Facebook page of the Regional Health Directorate, at https: / /www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores/ .

The Government of the Azores also makes available the Azores Non-Medical Clarification Line COVID-19, with the number 800 29 29 29, which can be used between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm, on working days, and the RIAC Line 800 500 501, which works from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 10:30 pm, and on Sundays, from 10 am to 10:30 pm.
It is also available by contacting the email address esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic.



Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 18th November

Introduction

Good morning – The current State of Emergency is in place until 23:59 hrs on 23rd November. In declaring this new period of State of Emergency, the President of the Republic said that it would be “reassessed in late November, in its existence, in its scope and in its content”.

In order to renew this legal framework for the adoption of Covid-19 containment measures for another 15 days, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa must have listened to the Government and must have authorization from the Assembly of the Republic, a process that should continue until Friday.

Yesterday, the President of the Republic. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, began this process with discussions with various parliamentary parties regarding their views about the extension of the State of Emergency, which is scheduled to be discussed this Friday in the Assembly of the Republic, should the President decide this measure. The Ecological Party “Os Verdes” party proposed the idea of scaling the municipalities according to gravity, with different measures depending on the scale. However, the President and sole deputy of the Liberal Initiative, João Cotrim Figueiredo, spoke out against “measures such as curfew from 13:00 hrs at the weekend”, which in his understanding “does not make any kind of sense”, and rejected an eventual total collection, “because it kills the economy even more”. We wait and see.

As we reported yesterday, DGS has announced that the number of Covid-19 cases in Portugal has reached 760 cases per 100,000 over a 14 day period. According to the Director General of Health this places Portugal 19th place in Europe, adding that “all of these indicators reflect an intense epidemic activity”.

At the same time, and for the first time, DGS published the infection rates by municipality over a 14 day period up to 10th November. Although nearly a week old, this is very useful information clearly showing the situation grouped into five bands.  It is these figures which government uses to determine those municipalities to add to, or remove from, the high risk list which currently stands at 191. We expect that these will be published at fortnightly intervals from now on.

With so many laws and resolutions from government emerging over the last two weeks, it is a challenge keeping track of all this. To make it easier for our followers we have created two pages on our website linked by a post pinned to the top of our Facebook page, which summarizes the main measures you need to be aware off, especially those of you in High Risk municipalities. Despite this, over 80% of the questions we receive (some 500 plus over the last few days) are essentially the same and have already been answered, or the answers can be found by referring to the pages concerned.  As such, this wastes a considerable amount of our time. We really must emphasise therefore, to read these first before asking questions, otherwise our reply will simply be “refer to the link concerned”. High Risk Municipalities can be downloaded in English here

In Portuguese, people can use the Government site here

During the Curfew over the last weekend there was a high level of compliance by the population and very few cases where the security forces needed to take enforcement action. This shows the key messages are getting across. (Please see the report in this newsletter) The Prime Minister praised the cultural events organizers, at the municipalities on the red list, for changing their starting or opening hours so that people could be home by 11pm. So this means that cultural and other events, as long as they follow their specific Covid-19 rules, are allowed and that people can attend these.

An area of some misunderstanding, however, for some people, is in High risk municipalities over what is permitted during periods when the curfew is NOT in force. In all high risk municipalities there is a “Dever cívico de recolhimento domiciliário” (Civic Duty to remain at home) although there are several exceptions to this. In such municipalities the opening of most facilities to the public as well as shops, restaurant and places of entertainment are permitted under the law. As such it can send mixed signals and needs to be seen in the correct context. 

It is because of this, I asked Fernanda Goncalves, who regularly provides well researched and accurate responses on our Facebook page, to try and explain what Civic Duty to remain at home means and this is outlined in the report below. Safe Communities has also raised this with Government to officially explain this term.

It is important to remember that we are in Portugal, as some by their comments, tend to forget that these laws are there for the entire population the vast majority of whom are Portuguese. The laws such as the curfew measures for instance, are clearly there  to avoid large social lunch gatherings at weekends, which has been identified as the main occasion when contagion takes place. Understanding the reason for the law is important.

Use of Safe Communities Portugal Facebook page

Safe Communities is an official Civil Protection Volunteer organisation under Portuguese law. We act with the support of government in getting key messages across to help keep people safe in time of crisis. One of our aims is to ensure that often complex laws and other measures are communicated as clearly as possible ,especially for non-Portuguese readers, including tourists. We only use official and validated information.

We operate an open Facebook page, which allows everyone to view and share our information. This ensures the widest viewership which is our intention, so that important safety messages reach as many people as possible. This places greater responsibility on our moderators, as we cannot approve people’s use of the page or questions asked, which some groups do.

The number of our page followers has doubled in the last few months, now standing over 34,000. With such large numbers, plus the fact often our posts reach over 30,000 people, we cannot entertain personal opinions regarding whether or not for instance people agree with the laws or other measures. These result in very large threads making it far more difficult for people to find the key facts and obtain answers to the legitimate questions. It also means questions are often repeated having already been answered. We encourage people to use our page in-keeping with its purpose and aims. Thank you for your understanding.

Please have a Safe Day

David Thomas

President 

Safe Communities Portugal


Headlines

Covid-19: Prime Minister says “effort” to fight the pandemic “has light at the end of the tunnel”

The Prime Minister yesterday underlined the “effort” that the country has been making in the fight against the new coronavirus and that now has “a light at the end of the tunnel”, which will be “next year”a vaccine against Covid-19.

António Costa, who was speaking in Vila Verde, Braga district, during a ceremony to sign a protocol with 10 Misericórdias, acknowledged that the measures to combat the new coronavirus “are tough”, but also “are essential”.

“This [the confinement at the weekend] is an effort that has a light at the end of the tunnel, although we do not yet know the length of the tunnel. Whether it is for months, or whether it is for a year. We know, surely, that during the next year, today all official entities already recognize it, we will have a vaccine available to face this Covid “, he affirmed.

António Costa said that everyone wants to “believe that science will be able to provide and the industry to produce an effectively effective vaccine”.

In the morning, in Porto, the Prime Minister had already praised the behaviour of the Portuguese in complying with the weekend’s containment rules, returning to talk about the issue to recognize the difficulty of following that decision.

“The measures are harsh and disturb our lives, but they are essential to stop the growth of this pandemic”, he reiterated.

Civic duty to remain at home 

“Dever cívico” – exists in the Portuguese constitution and it refers to several aspects of our life in a democracy. A civic duty is based on the responsibility of citizenship of each person. For instance, the Portuguese have the civic duty of voting, not the mandatory obligation of voting.

“Dever cívico de recolhimento domiciliário” – it is the duty that implies the concern to avoid activities and travelling that involve “a broad social contact” and is “a manifestation of confidence in the discernment and common sense of each of us as citizens” in following the protective measures that must be complied with. A quote from a newspaper reads: “Because freedom can only exist with responsibility and, whoever does not fulfil these responsibilities, is contributing to this nightmare continuing”.

“Each of us has the duty to reduce social contacts, to adjust our life to this new reality, but at the same time live and enjoy life as much as possible. So nothing is closed, but this doesn’t mean that you have to go to a restaurant every day and to go to one 75kms away from home – go less and closer to home has to be the rule. Going to the shopping malls should be because you really need something from there and not to go out for a few hours doing some window-shopping and so on and so on….” You get the message.

Curfew Measures

 80% of Portuguese were at home, study indicates

Data collected from a computer application installed on close to 3700 mobile phones shows that the Portuguese fulfilled the curfew, which started at 13:00 hrs on Saturday. This Sunday even more people are expected to stay at home.

The Portuguese fulfilled the mandatory curfew that was in effect from 1 pm this Saturday in response to the increase in cases and hospitalizations due to the Covid-19. That is exactly the data collected by the company PSE, which monitors the movements of 3670 people through a mobile phone application – figures that show that, at 2 pm on Saturday, 80% of the Portuguese were at home. More than half of the people (55%) did not even leave the residence throughout the day, a figure that on the previous Saturday was 42%.

The mobility data was released on Sunday through a statement from the company, which reveals that, between noon and 2 pm, 22% of the Portuguese returned home, where at the beginning of the curfew, at 1 pm, they were already 73% of the participants in the sample. The number is quite different from that recorded on the previous Saturday, which at that time accounted for just over 50% of the Portuguese at home. The same shows the images of the main Portuguese cities with deserted streets. 


DGS Covid-19 Situation 

Portugal registered 81 more deaths and 4,452 new cases of Covid-19, according to the daily bulletin this Tuesday from the Directorate-General for Health.

A further 7,290 people have recovered, totalling 149,445 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Since Sunday, there are five more patients hospitalized in the Intensive Care Units, totalling 431. In relation to hospital admissions, 3,028 people are hospitalized, 12 less than on Monday.

Taking into account recoveries, deaths and new cases over the last 24 hrs DGS reveals that 77,126 cases of infection are active, 2,919 fewer than on Monday.

Health officials now have 80,817 people under surveillance, down 14,537 in the past 24 hours.

By Region – Totals to date in brackets

North –  2,941 more cases (116,966); 43 people died (total: 1,650); 

Lisbon and the Tagus Valley – 812 more cases (81,621); 21 fatalities (total: 1,323); 

Centre Region – 352 more cases (total: 21,406) and 11 dead (total: 444); 

Alentejo – 243 more infected (total: 4,547) and four deaths (total: 83);

Algarve – 65 more cases (total: 4,238) and two dead (total: 36); 


Health

Additional ICU Beds

The Government yesterday announced the opening of more than 230 intensive care beds in the North, which result from the “reorganization” of services, adaptation of spaces and which prove the “effort” of the National Health Service to “give answers”.

The announcement was made by the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, in Vila Verde, Braga district, during the signing ceremony of agreements with 10 Santas Casa da Misericórdia, chaired by the Prime Minister, António Costa.

In her speech, Marta Temido made a point of “giving a clear note about the effort” of the National Health Service (SNS) “in each of its centers, in each of its institutions, to expand its responses”.

That “effort”, described the minister, materializes in the opening of more beds of Intensive Care Medicine: “The Hospital Center of Tâmega e Sousa will have available nine more beds of intensive care, the result of a reorganization that made, I stress that the Hospital Centre of Between Douro and Vouga an adaptation of an old cafeteria is underway, which will be ready this Wednesday and which will have another intensive care unit, and Vila Nova de Gaia Espinho will have another 28 intensive care beds until the end this month “, she enumerated.

The minister also said that more than 200 beds will be available in Lousada and Póvoa de Lanhoso, 40 of which will be available in this municipality “this week”.

Marta Temido underlined that “these are examples of what is the effort of continuous adaptation to respond to the needs of the Portuguese” .

Covid-19: Death toll rises to five in Caminha

The death of a resident of the Bom Jesus dos Mareantes home in Caminha has raised the number of deaths in that institution to 5, which currently has 54 residents and 24 employees infected with the new coronavirus, it was revealed today.

Contacted by the Lusa agency, the director of that institution in the district of Viana do Castelo, Cristina Malhão, said that the user died on Monday, of the 54 infected elderly “4 are hospitalized”.

Before the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, detected on the 3rd, the home welcomed a total of 63 elderly people.

Of the total of 42 employees, the Covid-19 outbreak infected 24, of which “only 9 are available to work, because the rest were already on medical leave”.

Cristina Malhão said that, on Monday, a Rapid Intervention Brigade arrived at the institution, composed of 2nurses and 4 assistants.

“The situation is not stabilized. It is a little more controlled. I can take the institution like this for another week. I cannot take much longer. I need my employees to start testing negative to return to their workplace”, he said.

On Sunday, the Mayor of Caminha asked for help in dealing with the “chaotic” situation in the Bom Jesus dos Mareantes home, which on that day recorded four deaths.

New platform for the surveillance of the pandemic in Portugal announced

The general director of Health, Graça Freitas, announced that the BI SINAVE platform started operating this Monday. In a press conference, she explained that this is a new platform for the surveillance of the pandemic in Portugal, necessary due to the “intense epidemiological activity”.

“It results from the joint work between teams from the Directorate-General for Health and Shared Services of the Ministry of Health. It constitutes an improvement to the National Epidemiological Surveillance System with a view to the future”, she added.

Graça Freitas also said that it is a more advanced and robust system for the treatment of data and for viewing relevant information that allows collection of an increasing volume of data in order to communicate the information more quickly and with greater quality and detail. He added that it is aimed at citizens, authorities, and academia and policy makers.

The official also said that, with BI SINAVE, it was possible to identify 225,672 cases of Covid-19 in Portugal, of which 1.9% were completed and included in the new system, and 142,155 people recovered since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Director-General of Health also stressed that the new platform does not add data to the database and clarified that it is intended to include them in a “more correct and timely manner”.

Covid-19: 368 cases among prisoners, prison workers and youth in educational centres

A total of 368 positive cases of Covid-19 among workers, prisoners and young people hospitalized in educational centres have already been registered in about 20,000 people from the Directorate-General for Reintegration and Prison Services, reported today institution.

According to information sent to the Lusa agency by the Directorate-General for Reinsertion and Prison Services (DGRSP), there are 368 positive cases for the new coronavirus, distributed among 81 workers (54 prison guards, 15 health professionals, 6 professional social reintegration technicians, 2 technical assistants, 2 teachers, a kitchen assistant and a private company security guard) and 285 inmates and 2 children of inmates in the Tires Prison.

There are still to be recorded, according to the DGRSP, 152 recovered cases, being 83 of workers, 65 of prisoners and four of young people hospitalized in Educational Centres.

Thus, and still according to information from the DGRSP, there are 93 prisoners and 6 workers from the Lisbon Prison (EPL) who tested positive, with 31 prisoners still to be seen.

The DGRSP refers to the purpose that, under the contingency plan, determined  “the allocation of positive prisoners, generally asymptomatic, to a single wing of the EPL, where they will remain in isolation, separated from the rest of the prison population and under surveillance and monitoring by clinical personnel of the EPL “In the meantime, the Sapadores Firefighters of Lisbon have already carried out two disinfections in the EPL facilities.

As for the Guimarães Prison (EPG), all inmates were tested on Saturday, with all the results received indicating that there were 23 positive inmates in that jail.

Red Cross provides 150,000 rapid antigen tests to government 

Red Cross has already given 100 thousand rapid antigen tests to the Government and has another 150 thousand in the facilities to offer.

As for the delivery deadline for the remaining 250,000 rapid antigen tests, it is also being discussed with the Government, although there is a “guarantee from suppliers for availability in weeks”

After having made available a batch of 100 thousand rapid antigen tests, for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 to the Government, the Portuguese Red Cross is co-ordinating with the executive the delivery of the remaining 400,000. Of these, 150,000 are already on the premises of the Red Cross, the remaining 250,000 are on order, Gonçalo Órfão, manager of the Covid-19 Special Testing Program of the Portuguese Red Cross, explained to the Public. “The delivery time is being discussed with the Government, but we have a guarantee from suppliers for availability in weeks,” he added.

According to this official, the tests made available by the Red Cross to the Government (and which have been accepted) are “for use by the Government, can be used as the Government decides”. Gonçalo Órfão guarantees that the Government pays nothing for them, because they were obtained in the scope of international financing. The program manager explains that the Portuguese Red Cross has applied, like other similar institutions, for funding from the International Federation of the Red Cross, which in turn has applied for Community funds – the amount from these funds that will be distributed for the various applications from different counterpart institutions in other countries.

According to Gonçalo Órfão, although the Portuguese Red Cross already has a minimum value of three million euros, it still does not know, at this moment, the final amount it will receive.

Party discussions concerning State of Emergency extension

The Government is considering creating three levels of municipalities and adopting different measures to contain the Covid-19 in each of them, said ENP deputy and director José Luís Ferreira today.

After a meeting with the President of the Republic, in the Palace of Belém, in Lisbon, the deputy of the Ecological Party “Os Verdes” (ENP) declared to journalists that the possibility for the Government to “scale the municipalities according to gravity”, under of the State of Emergency, was communicated by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

“There would be a minimum step for those municipalities that are between 240 and 480 daily cases [per 100 thousand inhabitants], that was the minimum level, which means that the restrictions there will be lighter. There is then an intermediate step that involves the counties between 480 cases and 960; and a maximum step, where the restrictions will be more intense, in cases where the counties check a number higher than 960 “, he said.

According to the deputy of the ENP, only in the councils of this last step “would there be the limits that are now existing at the level of weekends”.

“In other words, contrary to what is happening with this State of Emergency today, apparently the Government will be considering dividing or scaling the municipalities in three depending on gravity”, he reiterated.


Enforcement

PSP and GNR make 14 arrests at the curfew weekend – 13 for disobedience and one for resistance / coercion

The PSP and GNR carried out 14 arrests during the last weekend when mandatory curfew was ordered because of the new coronavirus pandemic. During the same period, the two security forces issued 221 administrative orders for failure to comply with the rules in force in the State of Emergency.

In this period, 51 establishments were also closed and the activity of 7 others was suspended due to non-compliance with the operating rules (namely in terms of opening hours or rules of occupation, permanence and physical distance).

The data released by the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI) reveal the causes of the arrests: 8 for disobedience to the obligation of mandatory confinement; 2 for disobedience to the obligation to close facilities and establishments; and 1 for disobedience to the prohibition of circulation rule, disobedience to the rules of operation in the restaurant, disobedience to the rules related to physical and sports activities and resistance / coercion on employees.

On the other hand, the administrative orders are mainly due to non-compliance with the use of a mask for access, circulation and permanence in public spaces and roads (60 cases); non-compliance with the use of a mask in establishments, concert halls or publi