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 Jennie Kelly and David Thomas

Situation Reports Portgual 2020-11-07 to 2021-01-30

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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Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 7th April 2021

Introduction

Good morning – Yesterday was highlighted by statements concerning Covid-19 mainly from the Prime Minister, but also from the Minister of Internal Administration Eduarda Cabrita. In fact they occupied most of the media headlines throughout the day.

Turning to that of Eduardo Cabrita – He made it very clear being asked by journalists that there are no plans to relax border controls with Spain soon.  This is as well, because it was reported that yesterday Spain had registered 6623 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. This is approximately 20 times more than Portugal (allowing for the lack of reporting over the weekend) with a population approximately four times the size!

This brings me to the subject of a few reports on social media of the “sudden emergence” (as one person put it) of foreign plated cars, over fears of an influx of tourists who may be infected. This is not been backed up by any evidence. Yes there was more movement of people and cars over the Easter period and also as a result of the easing of lockdown measures, but there is nothing to suggest that people are crossing the land border other than in accordance with the exemptions under the law. It is very clear that a priority for government is ensuring the integrity of the border, backed up by the extensive enforcement action we have seen, to avoid the risk of imported cases especially the variants that have been reported recently.

Yesterday the Prime Minister gave a long briefing to journalists following video calls with the Mayors of Alandroal, Carregal do Sal, Moura, Odemira, Portimão, Ribeira da Pena and Rio Maior. These are the counties that are at the top of the list of incidence rates in mainland Portugal.

Of particular concern is the fact that twenty-five municipalities of the Regional Health Administration of the North (ARS-N) recorded a growth of more than 50% of new cases of infection by SARS-CoV-2 between the penultimate and the last week of March.

He made it very clear that measures will be stepped up in these areas through inspections by security forces in the municipalities with the highest incidence of cases of Covid-19 will be reinforced and inspections of the health conditions of temporary housing intensified. The situation is being monitored daily.

At this point we should all give a thought to the immense pressure on the security forces who undertake this work, plus border controls and many other duties related to Covid-19 they are undertaking, in addition to their normal duties!

He also expressed his concern about the speed of transmission of Covid-19 infections in schools, which he associated with the British variant (discovered in the UK), and emphasising that further testing and expansion of surveillance is underway.

The main focus however was the appeal the Prime Minister made to citizens who “are enjoying the reopening of various activities”, such as the terraces. He stated “It is very good that they can do it, but it would be very good that we can continue to do it”. He said this yesterday after images of terraces full of people on terraces were disseminated by the media. It is, therefore, “essential”, he says, “that we can live this moment of reopening but with all cautions”.

In other words de-confinement will give us greater freedom to enjoy activities, but with this comes individual responsibility – to abide by the rules, such as social distancing, facemasks and hygiene. There can be no relaxation of these measures because if we do we will see cases rise, increased hospitalisations and serious cases and those in ICU.

Portugal has done so well over the last 6 weeks. We are at a crucial time and we cannot let all the sacrifice that people have made fail.

Yesterday there was confusion over an employee of the European Medicines Agency, who stated that “a link” had been established between AstraZeneca and the formation of thromboembolisms. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) however subsequently denied on Tuesday that a causal connection between the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare blood clot formation has already been established.

The vaccine review process “is currently underway,” EMA said in a statement to the agency France-Presse. In the same note, he adds that the conclusions of the agency’s security committee should be made known this Wednesday or Thursday

Yesterday was Civil Protection Day and a vastly reduced ceremony was held at the ANEPC Headquarters. The ceremony began with a tribute to all those who lost their lives in the service of Civil Protection. Included was the presentation of the Civil Protection Merit Medal (posthumously) to the family of the pilot Jorge Manuel Santana Jardim, who died in the fire in Ourense and was granted by the Government of the Kingdom of Spain by order of the Spanish Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez.

We thank the ANEPC and all its agents which includes the Bombeiros, GNR, PSP and INEM to name but a few, who put their lives on the line in dealing with various emergencies on a daily basis, and major incidents such as rural fires.

Please have a Safe Day.


Headlines

Covid-19: António Costa announces “massive testing actions” in the most critical areas.

The Prime Minister, António Costa, met this Tuesday with the mayors of councils with more than 120 cases of Covid-19 per 100 thousand inhabitants.

António Costa announced “massive testing actions” in the most critical areas, namely aimed at workers in large works, industry and agriculture.

The meeting took place by video call and joined the Prime Minister to the mayors of Alandroal, Carregal do Sal, Moura, Odemira, Portimão, Ribeira da Pena and Rio Maior. These are the counties that are at the top of the list of incidence rates in mainland Portugal.

At the end of the meeting, António Costa admits that “in agriculture the issue is critical”, leaving an appeal to employers to reinforce the protection of workers and employees so that they do not neglect the use of a mask during break times. In addition, the Prime Minister also announced the “reinforcement of the GNR and PSP in all municipalities with more than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, with a view to reinforcing the inspection actions”.

The Government has been warning that the incidence may be a criterion to curb the lack of deconfinement, the third phase of which is scheduled for April 19th. Municipalities above the risk threshold – which is defined in the 120 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants – may not advance on reopening.

The mayors argue that this criterion, in isolation, is unfair and harms the municipalities with the least population. Some experts agree. Luís Cadinha, President of the college of the Public Health specialty, considers that it would be a good measure to analyze the number of new cases with the number of active transmission chains in order to have a more complete and more real analysis.


Covid-19: Costa concerned about speed of contagion in schools and promises to reinforce surveillance.

Lisbon, 06 Apr 2021 (Lusa) – The Prime Minister expressed his concern today about the speed of transmission of Covid-19 infections in schools, which he associated with the British variant (discovered in the UK), and said that further testing and enlargement of surveillance is underway.

António Costa was speaking at a press conference in São Bento, after meeting with mayors of the seven municipalities by videoconference who registered more than 240 cases of Covid-19 per hundred thousand inhabitants in the last 15 days: Alandroal, Carregal do Sal , Moura, Odemira, Portimão, Ribeira de Pena and Rio Maior.

Faced with data that indicate an increase in contagions among children, especially since the schools reopened on March 15th, the leader of the executive acknowledged he was apprehensive.

“We have been following the situation very closely. As you recall, there was a testing of all teaching and non-teaching staff before the opening of day care centers, pre-school and primary school. And, to reinforce the grade for protection, massive vaccination of all teaching and non-teaching staff in educational establishments is underway, he said.

However, according to the Prime Minister, there is now new data.

“Contrary to what happened in the first period [of this academic year], it is that, now, as a result of this new [British] variant, which has greater transmissibility, as a rule, when a case is reported and when generalized testing is done, there are other cases soon, “revealed António Costa.

In that sense, according to the Prime Minister, after the identification of a case with a child in a school, “the respective families are also being tested”.

“We have to broaden the scope of surveillance because, in fact, this variant, as we had already realized in late December, increases transmission risks very significantly,” he added.


Covid-19.

This Tuesday’s bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) records two deaths and 874 new cases of Covid-19 in Portugal in the last 24 hours. The main statistics are as follows:

Confirmed Cases: 824,368 (+ 874 / + 0.16 %)

Number of admitted: 504 (-32 / -5.9 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 113 (+1 / +0.8 %)

Deaths: 16,887 (+ 2 / + 0.02 %)

Recovered: 781,537 (+ 894 / + 0.11 %)

Active cases: 25,944 (-22 /-0.08%)

DGS reported that the new cases data presented yesterday reflect the delay in the integration of 599 positive laboratory reports that report over the weekend, “in other words, only 275 refer to the last day”.

Safe Communities comparisons/trends: show that deaths lowest since 2nd September, those- In hospital are the lowest since 19th September -6365 less compared to number in hospital 1st February and in ICU a marginal increase. – Active cases – Lowest since 2nd October, decrease of 155,679 since 31st January 2021

IMPORTANT NOTE: Despite all this good news it is important not to let our guard down at this crucial time. Those in hospital and ICU remain high. This means complying with the rules in place, – wearing face masks, social distancing, hygiene and no social gatherings.


Norte has 25 municipalities with growth of more than 50% of new cases.

Twenty-five counties of the Regional Health Administration of the North (ARS-N) recorded a growth of more than 50% of new cases of infection by SARS-CoV-2 between the penultimate and the last week of March.

The ARS-N document, which Lusa had access to today, shows that 25 of the 85 municipalities under the tutelage accounted for a growth of more than 50% in new cases of infection between the penultimate (21 to 27 March) and the last week of March (28th to 3rd of April).

Of the 18 municipalities in the district of Porto, eight increased the number of new cases, with the highest growth being registered in Santo Tirso (467%), which went from six to 34 new cases.

The municipality of Valongo increased 177%, from 22 to 61 new cases, as well as Vila do Conde, which went from seven to 17 new cases, and Maia, which went from 17 to 39 new cases.

In Marco de Canaveses, Matosinhos, Paredes and Trofa the increase in new cases varied between 50% and 82%, with the same counties going from two to three new cases, from 38 to 58, from 24 to 41 and from 11 to 20 new cases, respectively.

In the district of Braga, the highest growth in new cases of infection by SARS-CoV-2 was registered in Amares (300%), which went from one to four new cases.

In the counties of Guimarães, Vila Nova de Famalicão and Braga the growth of new cases of infection varied between 58% and 75%, with the same counties increasing from 12 to 19 new cases, 38 to 63 and from 24 to 42 new cases, respectively.

The municipality of Esposende increased 133%, from three to seven new cases, as did Fafe, which increased from five to 11 new cases, and Vieira do Minho, which increased from two to four.

Of the 12 municipalities in the district of Bragança, three followed this growth trend, namely, Vimioso with 500% growth (increasing from one to six new cases), Mirandela with 300% (increasing from one to four) and Bragança with 100% (from three to six).


Health

Risk thresholds serve as a “warning sign for everyone”.

The Prime Minister said that a biweekly assessment is carried out to assess the state of the epidemic in Portugal and that, last week, the decision was taken to move forward with the lack of confinement. “This assessment has to be carried out every day”, he warns, saying that these thresholds “are very demanding and exist to serve as a warning sign for everyone”.

“If a municipality is evolving in a negative direction, this requires particular care. If these precautions do not produce the effects that we all want, we will have to take the measures that we do not want to take and that no one wants us to take ”, said António Costa. And he appealed to individual responsibility: “It is good that we all strive for things to go well. We are going to mobilise the authorities, we are going to increase the testing, but it is essential that each one is responsible for their own behaviour. ”

“From the beginning, it is foreseen” that the municipalities may show changes in numbers of cases at different speeds – except in the case of schools, whose measures are “national in scope”, emphasized the Prime Minister.


Costa admits that “cocktails” with AstraZeneca may make vaccination more time consuming.

The Prime Minister admitted today that, if the EMA confirms the existence of a “thromboembolism” with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, there will be inevitable consequences in the slowness of the European Union’s vaccination plans.

António Costa took this position at a press conference in São Bento, at the end of a videoconference meeting with mayors of the seven municipalities that recorded more than 240 cases of Covid-19 per hundred thousand inhabitants in the last 15 days: Alandroal, Carregal do Sal, Moura, Odemira, Portimão, Ribeira de Pena and Rio Maior.

Faced with the fact that the person responsible for the vaccination strategy at the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Marco Cavaleri, assumed the existence of a “link” between AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and the cases of thromboembolism after it António Costa said that it is necessary to wait for the official position of the EMA on the same matter.

“Within the framework of the European Union, we believe that it is essential that there is a uniform position in relation to the recommendations and indications set by the EMA with respect to each of the vaccines. If there is a snag, then this will have inevitable consequences in the vaccination process”, he pointed out the Prime Minister.

At this point, António Costa said that the vaccination process in Europe has been “strongly conditioned by the upstream production capacity”, namely “by the failure of AstraZeneca to fulfill its contractual obligations”.

“If there are increased restrictions, this will inevitably translate into a greater delay in the form of development of the vaccination plan”, reinforced the Prime Minister.

António Costa later observed that, at the moment, in the European Union, there are no alternative vaccines to immediately replace those from AstraZeneca.


AstraZeneca. Infarmed and task force maintain vaccination until EMA conclusions.

Infarmed rejects taking any unilateral stance on the alleged linkage of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 and the formation of thromboembolisms in vaccinated persons before the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announces a conclusion.

“Infarmed’s position is one of alignment with the European regulator. The EMA’s [Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee] meeting is taking place and a conclusion will be released as soon as it is over. We are waiting, said an official source from the National Medicines Authority to the Lusa agency.

The meeting of the European agency’s committee, which has representatives from Infarmed, started today and is expected to last until Friday, but issues surrounding the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and the AstraZeneca laboratory should be at the top of the agenda, after the declaration of the person in charge of the EMA vaccination strategy, Marco Cavaleri, confirming “a link” between the vaccine and the occurrence of blood clots.

“Obviously, this is a priority issue at the meeting and the committee will analyze the new data that has arrived from the different countries,” added the same source.

The task force that coordinates the vaccination plan against Covid-19 will also keep the AstraZeneca vaccine in the process until an official position emerges from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and the Infarmed.

“We will wait for the official position of EMA and DGS. For now, the AstraZeneca vaccine remains in the vaccination program ”, said a source from the coordination of the National Vaccination Plan against Covid-19.


Almost half of the Portuguese spent Easter away from home.

From Friday to Easter Sunday, 54% of Portuguese remained at home, according to data released this Tuesday by the consultancy PSE, which specializes in data science. This means that there were 27% fewer people at home at Easter compared to 2020. The day with the greatest confinement since the beginning of the pandemic was Easter Sunday last year, when 79% of people were confined at home.

Last Saturday, the confinement was 49.2% and, on Easter Sunday, it was 56.5%, according to these data for 2021. The company statement said that “this year’s confinement was halfway” than was the Easter period last year.

The ban on movement between municipalities was in effect between 00:00 on March 26th and 23:59 on Monday, April 5th. Before the ban between municipalities for the Easter period came into force, the PSE revealed that about 10.7% had spent the night more than 100 kms from their usual residence on 25 March. In the week of 22 to 26 March, the level of deflation was “stable” and 38% of the Portuguese had stayed at home – almost the same value recorded before the start of the second confinement, in January.

These figures are collected by monitoring the location and means of travel of a panel of 4992 individuals representing the population over 15 years of age residing in mainland Portugal, says the PSE.


Border with Spain.

Carnaxide, Oeiras, 06 Apr 2021 (Lusa) – The Minister of Internal Administration said today that the control of people at the land and river borders between Portugal and Spain will continue as long as it is “strictly necessary”, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, without advancing dates.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI) confirmed that the borders with Spain will remain closed until April 15 and today Minister Eduardo Cabrita said that, as long as necessary, the measure is to be maintained.

“Borders will be subject to control as long as this is strictly necessary”, underlined Eduardo Cabrita, speaking to journalists following the commemorative session of the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC) Day.

Asked if it was already possible to set a date for the lifting of controls, the government official preferred not to take any chances, referring to a new assessment of the epidemiological situation in both countries.

“We all want to be able to regain normality, but what we do is a bi-weekly evaluation and here we will not run the imprudence that is making a projection that is contradicted by reality”, he explained.

The borders with Spain have been closed since January 31 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with circulation only allowed between the two countries at the 18 authorized crossing points (PPA).

According to MAI, the limitations do not prevent the entry into Portugal of national citizens and holders of residence permits in Portugal, but those from the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa and countries with an equal Covid-19 incidence rate or more than 500 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, who enter Portugal by land, must comply with a period of prophylactic isolation of 14 days, at home or in a place indicated by the health authorities.


Situation in Spain.

Spain registered 6623 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infected people in the country to 3,317,948 so far, with contagions rising, according to data released by the Spanish Ministry of Health. Health services also accounted for 128 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 75,911.

The incidence of the disease (number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days) rose from 163 (Monday) to 165 (Tuesday).

In the last 24 hours, 1126 people were admitted to hospitals across the country, of which 276 in Madrid, 236 in Catalonia and 199 in Andalusia. There are now 9463 people hospitalized with Covid-19, 1990 of these in intensive care units.

The Spanish Prime Minister anticipated this Tuesday that, taking into account a “prudent and conservative” scenario, the rate of vaccination will increase so that, at the end of August, 70% of the population, 33 million people, will be immunized.


International Travel

WHO does not agree with vaccination passports for now.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that it does not support, for now, the request for “vaccination passports” to allow circulation between countries. At stake is the uncertainty related to the transmission of the virus in vaccinated people – a vaccinated person is protected against the serious form of the disease, but can become infected and transmit the virus to it – and also unequal access to vaccines, justified this Tuesday. WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris was quoted by Reuters.

The spokeswoman also said that the WHO will debate the approval of Chinese Covid-19 vaccines by Sinopharm and Sinovac for emergency use, possibly in late April – but, for now, more data on these vaccines is needed.


Social Support for workers extended.

Extraordinary Support for Workers’ Income will be extended to include situations with declines in income recorded in the first quarter of this year, the Minister of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security announced in parliament today.

The Extraordinary Support for Workers’ Income (AERT) will be extended, to include situations with falls in income recorded in the first quarter of this year, announced today the minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, in parliament.

Minister Ana Mendes Godinho was speaking in parliament at a joint hearing with the Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Vieira, about the economic and social response to the Covid-19 pandemic, carried out at the request of the PSD.

The official said that the AERT, support that came into force with the State Budget for 2021 (OE2021), will be changed “to extend and ensure that the calculation of the loss of revenue with reference to the first quarter of 2021 is already taken into account coverage of workers “. The objective is to guarantee that the breaks felt in the confinement “will be taken into account when defining the support”, explained the minister.

“We want to ensure that the breaches felt in the confinement in 2020/2021 will be taken into account when defining support and with retroactive payments, to ensure that those who requested in January and saw the request not granted for not having a breach in the last quarter of 2020 in the face of 2019 it is covered and also that those who do not have activity in 2019 have a way of being covered “, said Ana Mendes Godinho.

The AERT covers workers in situations of economic protection and provides support between 50 euros and 501.16 euros, subject to the condition of resources, in most situations.

At the hearing, the minister also said that the Government is preparing a new mechanism for “simplifying instalment plans for settling debts to Social Security”, no longer requiring guarantees, and there is now “tacit approval” for there to be a response fast.


Vaccination

Covid-19. Porto and São João Hospital sign agreement to create “drive-thru” vaccination centre

The Porto Council approved this Monday the memorandum of understanding with the Centro Hospitalar de São João, for the creation of Covid-19 Vaccination Centre under Drive-Thru regime, in Queimódromo.

At the executive’s meeting, the mayor, the independent Rui Moreira, indicated that the mass vaccination plan in the city of Porto has been articulated with the task force, governing council of the Northern Regional Health Administration (ARS Norte), Carlos Nunes and Secretary of State Eduardo Pinheiro, appointed by the Government to coordinate the plan to combat Covid-19 in the Northern Region.

In a note published on its official page, the municipality says that at that meeting it made known the steps that Porto has taken to prepare for large-scale vaccination, starting with the drive-thru vaccination centre, ready to operate at Queimódromo do Parque da Cidade about two months ago, which was formalized today with the approval of the proposal at the meeting of the municipal executive.


Civil Service Teleworking Performance

Completion of a study by DGAEP.

The productivity and quality of work of public servants working in teleworking has remained the same or improved compared to that registered when they are in person, according to the results of a study carried out by the Directorate-General for Administration and Public Employment  (DGAEP).

According to the study “The adaptation of work organization models in central public administration during the Covid-19 pandemic: difficulties and opportunities”, which is presented today, most of the directors of the 29 direct and indirect central government entities participating , gives a positive note to the quality of the work.

“About 60 percent of the respondent managers evaluate the quality of work as being the same, regardless of whether their workers are working in person or in teleworking” says the study, specifying that “27.27 percent of the managers think that the quality of work has improved or improved a lot when performed in teleworking regime ”.

Only 12.41 percent of managers gave a negative score when asked about the quality of the work developed in teleworking.

This study, to which Lusa had access and which was presented today in a session attended by the Minister of Modernization of the State and Public Administration, Alexandra Leitão, and the Secretary of State for Public Administration, José Couto, counted on the participation of 4,445 workers from a universe of more than 42,000 that integrate those 29 entities.

The study also reveals that the majority of managers (66.61 percent) did not find resistance to teleworking by workers, while 52 percent also reported that there was never or almost never resistance when conditions allowed them to return to face-to-face work.

“Nevertheless, 37.41 percent say that this resistance [of returning to face-to-face work] was manifested at times and 9.79 percent admit that it was always or almost always noticed”, says the study.

It is recalled that following the first general confinement, in 2020, about 68,000 civil servants were telecommuting. In the current confinement, that number was 60,000, according to Minister Alexandra Leitão, told Lusa.


University of Aveiro starts testing in the academic community.

The University of Aveiro (UA) will start this Tuesday, the 6th, the first phase of testing for Covid-19 screening in the academic community, according to a source from the higher education institution.

In the first phase, “all members of the academic community who carry out on-site activity on campuses (sets of academic buildings) will be tested. The tests will take place between 8 am and 8 pm, at the Artistides Hall Pavilion, for those who work at the Santiago Campus and the Crasto Campus, taking place at the same time at the Escola Superior Aveiro Norte (ESAN) and Escola Superior de Tecnologia and Águeda Management, for those who are active there.


Enforcement

GNR intercepts bus with 50 foreigners who entered Portugal at an unauthorized point.

GNR intercepted this Monday a bus with 50 foreign passengers that entered Portugal through the border of Marco, in the municipality of Arronches, district of Portalegre, at an unauthorized crossing point, said a source from that security force.

According to the same source, the bus, with two drivers, also foreign, was sent in the early afternoon to the border of Caia, in Elvas, also in the district of Portalegre, to be inspected by elements of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), due to the control of people on the borders between Portugal and Spain, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A police source indicated to the Lusa agency that 48 passengers stayed at the border, in the territory of Spain, for their situation to be analysed by the Spanish police, SEF was responsible for verifying the situation of two people and two others were allowed to remain in Portugal.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs announced on Sunday that the control of people at land and river borders between Portugal and Spain will continue until April 15 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Circulation between Portugal and Spain at the 18 authorized crossing points (PPA) is limited to the international transport of goods, duly documented cross-border and seasonal workers, and emergency and emergency vehicles and emergency services.


Youth unemployment.

February will have seen slight improvements in youth employment, according to provisional estimates released yesterday by INE, which account for more than 9700 young people aged up to 24 in the labour market compared to the previous month. National employment still remained 1.7% below the pre-pandemic level, with 79 thousand fewer people working.

In what was, in 2021, the first full month of activity restrictions adopted by the government in response to the new wave of the pandemic, the monthly evolution of employment contrasts with that of a year ago, in April, during the first month of confinement in the country.

In the first month entirely marked by restrictions in 2020, almost 70 thousand jobs will have been lost, according to the current data from INE. The first full month of confinement imposed this year, February, witnesses a slight gain in employment, with nine thousand more people working than in January, reflecting improvements in youth employment data.

According to INE, the employed population increased by 0.2% in February, to 4.67 million people. The two tenths of earnings are largely achieved in the 16 to 24 age group, where the number of those in employment has increased from 240.6 thousand to 250.3 thousand. Among the older population, employment continued to decline, as did women.


Poll: Marcelo and Costa’s popularity rising, but 71% of Portuguese people want the President to be more demanding with the Government.

Both the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister saw their performance assessment rise compared to February and Rui Rio takes over from André Ventura, indicates a study carried out for DN, JN and TSF

Most Portuguese continue to trust the President of the Republic more than the Prime Minister. However, when asked about their assessment of the performance of the two politicians at the head of these two positions, the appreciation is not only positive in relation to both, but has improved compared to the month of February.

According to the barometer carried out by Aximage for DN, JN and TSF, 72% of respondents give Marcelo a good or very good performance, four percentage points more than what they reported in the same study in February. António Costa has had a positive performance for 61% of Portuguese, against 22% of negative responses.

And despite some moments of disagreement between the two leaders (the last episode around the promulgation of social support by the PR and sent to the Constitutional Court by António Costa was after this survey was carried out), the majority of Portuguese (71%) understand that Marcelo should be “more demanding with the Government”.

Women, the elderly, the poorest and the socialist voters are the groups that most appreciate Marcelo and Costa, according to the analysis made by JN.

The Aximage barometer also questions the perception of the performance of the Government and the opposition as a whole and the balance is clearly favourable for the socialist executive , with 55% positive evaluations (plus five percentage points) and 24% (minus nine percentage points) ) of negative appraisals.


Covid-19. In 2020 there were 71 people who died in Portugal waiting for a transplant.

The 21% reduction in organ transplants last year, compared to 2019, portrays the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in this area. 24 more people died while waiting for a transplant

In 2020, 696 organs were transplanted in Portugal, 183 fewer than in 2019. The rate of use of the organs increased, which represents a positive aspect, but which was still insufficient to compensate for the decrease in transplants performed in the country. At the end of 2020, there were still 2196 people waiting for a transplant, according to the annual report of the Institute of Blood and Transplantation (IPST), and 71 even ended up losing their lives while waiting for surgery, 24 more than in 2019.

Kidney transplants (minus 274) and liver transplants (minus 185) were those where the greatest breaks were felt, while heart transplants (four more) and pancreas transplants (two more) registered slight increases. There were even fewer six lungs transplanted. But the decreases were felt in the number of referenced donors, effective donors, harvested organs and transplanted organs. Until December 2020, there were 253 deceased donors, 94 less than in 2019. The decrease in living donors was 46%.

Despite the difficulties, the report from the National Coordination of Transplantation emphasizes the adaptability of Portuguese hospitals and the commitment of the teams to try to overcome the constraints caused by the pandemic, an effort that was reflected in the increased rate of use of organs harvested from deceased donors. . Of the 750 organs harvested (197 fewer than in 2019), 87% ended up being able to be used, which represents a growth compared to the 84% recorded in 2019.


Other news

Minister of Internal Administration highlights resilience of the Civil Protection System.

The Minister of Internal Administration thanked the operatives who are part of the National Civil Protection System, in a particularly demanding year marked by the pandemic.

During the commemorative session of the Day of the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC), Eduardo Cabrita highlighted the work carried out both by those who are directly part of the ANEPC and by all those who are part of the system, leaving them with words of “deep recognition”.

“This system involves all those who, in the fire brigades, in the security forces and services, in the armed forces, in institutions of various governmental areas, in the local authorities, are partners in responding to multiple challenges”, said Eduardo Cabrita.

“If the challenge of responding to rural fires is the one that the greatest visibility, sometimes for tragic reasons, takes on in the Authority’s response, I would like here to give a very special word to those who, in all this structure, in more than a hundred meetings from the civil protection subcommittee, responded to what is an exchange of concerns and, above all, operational responses that involved everyone, “he added.

The Minister also considered that the experience of the 14 years of ANEPC, and the last in particular, made the country “more resilient, more cohesive and more determined”, ensuring that Civil Protection will be ready “for the challenges of the future”.



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Wednesday 7th April by our Special Correspondent

Covid-19 update (as of April 5th)

There were 54 new Covid-19 cases, 84 recoveries and no deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Saturday, there were 21 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland and 20 cases of local transmission) and 38 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 15, 2 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 14 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from Lithuania, 1 passenger who had arrived from Spain and 11 cases of local transmission) and 17 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 13, 2 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Monday, there were 19 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Venezuela and 18 cases of local transmission) and 29 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 11, 2 of whom were in intensive care.

There were 350 active cases on Monday, of which 20 had been imported while the other 330 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Monday, there had been 8,466 cases, 8,045 recoveries and 71 deaths.

On Monday, there were 19 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 320 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 11 patients in Covid-19 units, 2 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

On the same day, there were 106 suspected cases under epidemiological investigation and analysis, which were all linked to patients who tested positive for Covid-19, to calls made to the SRS24 helpline, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

There were 10,548 travellers under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There were also 609 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, 179,481 samples had been collected until Monday (at 15h30). By Monday, 348,770 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 224 calls from Friday to Monday. Overall, it has received 44,747 calls.

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 received 8 calls from Friday to Monday. Overall, it has received 3,273 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/04/03/21-novos-casos-de-Covid-19-38-recuperados-166-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/04/04/14-novos-casos-de-Covid-19-17-recuperados-56-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/04/05/19-novos-casos-de-Covid-19-29-recuperados-106-suspeitos/


Vaccination update

On Friday, 59 patients with Trisomy 21 were vaccinated. Vaccination of people aged 80 or older continued in the same week.

As of April 4th, 48,501 vaccine doses (31,630 1st doses and 16,871 2nd doses) had been administered since the start of Covid-19 vaccination on December 31st. Around 88% of the Region’s residents aged 80 or older had been inoculated with the 1st vaccine dose while 60% (6,683) had been fully vaccinated.

Pedro Ramos (Madeira’s Health and Civil Protection Secretary) expected the number administered doses to have exceeded 50,000 by Monday, with the inoculation of 1,200 teachers. He predicted that all teaching and non-teaching members of staff will be inoculated by the end of the week (April 11th). Around 3,600 teaching and non-teaching staff were inoculated in the week before Easter and 6,000 will be inoculated this week.

Pedro Ramos said that after the end of vaccination in Education, Tourism professionals will be vaccinated because the hotel industry will enable the continuing economic recovery.

A shipment of 8,500 AstraZeneca vaccine doses were delivered to the Region on Saturday. And on Monday, 23,900 Pfizer vaccine doses were delivered to the Region. These were the biggest ever shipments of both vaccines to the Region. Two more shipments of both vaccines are expected to arrive in the Region in April.

These deliveries will enable an increase in the speed of vaccination and in the vaccination rate. Indeed, Pedro Ramos described the current situation as “extremely” promising due to the increase in the number of vaccine doses that will become available. He said the Region had received around 50,000 vaccine doses (AstraZeneca and Pfizer) in the first quarter of the year. In April alone, the Region is expected to receive 59,000 vaccine doses, which is more than it had received in the first quarter.

As for the the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a single-dose vaccine, he explained that if 2.5% of Portugal’s total shipment of this vaccine (1.25 million doses) is delivered to the Region, it will enable the quick and full vaccination of 20,000-30,000 people. He predicted that the Region will have received more than 200,000 vaccine doses by the end of June.

A reminder that there will be 3 vaccination phases in Madeira. Priority groups will be the first to be vaccinated. Secondly, people with pre-existing conditions will be vaccinated. Lastly, the remainder of the population will be vaccinated. It is predicted that 50,000 people will be vaccinated in the 1st phase, 50,000 people in the 2nd phase and 100,000 people in the 3rd phase. Miguel Albuquerque, the President of Madeira Regional Government, stated the aim is for 70% of Region’s population (about 260,000 people) to be vaccinated by the end of the summer.

https://lifestyle.sapo.pt/saude/noticias-saude/artigos/Covid-19-madeira-recebeu-23-900-vacinas-da-pfizer

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/04/03/vacinas-da-astrazeneca-chegaram-hoje-ao-hospital/

https://www.sns.gov.pt/noticias/2021/02/16/Covid-19-vacinas-da-janssen/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/124185/No_final_do_verao_mais_de_70_da_populacao_podera_estar_vacinada_na_Madeira_

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/124180/Covid-19_No_final_do_dia_de_hoje_terao_sido_administradas_na_Madeira_50_mil_doses_da_vacina__

https://lifestyle.sapo.pt/saude/noticias-saude/artigos/Covid-19-madeira-avanca-para-vacinacao-do-setor-turistico-apos-concluir-processo-na-educacao

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/04/05/ja-foram-aplicadas-mais-de-48-mil-vacinas-na-ram/


Testing in educational institutions

Mass testing of 40,000 students and staff from all of the Region’s educational institutions is underway, particularly as in-person classes in secondary schools will be resuming on Thursday and in 3º ciclo schools on Monday. Educational institutions serving the remaining education stages had already resumed.

This is the fourth testing campaign (PCR tests) in the education sector. Overall, there have been around 500 Covid-19 cases involving people from Education, of which 30 of them were in March. According to Pedro Ramos (Madeira’s Health and Civil Protection Secretary), taking into account the number of people from Education who had been tested, March’s figures are “very low”.

https://www.sabado.pt/portugal/detalhe/20210405-1819-Covid-19-madeira-avanca-para-vacinacao-do-setor-turistico-apos-concluir-processo-na-educacao

https://lifestyle.sapo.pt/saude/noticias-saude/artigos/Covid-19-madeira-avanca-para-vacinacao-do-setor-turistico-apos-concluir-processo-na-educacao


Madeira was the Region which spent the most on the pandemic

The Autonomous Region of Madeira was the Portuguese region that spent the biggest proportion of money on the Covid-19 pandemic. Total spending was €137,5 million, which represented 10% of the spending. In contrast, spending on the pandemic by the Autonomous Region of the Azores was 3.9% by the Portuguese State was 2.1%.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/124065/Madeira_foi_a_regiao_que_mais_gastou_com_a_covid


More free wireless internet hotspots in the Ribeira Brava municipality

The Municipality of Ribeira Brava announced additional free wireless internet hotspots were set up in several public spaces throughout the municipality. This is a result of the project “WIFI4EU – Free wifi for Europeans”, a project financed by the European Commission that allows citizens and visitors in the European Union to have free and secure wireless internet access in the main places of interest. The Municipality received €15,000 for use in setting up the wireless infrastructure in areas that had previously not had free wireless internet hotspots. The use of these hotspots is free and without any time limits.

According to the municipality, the new hotspots were set up in the following places:

– Seafront in Ribeira Brava (next to the Fort)

– Ribeira Brava Church

Largo dos Herédia

Campo Municipal da Ribeira Brava

– Ponte Vermelha (Red Bridge – next to the Health Centre)

Centro Intergeracional de São João

Escola de São Paulo (school next to the car park at Marginal Ribeira Brava/Tabua)

– New bus stop (nova Central de autocarros)

Praceta da Tabua

Escola Cónego João Jacinto Gonçalves Andrade (school)

Miradouro da Rocha (Rocha Viewpoint) in Campanário

– Next to the parish building of Serra de Água (Junta de Freguesia da Serra de Água)

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/124175/Ribeira_Brava_aumenta_oferta_de_acessos_Wi-Fi_gratuitos_por_todo_o_concelho



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Wednesday 7th April 2021.

Faro: “Estaminé” rises from the ashes to open again in July

The only restaurant on Ilha Deserta, in Faro, which burned down on March 2nd, will rise again.

The team of the company “Animaris”, which will give shape to the project, returned to the island to start the debris removal work. The 33 employees of the company join the owner of the restaurant José Vargas, who, with the support of his family, decided not to let his arms down and set out to rebuild the well-known “Estaminé”.

According to José Vargas, the structure will be identical to the previous one, “a self-sufficient restaurant that respects, protects and is fully integrated into the landscape and the surrounding nature”.

The reconstruction of the structure can be followed through the social networks: instagram and facebook of the restaurant, where an updated photo of the process will be shared every week.

The goal is to reopen the space next July.

It is recalled that after the fire, the restaurant owner estimated the damage caused by the flames at more than one million euros, taking into account that the destruction was total.


Requalification and expansion of the Misericórdia de São Brás de Alportel Nursing Home has a cost of 2 million.

In São Brás de Alportel, the project for the expansion and requalification of the entire Home for the Third Age of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia is underway.

According to a note from the Municipality, the work on the building of the Residential Structure for the Elderly (ERPI), Day Center and Home Support Service of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia of São Brás de Alportel will allow the replacement of 85 beds, in cooperation with the Social Security.

The extended area that will be built from scratch, will have 12 new double rooms, a living room and activities with pantry. The existing area will be preserved, whose remodeling “aims to improve the comfort of those who work and live in this space”, points out the municipality.

The execution of the project prepared by Arquitrulho, Lda, was awarded to the company Martins Gago & Filhos, Lda, for the value of 2,091,922.95 euros.

An investment that is financed by community funds from Portugal 2020 – CRESCAlgarve, but also with support from the Rainha D. Leonor Fund (Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa and União das Misericórdias Portuguesas) and the Municipality of São Brás de Alportel.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/requalificacao-e-ampliacao-do-lar-de-terceira-idade-da-misericordia-de-sao-bras-de-alportel-tem-um-custo-de-2-milhoes/37617-4



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 7th April 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Vaccine Delivery 

On Monday the 6th of April, 23,400 doses of vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech, were delivered to the region.  These will serve to vaccinate the over 75 year-olds and people over 50 with priority pathologies, announced the Regional Health Authority.

“Half of this batch will be delivered directly by the supplier to the Hospital de Santo Espírito in Angra do Heroísmo, and the other half will be delivered, in the same way, to the Hospital do Divino Espírito Santo, in Ponta Delgada”, the Health Authority said in a statement.

The region intends to “continue the vaccination process against Covid-19, of people over 75 years old, as well as those who, over 50 years old, were identified with the priority pathologies of the first vaccination phase”.

During the month of April, the region will receive an additional 17,550 doses of vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech and 18,500 doses of “AstraZeneca”, with “the sum of the two supplies from Pfizer-BioNTech going to allow vaccination of 20,475 people, reserving an equal number of doses for the second inoculation, three weeks later”.

The Health Authority said, of AstraZeneca’s vaccines, the total doses expected for the region in April “will allow the reserve of 8,500 doses for the second inoculations referring to the vaccination carried out last March, with a total of 10,000 for first vaccinations”.

According to the Regional Health Authority, the region “predicts that this month, all people belonging to the first vaccination phase will have at least one dose administered”.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,384 tests is 52.  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 all the cases with 51. There is one case on the island of Santa Maria.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 40 in total.  39 on the island of São Miguel and one on Terceira, making the island Covid free once more.

Most of the cases are on the island of São Miguel now, with just one on the island of Santa Maria.

A total of 6 patients are in hospital, all at the Divino Espírito Santo Hospital, in Ponta Delgada, with two in intensive care.

As of today, the Region is registering 127 active positive cases: 126 on the island of São Miguel (74 in Ponta Delgada, 24 in Nordeste, 15 in Vila Franca do Campo, seven in Ribeira Grande, four in Lagoa and two in Povoação) and one case on the island of Santa Maria in the parish of Santa Bárbara, municipality of Vila do Porto.   There are 907 active surveillance cases.

On the island of São Miguel, the municipalities of Lagoa, Povoação, Ribeira Grande and Vila Franca do Campo are at Very Low Risk In turn, the municipality of Ponta Delgada is at Medium-High Risk and the municipality of Nordeste is at High Risk.  All municipalities of the remaining islands of the archipelago are at Very Low Risk.  More information on the measures in force can be found online at: https://covid19.azores.gov.pt/ and on the Facebook page of the Regional Directorate for Health: https://www.facebook.com/DirecaoSaudeAcores.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 4,247 positive cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed in the Azores, with 3,982 people recovering from the disease. There were 30 deaths, 67 people who left the archipelago and 41 cases with a history of previous cure. A total of 199 local transmission chains have been extinguished.

To date, 401,044 screening tests for Covid-19 have been carried out in the Azores.  From last December 31 to March 30, 43,812 people aged 15 or over were vaccinated in the archipelago (28,376 received the first dose – 14.01% of the population and 15,436 the second dose – 7.62% of the population), as part of the first phase of the Regional Vaccination Plan. More information at: https://vacinacao-covid19.azores.gov.pt.

As determined by the Regional Health Authority, the school community of the municipality of Nordeste, São Miguel Island, is being tested today, after the population of the parish of Achadinha, in the same municipality, was screened yesterday.

With the arrival of 23,400 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the Region on Monday, the vaccination process for people over 75 will continue as well as for those over 50 with health conditions that fall within the priority groups covered by the first vaccination phase.



Portugal Situation Report Saturday 3rd April 2021

Introduction

Good morning – Phase 2 of de-confinement is going ahead in al municipalities as from Monday 5th April. This eagerly awaited step will allow us to enjoy many activities: for instance going to restaurants (terraces only) and visiting certain shops that have been closed for some time, although there will of course be certain limitations in place.

We outlined the details of the de-confinement plan on our website, as well as publishing this on our Facebook page on Thursday night, upon the conclusion of the Council of Ministers meeting. Clearly of interest it reached around 28,000 people.

There was also however a condition in this as set out by the Prime Minister, as there were 19 municipalities where the incidence rate was 120 and above i.e. ‘over the government red line’ announced in mid-March. More details are expected to be set out in the decree law expected to be published today or in the next day or so.

The Prime Minister warned that the next stages of deflation i.e.  Phase 3 due for 19th April and beyond, would be dependent on the risk assessment of each municipality. If any municipality registers, in two consecutive evaluations, a transmissibility index greater than 1 and an incidence of new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants greater than 120, it will not advance in the next phase of deflation. There is concern however of the increasing R (t) rate which is reported as over 1 in some areas – linking this to the first phase of de-confinement.

This is a very clear message and incentive for all of us to redouble our efforts to contain this disease. With every stage of de-confinement comes an increase in movement and with that an increase in risk. If that risk materialises into higher cases and increased hospitalisations for instance, we can expect government to apply the brake quickly.

Being under confinement for such a long time, it is natural and human nature that people will venture out more and we will see on Monday many more people around on the streets. In the desire to make use of our new found freedom we must play by the rules and not exploit them.

This means the wearing of facemasks where required, avoid gatherings except in accordance with the law, respect social distancing and ensure compliance with hygiene requirements.  For instance at restaurants, cafés and snack bars for food service on terraces, there is a limit of four people per table – this means no dragging of tables and chairs together thereby increasing these numbers. This would increase the risk and of course the likelihood of the owner being fined if caught.

If everyone follows the rules then this will mean we can progress to Phase 3 on time on 19th April as scheduled. It is in our hands.

As we have stated in our previous morning reports, people should read information only provided by trusted sources and of course this includes Safe Communities Portugal. It came as a surprise therefore yesterday that some people still thought that the travel ban between municipalities finishes at 5am on 5th April – which is incorrect. Irrespective of the fact we have published the correct time i.e. 23:59 hrs on 5th April, people were quoting media sources as stating something else. This is why it is important to follow our page so you are correctly informed.

We take as much care as we can to provide the correct information from official sources and that includes the decree laws themselves. No one is immune to mistakes but if we make one we correct it immediately

Believe or not there are still people around who think there is a weekend curfew starting at 13:00 hrs even though this was discontinued in January!

Lastly, I would like to thank our Safe Communities volunteers who, over the last few days, answered many of your question and spent many hours identifying, researching, verifying and translating various articles, laws and other information often working very late at night. I can assure from personal experience this results in disruption to their family lives: so thank you Fernanda Gonçalves, Eliana Taveras, Mike Evans, Jennie Kelly and others for your work. I also thank John Cobby, a statistician by profession, for the weekly Covid-19 tables he is producing and Mark Fielding, the former Defence Attaché to the British Embassy in Madrid, for the weekly Vaccine report.

With that have a Very safe weekend.


Headlines

Second phase of the de-confinement plan advances next Monday.

Portugal can “take the step forward” with the measures of deflation planned for next Monday, April 5, said the Prime Minister on Thursday at the end of the Council of Ministers. António Costa explained that “the combined application of the two criteria” – incidence and transmission rate of Covid-19 – keeps Portugal “clearly in the green quadrant”.

On Monday, stores with doors to the street with less than 200 square meters no longer have to sell at the entrance and are now able to have their doors open to the public, for, according to the rotation and the rules of the Directorate- General of Health, to be able to provide face-to-face assistance.

Restaurants, pastry shops and cafes with a terrace can reopen, with groups limited to four people.

As of Monday, it will be possible to buy clothes and other goods whose sale was prohibited in hypermarkets, due to competition reasons, since it will also be possible to buy them in street stores that have up to 200 m2.

In this second phase of de-confinement, the gymnasiums will also reopen, but still without authorization for group classes. Low-risk sports are now permitted, while sporting events will continue to take place without the presence of an audience.


Covid-19 Situation Report

This Friday Portugal counts another 9 deaths and 548 new cases of Covid-19, according to the daily report of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). The detailed figures are:

Confirmed Cases: 822.862 (+ 548 / + 0.07 %)

Number of admitted: 513 (-25 /-4.65 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 131 (+ 2 / + 1.55 %)

Deaths: 16.868 (+ 9 / + 0.05 %)

Recovered: 779.655 (+ 743 / + 0.10 %)

Active cases: 26,339 (-204 /-0.7%)

Safe Communities comparisons/trends: show that deaths lower than yesterday; new cases were slightly below recorded the day before, but above the average of the last seven days (419) and that recoveries were more than new cases

The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital is the lowest since 20th September, 6,459 less compared to number in hospital on 1st February, although the number in ICU grew very slightly but is still the second lowest since 12th October 2020.  Active cases is the lowest since 2nd October, decreasing by 155,284 cases since 31st January 2021, and those under surveillance is the lowest since August 2020.

Despite all this good news it is important not to let our guard down at this crucial time. Those in hospital and ICU remain high. This means complying with the rules in place, – wearing face masks, social distancing, hygiene and no social gatherings.


Health

Covid-19: Transmissibility and incidence index increases compared to Wednesday.

Lisbon, April 2, 2021 (Lusa) – The transmissibility index of the new coronavirus in Portugal yesterday rose to 0.97, with the incidence also rising to 65.6 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, according to official data.

In the last two joint bulletins from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), the transmissibility index (Rt) in Portugal had remained at 0.94.

As for the incidence, the average national value of infection cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days is now 65.6, after having dropped from 70 to 65.3 in the last bulletin.

Looking only at Mainland, the incidence is 62.9 cases, also rising compared to Wednesday, when that figure was 62.4.

These indicators are the criteria defined by the Government for the continuous assessment of the deflationary process started on March 15.

However, the  transmissibility index of SARS-CoV-2 (Rt) is increasing and the National Institute of Health Ricardo Jorge (INSA) even estimates that it will reach 1.02 on Sunday, the highest value since January. Various regions such as the Algarve are higher.

The data appears in the situation report published this Friday, which reads that “the average value of Rt for the days from 24/03/2021 to 03/28/2021 was 0.97, and its true value may be between 0.96 and 0.99”.

Also this Friday’s report from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) pointed to an increase in the transmission rate: from 0.94 on Wednesday to 0.97 in today’s bulletin.

Óscar Felgueiras , a mathematician who has supported the Government in monitoring the epidemic, estimates that next Monday’s bulletin may even report an Rt above 1, admitting that this could be a result of two weeks of de-confinement Phase 1.


Covid-19: 150,000 teaching and non-teaching workers will be tested between April 5 and 9.

The information was announced today by the Government shortly after António Costa confirmed that the “dropper” deflation (de-confinement plan) will continue next Monday, April 5.

“About 150 thousand teaching and non-teaching workers will be tested between April 5th and 9th, continuing the implementation of the National Test Strategy for SARS-CoV-2 and according to the well-known joint guidance from last March “, can be read in the note sent to the newsrooms.

The statement emphasizes that the information already transmitted to schools, underlining “that all teaching staff (DP) and non-teaching staff (PND) from the 2nd and 3rd cycles of basic education (from 5th to 9th will be tested) .the year) of establishments in all municipalities “.

The note adds that the “totality of DP and PND of Pre-School Education, 1st cycle of basic education, as well as all the workers of Activities of Animation and Support to the Family (AAAF), Activities of Curriculum Enrichment (AEC) and Family Support Component in the 1st cycle of Basic Education in municipalities with an incidence rate greater than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days”.


Covid-19. Netherlands suspend AstraZeneca vaccine in people under 60.

The Netherlands has suspended injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine into people under the age of 60, after cases of blood clots have occurred, according to health authorities. “The immediate cause for this decision is the notification of cases of thrombosis associated with low platelet count after vaccinations”, justified the public health service.

“We have to be careful, so it is advisable to press the pause button as a precautionary measure”, considered the Minister of Health, Hugo de Jonge.

As a result, some 10,000 vaccinations, which were scheduled for next week, to members of the Dutch health services under the age of 60 were postponed.

The suspension is expected to last until 7 April, when the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will give further guidance on the matter.

Earlier in the week, Germany made a similar decision. In France, the family of a 38-year-old woman who died of a thrombosis after receiving the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine demanded an investigation, her lawyer told Agence France-Presse.

“It is a complaint against X, because we have no evidence against an identified person for manslaughter,” explained Étienne Boittin, adding that this qualification can “evolve according to the elements of the file”.

The lawyer said that the family “is not in the process of claiming or charging for liabilities, it just wants clarification” about what happened “.

The young woman had been vaccinated in mid-March, as she worked at a medical-educational institute for the disabled, and did not suffer from any specific health problems, she added.


Minister criticizes “perverse and unjust effect” of altering social support.

The Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, said this Friday that the change to social support made by parliament and promulgated by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has a “perverse and unfair effect”.

“The amendment that was approved in the context of parliamentary appreciation, what it does, essentially, is to change in a way and with a perverse and unfair effect the support system and the protection system within the scope of Social Security”, said Ana Mendes Godinho in press conference on the balance of social support, which took place this Friday at the Ministry of Labour, in Lisbon.

According to the official, the amendment will “index the support to the value of the worker’s billing and not to the relevant income for Social Security”, becoming “completely disconnected from contributions made in the past to Social Security”.

“It establishes an equal amount of the benefit for people who discounted over 70% or for people who discounted over 20% of the billing they had”, with no changes in the population of people covered, said the minister.

Ana Mendes Godinho believes that “there hasn’t been a perception yet, and people haven’t realized exactly what is on the table”.

According to the statement, the impact on Social Security accounts when changing the method of accounting for support will be 40.4 million euros.


Rate of organ damage increased in infected is high.

Researchers suggest that the weight of Covid-19-related diseases in hospitals and healthcare systems will increase in the long term.

People infected with Covid-19 and discharged from the hospital appear to have increased rates of organ damage (multiorgan dysfunction) compared to the general population, according to a study published Thursday by the British medical journal BMJ.

The increased risk, according to the study, was not limited to older people nor was it uniform across ethnic groups, leading researchers to suggest that the weight of Covid-19- related illnesses in hospitals and in the long term will increase.

Although Covid-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus, is best known for causing severe respiratory problems it can also affect other systems and organs in the body, including the heart, kidneys and liver.

Those responsible for the study indicate the existence of several unexplained symptoms that persist for more than three months after the disease, but also say that the long-term pattern of organ damage after infection is still unclear.

To investigate the issue, British researchers from the National Institute of Statistics and the universities of London (“College London”) and Leicester sought to compare the rates of organ dysfunction in people with several months of hospital discharge after the disease, with a control group, corresponding to the general population.

The conclusions are based on 47,780 people, with an average age of 65 years and 55% of whom are men, who were hospitalised and were discharged up until August 31 of last year.

During the average 140-day follow-up, almost a third of individuals discharged after acute Covid-19 were readmitted to the hospital (14,060 out of 47,780) and more than one in 10 (5,875) died after discharge. Values ​​four and eight times higher, respectively, than in the control group.

The rates of respiratory, cardiovascular and diabetes diseases also increased significantly in patients with Covid-19, which were also higher than in the control group, especially in the case of respiratory diseases.

Differences in rates of multi-organ dysfunction between Covid-19 patients and combined controls were greater for individuals under 70 than those aged 70 or over, and in ethnic minority groups compared to the white population, with the biggest differences observed for respiratory diseases.


Other news

Eurovision – Canção de Portugal is in the highest place so far in bookmakers.

Love Is on My Side’, the Black Mamba song that represents Portugal at the Eurovision Festival, reached the highest place in the bookmakers’ ranking since it won the national competition.

Less than two months before the grand final of Eurovision, ‘Love Is on My SIde’, a song by the Black Mamba that will represent Portugal, reached the highest place in the ranking of bookmakers.

According to the Eurovisionworld website, which compiles the results of 17 bookmakers, Portugal is the 25th among 39 competitors, having remained there since 28 March.

Since winning the Song Festival, the Portuguese representation has occupied in this ranking the places in the second half of the table, between the 22nd (on the day of victory in the national competition, a place that is not indicative, since a good part of the songs competitors was not yet known) and 29th place (on March 15th)).



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Saturday 3rd April 2021, by our Special Correspondent.

Covid-19 update.

There were 111 new Covid-19 cases, 173 recoveries and no deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Wednesday, there were 22 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from Lithuania and 20 cases of local transmission) and 37 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 16, 3 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 17 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland and 16 cases of local transmission) and 33 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 17, 2 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 17 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 32 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 18, 2 of whom were intensive care.

There are currently 380 active cases, of which 18 had been imported while the other 362 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Friday, there had been 8,356 cases, 7,859 recoveries and 71 deaths.

On Friday, there were 21 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 341 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 18 patients in Covid-19 units, 2 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 71 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 10,089 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 724 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, 178,017 samples had been collected until Friday (at 15h30). By Friday, 346,247 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 320 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 44,523 calls.

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 received 18 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 3,265 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/31/22-novos-casos-de-Covid-19-37-recuperados-86-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/04/01/17-novos-casos-de-Covid-19-33-recuperados-101-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/04/02/17-novos-casos-de-Covid-19-32-recuperados-71-suspeitos/


Vaccination update.

On Friday, 425 Covid-19 vaccine doses, from AstraZeneca and Pfizer, were delivered to Porto Santo. Vaccination of 338 teaching and non-teaching staff had been due to start on the same day. In addition, 87 care home residents from Lar da Misericórdia (a care home) had also been due to receive their 2nd vaccine dose. At the end of this vaccination phase, 1,160 people will have been vaccinated in Porto Santo island, 15% of whom with the first vaccine dose.

Pedro Ramos, Madeira’s Health and Civil Protection Secretary, announced that the Region is expected to receive many more vaccines than it had in the first quarter of the year. Indeed, he said the Region will receive 59,000 vaccine doses in April, which are more than it had received in the entire first quarter.

He added that the Region is waiting to find out how many Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses it will receive. The first batch is expected to arrive at the end of the second quarter.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123971/Ja_chegaram_as_425_doses_da_vacina_contra_a_Covid-19_aplicadas_hoje_no_Porto_Santo

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123985/Covid-19_Madeira_deve_receber_vacina_da_Johnson_and_Johnson_ate_junho


Rapid antigen tests to arrive in Madeira this weekend.

Covid-19 rapid antigen tests went on sale on Friday. It is being sold in 500 pharmacies in the mainland. The tests are expected to arrive in Madeira this weekend. At first there will be 120,00 tests available.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123982/Testes_rapidos_devem_chegar_as_farmacias_da_Madeira_este_fim_de_semana


Police forces patrolling beaches.

On Friday, ARAE (Autoridade Regional de Atividades Económicas – Regional Economic Activity Authority) and the Maritime Police (Polícia Marítima) patrolled beaches such as Praia Formosa and beaches in Santa Cruz and Machico. This was to prevent gatherings and meetings with friends and relatives on the Region’s beaches and on businesses nearby.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/124003/ARAE_e_Policia_Maritima_em_operacao_conjunta_nas_praias_madeirenses


Porto Santo Fire Service received new equipment.

The 42-people strong Porto Santo Fire Service received a mobile command unit. Other fire brigades in the Region have also been receiving similar equipment. In addition to this, it received 5 pieces of personalised clothing to be specifically worn by the team of 5 mountain rescue experts.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123991/Bombeiros_Voluntarios_do_Porto_Santo_receberam_material


Last weekend’s storm.

More than 20 litres per square metre of rain fell in just 6 hours on the evening of March 27th than on the deadly February 20 storm, which took place in 2010.

There were also around 28,000 lightning strikes, particularly in Calheta and Palheiro Ferreiro. This resulted in several power cuts across the island of Madeira due to lightning hitting power lines and equipment. Furthermore, the power cuts led to water supply disruptions in some areas in the municipalities of Câmara de Lobos and Funchal.

Around 100 occurrences were reported to the authorities. Several roads, including the tunnel at Via 25 de Abril were closed due to landslides, debris, collapsed walls and floods. The Severiano Ferraz (Red Cross) car park had to closed for several days. In the municipality of Funchal, 14 people from 5 households had to be rehoused. The reopening of Lido resort (Complexo Balnear do Lido) had to be postponed to March 31st due to the impact of flooding on its swimming pool and gutters.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/28/em-6-horas-choveram-esta-noite-mais-20-litros-por-m2-do-que-no-20-de-fevereiro-de-2010/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/28/novo-apagao-de-madrugada-devido-a-linha-vitoria-palheiro-ferreiro/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/27/madeira-as-escuras/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/28/arm-lamenta-falhas-nas-infraestruturas-de-abastecimento-de-agua-potavel/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/28/14-pessoas-necessitaram-de-ser-realojadas-no-funchal-ha-estragos-diversos/


Whale Museum reopened.

The Whale Museum reopened on Tuesday. Its opening hours are:

Tuesday to Friday – 10h-18h

Saturday & Sunday – 10h-17h

Closed – Mondays

Temporarily closed – public holidays

https://www.facebook.com/museu.baleia.madeira/photos/a.261911850574055/3778075882290950/


Power cut.

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be a power cut today due to planned work on the electricity supply network. This work cannot be postponed.

FUNCHAL – 6th April – 09h00 to 11h30

– Rua D. João (number 57)

– Beco da Jacinta (numbers 3 and 4A)

8th April – 09h00 to 11h30

– Rua Aspirante Mota Freitas (numbers 10 to 41)

– Rua do Padre Laurindo (numbers 1 to 15)

– Travessa Dr. Castilho (numbers 31 to 39)

SÃO VICENTE – 7th April – 10h30 to 11h30

– Achada dos Judeus

– Ribeira Grande

– Terra do Galo

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/2021/04/01/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-26-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Saturday 3rd April 2021.

Covid-19. Portimão is the municipality of Algarve with the highest incidence of cases.

Portimão is the municipality of the Algarve with the highest incidence of cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. An outbreak in civil construction has already required more than 500 tests to be carried out, of which 89 were positive.

The municipality appeals to the use of the mask and the safety distance and reminds that if in the next 15 days the situation does not improve, the deflation remains at stake, which will be catastrophic for the municipality’s economy.

On average there are 20 new cases a day in Portimão. Most are people who were already isolated, having had risky contacts, and who, in the meantime tested positive.

The construction boom began in mid-March and has already put 563 people in isolation, 89 of whom tested positive. Another contagion focus in Portimão included a bakery, but the outbreak is already under control.


Covid-19: Cost of social support “skyrockets” in municipalities in the Algarve most dependent on tourism.

The cost of social support provided by the municipalities in the Algarve most dependent on tourism ‘skyrocketed’ due to the fall in the economy resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the three municipalities that currently concentrate half of the region’s unemployed.

According to data from the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP), Albufeira, Portimão and Loulé totalled 52% of the 33,459 unemployed registered in the region in February, with the support created by the municipalities and directed to companies and families to have a strong impact on their budgets. .

In Albufeira, support for “donating” of “food” and “medication” to people in need “has increased exponentially”, revealed the President of the municipality to Lusa, in addition to the support created in the context of the pandemic.

“Adding up everything that was not received with what was spent for all the aid, there is a reduction of 17, 18 million euros, in one year [in the budget]”, pointed out José Carlos Rolo.

This amount ended up affecting the finances of the municipality, which concentrates a good part of the Algarve hotel offer, which may postpone “some works”, mainly “in the road network”, which will have to wait for “better days”, he assumed.

The mayor expressed hope that this summer, similarly to what happened last year, the “Portuguese people head to the Algarve, in particular to Albufeira” to spend their holidays, as well as the “Spanish neighbours”.

“We have to be hopeful in the future and I think that within a month we will have tourists enjoying what is good for the Algarve and Albufeira”, he stressed.

However, if the current situation continues, José Carlos Rolo argues that they will have to “take options again” and not let “more serious situations happen”, maintaining “social support to people really in need”.

He took the opportunity to make an “appeal” to anyone who may be in need so that he is not “ashamed” of something he “is not responsible for” and stressed that one cannot “let people be hungry in Albufeira”.


Silves. Cultural and sports facilities reopen on April 5.

Following the guidelines of the de-confinement plan defined by the Government, the Municipality of Silves will reopen to the public, on the 5th of April, the Castle, the Municipal Archeology Museum, the Islamic Heritage Interpretation Centre and the Sports Complex of the Municipal Swimming Pools (in the gym and free swimming facilities).

In a press release, the municipality says that, the cultural facilities mentioned above, in addition to maintaining the same operating patterns previously in force, will be operating within their normal opening hours.

With regard to the Municipal Swimming Pools Complex, the operating patterns will be identical to those previously adopted, with mandatory marking of the use of the gym and the pool in free swimming regime. The gym, limited to the use of a maximum of 15 people at the same time, will operate from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm, in hourly blocks of 90 minutes. The pool, in free regime, can be used between 7:30 am and 4:30 pm, with a limit of eight users per hour block of 90 minutes. The use of changing rooms is only permitted for the purpose of changing clothes, with all other services (shower, sauna, jacuzzi and Turkish bath) closed.


Company fined for non-compliance in Ria Formosa says it is unaware of breaches.

A real estate company fined for violating the regulation of the Ria Formosa Natural Park Planning Plan due to movements in the land it holds in the Garrão area, in Loulé, said today it was unaware of “any administrative offense”.

“Lisfina is not aware of any misdemeanour, either on the placement of barbed wire on the Praia do Ancão land that it owns or on the ‘abusive’ deforestation procedure,” the company said in a statement.

According to a letter from the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) to which Lusa had access, in addition to a lawsuit filed against the company in 2020 for the “practice of serious environmental offenses”, a new lawsuit is now underway. of administrative offence ”because the company placed a metal fence on the land without authorization.

According to Lisfina, the fence was replaced “after acts of vandalism that occurred in June 2020, including demolition of the fence, cutting the fence and cutting pine trees by strangers, who were the subject of a complaint with the GNR”.

However, according to the ICNF, the placement of the fence had not yet been authorized when it was installed, having been suggested to Lisfina, “to avoid the situation of wanton private property” that she invoked, the placement of “a living hedge with recourse native vegetation ”, reads in the letter.

According to the document, in order to prevent access to the land, the ICNF admitted the possibility of installing “a temporary protection without a permanent character, as long as the hedge did not have the dimension to fulfill the intended function”.

“However, as it was found that the installation of the fence was prior to the proper authorization, adding to that fact that in disagreement with the authorized person, barbed wire was placed on top of it, a new process of installation is underway administrative offence ”, says the institute.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/empresa-multada-por-incumprimento-na-ria-formosa-diz-desconhecer-contraordenacoes/37565-1



Azores

Situation Report Azores – Saturday 3rd April 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Yellow Alert.

The Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere issued yellow notices for all the islands of the Azores, which are in force until Sunday 4th April.  There may be heavy precipitation with the possibility of thunderstorms.

For the islands of Santa Maria and São Miguel, which form the Eastern group, the notice will be in effect between 06:00 and 18:00 (19:00 Lisbon) on Sunday, while on the islands of Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Graciosa and Terceira (central group), the warning remains between 23:00 and 12:00 on Sunday.

The yellow warning, the third of the scale, reveals a risk situation for certain activities depending on the weather situation.

In Flores and Corvo, the western group of the Azores, the yellow warning is in effect between 23:00 today and 12:00 on Saturday.

The Azores Regional Civil Protection and Fire Service recommends that self-protection measures be taken.


New Inter-Island fares.

The regional secretary for Transport, Tourism and Energy, Mário Mota Borges, said that a new Azores fare, available to residents for 60 Euros, will go into effect on June 1st.  This fare will apply to all inter-island flights.


Easter Covid-19 Measures.

Residents and visitors on the island of São Miguel are prohibited from crossing municipality boundaries, between Friday and Sunday, and will also have a curfew from 15:00 on these three Easter days, in the context of the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ban on movement between the six municipalities of the Azorean island (Ponta Delgada, Ribeira Grande, Lagoa, Povoação, Vila Franca do Campo and Nordeste) is in effect from 00:00 local (01:00 in Lisbon) and until 23: 59 on Sunday, providing for exceptions for justified situations, such as commuting, health issues or access to the airport.

The curfew will last between 15:00 and 05:00 the next day.

The island’s trade must close no later than 15:00 in this period, and the catering businesses can work with take-away services and home delivery until 22:00. When open, restaurants and similar spaces can have a maximum of four people at each table, unless it is the same household.

In the remaining islands, on this extended Easter weekend, the food and beverage establishments close at 22:00, with the sale of alcoholic beverages in the remaining establishments being prohibited from 20:00.

The regional secretary of Health, Clélio Meneses, said, when the measures were announced, that tourists must comply with the same rules as resident citizens, so that when they arrive at the accommodation, they cannot leave the municipality these days where the unit is located.

Due to the prohibition between municipalities, the regional executive alerted the PSP, as well as the inspection services of economic activities, but underlined the need for responsibilities to be shared by all and for citizens to “behave appropriately”.

With effect from Monday 5th April, the county of the Nordeste changes to the high-risk level and Ponta Delgada remains medium high, with the exception of the parishes of São Pedro and São Sebastião, which remain at the high level. The remaining Azorean municipalities are at very-low risk.

The risk scale used by the Autonomous Region of the Azores has five levels: very-low, low, medium, medium high and high.

With this classification, as of Monday, in the Northeast and in those two parishes of Ponta Delgada, all restaurants, drinks and similar establishments close at 15:00, and can operate on a ‘take-away’ basis from that time and until 10 pm, and a curfew is enacted between 8 pm and 5 am the next day.

Teleworking or lagged schedules should be adopted, as this is not possible.

Non-essential shopping closes at 8 pm on weekdays and 3 pm on weekends, and gyms and indoor pools are also closed.

In Ponta Delgada, with the exception of São Pedro and São Sebastião, restaurants and drinks establishments with no dance space can be open until 8 pm, with a maximum limitation of four people per table and a maximum capacity of 1/3 of the capacity of the establishment, but they can maintain the take-away service or home delivery until 22:00.

Visits to the elderly in homes are prohibited and the social centres for the elderly are also closed. The presence of the public at sporting events and competitions is prohibited.


Covid-19.

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last three days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 6,296 tests is 24.  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 all the cases with 24.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 38 in total.  38 on the island of São Miguel.

Most of the cases are on the island of São Miguel now, with just one on the island of Terceira.

There are 9 patients with Covid-19 in the region’s hospitals with 3 in the ICU. Most of the patients are testing positive for the new ‘British’ variant.

There are currently 115 active positive cases in the Region. 114 on São Miguel and one on Terceira.

Since the start of the pandemic, 4,195 positive cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed, 30 have died, 67 have left the archipelago and 41 have shown evidence of previous cure.

Since March 30th, 391,386 tests have been carried out in the Azores for screening of Covid-19. Since December 31st and until March 30th, 43,812 people aged 15 years and over have been vaccinated in the archipelago (28,376 with the first dose – 14.01% and 15,436 with the second dose – 7.62% of the population), within the scope of the first phase of the Regional Vaccination Plan. More information at: https://vacinacao-covid19.azores.gov.pt.

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 Wednesday 31st March 2021

Introduction

Good morning – Let’s start with three pieces of good news.

The first of these were that yesterday Portugal recorded the lowest number of deaths from Covid-19 (two cases) since 6th September 2020. Two deaths too many of course. Figures continue to fall with the numbers in hospital the lowest since 23rd September and ICU 12th October. This reduces the considerable strain on the health services with active cases reducing by over 150,000 in just 8 weeks.

Secondly, that the German laboratory BioNTech announced yesterday that it plans to manufacture this year up to 2.5 billion doses of its vaccine developed with the American company Pfizer, 25% more than the one initially announced, as well as the authorization to withdraw six doses from a bottle, the company explained in a statement. This should make a considerable difference

The third piece of good news concerns crime. Violent and serious crime had a reduction of more than 13% during the year 2020, the Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, announced yesterday and the crime of domestic violence, so common in Portugal, saw a 6% reduction in 2020, compared to 2019.

In the last few days there have been plenty of developments concerning the extension of the current State of Emergency measures until 23.59 hrs 5th April as well as air travel laws.

We emphasise concerning the State of Emergency – this is a simple extension taking effect with the same measures that are currently in place effective midnight tonight 31st March/1st April 2021.

However, having posted this we received in the region of around 200 questions concerning the existing laws which have been published over two weeks ago. The answers to many of these questions have been available since then through our website page here which contains the various measures in English.

Questions we received included: “Is the curfew still in place at 1pm on weekends?” Our reply “No it was last in place 2 months ago”!

This is of some concern as it may indicate that either some people are not keeping up to date with essential information, which affects daily activities, or they have been reading information from social media which is incorrect – there is much misinformation around. A cursory glance at news headliners or “one liners” on social media every other day or so, is not sufficient. We would encourage people to take more time in reading, in order to obtain a fuller understanding of the situation, so when government decisions and changes are made it is easier the understand the reasons and context.

Also, I wish to emphasise that, although we do our best to answer your questions regarding individual circumstances this is not always possible. We do not make the laws so generally the information available to us, does not go beyond what is contained in the laws themselves.

There were also several questions we received regarding vacations and travelling to Portugal at this time and asking whether or not they should travel. We cannot give an opinion on this only relay the facts. However, it is important to understand that any overseas travel involves a high degree of risk at present. Not necessarily the risk of catching Covid-19, but the fact that the situation can change any time. Each country is monitoring their own situation closely and clearly should the situation change for the worse, and in order to protect its own citizens, the country concerned may introduce greater restrictions. These can range from travel bans, the requirement for negative testing and/or entering into quarantine on arrival. So if you book a holiday or travel for any other reason, then do it on the understanding that it may well have to change.

As I mentioned in my last comment on Saturday, we act almost as a bridge between the little information that is available on the Government Estamos On site and the Decrees themselves, a situation more complicated by the fact that our volunteers provide this in English.

It is important therefore that everyone keeps up to date with the information by visiting our website. This is of particular importance over the next two days or so as government meets tomorrow to finalise the next stage of the de-confinement plan.

Lastly, I wish to emphasise the warning given by DGS concerning poor air quality which has occurred on the mainland starting Sunday. This situation is due to the intrusion of a mass of air coming from the deserts of North Africa. This pollutant (inhalable particles – PM10) has effects on human health, mainly in the most sensitive population, namely in children and the elderly, whose health care must be redoubled during the occurrence of these situations.  We published this twice on Monday night when the warning was issued and again on Tuesday morning.

We thank all those 208 of you who shared this important safety information reaching so far over 35,000.

The prompt sharing of information when there is a threat to health and public safety is essential in order to get key official messages and advice across. It is in everyone’s interests, so please help others by doing so. This is where social media plays a vital role.

With that please have a Safe Day.


Headlines

 Costa among world leaders who want an international treaty to combat future pandemics

“Together, we must be prepared to predict, prevent, detect, evaluate and respond effectively to pandemics in a coordinated manner”, reads the document signed by several world leaders, including the Portuguese Prime Minister

World leaders called for the cooperation of the “international community” in the framework of a new international treaty to prepare for and respond to future pandemics, in a document published this Tuesday in several newspapers and also released by the World Health Organization (WHO).

For the more than 20 signatories, including Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, the new treaty may signal “high-level political measures” needed to protect the world from future health crises.

“There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No government or official departments can face this threat alone,” say world political leaders, mostly heads of state and government.

“Together, we must be prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and respond effectively to pandemics in a coordinated manner. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown severely that no one is safe until everyone is safe,” adds the document.

“We will have other pandemics and other major health emergencies. The question is not whether, but when”

“Today, we continue with the same hope that if we fight together to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be able to build a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations,” argue world leaders.


Covid-19 DGS Situation Report

On Tuesday Portugal reported two deaths and 388 new cases of Covid-19, according to the daily report of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). Daily figures compared to the previous day were as follows:

Confirmed Cases: 821,104 (+ 388 / + 0.04 %)

Number of admitted: 584 (-39 /- 6.16 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 129 (-6 /-5.1 %)

Deaths: 16,845 (+ 2 / + 0.01 %)

Recovered: 777,503 (+ 1654 / +0.2 %)

Active cases: 26,756 (-1268 /4.5%)

Safe Communities comparisons/trends showed that deaths were lowest since 6th September 2020; new cases – 4th lowest since 7th September 2020; recoveries were more than 4 times new cases and active cases were the lowest since 3rd October, decreasing 154,867 cases since 31st January 2021

Those in hospital were the second lowest since 2nd September and 6285 less compared to number in hospital 1st Feb and those in ICU lowest since 12th October 2020


Covid-19: MAI says there has been a “significant reduction in circulation” since Friday

The Minister of Internal Affairs said yesterday that there has been a “significant reduction in the circulation” of cars since Friday and “generalized compliance” with the rules of the State of Emergency due to the pandemic.

“Since Friday, there has been a significant reduction in circulation and general compliance by citizens with what are the rules resulting from the period of State of Emergency”, said Eduardo Cabrita, at the press conference presenting the general data of the 2020 Annual Homeland Security Report (ISAR).

The minister was asked about the restrictive measures during this Easter period, namely the ban on movement between municipalities since Friday and until April 5th.

The government official reiterated the importance of complying with the measures in order for the de-confinement plan to be carried out.

“Today we have the lowest contagion results in the entire European Union, which proves that the measures adopted in the past two months are producing good results, which translate into easing the pressure on the National Health Service, but we must continue and consolidate these results and it is up to everyone that next week is marked by compliance” he said.

In Portugal, 16,845 people died from 821,104 confirmed cases of infection, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.

Portugal is in a State of Emergency until April 15.


Teleworking

Telework until the end of the year, but the rules change.

Over the next few weeks, the government plans to keep everything as it is, but the parties want to regulate remote work and BE and PCP have already presented proposals in parliament.

Teleworking will remain mandatory until the end of this year, but the rules for this mandatory work may vary over time. Without a State of Emergency, or others that overlap, teleworking is imposed only in areas of the country that are defined by the government according to the epidemiological risk, employers are called upon to justify cases where functions are incompatible with telework and also changes the universe of the excluded from the possibility of remote functions.

Last Thursday, the government extended until the end of 2021 the validity of the legislation that, since November last year, imposed a time lag in workplaces with a minimum of 50 workers and mandatory teleworking, whenever possible, in high-risk counties according to the incidence of cases of infections with the new coronavirus.

This exceptional and transitional regime for reorganizing work and minimizing the risk of transmitting the infection of the Covid-19 disease, within the scope of labour relations, was the one that was in force until January, but this overlapped the State of Emergency, which generalized the rules of telecommuting and reorganization of schedules throughout the country and to employers of all sizes.


Prison guards

Covid-19: All prison guards in the country are vaccinated.

Lisbon, 30 March 2021 (Lusa) – All prison guards on the mainland of Portugal have already been vaccinated against the Covid-19, for a total of 8,800 vaccines applied in prison services, the Minister of Justice announced today.

“The vaccination process underway in the area of ​​Justice, namely in prison services, is going very well. At the moment there are already about 8,800 vaccines applied, which means that, at country-level, prison guards are all vaccinated, there are 4,000 people who have already taken a second dose, ”Francisca Van Dunem told reporters.

The minister was asked about the vaccination process against Covid-19 in the justice area at the press conference to present the general data of the 2020 Annual Internal Security Report (RASI).

Francisca Van Dunem also said that, in the prison system, “all non-credible citizens are already vaccinated and now a second phase has started for inmates with health problems”.

Also present at the press conference, the Minister of Internal Administration took stock of vaccination in the area of ​​internal security.

Eduardo Cabrita said that 16,000 firefighters and 20,000 members of the security forces were vaccinated against the Covid-19, 10,000 in the GNR and 10,000 in the PSP.

The minister stressed that the priorities defined were associated “exactly with the operational dimension”, having given priority to “those who are on the street” and have “a role as a patrolman or guarantor of the verification of compliance with the rules on the State of Emergency”.


Covid-19: Police feel “exhausted” one year after successive inspections.

Lisbon, March 30, 2021 (Lusa) – The Association of Police Professionals (ASPP / PSP) warned today of the situation in which the policemen who monitor the rules of the State of Emergency find themselves, saying that they feel “exhausted” and “mistreated ”.

Speaking to Lusa news agency, ASPP president Paulo Santos said that in recent times several complaints have been coming to the union that are at the forefront of monitoring the State of Emergency to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, showing outrage at the way they are being treated.

A year after the successive inspections began, Paulo Santos says that the police are “exhausted”, reaching “a limit situation” and feel “unfairly treated”, claiming that the Covid-19 is serving as an excuse not to be applied the law, as is the case of the impossibility of elements of the PSP to leave for the pre-retirement after having reached the maximum age limit, the 60 years.

The ASPP also reports on the policemen who were in the operational support and who have now been integrated into the Covid inspection teams, but who are not receiving the supplement that exists for this purpose, being paid “illegally” a subsidy in the amount of 1.80 euros per day.

According to Paulo Santos, the policemen who were in the operational support (secretarial work) should receive the picket supplement, just as they receive the agents who walk on the street, which has a value of around 140 euros per month.

Another of the concerns expressed by the PSP staff, according to the largest union of the Public Security Police, is related to vaccination against the Covid-19, in which about half of the policemen who walk on the street are still to be vaccinated.

As an example, ASPP mentions that half of the traffic division of PSP do Porto is not vaccinated and police commands where the number of vaccinated policemen does not exceed 60%.

According to the union, the operational support officers who have been integrated into Covid inspection teams and are “working on the ground extensively” have not yet been vaccinated, which translates to “irresponsibility in the management of these human resources”.


Education

Families helped students in online classes but lacked rest at home.

Most students had family support during distance learning in the first confinement, but for many it was difficult to find a quiet place to study at home or have equipment to attend classes online.

These are some of the conclusions of the study released by the Institute for Educational Assessment (IAVE), which attempted to identify learning failures during the suspension of face-to-face education, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but also to understand the conditions in which primary school students managed to follow the classes.

More than 23,000 3rd, 6th and 9th grade students responded to a survey in January and most admitted that there was a lot of effort at home in wanting to know if they were doing their schoolwork.

This concern was registered in more than 76 percent of the homes of boys in the 3rd and 6th years and dropped to 62.6 percent among students in the 3rd cycle, reveals the “Study Diagnostic Apprenticeships”.

“Families considered it very important to accompany their children”, stressed the president of IAVE, Luís Santos, during the presentation of the preliminary data.

Realizing whether they were learning was a constant in the homes of families with students at the three different levels of education (69.6 percent in the 3rd year said they received support, 72 percent in the 6th year and 57.4 percent in the 9th year).


Economy

Food and specialty retail sales fell 1.5 percent last year.

In 2019, the total sales volume of the retail sector had reached 22,996 million euros, according to the Barometer of Portuguese Association of Distribution Companies (APED).

Food retail sales increased by 8.1 percent last year, compared to 2019, to 15,621 million euros, while specialised retail fell by almost 18 percent (17.7 percent) to 7,032 million euros.

“The restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic had a strong impact on the different specialized retail markets”, stresses APED.

In food retail, the product category that recorded the greatest growth was frozen, which increased its sales by 17.6 percent, followed by the light snacks which rose 16.6 percent, and grocery, with 11.6 percent.

Sales in the perishable category increased by 11.5 percent and beverages by 10.9 percent. The dairy category increased by 5.7 percent and hygiene and cleaning 4.2 percent.

“In 2020, the private label market share was 35.1 percent, having increased by 1.4 percentage points” compared to the previous year, according to APED.

By distribution channel market share, hypermarkets increased by 0.2 percentage points to 23.6 percent, while supermarkets recorded a decrease of 1.4 percentage points to 57.7 percent.

The hard discounter’s channels and other locations recorded increases of 0.6 and 0.5 percentage points, respectively, to 11.2 percent and 7.5 percent, in the same order.

With regard to specialised retail, the computer market was the one that “grew the most” in 2020, with a 23.1 percent increase in sales volume to 671 million euros, while the one that recorded the greatest decline was clothing, with a decrease of 32.5 percent to 1,405 million euros.


Other news

Portugal will send 60 military personnel to Mozambique. Contingent leaves in the first half of April.

The sending of this contingent of 60 Portuguese military personnel of the Special Forces, is framed by the new framework agreement for bilateral cooperation that is being finalized by the Portuguese and Mozambican ministries, said the source.

In an interview with Lusa released on February 17, the Portuguese minister, João Gomes Cravinho, estimated the contingent of “special forces” to be deployed in Mozambique to around 60 military personnel, assisting through the training and preparation of the African country in the combating terrorism.

“What we are going to highlight are trainers to train marines and commandos. They are military personnel who have these skills, Special Forces”, said Gomes Cravinho at the time, stressing that the planning with the Mozambican authorities is underway.

The Mozambican defence minister had already indicated to the Portuguese government the intention to visit Portugal, but there are no dates yet, according to the same source.

Regarding the new framework agreement for technical-military co-operation between Portugal and Mozambique, to take effect in the next three years, Gomes Cravinho stated that he does not contemplate major changes in content, but represents an “intensification” of cooperation with this country, following the current threat context.



Regions

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Wednesday 31st March 2021, by our Special Correspondent.

Covid-19 update

There were 111 new Covid-19 cases, 173 recoveries and no deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Saturday, there were 41 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 36 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 24, 5 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 22 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 20 cases of local transmission) and 26 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital was still 17, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 24 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 23 cases of local transmission) and 35 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital was still 17, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 24 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from Germany and 22 cases of local transmission) and 76 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 15, 4 of whom were intensive care.

There are currently 426 active cases, of which 19 had been imported while the other 407 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Tuesday, there had been 8,356 cases, 7,859 recoveries and 71 deaths.

On Tuesday, there were 22 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 389 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 17 patients in Covid-19 units, 4 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 89 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 8,957 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 751 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, 175,958 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 15h30). By Tuesday, 342,457 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 426 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 44,203 calls.

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 received 25 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 3,247 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/27/41-novos-casos-de-covid-19-36-recuperados-93-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/28/22-novos-casos-de-covid-19-26-recuperados-92-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/29/24-novos-casos-de-covid-19-35-recuperados-82-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/30/24-novos-casos-de-covid-19-76-recuperados-86-suspeitos/


Vaccination update

As of March 28th, 46,037 vaccine doses (30,426 first doses and 15,611 second doses) had been administered since Covid-19 vaccination started on December 31st. By that same day, 87% of the residents aged 80 or older had been vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine and 50.7% (5,605 people) had been fully vaccinated. Inoculation of patients with trisomy 21 (59 patients) started on March 26th. And Rogério Correia, the director of the Porto Santo Health Centre (Centro de Saúde do Porto Santo) predicted that 25% of the Porto Santo residents will have been vaccinated by April.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123616/Vacinas_contra_a_covid-19_administradas_na_Regiao_superam_as_46_mil

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123640/Em_abril_25_da_populacao_do_Porto_Santo_devera_estar_vacinada


Visits to care homes resumed

Visits to care homes resumed yesterday. Care homes are adapting to the resumption of visits and safety measures have been put into place to safeguard the health of residents and staff, particularly at a time when there are not any Covid-19 cases in care homes.

All visitors must book a visit beforehand and must be tested for Covid-19 (antigen test) up to 72 hours before the visit. The tests can be booked, free of charge, by sending an email to the following address: saudepublica.drs@madeira.gov.pt

Although bed-ridden residents can also receive visitors, each care home will be free to choose the most appropriate way for a visit to take place. Relatives visiting the remaining residents will be able to do so through an acrylic barrier. There is a limit of one visit per week, with each visit lasting 30 minutes.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123536/Visitas_aos_lares_so_com_teste_antigenio_feito_com_72_horas_de_antecedencia_


Secondary school students to be tested for Covid-19

More than 2,200 students from Francisco Franco Secondary School (Escola Secundária de Francisco Franco) will be tested on April 5th. Testing will take place at the school’s sports hall. Students from over 100 classes have been assigned testing slots throughout the day and must be in school 15 minutes before the testing appointment. The meeting point will be at the astro turf sports pitch. The class director will welcome and walk them to the sports hall. The school also informed that students who had tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days will be exempt from Covid-19 testing and from coming to school on that day, although they will first have to inform their class director of this situation.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123643/Mais_de_2200_alunos_da_Francisco_Franco_vao_ser_testados_a_covid-19


Civil Protection advice on today’s bad weather forecast

There will be very cloudy skies today and there will be showers, which will often be heavy and accompanied by thunder until the middle of the afternoon. The most critical period of rain is likely to be from 06h00 until 12h00. Porto Santo will also be affected. There will be moderate wind (20-35 km/h) from the south, sometimes with gusts up to 70 km/h, and moderate to strong wind (30 to 45 km/h) in mountain areas, with gusts up to 90 km/h, until the the start of the afternoon. Waves in the north shore are expected to be 2.0-2.5 metres high and to rise to 3-4 metres high while waves in the south shore are expected to be 1.0-1.5 metres high.

The Regional Civil Protection Service (Serviço Regional de Proteção Civil – SRPC) has issued the following advice:

– Doors and windows must be closed and loose objects must be removed from balconies and window sills.

– Whenever possible, avoid travel to areas that will be affected by these weather conditions.

– Do not walk in areas that have damaged buildings due to the risk of building collapses.

– Pay attention to fixed structures such as scaffolding, canopies, awnings, tents and roofs, which may be affected by strong winds and possible fallen trees.

– Pay particular attention to obstruction of roads that may be caused by objects that had been loosened by strong winds.

– Drive defensively, reducing speed and watching out for possible flooded roads.

– Ensure the drainage systems are not obstructed and remove objects that may be dragged or that may disrupt the flowing of water.

– Travel by vehicle or by walking is risky, particularly in mountain areas. Special care must be taken during the warning period.

– Possible damage to mounted or suspended infrastructure

– Pay attention to the weather forecast and comply with the guidance from the Civil Protection and the Security Forces.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123660/Protecao_Civil_emite_recomendacoes_devido_ao_mau_tempo_previsto_para_esta_quarta-feira


Madeira ‘green corridor’ for visitors

Madeira has been operating a green corridor for tourists who have either recovered from Covid-19 or who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

As written on the following article from The Guardian: “Vaccinated travellers must present an immunisation certificate in English, validated in their home country, that includes their name, date of birth, type of vaccine, and the date (or dates) it was administered. Tourists must also respect the activation period set out in the vaccine’s summary of product characteristics”.

The whole article can be read on the following link:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/29/madeira-lets-in-tourists-who-can-show-covid-vaccine-passport?CMP=fb_gu&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0GlyEPpsu0Ds7mNQliGv1XrUMjdhLy8JCNgnmvhiZqo-Rc4hkGwScvUZc#Echobox=1617017054


Water supply disruption

There will be a water supply disruption on Thursday (April 1st), from 09h00 to 16h00, in the parish (freguesia) of São Pedro. It will affect the following areas:

Caminho da Achada (up to Azinhaga de São Pedro), Rua do Paiol, Beco do Paiol, Rua dos Frias, Beco do Amaro, Rua dos Arrifes, Beco do Soca, Beco do Salvador, Beco dos Arrifes, Calçada do Pico, Levada do Pico, Rua do Castelo, Rua São João de Deus, Travessa da Calçada do Pico & Beco da Levada dos Moinhos

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123694/Cortes_no_abastecimento_de_agua_na_freguesia_de_Sao_Pedro


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be a power cut today due to planned work on the electricity supply network. This work cannot be postponed.

FUNCHAL – 31st March – 09h00 to 11h00  (TODAY)

 – Caminho do Salão – São Roque (numbers 8 to 38)

– Vereda do Salão (numbers 3 to 28)

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/2021/03/30/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-25-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Wednesday 31st March 2021.

ARS wants to vaccinate 70% of the population of the Algarve by the end of August.

70% of Algarvians vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of August. This is the objective set by the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve, which, when vaccination is at “cruising speed”, wants to vaccinate 2000 people per day across the region.

The goal was set by Paulo Morgado, president of ARS Algarve, who accompanied, this Sunday, the visit of Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, Minister of Education, to the Pinheiro e Rosa Secondary School, in Faro, one of the educational institutions where it was the second time there was taking place a vaccination day for teachers and school staff.

The official said that “a set of Covid vaccination centres are being prepared in the Algarve, to vaccinate on a large scale, several hundred people per day”.

For now, “there have not been enough vaccines to open these centres”, but Paulo Morgado thinks that, “during the month of April, the country will receive vaccines, in significant quantities. Janssen vaccines will arrive, in a single dose, which will facilitate the whole process”.

According to the ARS president, vaccination centres are being prepared in all coastal cities. In the smaller municipalities, in the interior, “it will be necessary, vaccination will proceed more smoothly”.


Elidérico Viegas resigns as president of AHETA.

Elidérico Viegas will no longer be the president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA), a position he has held for 25 years, since he helped found this entity in 1995.

The businessman, who has been the face of hoteliers for decades, presented his resignation on Monday, after being called by the other members of the AHETA management to explain statements made to Jornal i, in which the other leaders of the association say that “did not review and they cannot subscribe to”.

“In a meeting immediately called, the board heard the explanations by the president and was informed of his intention to resign from this AHETA governing body, which resignation was presented by the President of the General Assembly, Monday, March 29”.

Although the resignation was motivated by divergent views between Elidérico and the other leaders of the association, the AHETA management, in a statement, they made a point of “recognizing the relevant role of the current president of the AHETA management, since the formal constitution of the association, in defence of the interests of tourist companies in the Algarve and in the affirmation of AHETA as the most influential and representative business association in the region, which constitutes itself as the main tourist destination in the country”.

“As a result of this decision, the remaining members of the board in office will request the President of the General Assembly to call for elections for the governing bodies of AHETA, in the shortest possible time, in order to strengthen the intervention capacity of the association in this critical period that tourist companies in the Algarve are and will have to continue to overcome”, they conclude.

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/2021/03/eliderico-viegas-demite-se-de-presidente-da-aheta/



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 31st March 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores .

Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,493 tests is 45.  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 all the cases with 45.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 38 in total.  38 on the island of São Miguel.

Most of the cases are on the island of São Miguel now, with just one on the island of Terceira.

There are 13 patients with Covid-19 in the region’s hospitals with five in the ICU. Most of the patients are testing positive for the new ‘British’ variant.

There are currently 129 active positive cases in the Region. 128 on São Miguel and one on Terceira.

Sadly, last Friday, a man of 55 with previous health complications died soon after testing positive for Covid-19.

Since the start of the pandemic, 4,171 positive cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed, 30 have died, 67 have left the archipelago and 41 have shown evidence of previous cure.

To date, 389,334 tests have been carried out in the Azores for screening of Covid-19. Since December 31st and until March 30th, 43,812 people aged 15 years and over have been vaccinated in the Archipelago (28,376 with the first dose and 15,436 with the second dose), within the scope of the 1st phase of the Regional Vaccination Plan. More information at: https://vacinacao-covid19.azores.gov.pt.

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 27th March 2021

Introduction

Good morning – If ever a title was needed for this morning report it would be “Don’t shoot the Messenger” – please read on!

Yesterday, the Council of Ministers, approved electronically the decree that regulates the renewal of the State of Emergency, which will be in force until 23:59 on April 5th. There was initially some confusion concerning this, since the Assembly of the Republic had approved the President’s proposal which extended the State of Emergency until 15th April. Hence we queried this with government before publishing.

The reason was explained by the Minister of State and the Presidency who stated that “The government decided to extend the current decree until April 5th and decided to evaluate what the rules are from April 5th on the next meeting on April 1st”, that is, “we will decide with more current data and closer to reality on that day”. This means that the measures currently in place will remain until 5th when the de- confinement measures are confirmed (or changed). This seems a sensible approach making use of updated data closer to the time.

The council of Ministers also announced, “the extension of the ban on movement outside the municipality of the home, daily, starting at 00:00 on March 26th until 23:59 on April 5th, without prejudice to the exceptions provided for.”

I have to say, given that we have been monitoring this for over a year, the timings concerning the start and finish of the travel ban over the Easter period, were to say the least unclear. The Government website “Estamos On” did not give timings and many people, the media and indeed ourselves initially were under the impression from interpreting the law, that that the start was 8pm as usual finishing on 5am on 5th – again as usual. The government then yesterday published a rectification decree stating the start date was 00.00 on 26th meaning midnight 25/26th which we quickly published, but this did not clarify the finishing time. As early as yesterday morning, many media were reporting this as 05:00 hrs 5th but clearly this was not correct. The Council of Ministers finally clarified this. To date Estamos On has not been updated with the timings. This would make matters very clear and is a recommendation we have made to government.

I mention this at length because we often get people complaining as though it is somehow our fault. I can assure you that the reverse is true and if something is unclear we approach government at a senior level to ask them to explain.

The problem is that there is, in our opinion, a gap in government written communication – “Estamos On” which is our view is too brief and does not provide essential information, compared with the decree laws which are most detailed but so lengthy people do not have time to read albeit understand. Safe Communities therefore acts as a bridge to try and give more detail that people should be aware off – doing this in English of course makes this even more difficult.

We turn now to transmission rates which will have a bearing on the de- confinement phased implementation. According to INSA data on the epidemic curve of infection by SARS-CoV-2 released today, for the five-day period between 17th and 21st March, the Algarve has an Rt of 1.19, the Alentejo of 1.02, the Azores 1.04 and Madeira 1.05. The remaining regions of the country have a virus transmissibility index below 1: North 0.95, Centre 0.85 and Lisbon and Tagus Valley 0.89. It would seem from the press briefings yesterday that the increasing rates are a matter that government is monitoring very closely and another reason why the reason to defer a decision concerning the de- confinement plan. We will keep you up to date accordingly.

Both the GNR and PSP have made it very clear that they are stepping up enforcement over the Easter period staring 26th March. Since 00:00 this Friday (yesterday) it is forbidden to move between municipalities. The measure will run until April 5th to avoid gatherings at Easter time.  For the PSP the “Easter at Home” operation is in force, during which the PSP (who police the larger cities) promises to be attentive to all travel, whether on foot or by car.

With the warmer and continuing dry weather, we again need to remind us all to avoid starting a rural fire. Yesterday there were two in the Algarve, one in Tavira brought under control in less than 30 minutes with the rapid deployment of a helicopter and the other in Boliqueime, also brought under control.

Yesterday the ANEPC issued a notification to the population warning of the risk of rural fires. In addition the fire-fighting program has been strengthened in 5 districts in the north of the country. Comparing with the reports of rural fires in 2020 from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF), it was concluded that this year the fires more than doubled in relation to March 2020 and the burnt area is almost seven times larger.

In the next few days the fire risk will be increasing especially in the Algarve, so if you are burning debris or scrubland ensure you obtain authorization beforehand and that you take the necessary safety precautions. The GNR are enforcing these measures and if you have not taken these steps you can expect a hefty fine.

Stay Safe and have a good day


Headlines

Covid-19: Costa warns that next week is “very critical” and calls for “completely different” Easter.

The Prime Minister, António Costa, warned today that the next week is “very critical” for the process of deflation and called on the Portuguese to have a “completely different” Easter from usual.

At the end of the inauguration of the requalification of the Monte de Caparica Secondary School, in Almada, António Costa reiterated the warning made also by the Minister of Education, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, who accompanied him on the visit.

“We are in a week that is very critical, but that is absolutely decisive, particularly for the future of this school”, said Costa.

The Prime Minister recalled that the Government’s de-confinement plan provides that, on April 5th, they can return to face-to-face classes in the second and third cycles and, two weeks later, the secondary.

“For this to happen, it is absolutely essential that we are able to continue to keep the pandemic in check,” he said, referring that, if the incidence of cases continues to fall, the rate of transmission has been rising.

In a reference to the matrix presented two weeks ago and which will guide the advance, stop or retreat in the deflation, Costa warned that “in that square, the dot will move”.

“On the one hand, in a good way, but on the other, in a dangerous sense, towards the yellow side”, he warned.

The Prime Minister defended that the country “cannot lose what it has achieved in the last two weeks”, but warned that “nothing is yet won” and Portugal “cannot go back”, leaving a request.

“Let us all assume that Easter is going to be completely different from the Passover of our lives, so that our lives can be resumed as they used to be and we can have, in the future, the Passover that we all wish everyone, with those loved ones that we want to be here to spend other Easters’ with us”, he said.

Costa expressed his confidence that “the sense of responsibility that the Portuguese have expressed throughout this year, will once again fully assert itself this week”.


Government decides to extend current decree law until 5th April.

On April 1st, the Government decides whether there will be changes to the de-confinement plan, announced the Minister of the Presidency, recommending the Portuguese to “be cautious” at Easter.

This Friday, Mariana Vieira da Silva left two central messages after the Council of Ministers meeting: “caution” and “fulfilling the duty to stay at home” during Easter week are needed and the Government will re-evaluate the restrictions in effective April 1st.

The Minister of State and the Presidency referred that, on March 11th, there were 105 cases of Covid-19 per hundred thousand inhabitants in 14 days and the risk of transmission – R (t) – was 78 and currently there are 67.7 cases and an R (t) of 0.81. In other words, the R (t) is increasing and approaching 1. But “the incidence has been reduced, which is a factor of contentment in this first phase of deflation”, he acknowledged.

“The path we have taken shows that we are able to continue the de-confinement plan but it also shows that we have come very close to R (t) 1 and we need to be cautious in the continuation of the de-confinement process”, said Mariana Vieira da Silva, referring to the two lines identified to re-evaluate the averages: 120 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants and R (t) equal to 1.

“Although we remain in the green zone of this matrix, it does not mean that we are free to do all things,” he warned. “It means that we are in a position to continue the de-confinement plan”.

“The government decided to extend the current decree until April 5th and decided to evaluate what the rules are from April 5th on April 1st “, that is, “we will decide with more current data and closer to reality on that day “, she announced.

“It is a decision of caution and warning,” she stressed. “The rules up until April 5th will be the same as today,” she stated, highlighting the ban on movement between municipalities and the duty to stay at home.


Covid-19 Situation.

On Friday Portugal recorded 5 deaths and 488 new cases of Covid-19 according to the daily report of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). The statistics were as follows.

Confirmed Cases: 819,698 (+ 488 / + 0.05 %)

Number of admitted: 669 (-26 /-3.7 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 155 (+1 /- 0.6 %)

Deaths: 16,819 (+ 5 / + 0.02 %)

Recovered: 771,339 (+891 / +1.1 %)

Active cases: 31,540 (-408 /-1.2%)

Safe Communities comparisons/trends show that: deaths are lowest since 10th October 2020; new cases – 2nd highest in 6 days; recoveries were double new cases. The number in hospital has decreased to the lowest since 4th October and those in ICU the lowest since 17th October 2020 – Active cases: Lowest since 11th October, decrease of 150 083 since 31st January. There are no deaths in Algarve, Alentejo, north and Azores.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Despite all this good news it is important not to let our guard down at this crucial time. Those in hospital and ICU remain high. This means complying with the rules in place – wearing face masks, social distancing, hygiene and no social gatherings.


Health

Testing.

Portugal is expected to receive about 12 million tests for Covid-19 in the coming weeks. The mass testing plan is being adapted and plans to cover everyone, without exception.

“The concept is to prevent, test and diagnose” confirmed Fernando Almeida, coordinator of the task force for the mass testing plan and President of the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge.

This morning, at a press conference, the Minister of State and the Presidency confirmed “the strategy of very significant enlargement of the tests “.

In an interview with SIC Notícias, the task force coordinator said that the objective is to promote testing, as a “move of anticipation with some criteria”. However, he stressed that testing “just for testing” is the criterion that they do not want to use.


Vaccinations.

Portugal yesterday (Friday) surpassed one million vaccinees with the first dose of one of the vaccines against Covid-19.

And, at the same time, 500 thousand second doses will be reached, according to a source in the vaccination plan’s task force.

“The barrier of one million first doses of vaccines administered against Covid-19 is already surpassed in Portugal today,” the source of the task force coordinated by Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo told the Lusa agency.

The same source added that “at the same time, the value of about half a million second inoculated doses will be reached”, with Thursday being “the day with the highest volume of doses administered: 50 thousand”.

Portugal started vaccinating the population on December 27th, 2020


Vaccines – AstraZeneca.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said this Thursday night, at a press conference just after the meeting with the leaders of the 27, that AstraZeneca has to ensure its commitments to supply vaccines to the EU before to be able to export doses outside the European space.

“We must guarantee our citizens that they have access to what is due to them and that is why we agreed that pharmaceutical companies must honour contracts with the EU before they can export to other regions in the world – and this is, of course, the case for AstraZeneca”, said von der Leyen, adding that this is also “evident” for the company itself.

Data released this afternoon by the official reveal that 18.2 million adults out of nearly 400 million EU citizens have already received the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, thus leading to only 4.1% of the European population being fully immunized.  “We would have been much faster in delivering vaccines if the pharmaceutical companies had fulfilled the agreement. AstraZeneca delivered fewer doses than those contracted by the contractor required,” said von der Leyen.

With the number of cases of Covid19 rising again in Europe, the 27 repeat that it is necessary to accelerate the production of vaccines and to ensure that the pharmaceutical companies, with whom contracts were closed, fulfill the deliveries even if it is necessary to resort ” to all instruments, including a ban on exports if necessary, “said António Costa. However, he adds that it is essential to safeguard “always the supply chains that are essential to ensure the smooth functioning of the industry, both in Europe and abroad”.


Vaccine Production.

Friday 1:37 pm – EMA approves new vaccine production site for AstraZeneca in the Netherlands.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) today approved a new vaccine production site for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine in the Netherlands, a pharmaceutical involved in controversy due to delays in the delivery of vaccines to the European Union (EU).

“A new manufacturing site has been approved for the production of the active substance [of Covid-19 vaccine] from AstraZeneca. The Halix site is located in Leiden, the Netherlands, and will bring to four the total number of licensed manufacturing sites for the production of the active substance in the vaccine”, informs the EMA in a press release.

Also approved today by the EMA was a new production site (both active substance and final product) for the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine in Marburg, Germany, stating in Stella Kyriakides’ note that this “is very good news”, which reveals that the EU is “working at full speed to increase the capacity to produce vaccines against Covid-19”.

Like any medicine in the EU, vaccines against Covid-19 can only be manufactured in places approved by the European regulator.


INE Covid-19 Statistics.

Friday 11:39 am – Daily average in the last seven days has dropped to last September levels.

The daily average in the last seven days of new infections by SARS-CoV-2 has dropped this week to values ​​that have not occurred since September 2020, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) released today (Friday).

According to the INE figures, on March 24th, there was a daily average of 451 cases of infection in the previous seven days (3,155 cases in total), the “lowest value since September 9th, 2020”, continuing the “sharp decrease” of the number of new confirmed cases in the last seven days “starting on January 28th.

The incidence rate of contagions at 14 days was, last Wednesday, 64 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, well below the maximum of 1,667 cases verified on January 29th.


Vaccination of teachers starts this weekend.

The Minister of Health said this Friday that the vaccination process is going on as planned. “We are moving forward with good pace” despite the various challenges, “namely we will move forward this weekend with the vaccination of a significant part of the teachers”.

Marta Temido also said that Portugal will overcome the challenge of vaccinating 80 percent of people over 80 in the first quarter.


Covid-19: Students lose the most if de-confinement is not won – minister.

Lisbon, 26th March 2021 (Lusa) – The Minister of Education today considered the success of the de-confinement process “crucial”, warned that nothing is gained in the containment of the Covid-19 and defended that the students will be the ones who lose the most if the situation gets complicated.

These warnings were transmitted by Tiago Brandão Rodrigues at the opening of the expansion works to the 2nd and 3rd cycles of the Basic School of Parque das Nações, a ceremony attended by the Prime Minister, António Costa, and the Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina .

In his brief speech, the Minister of Education began by recalling the times when he was a student at the University of Coimbra and when he was at Expo 98 as a volunteer, at a time when Parque das Nações was being launched and did not yet have school infrastructure or of health.

“Today, a series of school facilities is closed here. A legacy is left for all future generations who will pass through here,” he said, before referring to the country’s current epidemiological situation.

“We are at a crucial moment with the end of the second school term, already with teaching activities in kindergartens and in the 1st cycle. I want to say something about this process of deflation: The country is going through a complex period and nothing is gained”, he declared.

Tiago Brandão Rodrigues then said that he has spoken with teachers and mayors and that everyone knows that “the ones who have more to lose, if things do not go as they wish, are children and young people”.


Police Enforcement

Covid-19: About 300 vehicles inspected by the PSP on the 25 de Abril Bridge, only one without justification.

Almada, 26th March 2021 (Lusa) – Of the approximately 300 vehicles inspected this morning by the PSP at Ponte 25 de Abril, south-north direction, within the scope of the ban on driving between municipalities in mainland Portugal, to combat the pandemic of Covid- 19, only one circulated without justification.

“During the morning of today we were inspecting the vehicles that were circulating between south/north to enter the municipality of Lisbon, to check if they are complying with the prohibition of driving between municipalities and with the general duty of home collection”, he explained in statements to Lusa the PSP sub-commissioner Cátia Brás.

Circulation between municipalities in mainland Portugal has been banned since 00:00 today and 05:00 on April 5th (since amended to 23:59 on April 5th), the Monday after Easter, under the State of Emergency to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ban on driving between the 278 municipalities on the continent will be applied this Easter period daily, according to the deconfinement plan presented by the Government on March 11th and which came into effect last week.

According to Cátia Brás, of those inspected in Almada, “only one driver was not complying” with the rules, as he was unaware that the driving ban schedule had been brought forward one day, having been assessed by the authorities.


Covid-19: GNR closes two restaurants in Amarante with nine people inside.

Amarante, Porto, 26th March 2021 (Lusa) – GNR closed, in Vila Meã, municipality of Amarante, Porto district, two restaurants operating with nine people in the interior, in violation of restrictions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the official indicated that the action took place on Thursday, after a complaint “that accounted for the holding of lunches inside two restaurants”.

The military went to the locations, verifying that nine people were having lunch inside the two food and beverage establishments, disregarding the current regulations regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to that police force, the nine people were identified and the administrative offense records were drawn up for failure to observe the duty to remain in the interior of catering establishments and for non-compliance with the general duty of home collection.


Tourism economy.

Tourism’s contribution to world GDP falls more than 49% in 2020.

The contribution of the tourism sector to the global economy has dropped to a “devastating” level.

The contribution of the tourism sector to the global economy fell to four billion euros ($ 4.7 billion) in 2020, 49.1 percent less than in 2020, due to the “devastating” impact of the pandemic, it was today announced.

The World Travel & Tourism Council ( WTTC ) stated that in 2019 the contribution of the tourism sector to the global economy was 7.8 billion euros (9.2 billion dollars).

After this decline, which contrasts with that of the global economy, which contracted by 3.7 percent, tourism now represents 5.5 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), against 10.4 percent in 2019, according to the WTTC’s annual economic impact report.

Tourism employment declined less, by 18.5 percent, to lose 62 million jobs, from 334 million (10.6 percent of the global total or one in 10) in 2019 to 272 million in 2020.

WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara stressed that, without prompt action by governments around the world by implementing measures to save jobs at risk, “today’s numbers would be much worse.”

However, the threat “persists” as many of these jobs are currently supported by state schemes for job retention and short-term work and, without a full recovery in the sector, could be lost, warned the WTTC.

The report also reveals a “shocking” loss in international travel expenses, which decreased 69.4 percent last year from 2019, while the drop in domestic tourist travel was less than 45 percent.



Regional Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Saturday 27th March 2021 by our Special Correspondent.

Covid-19 update

There were 83 new Covid-19 cases, 132 recoveries and 1 death from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. On Friday, the R-rate in the Autonomous Region of Madeira increased to 1.05.

On Wednesday, there were 23 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 52 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 24, 5 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 29 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission), 37 recoveries and 1 death. An 89-year old female patient, who had pre-existing conditions, became Madeira’s 70th fatality from Covid-19. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 19, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 31 new Covid-19 cases (from 4 passengers who had arrived from Poland, 1 passenger who had arrived from Lithuania and 26 cases of local transmission) and 43 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 17, 4 of whom are were intensive care.

There are currently 489 active cases, of which 19 had been imported while the other 470 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Friday, there had been 8,245 cases, 7,686 recoveries and 70 deaths.

On Friday, there were 12 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 463 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 17 patients in Covid-19 units, 4 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 155 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 6,155 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 827 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, 173,107 samples had been collected until Friday (at 15h30). By Friday, 337,258 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

As for testing on passengers who had planned to travel from the Portuguese mainland to Madeira,  61,936 tests had been carried out by March 21st. A total of 536 tests came back positive, which means such passengers did not travel to the Madeira archipelago. These tests were paid for by the Madeira Regional Government and were carried out at laboratories it had signed contracts with.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 341 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 43,77 calls.

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 received 20 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 3,222 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/24/23-novos-casos-de-covid-19-52-recuperados-87-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/25/madeira-atinge-a-marca-das-70-mortes-com-covid-19/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/25/29-novos-casos-de-covid-19-37-recuperados-91-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/26/31-novos-casos-de-covid-19-43-recuperados-155-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/26/madeira-com-rt-de-105/


Increased monetary for compliance with curfew during Easter

Monitoring will increase to ensure compliance with the curfew and other sanitary control measures. Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, stressed there will be “zero tolerance”. He said that although the numbers are going down, there can be no relaxing during Easter and the period after Easter. He reinforced this by saying the alternative is to close everything down.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/123204/Madeira_reforca_fiscalizacao_ao_recolher_obrigatorio_durante_a_Pascoa


Vaccination of teaching and non-teaching staff

Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, would like vaccination of teaching and non-teaching staff to be complete by April 7th. This would allow secondary schools to reopen for classes on April 8th. Although he recognises a “very big effort” will be required from personnel in charge of vaccination in order to meet this deadline, he emphasised the importance of completing this vaccination process so as to “safely reopen schools”.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/122942/Governo_quer_vacinar_professores_e_funcionarios_a_tempo_do_regresso_as_aulas_no_secundario_a_8_de_abril


Loja do Cidadão to be closed from April 1st until April 4th

Loja do Cidadão will be closed from April 1st until April 4th, as part of the measures adopted by the Madeira Regional Government to control the Covid-19 pandemic. It will reopen on April 5th with its usual opening hours (from 08h30 to 17h30).

The use of digital means for accessing public services must be prioritised. Citizens who would like to visit the Loja do Cidadão premises must wear face masks, maintain social distancing (2 metres), disinfect their hands, orderly queue outside the premises and comply with all instructions provided by members of staff.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/26/loja-do-cidadao-encerrada-entre-1-e-4-de-abril/


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be a power cut today due to planned work on the electricity supply network. This work cannot be postponed.

CANIÇO

27th March – 08h00 to 10h00  (TODAY)

– Estrada da Ponta da Oliveira

– Caminho Velho da Oliveira

FAIAL

29th March – 09h00 to 10h30

– Lombo Lourenço

– Fajã do Mar

– Tojal

SANTANA

29th March – 09h00 to 10h30

– Sítio do Cortado

FUNCHAL

29th March – 09h00 to 10h30

– Caminho da Torrinha (number 162)

– Caminho Velho da Piedade (number 1 to number 31)

– Rua do Passeio da Quinta do Salvador (number 22)

– Rua da Quinta da Aragem (numbers 36 and 49)

– Rua da Torrinha (number 97-F to number 154)

– Rua do Bairro do Livramento (number 1 to number 32)

– Vereda das Lajes (numbers 37 and 37-A)

– Rampa do Ribeiro Chega (numbers 3 and 7)

29th March – 09h00 to 11h30

– Caminho do Moinho (numbers 10, 32 and 34)

– Levada do Pico do Cardo de Dentro (number 16 to number 79)

– Escadinhas do Pico do Cardo de Dentro

31st March – 09h00 to 11h30

– Vereda do Viana

– Vereda de Santa Quitéria (number 4 to number 34)

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/2021/03/25/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-23-2021/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/27/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-24-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Saturday 27th March 2021.

Algarve has 73 more active cases of Covid-19 than a week ago.

The Algarve has 73 more active cases of Covid-19 than a week ago, now totalling 386, according to data released this Friday, March 26th, by the District Civil Protection Commission.

Over the past week, the Regional Health Authority recorded 233 new cases of the disease when, in the previous week, between 12th and 19th March, 106 new cases had been registered.

This rise in contagions in the last week is related to the appearance of outbreaks, particularly in the municipalities of Portimão and Albufeira, in civil construction companies, as the South Information has advanced.

These situations linked to civil construction “emerged, identified as outbreaks, in the second week of March”, but “new cases continue to appear”, as explained by the Regional Health Authority, on Tuesday, to our newspaper.

According to the data, until 23:59 this Thursday, Monchique was the only municipality in the Algarve with no active cases. However, the mayor Rui André revealed in a Facebook post that “after more than a month after the last Covid-19 case, we have again registered a case, according to information from the health authorities”.

The South Information also found that, after tests, two more infections have already been detected in this municipality.

Also Vila do Bispo, which, a week ago, had no active infections, now has 7 active cases.

On the other hand, Portimão (124) and Faro (66) continue to be the two municipalities with the most active infections, although, in the case of the Algarve capital, the number has decreased in the last week (-4).


Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) proposes the integration of hotel and restaurant workers in the groups to be vaccinated.

AHETA issued on Thursday, March 25th, a note stating that “the Algarve, like what happens in other competing tourist destinations, should consider hotel and restaurant workers as priorities in vaccination strategies against Covid-19”.

“The tourism economy is characterized by being an activity from people to people, forcing holiday consumers to go to the place where the services are produced. Therefore, the human factor plays, in this economic sector, a more important and decisive role than in other sectors, namely in all activities that make up the respective tourism value chain, with a special focus on accommodation and restaurant services”, explains the Association.

In this sense, “and considering that vaccination is, at present, the condition that most confidence can induce in the general population, especially with regard to obtaining the so-called group immunity”, AHETA defends that “the national health authorities and Regional authorities should consider vaccination of hotel and tourism professionals in the largest and most important Portuguese tourist region, as a priority. ”

The Association based in Albufeira argues that “the vaccination of professionals in the tourism sector is assumed, in the current economic and health context, as a competitive asset in the recovery phase, compared to other competing destinations, a period in which the competitive dispute it will be very pronounced”.

On the other hand, AHETA defends the proportional distribution of vaccines, since, in the national context, “the Algarve has been contemplated with a smaller number of units, compared to other regions of our country”.


Covid-19: Unemployment in the Algarve “worries” but is below 2020 figures – IEFP.

The Algarve regional delegate from the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP) today classified the increase in unemployment in the region as “worrying” but stressed that the February figures are below those recorded in the first confinement, in 2020.

In taking stock of the effects of a year of the Covid-19 pandemic on employment in the Algarve, Madalena Feu told Agência Lusa that the 74.4% year-on-year increase in unemployment recorded in February this year is still far from the figures for May, June and July last year, when there were year-on-year increases of 202.4%, 231.8% and 216.6%, respectively.

The IEFP regional delegate considered, therefore, that the impact registered in the first confinement, starting in March 2020, was “greater” than that registered in January and February this year, a month in which there was a total of 33,459 registered to the job search in regional employment services.

“As the Algarve is a region that has lived almost exclusively on tourism and all the activities associated with it, its main consequence was higher unemployment than in the rest of the country”, acknowledged Madalena Feu.

However, “if only the February figures are checked”, and “although they are quite high”, they still “would not be as high as they were last year”, he countered.

The IEFP delegate in the Algarve supported this position by comparing the 74.4% year-on-year increase registered in the last month, in full second confinement, with the months following the beginning of the first confinement, starting in March 2020, when they were reached “Growth, compared to the same period, in the order of 202.4% in May, 231.8% in June and 216.6% in July”.

“If 2020 was a first clash with the pandemic, today we can say that we are better prepared”, he justified, considering that the reorganization of services to adapt and respond in a pandemic time, as well as the importance of public measures to support employment and the economy, “Have contributed to controlling the numbers more effectively”.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 27th March 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores.

The Regional Government of the Azores decided to apply, as of 00:00 today, Friday, high risk measures in two parishes in the municipality of Ponta Delgada, namely São Pedro and São Sebastião

Thus, according to the Regional Health Authority, the new measures for these two parishes are as follows:

Prohibition of pedestrian, car, motorized or similar circulation on public roads between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am the next day on weekdays and between 3:00 pm and 5:00 am the day after the weekend.

Closing of all commercial activity at 8:00 pm during the week and at 3:00 pm at the weekend, with the exception of critical services.

Teleworking regime in the activities and functions where it is feasible, for professionals who suffer from any pathology that constitutes risk comorbidity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, certified by reasoned assessment by occupational medicine or, failing that, by statement by an attending physician that expresses, justified and clearly, the need for the teleworking regime to be applied to the worker, as well as to one of the parents of children up to 12 years of age who are in distance learning or day care, kindergartens and ATL closed, as long as required.

In case teleworking is not possible, the time difference is recommended.

Closure of all restaurants, beverages and similar establishments at 3 pm, with the limitation that, during the period of operation, the maximum capacity per table is four people, unless they belong to the same household, respecting a maximum capacity of one third capacity of the establishment concerned.

From 3 pm and until 10 pm, food, beverage and similar establishments can only operate with home delivery and take-away service, with the exception of the provision of meals to guests of hotel or similar establishments by the respective restaurant services.

Nursery and ATL closures are maintained.

Closure of gymnasiums and covered swimming pools, and sports in these spaces are prohibited.

Closure of casinos and gambling establishments.

Funerals, which can only take place until 8:00 pm on weekdays and until 3:00 pm at the weekend, are subject to the adoption of organizational measures that guarantee the absence of clusters of people and the rules of social distance, namely the setting of a maximum attendance limit, to be determined by the local authority that exercises the management powers of the respective cemetery, and this limit cannot result in the presence of a spouse or de facto partner, ascendants, descendants, relatives and the like.

The municipalities of Ribeira Grande, Vila Franca do Campo and the rest of Ponta Delgada will rise in the risk level due to the pandemic, starting at 00:00 on Saturday. Lagoa and Povoação will drop their risk level and the Northeast will maintain the Very Low Risk level.  All of the other islands are currently maintaining at Very Low Risk Level.


Covid-19.

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last three days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,826 tests is 25.  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 all the cases with 25.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 30 in total.  30 on the island of São Miguel.

Most of the cases are on the island of São Miguel now, with just one on the island of Terceira.

There are 12 patients with Covid-19 in the region’s hospitals with one in the ICU.

There are currently 123 active positive cases in the Region. 122 on São Miguel and one on Terceira

Since the start of the pandemic, 4,049 positive chaos in Covid-19 have been diagnosed, 29 have died, 67 have left the archipelago and 41 have shown evidence of previous cure.

To date, 383,841 tests have been carried out in the Azores for Covid-19 screening. Since last December 31st and until yesterday, March 25th, 42,533 people aged 15 and over have been vaccinated in the archipelago (27,463 with the first dose – 13.56% of the population, and 15,070 with the second dose – 7.44% of the population), within the scope of the first phase of the Regional Vaccination Plan.

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 via 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 24th March 2021.

Introduction

Yesterday, as expected, was a very busy day with a plethora of updates during and after the Infarmed meeting.

These are presentations given by the various experts who are the key players in advising government officials, primarily the President, Prime Minister and others on the development of Covid-19 and providing various forecasts. It is based on these meetings held currently every two weeks, and discussions with political parties, that the President determines the need for the State of Emergency and if so, sets the framework for its further extension. Thereafter, the Council of Ministers determines the detailed measures needed in response to the situation, to be included in the decree law.

As we have done before, we provided a live update through our Facebook page linked to our website, of the summary of these presentations. I would describe this as a “one stop shop” of the current situation. To read beyond the headlines, this 5 minute read, provides all the information you need to know about the current situation and the forecasts from the experts concerned.

If you were unable to read it yesterday then you can view it here.

In other words to be “informed” stay tuned to “Infarmed”.

Following the Infarmed meeting, the Prime Minister António Costa stated “What I can say is that this is the Government’s understanding. At least until the end of this [de-confinement] process, it is necessary to maintain a State of Emergency to ensure that all steps are taken safely”. This appears to set the framework for the future at least until May when we reach the last phase.

We see an increasing number of comments recently of more movements on the streets. This of course is a result of the implementation of the various stages of de-confinement. The first of these was 15th March. What is important however is that such movements are proportionate to these changes. If this is excessive and this results in increases in cases, then the risks will increase as will the new cases. At this critical stage we must all continue to follow the measures in place.

Concerning vaccinations, there were various reports yesterday during the Infarmed meeting, of the progress so far. From the information provided, despite the constraints imposed by the reduced supply from AstaZeneca, Portugal is ahead of the average in Europe and is on-track to achieve the 70% vaccination of the population in summer. There is little point in comparing this say with the situation in the UK, as such comparisons are hardly productive. We live in Portugal and therefore subject to the overall supply to and within Europe.

There are more vaccines being developed and this can only improve the availability within Europe and other European countries. If we have to wait a two or three months longerr, then this is not the end of the world in the context. The pandemic only started 15 months ago and the fact that vaccines have been developed and that 461 million doses have already been administered in around 135 countries, is unprecedented in this time span! Our expectations are naturally high but this has to be tempered with patience in this time of crisis! We look to the vaccine suppliers to meet their contractual obligations in providing the vaccines as scheduled.

Turning to news last evening that teachers and non-teaching staff from pre-school, 1st cycle of basic education will receive an SMS, on Wednesday, to schedule the vaccination for Covid-19, advances the Ministry of Education.

The office of Minister Tiago Brandão Rodrigues says that teachers and non-teachers will have to reply to the cell phone message to confirm the vaccine, by Thursday, March 25th.

“The SMS schedule contains the location and time of the appointment” and will be sent “next Wednesday, March 24th, to which an answer must be given (yes / no), necessarily by Thursday, March 25”, the statement said.

This, as you can see, is important and time critical information with a very tight deadline. Time critical announcements in crisis situations is part of our remit at Safe Communities Portugal, so it is important that this is published and shared in an unambiguous way.

In doing this through social media, it is important that lines are kept clear and such key messages do not become distorted by comments and views unrelated to the topic. This would be the same if we were disseminating information in the case of a major rural fire or during any other catastrophe. The principals are the same, key officially sourced information and advice to reach as many people as possible.

As such, we take what some may considered a disciplined approach, by removing comments that do not subscribe to our standards which we have clearly outlined in the “About Us” section on our Facebook page. These set out the basic rules as to the use of our page, similar to various Facebook groups. This is important, as during this health crisis there is considerable misinformation in circulation using Facebook to spread various personal agendas. In the interests of the vast majority of our readers therefore we have to ensure there are appropriate safeguards in place. We thank you for your understanding.

Have a Safe Day.


Headlines.

The Prime Minister warns that the risk of transmission of Covid-19 is increasing in Portugal.

After taking part in yet another meeting on the evolution of the epidemiological situation, at Infarmed, in Lisbon, António Costa turned to the social network Twitter to underline that, although the country maintains a “stable” epidemiological situation, it is very important “to keep all precautions and apply preventive measures “. For the Prime Minister, the data he has received shows that “we are on the right track”. Things are going well,” said the Prime Minister during a visit to Liceu Camões, in Lisbon.

However, Costa wanted to warn of the fact that everything could change: “We have to go testing and measuring. Things don’t go well by chance. They only work if we maintain discipline,” he said.

The Prime Minister does not want to “ruin everything we have achieved” because “we are experiencing a dramatic month of January and February”. “Now that we have managed to conquer this situation, we must be able to keep it that way,” he said, referring to what happens in other countries “where” there was no capacity to control “the pandemic.


Covid-19

DGS Covid report published yesterday once again showed a downward trend in all key areas as follows:

Confirmed Cases: 818,212 (+ 434 / + 0.05 %)

Number of admitted: 743 (-28 / -3.8 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 159 (-6 /-3.6 %)

Deaths: 16.794 (+ 10 / + 0.05 %)

Recovered: 769,086 (+ 1212 / + 0.15 %)

Active cases: 32,332 (-788 / – 2.3%)

Safe Communities comparisons/trends: show that Deaths 3rd lowest since 10th October;  new cases – below last week’s daily average and one of lowest since 1st September; Recoveries nearly 3 times new cases; In hospital lowest since 6th October and 6033 less compared to number in hospital 1st Feb and lowest in ICU since 18th October 2020 – decreased by 81.6% since 1st February. Also active cases were the lowest since 12th October and a decrease of 149,291 since 31st October; those under surveillance lowest since August 2020 and there were no deaths in Algarve


Health

Remarks by Minister of Health following Infarmed meeting.

The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, stressed the need to “continue to fight the virus without relieving the precautionary measures” so that Portugal can continue its positive trajectory in the face of the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the press conference after yet another presentation session on the epidemiological situation in Portugal, the Minister stressed the need to “maintain high attention and special caution regarding the approach to the next few days and weeks”.

Marta Temido also underlined the reinforcement of the testing strategy, which has included screenings on the return to school activities and other activities on the verge of resumption, and the evolution of vaccination. “It is worth underlining that we estimate that at the end of this week we will reach the goal we set for inoculation of at least 80% of people over 80 years of age, also estimating that we have more than one million Portuguese people vaccinated with an inoculation and about half a million Portuguese already with the complete vaccination process”.

The Minister of Health also affirmed that the beginning of the de-confinement process increased mobility and reduced teleworking and reiterated the call for the adoption of preventive measures, keeping teleworking whenever possible, restricting social contacts to what is essential and ensuring basic public health precautions.

Marta Temido referred that the epidemiological situation is stable, “with a decreasing trend in the number of new cases, hospitalisations and mortality”, and added that the current epidemiological risk “has an incidence in a level between 60 and 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants over the last 14 days and, in terms of effective risk of transmission, it is now at a risk of 0.88 for the mainland.

The Minister also warned of the European context, since most countries have “a major incidence and effective transmission risks are also considered high”. Marta Temido stated that this is an “adverse and worrying” context.


Highlights from yesterday’s Infarmed meeting.

From yesterday’s meeting these are the main points that were made by the experts:

The R (t) has been rising since February, but so is the incidence of cases, although it will probably stabilize at 60 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants within 14 days. Baltazar Nunes, from the Ricardo Jorge Institute (INSA) says that it is necessary to look at these numbers together, to analyze the Risk Matrix;

The active population has the highest incidence of cases, especially in the 20-30 age group;

André Peralta Santos, from DGS, indicated that the population aged 40-60, “to be completely safe”, should be included in vaccination;

Portugal has a 70% prevalence of cases related to the United Kingdom variant. The most recent data, not yet fully accounted for, however, points to a level already above 80%;

These figures are in line with the other European countries, but, underlined expert João Paulo Gomes, it is important to control flights and entries in Portugal in order to continue to evaluate and control the cases and variants that enter the national territory;

The lethality rate of Covid-19 is 2%, that is, in every 100 cases, there are two that are fatal.

Despite the delays related to Astrazeneca, Portugal maintains its intention to reach 70% of those vaccinated during the summer, and it is still possible, according to Henrique Gouveia e Melo, to achieve this number at the beginning of the summer season;

This week Portugal should reach the number of 1 million vaccinated with the first dose and 500 thousand vaccinated with the two inoculations;

In April, “about 1.8 million vaccines” will arrive in Portugal.


Vaccinations

Vaccination of 280 thousand teachers and staff starts this Saturday.

Over the next weekend, around 80 thousand teachers and staff in public and private kindergartens and elementary schools will be vaccinated against the Covid-19, including full-time school activities. The professionals of the other levels of education should be called throughout April as the de-confinement process advances and the opening of more schools, confirms the Ministry of Education in a statement sent to newsrooms, realizing that educational establishments are already receiving information about the process.

On the same note, it is reported that the AstraZeneca vaccine was chosen to protect this professional group that only recently entered phase 1 of the vaccination plan, becoming part of the priority groups. Portugal currently has over 200 thousand doses of this vaccine in stock, ready to be used.

The “safety and efficacy” of this product was again confirmed by the European Medicines Agency last week, after some episodes of adverse reactions were investigated.

Altogether, and according to the figures presented by the co-ordinator of the task force at the meeting at Infarmed held on Tuesday morning, this first group of 80 thousand professionals corresponds to 28% of a population of about 281 teachers and non-teachers that will be vaccinated in the coming weekends.


Covid-19 Variants.

João Paulo Gomes, from the Ricardo Jorge Institute, stated yesterday at the Infarmed meeting that almost 100% of Covid cases in England are from the United Kingdom variant and this should be the trend in the rest of the countries, being just “a matter of time”.  “The UK variant is expected to be in more than 80% of cases in our country.” “Almost all countries are expected to have a near 100% prevalence of the UK variant.” In Portugal, we have a prevalence of 70%, although, says the specialist, it is expected to reach 80% of cases shortly.

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

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


Movement increase.

“Bad behaviour” grows slightly. Use of mask falls, mobility increases.

Yesterday during the Infarmed meeting it was announced that there had been an improvement in the behaviour of the population since September in relation to measures to combat the pandemic.

However, in the last two or three weeks there has been a “slight increase in worse behaviour”.

The Portuguese consider that washing hands, for example, is an easy measure to adopt, the same is no longer happening with two meters distancing and visits to friends or family.

The use of a mask outside the home and with other people decreased slightly, from 91% who always wore in February to 86% by March 19th.

Portuguese mobility is also growing. The frequency with which people left home in the last month other than to go to work went from 17% to 26.4% in a month. In the distance of 2 meters, it went from 8.9% to 12.2%. In relation to being with ten or more people, the percentage is now 4.9%, when a month earlier it was no more than 1.8%.


Facebook deleted more than 1.3 billion fake accounts at the end of 2020.

Facebook announced on Monday that it had deleted more than 1.3 billion fake accounts between October and December 2020. 12 million fake contents about Covid-19 and vaccination against the disease have also been removed, in an effort to contain the spread of false information.

According to the social network managed by Mark Zuckerberg, there is a team of 35,000 people working to find and remove false information on the platform, in addition to artificial intelligence software that detects fake content.

In a statement published in the “Newsroom” area of ​​Facebook, the social network also revealed that it removed more than 100 networks of “co-ordinated false behaviour”.

In addition to the team of thousands of people who identify fake content, Facebook said it has built “a global network of more than 80 independent fact-checkers, who review content in more than 60 languages.”

On the Covid-19 pandemic, a topic that has been exploited to the fullest by conspiracy theories and fake content networks, Facebook said that the 12 million pieces removed are the result of “using artificial intelligence systems to bring down materials related to Covid-19 that international health experts have flagged as misinformation, and from there detect copies when someone tries to share them”.

The company also responded to criticisms that the social network does not act quickly enough to respond to the spread of disinformation, guaranteeing that it has “all motivation to keep false information out of our applications and we have taken several steps in this direction, to the detriment of growth in the number of users”.


Almost 90% of Portuguese want to be vaccinated.

According to a survey carried out by ISAG, more than a third of the Portuguese say they do not have preference over the brand of the vaccine, but the one that conveys more confidence is clearly that of Pfizer.

Almost 90% of Portuguese (87.2%, strictly speaking) want to be vaccinated, reveals a study by ISAG – European Business School and the Centre for Research in Business and Tourism Sciences, from the Consuelo Vieira da Costa Foundation.

Victor Tavares, one of those responsible for the study, explains to Jornal de Notícias that it is “evident that there is a feeling and confidence regarding the vaccine, regardless of the brand selected”.

The survey analysed the preferred brand and 37% of the population replied that they had no position. However, 34.9% would opt for the Pfizer immunizer, far ahead of the 8.7% who would select AstraZeneca and the 5.6% who would choose Moderna.

Despite these trends, the majority of Portuguese people show confidence in any of the options: the Pfizer vaccine is “approved” by 68.2% of people, that of AstraZeneca by 60.3% and that of Moderna by 60.1%. The study predates the temporary suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Portugal.

The questionnaire included 1057 participants, of whom 3.7% have already been inoculated, 18.4% have been infected and 15% have lost someone close to the Covid-19.


Government plans to accommodate 1100 homeless people by the end of 2021.

The Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, said that the Government aims to accommodate 1100 homeless people by the end of 2021.

In Coimbra, in the signing of five protocols with institutions from Coimbra and Figueira da Foz in the context of Housing First and Shared Apartments solutions, the Minister stressed that the protocols signed so far have already covered about 300 people.

“We want to have integrated responses that respond to the various dimensions of the need for intervention: accommodation, psychological support, qualifications and retraining. Integrated interventions that include teams that accompany people who go to these Housing First or Shared Apartments solutions in a logic of reintegration” she said.

Ana Mendes Godinho said that “the critical question is to guarantee housing and accommodation first”, hence the creation of these two responses, under the National Strategy for the Integration of People in Homeless Situations (ENIPSSA).

The Minister stated that a platform is being prepared with the capacity to guarantee “a reading at national level of all the people being monitored and to identify the necessary measures for each person, in this concern for personalized and individualized responses”.

The Government is also finalizing the ordinance that regulates the National Emergency Accommodation Exchange, which will allow to have “a central base for the management of vacancies at national level for emergency situations, having here also the integration of public properties that can be used for this purpose of urgent social responses ».


Real Estate market.

Prices in the real estate market showed some recovery at the end of last year, with the Housing Price Index growing 1.5 percentage points to 8.6% in the last quarter of the year, the INE revealed this Tuesday.

In a year marked by the pandemic, the Housing Price Index (IPHab) increased 8.4%, 1.2 percentage points less (pp) than in 2019, according to data released this Tuesday by the National Statistics Institute (INE). The average annual increase in the prices of existing housing (8.7%) exceeded that of new housing (7.4%).

The statistics office also revealed that in the 4th quarter of 2020, the annual rate of change of the IPHab was 8.6%, 1.5 percentage points more than in the previous quarter. In this period, prices for existing homes increased at a slower rate than for new homes, 8.5% and 9.0%, respectively.


Other News

National Defence creates Harassment Prevention Unit.

This Monday, by order of the Minister of National Defence, a Monitoring and Follow-up Team – the National Defence Harassment Prevention Unit – was set up with the mission of monitoring and following up any complaints related to conduct likely to substantiate harassment, violence sexual or discrimination, when practiced by military, militarized and civilians who exercise functions in the National Defence.

This Unit will be located in the General Secretariat of the Ministry of National Defence, directly dependent on the tutelage.

With the creation of this Unit, it is intended to reinforce the responsibility of all the military, militarized and civilians who exercise functions in the National Defence, with regard to their conduct, in strict compliance with the principles of rigour and transparency, legality, equality and non-discrimination, in order to generate and maintain the credibility and prestige of the institution they represent.

This measure has already been implemented in several European countries and allies, of which Germany, Canada, Spain, the United States, France and the Netherlands stand out, and its main objectives are to improve the dissemination of existing communication channels, sensitise National Defence people to the theme, through training sessions; and to monitor the development of processes, allowing information to be obtained in a centralized manner, while ensuring that disciplinary competence and the responsibility for initiating the respective disciplinary processes remain with the entities provided for by law.



Region Reports

Madeira

Covid-19 update.

There were 115 new Covid-19 cases, 198 recoveries and 1 death from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Saturday, there were 29 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Luxembourg, 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 26 cases of local transmission) and 52 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 25, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 29 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 41 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 27, 5 of whom were in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 23 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 53 recoveries and 1 death. An 84-year old male patient, who had pre-existing conditions, died from Covid-19 at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 26, 5 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 34 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 32 cases of local transmission) and 52 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 23, 4 of whom are were intensive care.

There are currently 539 active cases, of which 18 had been imported while the other 521 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Tuesday, there had been 8,162 cases, 7,554 recoveries and 69 deaths.

On Tuesday, there were 11 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 505 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 23 patients in Covid-19 units, 4 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 101 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 4,882 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 972 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, 171,328 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 15h30). By Tuesday, 333,141 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 466 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 43,436 calls.

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 received 22 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 3,202 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/20/29-novos-casos-de-covid-19-52-recuperados-128-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/21/29-novos-casos-de-covid-19-na-madeira-nas-ultimas-24-horas/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/22/mais-uma-morte-com-covid-19-na-ram-ja-sao-69-pessoas/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/23/34-novos-casos-de-covid-19-52-recuperados-101-suspeitos/


Vaccination update

As of March 21st, 40,582 vaccine doses had been administered in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. A highlight is the fact that 82% of the Region’s residents aged 80 or older have already been administered the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and 42.2% have been fully vaccinated with both vaccine doses.

Pedro Ramos, Madeira’s Health and Civil Protection Secretary, said Madeira was not only the first Portuguese region to resume vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine but also the first Portuguese region to start inoculating teaching and non-teaching staff.

It is estimated that 50,000 people will be vaccinated during the first vaccination phase, 50,000 during the second vaccination phase and 100,000 during the third vaccination phase.

A reminder that the Madeira Regional Health Service helpline on Covid-19 vaccination is: 800 210 263

Below are more detailed vaccination statistics from the Autonomous Region of Madeira (as of March 21st – vaccination started on December 31st):

Vaccine doses administered (1st and 2nd doses) – 40,582 (an increase of 5,442)

Vaccine doses administered (1st dose only) – 25,153 (an increase of 3,102)

Vaccine doses administered (2nd dose) – 15,429 (an increase of 2,347)

Number of inoculated people (1st dose) – 25,153 (10%)

Number of inoculated people (2nd dose) – 15,429 (6%)

Vaccine doses administered (females) – 16,406 (1st dose) & 10,408 (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate (females) – 12.1% (1st dose) & 7.7% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered (males) – 8,747 (1st dose) & 5,021 (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate (males) – 7.4% (1st dose) & 4.2% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (0-17) – 3-0.0% (1st dose) & 3-0.0% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (18-24) – 498-2.2% (1st dose) & 311-1.4% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (25-49) – 7,591-8.3% (1st dose) & 4,873-5.4% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (50-59) – 3,530-9.0% (1st dose) & 2,188-5.6% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (60-64) – 1,731-11.0% (1st dose) & 689- 4.4% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (65-69) – 627-4.7% (1st dose) & 324-2.4% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (70-79) – 2,034-10.9% (1st dose) & 1,603-8.6% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (80-80+) – 9,139-82.6% (1st dose) & 5,438-49.2% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (Health professionals from both private and public sector) – 6,855 (1st dose) & 5,370 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (Professionals from social care, care homes and similar institutions) – 4,508 (1st dose) & 3,385 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (Professionals from Civil Protection, security forces and critical services) – 2,173 (1st dose) & 806 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (citizens aged 50-79 & aged 80 or older) – 10,551 (1st dose) & 5,849 (2nd dose)

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/122565/Covid-19_Madeira_ja_administrou_39507_vacinas_e_foi_pioneira_na_retoma_da_AstraZeneca

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/23/40-582-vacinas-ja-administradas-na-ram-diz-a-secretaria-regional-da-saude/


Navy patrol vessel deployed to Madeira.

NRP Mondego, a modern Tejo-class patrol vessel which entered service in 2016, arrived in Madeira yesterday for another mission on the waters of Madeira. Its commanding officer is Lieutenant-Captain Lopes Monteiro, it has a crew of 28 sailors (6 officers, 5 sergeants and 17 enlisted) and will replace NRP Douro, which has returned to Lisbon. It will ensure there is a continuous Navy presence in Madeira and will be patrolling Portuguese waters around the archipelago. It will also be providing an additional search and rescue capability and support to the regional authorities in the event of an emergency.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/23/navio-patrulha-mondego-hoje-na-regiao-para-substituir-o-douro/


Water supply disruption.

There will be water supply disruptions in the parish (freguesia) of Câmara de Lobos, due to scheduled work on the water supply network in order to prevent water leaks. The following areas will be affected:

25th March (09h00 to 13h00) – Ribeiro Real

26th March (09h00 to 13h00) – Facho and Caldeira

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/122581/Interrupcao_no_abastecimento_de_agua_no_Porto_Santo_e_Camara_de_Lobos


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be a power cut today due to planned work on the electricity supply network. This work cannot be postponed.

ARCO DA CALHETA – 24th March – 10h30 to 12h30  (TODAY)

– Rochão

– Cales e Chada

– Chão de Cima

– Cova do Arco

25th March – 10h30 to 12h30

– Rochão

– Cales e Chada

– Chão de Cima

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/2021/03/22/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-22-2021/



Algarve

Covid-19 Incidence rate in the Algarve.

The Directorate-General for Health reported this Monday, the incidence rate of new cases registered in the Portuguese counties, in the period of 3rd to 16th of March.

The classification is carried out according to the categories used by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, adding the new cases in the last 14 days, per 100 000 inhabitants.

Base of incidence in the Algarve from March 3rd to 16th:

  1. Very low: Incidence <30 – Vila Real de Stº António – 21, Vila do Bispo – 19, Olhão – 11, Silves – 8, Monchique – 0
  2. Low: 30 <Incidence <60 – Albufeira – 55, Lagos – 49, São Brás de Alportel – 38
  3. Average: 60 <Incidence <120 – Tavira – 118, Portimão – 96, Castro Marim – 96, Loulé – 77, Aljezur – 72, Faro – 64
  4. Moderate: 120 <Incidence <240 – Lagoa – 127
  5. High: 240 <Incidence <480 –
  6. Very High: 480 <Incidence <960 – Alcoutim – 556
  7. Extremely high: Incidence> 960 –

Alcoutim without cases.

The Alcoutim City Council says it has received information, through the epidemiological bulletin from the local health authority, regarding the evolution of Covid-19 in the municipality, regarding the absence of positive cases.

The municipality thanks in a statement “the commitment of the population, which, while respecting security measures, allowed Alcoutim to reach the mark of zero active cases in Covid-19 this Tuesday”.

Despite today’s data, the chamber maintains the appeal to the population to continue to comply with safety measures, namely the use of the mask, hand hygiene frequently and respect for social distance.

The Mayor of the City, Osvaldo Gonçalves, affirms “we will do everything to continue to defend the interests of our citizens”.


BE wants Government to consider Algarve as “Region of Social and Economic Catastrophe”.

The Bloco de Esquerda (party) / Algarve defends the rapid intervention of the central power in supporting the Algarve, namely the population and companies that suffered from the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the party, the Algarve is one of the regions of the country that has suffered the greatest economic and social impact, and the Government should move towards the designation of the Algarve as “Region of Social and Economic Catastrophe, in order to overcome all the bureaucracies that have been hampering the support to the Algarve “, he explained in a statement.

BE criticizes that after the promises made by the Government in July 2020, “practically nothing has evolved in the mitigation of the enormous difficulties that arose with the economic crisis in the region”, having concluded through contacts and meetings with several entities in the Algarve, namely, ACRAL- Algarve; IEFP, Banco Alimentar-Algarve, União dos Sindicatos do Algarve, Algfuturo, RTA, Hospitality Union of the Algarve, among others, “that despair is the common denominator in the region and if nothing is done quickly the situation will reach an extremely serious proportion , with unimaginable social damage “.

Due to the low wages associated with precarious work, it has resulted, according to the party, in thousands of Algarvians being in a “calamitous situation, in addition to the difficulty of companies and the social wound of the overwhelming growth of unemployment, due to the sector of tourism being totally stopped and with very gloomy prospects for the next ‘bathing’ season “.

Given this scenario, the Bloco de Esquerda / Algarve believes it is necessary to move immediately towards extraordinary measures for the region.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/be-quer-que-governo-considere-algarve-como-regiao-de-catastrofe-social-e-economica/37386-82



Azores

Vaccination progress

The Government of the Azores announced that since the beginning of the vaccination process against Covid-19 in the region, 37,687 people have been inoculated, of which about 13,000 have received both doses of the vaccine.

From December 31st, last year, and March 21st, this year, 37,687 people were vaccinated in the Azores against Covid-19; 24,591 with the first dose and 13,096 with both inoculations.

According to a report, the archipelago has a coverage rate of 12.14% with the first dose and 6.46% with the second dose of the vaccine compared to the vaccinable population.

The island of São Miguel is the one with the lowest coverage rate in relation to the number of inhabitants, with 10.23% of people having a dose of the vaccine and 4.94% with the second dose.

Corvo Island, the smallest in the archipelago, has a coverage rate with the second dose of the vaccine of 87.7%, due to the decision of the Regional Government to vaccinate the entire population of that island of the Western group, which has 369 people over 15 years.

Regarding the percentage of the population with the second dose of the vaccine, after Corvo, the islands of Santa Maria (16.34%), Graciosa (11.23%), Pico (10.38%), Flores (9.42%), São Jorge (8.96%), Faial (6.62%) and Terceira (6.40%).

This is the first detailed report on the regional vaccination process in the Azores to be released.


Covid-19

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,846 tests is 42.  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 all the cases with 42.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 14 in total.  12 on the island of São Miguel, 1 on Terceira and 1 on Pico.

All the cases are on the island of São Miguel now.

There are 8 patients with Covid-19 in the region’s hospitals.

There are currently 121 active positive cases in the Region. 121 on São Miguel.

Since the start of the pandemic, 4,049 positive chaos in Covid-19 have been diagnosed, 29 have died, 67 have left the archipelago and 41 have shown evidence of previous cure.

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 20th March 2021

Introduction

Good morning – On Thursday we reported WHO statistics showing that Portugal had achieved the greatest decrease in new cases in Europe over a four week period, namely – 80.5% whereas for Europe as a whole there was an increase of 21.5%. The decrease was sustained over the last week, with Portugal decreasing 22.7% compared with European of +6%.

However, the situation in some European countries is worrying with large increases and in France, Germany and Poland, lockdowns are being re-introduced in some regions as cities to try and control this growth.

The more measures are relaxed, the greater potentially the risk increasing in Portugal. At present the Rt on the mainland is 0.79 and incidence of 80 per 100,000 compared to the government threshold of Rt 1 and 120 per 100,000 respectively.

All this means is that we have to be very careful that our actions do not undo the great work that has been done over the last 5 weeks. In particular, we must have due regards to social distancing, hygiene and the wearing of face masks. We simply cannot afford to relax these measures.

At government level there will be close monitoring of the situation. especially following each phase of the de-confinement plan, and the correlation between increased movement and any increases in new cases. At this stage enhanced testing is important.

Turning to the AstraZeneca debacle, Portugal will re-start the program after a short pause following the announcement on Thursday by the European Medical Agency, that there was no connection between the use of this vaccine and the severe cases of blood clots reported in a very few cases a week ago.

Some have opined that Portugal should not have paused the program with such an apparent low risk. However, turning the coin, if it had not done so and virtually all other EU countries had, I can imagine the outcry. Although the figures indicated a very low level of risk, the nature of the risks were severe.  Also it is important to bear in mind the figures presented were from the company itself, so it was important to establish some form of independent verification to ensure the situation was not only unconnected but also it was not more widespread. Anyway, Portugal will resume the program on Monday with the Vaccine coordinator Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo stating that “we will be catching up with these four or five days without vaccination”.

Regarding sports, yesterday the Government decided not to take any chances and the Professional Leagues games will remain closed to the public at least until May, as well as the Portuguese GP and Formula 1 Grand Prix. In respect of the latter events. the de-confinement plan does not allow such major events to take place until after 3rd May with an audience present. This decision seems wise given the current situation and in line with the cautious approach that government is taking. Any exception for F1 would, in our view, be difficult to justify. This however came as a surprise to some including Regional Tourism Algarve and other entities as they did not receive any official communication from the Government regarding this decision. We await developments.

Turning to the weather, the beginning of Spring today should have light or cloudy sky, some wind and maximum temperatures varying between 8 and 20 degrees, according to meteorologist Ricardo Tavares of the IPMA. This is some good news, but with this we must take care concerning rural fires. On Thursday, there was the first significant fire of the year in Guarda district, requiring the deployment of nearly 200 fire firefighters supported by 5 aircraft/helicopters.

It is especially important if you are planning to burn debris, that the burn is registered and approval sought. We emphasise the importance of following the safety guidelines which are very clear. As you can see from our earlier post today, the situation in the Algarve is highly conducive to rural fires with some seven municipalities on VERY HIGH level.

Since the pandemic began in Portugal in March 2020, 13 states of emergency have been decreed, and between May and November 2020, there were three situations of calamity, three of contingency and two of alert, some of which in only a few regions. No wonder we have been busy!

With that have a Safe Day


Covid-19

On Friday Portugal reported another 11 deaths and 568 new cases of Covid-19 , according to the daily report of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

Confirmed cases: 816,623 (+ 568 / + 0.06 %);

Number of admitted: 789 (-28 /-4.7 %);

Number of ICU admitted: 182 (-5 /-2.6 %);

Deaths: 16.754 (+ 11 / + 0.06 %);

Recovered: 766,170 (+ 1571 / + 0.2 %).

Active cases: 33,699 (- 1014 / -2.9%)

Transmission rate R(t): Portugal 0.86       Mainland only 0.84

Incidence per 100,000 Portugal 87.2        Mainland only 75.7

Despite all this good news it is important not to let our guard down at this crucial time. Those in hospital and ICU remain high. This means complying with the rules in place, – wearing face masks, social distancing, hygiene and no social gatherings.


Health

Covid-19: Portugal with 87.2 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants and 0.86 transmissibility index.

Lisbon, 19th March 2021 (Lusa) – Portugal today has an incidence of 87.2 new cases of infection with SARS-CoV-2 per 100,000 inhabitants and the transmissibility index (Rt) is 0.86, according to the joint bulletin the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and INSA.

According to official data, when only the territory of mainland Portugal is analysed, the incidence is 75.7 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and the Rt is 0.84.

The incidence refers to the number of new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days.

These indicators are the criteria defined by the Government for the continuous assessment of the de-confinement process started on Monday.

On March 11th, at the presentation of the de-confinement plan, the Prime Minister, António Costa, warned that the reopening measures will be revised whenever Portugal exceeds the “120 new cases per day per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days” or whenever o Rt – the average number of secondary cases resulting from a case infected by the virus – exceeds 1.

The latest report on these indicators, released on Wednesday, found that Portugal had 90.3 cases of SARS CoV-2 per 100,000 inhabitants and a transmissibility index (Rt) of 0.84. Considering only mainland Portugal, the transmissibility index was 0.80 and the incidence was 79.1 cases.

INSA estimates that the Rt is 0.85 in the North, 0.86 in the Centre, 0.81 in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, 0.82 in the Alentejo, 0.84 in the Algarve and 1.20 in the Azores. The report again fails to present data for the Madeira region, “due to the introduction of a large number of late notifications in the SINAVE database, which prevents a correct interpretation of the results”


Mass testing in some parts of Lisbon starts on March 31st.

Lisbon, 19 March 2021 (Lusa) – The Lisbon City Council starts on March 31st a free mass testing plan, aimed at residents of parishes in the municipality with more than 120 cases of Covid-19 per 100 thousand inhabitants, it was announced today.

At a press conference in the City Hall, the mayor, Fernando Medina, said that the ten parishes initially covered by the municipal testing plan are Ajuda, Alvalade, Arroios, Estrela, Marvila, Olivais, São Vicente, Santa Clara, Santa Maria Maior and Santo António.

Residents over 16 years of age in these territories, who register more than 120 cases of infection per 100,000 inhabitants, will be able to schedule a rapid antigen test by telephone in one of the more than 100 pharmacies in the municipality that has already adhered to the testing plan, the mayor said.

Each citizen will be able to do two tests per month, said the Mayor, adding that the list of parishes covered will be updated every two weeks, according to the evolution of the number of infected with the new coronavirus, and will be available on the websites and social networks of the municipality and the National Pharmacy Association.

The objective is “to monitor the gradual deflation, setting up a mass testing system to prevent the transmission of the virus in the community and reduce contagions”, stressed Fernando Medina.


AstraZeneca Vaccine.

On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency concluded its preliminary review of the AstraZeneca vaccine and issued a statement with the following advice for those who have had the vaccine:

“Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is not associated with an increased overall risk of blood clotting disorders.

There have been very rare cases of unusual blood clots accompanied by low levels of blood platelets (components that help blood to clot) after vaccination. The reported cases were almost all in women under 55.

Because Covid-19 can be so serious and is so widespread, the benefits of the vaccine in preventing it outweigh the risks of side effects.

However, if you get any of the following after receiving the Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca:

  • breathlessness,
  • pain in the chest or stomach,
  • swelling or coldness in an arm or leg,
  • severe or worsening headache or blurred vision after vaccination,
  • persistent bleeding,
  • multiple small bruises, reddish or purplish spots, or blood blisters under the skin,

Please seek prompt medical assistance and mention your recent vaccination”.


Whoever refuses to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca goes to the end of the line (and will not even be able to choose another vaccine)”

Portugal will resume vaccination against Covid-19 with the AstraZeneca vaccine. And whoever refuses to be vaccinated with this one loses their turn, goes to the end of the line and even then, they will not be able to choose and will be immunized with the vaccine that is available at the time.

“The principle in the vaccination process is not to choose the vaccine, because the approved vaccines are equally good and safe,” explains Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, coordinator of the task force for the national vaccination plan.

The vaccine was suspended in Portugal on Monday. However, there have already been reports of refusals from some people who demanded to be immunized with other vaccines.

“We explain that they will have to wait or wait for the allocation rule to change. We have already had doctors and dentists, for example, refusing, but the rule is simple: you can’t choose. It would be unacceptable. If people don’t accept the rule, and they have that right, they will have to wait. They will be vaccinated in the summer or after the summer”, explains José Luís Biscaia, executive director of the Health Centre Group of Baixo Mondego, to Público.

Also Diogo Urjais, president of the National Association of Family Health Units, says the same. “There have been rejections before and now there should be more. But refusing is impossible at the outset. The guideline is: the user does not choose the vaccine. We cannot eliminate the person from the list, what we say is that you will have to wait, at the risk of not being vaccinated. ”


Review of the legal framework for health emergencies.

The Minister of Home Affairs says that the legal framework for health emergencies will have to be revised after the pandemic. In an interview, Eduardo Cabrita also says that the deflation must be done with prudence.

Eduardo Cabrita says that the legal framework for responding to health emergencies will have to be revised, since the

State of Emergency was designed for other types of situations, and reveals that he has already asked the Ombudsman for a contribution on this matter.

“Now that this situation is overcome, we have to review this entire legal framework, starting with the law of the State of Emergency framework, which was designed primarily for situations of a coup d’état or a serious disturbance of public order and not for a framework of health response”, he said

The minister stressed that “the ability to have an adequate response” has been proven by crossing the law of the State of Emergency, the basic law of civil protection and the law of public health surveillance.

“But I agree that a review of this whole picture is necessary,” he said, stressing that “the good crossover” of these laws has been used, which has allowed “in essence to achieve the objectives” of combating the pandemic, although not have been designed for health emergency situations.


Fenprof calls “national fight action” for April 17th.

Fenprof’s secretary general states that the “national action of struggle” serves to demand from the Government “dialogue, negotiation and solutions” to the problems of teachers.

The National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof) will promote a “national action of struggle” on April 17th, in Lisbon, to demand from the Government “dialogue, negotiation and solutions” to the problems of teachers, the secretary-general announced today.

Mário Nogueira said at a press conference in Coimbra that the National Federation of Teachers will also claim “respect for teachers and educators”.

“It is Fenprof’s intention not only to demand dialogue from the Government (…), but also to denounce in the geopolitical space temporarily chaired by Portugal, the problems that are experienced in education, which affect teachers,” said Mário Nogueira, in an allusion to the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

The national concentration is scheduled for April 17th, Saturday, at 15:00, in the space adjacent to the Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB), in Lisbon, where, since January, “some of the most important events” of the rotating presidency have been held the EU.

The problems of teachers, according to Mário Nogueira “result from the fact that the so-called social dialogue, in our country, is little more than export product not consumed internally”.


Other news

Guimarães Hospital implants the worlds’ smallest pacemaker for the first time.

Guimarães, Braga, 19th March 2021 (Lusa) – The Cardiology Service of Hospital de Guimarães, in the district of Braga, implanted for the first time the smallest ‘pacemaker’ in the world, today announced that hospital unit.

In a statement, the hospital says that the device is the size of a capsule and is implanted in a minimally invasive manner, replacing traditional ‘pacemakers’ (cardiac stimulators).

“Until now, only Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Ocidental (Hospital Santa Cruz) and Centro Hospitalar Universitário São João (Porto) had carried out this type of interventions”, he adds.

The device is used for the treatment of patients with high-grade atrioventricular block (AVB), a condition in which the electrical signals between the heart chambers (the atria and the ventricles) are blocked.

This situation can result, among others, in syncope or sudden death.

Currently, patients with AV block are treated with a ‘pacemaker’, implanted in the upper part of the chest, subcutaneously, to which small electrical wires (electrodes) are connected, which are placed, through the veins, inside the heart, thus allowing that the electrical connection between the atria and the ventricles is re-established.

“This new ‘pacemaker’, the smallest in the world, does not need the electrodes, being placed directly inside the right ventricle, through a small access through the right femoral vein. Thus, there is no traditional surgical scar, and the risks associated with the traditional technique, such as infections or damage to the electrodes, are still significantly reduced.

The first procedure at Hospital de Guimarães took place on Wednesday and the patient has already been discharged.


Portugal received 8 migrants rescued by humanitarian ships.

This Thursday Portugal received 8 migrants rescued by humanitarian vessels off the Italian coast, which will be welcomed in the municipalities of Maia and Bragança. The citizens come from Liberia, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Bangladesh and Nigeria and join the 224 that Portugal has welcomed, in recent years, rescued in the Mediterranean.

Portugal has responded positively to all emergency situations that result from rescues at sea. Reception and integration have been a priority of the Government, in a continuous effort between the central State and local authorities, as well as public and private entities, which has been recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), by the Organization International Organization for Migration (IOM), the European Union and the Council of Europe.

Portugal was the 6th European country that received the most refugees under the EU’s Relocation Program, receiving 1,550 refugees from Greece (1,190) and Italy (360) between December 2015 and April 2018 – which were welcomed by 97 counties.

Within the scope of the Portuguese commitment to the European Commission to relocate up to 500 unaccompanied minors, there are already 78 minors in the country. According to data from Brussels, this month of March, Portugal is the 4th Member State that has received the most unaccompanied minors, after Germany, France and Finland.

Under the Administrative Agreement signed between the Ministry of Internal Administration of Portugal and the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum, which provides for the transfer of 100 beneficiaries / applicants for international protection in a pilot phase, a family of 3 has also arrived. Portugal also received 142 asylum seekers under the agreement between the EU and Turkey, between June 2016 and December 2017. This year it also received 5 unaccompanied minors from Greece.

Under the UNHCR Resettlement Program, 672 people have already been welcomed in our country, coming from Egypt and Turkey and with different nationalities (from Syria, Iraq, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia). All of these citizens benefit from the Refugee Status granted by order of the Minister for Internal Administration, and hold a Declaration proving the International Protection Status while they await the issuance of the Refugee Residence Permit, under the terms of the Asylum Law.



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Saturday 20th March 2021, by our Special Correspondent

Covid-19 update

There were 106 new Covid-19 cases, 133 recoveries and 1 death from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Wednesday, there were 45 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from Northern Portugal and 43 cases of local transmission) and 34 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 26, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 35 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission), 41 recoveries and 1 death. An 88-year old male patient, who had pre-existing conditions, died in hospital. The number of patients in hospital remained the same but the number of patients in intensive care increased to 5.

And on Friday, there were 26 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 58 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 22, 5 of whom are were intensive care.

There are currently 623 active cases, of which 19 had been imported while the other 604 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Friday, there had been 8,047 cases, 7,356 recoveries and 68 deaths.

On Friday, there were 11 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 590 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 22 patients in Covid-19 units, 5 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 103 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 4,566 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,014 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, 169,501 samples had been collected until Friday (at 15h30). By Friday, 329,047 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 409 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 42,970 calls.

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 received 34 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 3,180 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/17/45-novos-casos-de-covid-19-34-recuperados-118-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/18/35-novos-casos-de-covid-19-41-recuperados-139-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/18/morreu-mais-um-doente-na-madeira-com-covid-19/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/19/26-novos-casos-de-covid-19-58-recuperados-103-suspeitos/


Vaccination update

Vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine resumed yesterday, a day after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had provided reassurance that it is “safe and effective”. Vaccination with this vaccine resumed at Madeira Tecnopólo, which is hosting Centro de Vacinação do Funchal (Funchal Vaccination Centre). As one of the priority groups for vaccination, vaccination for teaching and non-teaching staff, who are physically working in school premises, started yesterday. About 600 teaching and non-teaching staff from nurseries, kindergartens, primary schools and special education needs were inoculated yesterday. Pedro Ramos (Madeira’s Health and Civil Protection Secretary) and Jorge Carvalho (Madeira’s Education Secretary) visited the vaccination centre to witness the start of this vaccination campaign. Vaccination will also continue in the municipalities of Câmara de Lobos and Ponta do Sul.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/18/vacinacao-com-astrazeneca-sera-retomada-amanha-no-tecnopolo/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/19/iniciada-hoje-a-vacinacao-de-docentes-e-nao-docentes-das-escolas-da-ram/

 


Care homes visits to resume

On Wednesday, Miguel Albuquerque (President of the Madeira Regional Government) announced that care home visits will resume on March 31st. He also said that vaccination in care homes is nearly completed.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/18/visitas-a-lares-recomecam-a-31-deste-mes/


Breast cancer screening campaign in Machico

The 8th round of breast cancer screening in Machico started yesterday and will end sometime between July and August. A total of 4,401 of the Municipality’s female residents aged 45-69 will be contacted. Screening will take place at a mobile unit next to the Machico Health Centre (Centro de Saúde de Machico).

The eligible women will be contacted by alphabetical order. They will receive an invitation postcard stating the day, time and place where breast screening will take place.

It is also estimated women will be called up according to the parish (freguesia) where they live: Machico (between the second fortnight of March and the second fortnight of May); Água de Pena (between the second fortnight of May and the first fortnight of June); Caniçal (between the first fortnight of June and the first fortnight of July); Porto da Cruz (between the first fortnight of July and the second fortnight of July); St da Serra (second fortnight of July).

Women from the parishes (freguesias) of Camacha and São Gonçalo and from the Municipality of Santana are also expected to be invited. More details will be announced in the future.

Breast Cancer screening the Autonomous Region of Madeira is aimed at women who are asymptomatic, who do not have relevant risk factors and who are aged 45-69. They will first answer some questions about past history and past family history, hormonal medication, breast signs and symptoms, etc. Afterwards a mammography will take place in four standard ways, which will then be analysed twice by 2 radiologists. If there are any doubts or contradictions, a third analysis will take place.

If there are any suspicions, the women will be invited for an evaluation appointment, where a radiologist doctor will carry out additional inquiries such as a comparison with previous screening, touching, additional symptoms and ultrasound.

Breast Screening is aimed at asymptomatic women who do not have any relevant family risk factors, while a Breast Diagnosis will be aimed at symptomatic women in which screening will be complemented by additional steps such as inspection, touching and in many cases an ultrasound. Women who have past family history will have personalised monitoring.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/122333/Rastreio_do_Cancro_da_Mama_em_Machico__vai_comecar_e_convoca_4401_utentes


Police officer prevented deaths from drowning

A PSP (Polícia de Segurança Pública) police officer from the police station in Ponta do Sol rescued 2 people who had been dragged by currents to a location that was 150 metres away from shore.

Police officers had been called up in response to an apparent suicide attempt. Upon arriving in the area, they realised a Polish tourist had accidentally fallen to the sea and that a man had immediately jumped into the water to try to rescue her. However, the currents dragged them farther and farther from the shore.

Faced with such a dangerous situation, one of the officers who has a marine licence, used a civilian vessel similar to a kayak to head into the location in order to try to rescue them. Although they were conscious, it was not possible to move them to the vessel. Despite this, the officer remained with them until the arrival of a boat from the Port of Funchal Harbourmaster (Capitania do Porto de Funchal).

Some photos of the rescue can be seen on the following website:

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/122453/Veja_as_imagens_do_salvamento_e_resgate_no_cais_da_Ponta_de_Sol

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/19/agente-da-psp-evitou-mortes-por-afogamento-na-ponta-do-sol/

 


Water supply disruption

The Municipality of Funchal informed there will be a water supply disruption due to scheduled work on the water supply chain at Rua das Babosas, in the parish (freguesia) of Monte. The disruption will take place on Monday (22nd March), from 09h00 until 14h00, and will affect water supply in the following areas: Caminho das Babosas, Caminho do Cemitério, Caminho da Lombada, Caminho do Lombo, Caminho da Portada de Santo António, Caminho da Confeiteira, Caminho do Monte, Estrada do Livramento and Caminho de Santo António.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/19/cmf-avisa-para-interrupcoes-no-fornecimento-de-agua-2/


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be a power cut today due to planned work on the electricity supply network. This work cannot be postponed.

 

FUNCHAL – 20th March – 08h00 to 12h00  (TODAY)

– Calçada de Santa Clara (numbers 15 and 38)

– Travessa dos Capuchinhos – number 1 (1D to 1P, Lj 1 and 3) and number 5

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/2021/03/18/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-20-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Saturday 20th March 2021.

Covid-19: MotoGP and Formula 1 without an audience is “overzealous” – hoteliers

Albufeira, Faro, 19th March 2021 (Lusa) – The possibility that Portugal’s MotoGP and Formula 1 grand prizes may not have an audience is “an excess of zeal”, considered today the president of the main Algarve hotel association, defending its realization with limited capacity.

The president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA), Elidérico Viegas, reacted thus to a news item from the newspaper Expresso, that points to the Government’s intention to prevent the presence of spectators at the Formula 1 Grand Prix, which takes place between 30th April and May 2nd, in the Algarve.

“There seems to be an excess of zeal on the part of the Government, since, on the one hand, it authorizes events and the holding of events such as weddings indoors, and on the other hand it does not allow the attendance of some sporting events, especially football and the Formula 1 and MotoGP grand prizes”, said the associative leader to the Lusa agency.

The absence of an audience on the stands of the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, in Portimão, as a measure to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, was confirmed by a Government source to the newspaper Expresso and, according to Elidérico Viegas, “calls into question the coming of many tourists foreign and national”.

According to the news today from that newspaper, “until the end of this period of lack of definition”, events such as the final games of the 1st football league and the Formula 1 Grand Prix “will not have an audience”, unlike what happened last year, in this case Formula 1.

In response RTA, AMAL, AIHSA, AHETA AND NERA find F1 strange without an audience after “months of work with public entities”

The five Algarve entities say that it was “with surprise” that they saw in the media today the disclosure of an alleged impediment to the public’s presence in the Portuguese Grand Prix of Formula 1, which will be held in the Algarve on the 2nd May.

They are surprised at what happened, as they did not receive any official communication from the Government regarding this decision. As explained in a statement, “for months now”, they have been working with the DGS, the Regional Health Authority and the security forces and Civil Protection to ensure that the F1 Grand Prix of Portugal takes place with all the security conditions for both residents and visitors: “And nothing points to such an eventuality (absence of public)”.


Covid-19 / One year: Food support is still vital for many families in the Algarve.

Faro, 20th Mar 2021 (Lusa) – One year after the beginning of the first mandatory confinement to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, food support in the Algarve is still vital for many families to have access to daily meals.

The region’s economic dependence on the tourism sector and restrictions on international travel have forced many companies to close their doors, resort to lay-offs or lay off workers, increasing unemployment.

Ana (fictitious name) worked at Faro airport, but was discharged in August and stopped earning the “little more than a thousand euros” she received each month. At the age of 40, with two children and bills to pay, she was forced to “live with family members” and ask for food support.

“It was complicated. We had meals with sausages and eggs, more basic things, because the money doesn’t stretch” she reveals, while waiting at the door of the Refood institution, in Faro, to collect the goods she takes home, “twice a week”.

Unemployment also forced her to take her daughter out of kindergarten to “save 250 euros”, but, in spite of her current situation, she was surprised by a Social Security letter in December to re-frame her children “from step A to B”, which implies a “reduction in family allowance” and the “school support” that I received.

Read the full story here.


 Covid-19: Algarve achieved objective to avoid hospital rupture – regional coordinator.

The Algarve managed to avoid hospital rupture at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, fulfilling the main objective of the authorities, having also welcomed patients from other areas of the country, the secretary of state coordinating the pandemic in the region said today.

In a hearing with all the regional coordinators held today in the Assembly of the Republic, Jorge Botelho, who is Secretary of State for Decentralization and Local Administration, said that the peak of contagions in the region occurred on January 20th, but health services managed to avoid a breakdown, after a pandemic start with “ups and downs”, an “especially calm” summer and a “worsening” in October.

“I would say that the big goal we always had was that the cases identified in Intensive Care and people who had to go to the hospital never went through what the regional health services could support. And, fortunately, the Hospital [Centro Hospitalar] Universitário do Algarve [CHUA] managed to somehow respond to the needs of the population, activating the four phases”, he said.

With phase four of the CHUA Contingency Plan, a response unit to Covid-19 was opened at Portimão Arena, which has since been deactivated, which received “170 patients” and “104 were in support of people from other parts of the country”, such as the Alentejo or Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, quantified.

Jorge Botelho said that the “articulation” between entities was a constant and that the Regional Public Health did not follow the options of other regions and “did not resort” to “army trackers or complementary services”, because “he understood that in the region it was possible to resolve the question”.


The best film of a regional tourist destination in the world is Algarve.

The film of the promotional campaign “The Algarve is well for you” won the Golden Star in the international category “Tourist Destinations – Regions” of «The Golden City Gate 2021», film and multimedia festival of tourism held within the scope of ITB Berlin, the largest tourism fair in the world, which this year takes place in a completely virtual format”, RTA announced in a statement.

Produced by New Light Pictures for Turismo do Algarve, “The Algarve looks good” was chosen by the festival jury as the best in the world, surpassing the remaining films from regional destinations in Berlin, Germany – one of the most important tourist markets for the Algarve, with an annual record of approximately two million overnight stays in the region’s hotels in the pre-pandemic period.

RTA explains that created with the objective of motivating national and foreign tourists to enjoy summer holidays in the region, reinforcing confidence in the «Algarve» brand and the notoriety of the main tourist destination in the country, the campaign features a motivational film starring one of today’s most successful international travel influencers, @explorerssaurus, “who share unique experiences in exceptional places scattered throughout the region, such as waterfalls, picturesque villages, long sandy beaches and crystal clear or more remote waters and hidden between cliffs “, states the same document.

For the president of Turismo do Algarve, João Fernandes, “the distinction has a special flavour, as it is the international recognition of the work done in the tourism promotion of the region, and makes us continue to believe that everything that happened in the last year will not prevent you from coming back in force. Very soon we will be able to discover how well this Algarve is and enjoy the vast tourist offer of the destination. This award, within the scope of ITB Berlin, reinforces the message that the region is prepared to receive tourists from different origins in safety”.

RTA recalls that the film had already been awarded at ART & TUR – International Tourism Film Festival 2020, which took place in Viseu, and at Finisterra – Arrábida Film Art & Tourism Festival 2020, in Sesimbra.



Azores

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

Lagoa goes Red .

The municipality of Lagoa on the island of São Miguel, will go to the level of High Risk, starting at 00:01 on Saturday, and as such, measures related to this level will be implemented, namely the curfew, said, Gustavo Tato Borges, president of the Monitoring Commission of Fight Against Pandemic in the Azores, at a press conference. 

There are currently only 22 cases of Covid-19 in the municipality but the population is small also (14.5K) this is the reason for the jump up to High-Risk.

The new rules are:  Prohibition of circulation on public roads between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am of the following day on weekdays and, between 3:00 pm and 5:00 am of the day following the weekend, without prejudice to the exceptions that are regulated in Regional Regulatory Decree no. 1 -E / 2021 / A

Implementation of the distance learning regime in all educational establishments.

Closure of day-care centres and ATL’s

Teleworking regime in the activities and functions in which it is feasible, for professionals who suffer from any pathology that constitutes risk comorbidity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as for one of the parents of children up to 12 years of age who whether they are in distance learning or in kindergartens, kindergartens and closed ATLs, as long as they require it.

In case teleworking is not possible, the time difference is recommended.

Closure of all restaurants, beverages and similar establishments at 3 pm, with the limitation that, during the period of operation, the maximum capacity per table is four people, unless they belong to the same household, respecting a maximum capacity of 1 / 3 of the capacity of the establishment concerned.

From 3 pm until 10 pm, catering establishments, drinks and the like can only work with home delivery and take-away service, with the exception of the provision of meals to hotel and similar establishments by the respective catering services.

Closing of all commercial activity at 8:00 pm during the week and at 3:00 pm at the weekend, with the exception of pharmacies, medical clinics and offices, fuel filling stations with sale to the wicket, convenience stores selling essential goods integrated into service stations. of fuels.

Closure of gymnasiums and covered swimming pools, and sports in these spaces are prohibited.

Funerals can only take place until 8:00 pm on weekdays and until 3:00 pm at the weekend and are subject to the adoption of organizational measures that guarantee the absence of clusters of people and the rules of social distance, namely the setting maximum attendance limit, to be determined by the local authority.


Angler Drowns.

A 21-year-old angler died last Thursday 18th March.  He drowned in a rocky area near the village of Capelas, in Ponta Delgada, after he entered the water to try to recover fishing material.

A vessel from the Ponta Delgada Lifeboat Station was activated immediately and sent to the scene and, in conjunction with the Voluntary Firefighters of Ribeira Grande, recovered the body.


Accident at the Port.

A 76-year-old man died this Friday after the car he was driving fell into the water at the commercial pier in the Port of Ponta Delgada, São Miguel.

The captain of Port and Commander of the Maritime Police of Ponta Delgada, Fernando Horta, said that the alert was given to the Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) at about 7:40 am, reporting that “A vehicle had fallen into the water”.

The Captaincy and the Maritime Police and the diving unit of the Ponta Delgada Volunteer Fire Department were immediately activated.  A 76-year-old man, the only occupant of the vehicle, was rescued by a diver from a company that was carrying out works in the port.

The man was rescued and resuscitation procedures were carried out on the spot, he was later transported to the Ponta Delgada Hospital, where sadly he died.

The causes of the accident “are still to be determined” and, according to the captain of the Port of Ponta Delgada, an “investigation by the Maritime Police” is already underway.

As for the vehicle, it was removed from the seabed at about 11 am.


Vaccination Road Map .

The Regional Health Authority has produced a document explaining in detail how the vaccination process will work in the region and inviting the population to make sure that they are fully registered with the health service:

https://vacinacao-covid19.azores.gov.pt/index.php

Vacinação COVID-19

Plano Regional de Vacinação contra a COVID-19 da Região Autónoma dos Açores. Circular Normativa nº 49B, de 15 de fevereiro de 2021. Anexo – Circular Normativa nº 49B, de 15 de fevereiro de 2021

vacinacao-covid19.azores.gov.pt


Covid-19. 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last Three days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,438 tests is 30.  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 all the cases with 30.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 14 in total.  12 on the island of São Miguel, 1 on Terceira and 1 on Pico.

All the cases are on the island of São Miguel now.

There are 8 patients with Covid-19 in the region’s hospitals.

There are currently 121 active positive cases in the Region. 121 on São Miguel.

Since the start of the pandemic, 4,049 positive chaos in Covid-19 have been diagnosed, 29 have died, 67 have left the archipelago and 41 have shown evidence of previous cure.

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, Wednesday 17th March 2021

Introduction

It is all about Risk 

Good morning. Today’s introduction is all about risk – in this case in three areas. The first of these is the decision by Portugal to what is now described (by the vaccination co-ordinator), as  “a pause” for a short while in the administering of the AstraZeneca vaccine, following reports of 37 cases of severe blood clots in people overseas, discovered sometime after they had received the vaccine. This was taken as a precautionary measure and follows similar moves in 12 other countries.  AstraZeneca said there have been 37 reports of blood clots out of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the 27-country EU and Britain. If correct, the chances of you having a blood clot are one in every 629,620. The drug maker said there is no evidence the vaccine carries an increased risk of clots.

As of the time of reporting, no connection between the two has been established and in fact evidence so far is that the incidence of clots is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size.

Nevertheless, there has been considerable worry on social media, questioning why the pause/suspension is needed if the risks are so low and the impact this may have on the rollout, at a time when all efforts need to be made to accelerate the process.  Naturally there are many thinking that this is a political decision. However, if Portugal had continued and the rest of Europe had not I guess there would be many questioning if Portugal was putting people at risk.

The Prime Minister has explained the importance of “people understanding what is happening”: “the suspensions are only provisional and even today [Tuesday] the World Health Organization is discussing the known data, the European Medicines Agency will pronounce until the end of the week. It makes sense to suspend for three or four days so that the process can continue later”.

This is why understanding risk is important and even if a connection was established, just 37 cases out of 17 million people vaccinated, it means that the risk is far outweighed by the far higher risk of contracting Covid-19 by not being vaccinated. It is important to be guided by science not social media hysteria.

Another topic of risk this time in the rate of transmission Rt. We should not have Rt above 1, although the likelihood is that this is impossible to achieve permanently. At some point we will have few cases resulting in this threshold being exceeded. So the objective is clear: we must do everything to maintain a low incidence. To do this we cannot let our guard down and we must have an accurate “perception of risk” at all times especially what actions increase risk and those that mitigate risk.

Things normally start to go wrong when this perception is lost. It is very important to be aware of the risks and that there will be consequences if our behaviour changes in a way that is not conducive to minimizing risk – social gatherings, for instance.

In the de-confinement plan, presented on Thursday by the Prime Minister, the relaxation of measures in the reopening on April 5th and 19th and on May 3rd will be reviewed, whenever Portugal exceeds “120 new cases per day per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days” or whenever the transmissibility index (Rt) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, exceeds 1. Latest figures show a case rate of 90 per 100,000 and an Rt of 0.79.

The last risk area is fire risk. This is the time of year when many people in rural areas will be undertaking controlled burns of heaped and piled rubbish and, mainly farmers, are undertaking the controlled burning of scrub land.

We say “controlled” because it is a fact that, in a typical year, over half of such burns became “out of control” and lead to a fire where firefighters and other emergency services are deployed.

As the weather becomes dryer and warmer (as it is today) the risk increases, so it is important to be aware of what regulations are in place and how to register a burn or seek authorisation, as the case maybe. If these are not followed there are heavy fines.

Lastly, we have to once again remind a few people concerning the use of our Facebook Page.  The page is there to provide the best sourced information in the area of safety and security to help people enjoy quality of life, especially in these difficult times. Although there are many challenges we will come through these. The last thing anyone needs is to be confronted with negativity which will not make people feel any better.

We therefore request people to read the “About Us” section on the use of our Facebook page, particularly with regards to unsourced comments and claims, personal argument, fake news and unrelated provocative comments, which detract from the topic and creates more work for us as ‘administrators’. We will remove these in the interests of the majority of readers, who are seeking accurate information and informed content. If the small minority wish to engage in personal argument there are Facebook groups available more suited for this purpose. “Words do Matter” so please bear in mind the feelings of others when commenting.

Finally, a reminder that the new State of Emergency law is now in effect and we have consolidated the measures and the de-confinement plan into a single page on our website which can be downloaded here. We hope you find this useful.

Finally a Happy St Patrick’s Day – Stay Safe


Headlines

“I’m with you, I also got the AstraZeneca vaccine. I look forward to the second dose”: Costa asks for calm

“I am with you, I also took the first dose of the vaccine. I look forward to the second. ” That was how António Costa ended a short statement to journalists this Tuesday in Porto. At issue is the temporary suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine, announced less than 24 hours ago. The Prime Minister appealed for calm, recalling that he himself had been vaccinated with the therapy from the British pharmaceutical company.

“All the scientific evidence shows that the vaccine is safe and effective. I say this with the peace of mind that I am being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. I already took my first dose and I am waiting for the second one in May”, he started by saying. “I hope that everything will be clarified and my conviction is that everything will be clarified. The available scientific information shows this and the Governments, including ours, have taken a preventive decision”, he continued.

The Prime Minister considered it important that “people understand what is happening”: “the suspensions are only provisional and even today [Tuesday] the World Health Organization is discussing the known data, the European Medicines Agency will pronounce until the end of the week”. It is based on this calendar that António Costa says he believes that by the end of the week there should be a final decision.

“It makes sense to suspend for three or four days so that the process can continue later”, he defended, appealing to calm from those who have already been vaccinated and the patience of those who now have the vaccination process delayed for a few weeks.


Covid-19 DGS

DGS reported yesterday the latest figures concerning Covid-19 with continuing downward trends namely:

Confirmed Cases: 814.897 (+ 384 / + 0.05 %)

Number of admitted: 955 (-41 /-4.12 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 213 (-18 /-7.79 %)

Deaths: 16.707 (+ 13 / + 0.08 %)

Recovered: 762.961 (+ 1173 / + 0.15 %)

Active cases: 35,229 (- 802 / -2.2%)

This is analysed as:

– Second lowest deaths since 17th October; third lowest new cases since 1st September; recovered 3 times new cases and for 44 consecutive days, the number of recovered patients exceeds that of new infections.

There are also the lowest number in hospital since 13th October and 5832 less compared to number in hospital 1st Feb; lowest in ICU since 23rd October 2020 a decreased by 75.3% since 1st February’ Lastly the number of active cases lowest since 14th October, decreasing for 40 consecutive days and over 146,394 since 31st January

Despite all this good news it is important not to let our guard down at this crucial time. Those in hospital and ICU remain high. This means complying with the rules in place, – wearing face masks, social distancing, hygiene and no social gatherings.


Health

Covid-19. New pandemic monitoring bulletin to be published every Friday.

The Directorate-General for Health (DGS), in collaboration with the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), will start to publish a weekly monitoring report on the evolution of Covid-19 every Friday. According to DGS, this bulletin “will include the indicators described in the Red Lines document”, prepared by the group of experts and which lists a series of parameters considered essential to monitor the evolution of the pandemic in Portugal.

DGS confirms that these indicators will be: the incidence at 14 days, the national R (t) and by region, the number of patients in Intensive Care Units at national level, the proportion of national positivity (that is, the percentage of results positive in the total of tests performed), the proportion of case isolation and tracking of contacts by region, and also the proportion of virus variants considered most worrying (also by region).

Of these indicators, the incidence, the Rt and the number of beds in intensive care were considered by the experts to be the three main parameters.

In addition to this new report, the risk matrix that the Prime Minister presented last Thursday will be released daily, “with the situation report of Covid-19, which will be updated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, when updating the R (t) ”, details the DGS.

In the document ‘on the red lines’, presented at the last meeting at Infarmed and meanwhile publicly released, the group of experts argued that the proposed indicators should be “widely publicized”, as read in the report. “The epidemiological situation and the indicators mentioned here must be accompanied by the periodic issuance of a risk assessment document for qualitative interpretation and also be able to feed the correct risk communication by the authorities and political actors”.

Until now, Rt was only released once a week by INSA (on Friday). However, the indicator was already calculated every two days, although it was only released internally.


Deaths from Covid-19

Covid-19 / One year: More than half of all deaths in Portugal have occurred since January.

The number of deaths from Covid-19 in Portugal from the beginning of the year to 10 March amounts to 9,642, which corresponds to 58% of the total fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data officers.

In 2020, 6,993 deaths were recorded from Covid-19, but the 5,805 deaths in January – the most tragic month in Portugal so far – added to 3,558 fatalities in February and 279 in the first 10 days of March, mean that 2021 account for more than half of the total for this period (16,635).

The data was requested by Lusa to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), on the day that marks the first year of the first death in Portugal caused by the new coronavirus, on March 16th, 2020.

At the same time, the entity led by Graça Freitas specified that, since the beginning of the pandemic up until the 12th of March, there were 4,611 accumulated deaths in Portugal by Covid-19 of people residing in homes (deaths occurring within homes or in hospitals), of which 802 in the North, 1,263 in the Centre, 1,909 in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, 526 in the Alentejo and 111 in the Algarve.


Covid-19: 40,000 workers from 4,000 day care centres will be tested this week.

Azambuja, Lisbon, 16th March 2021 (Lusa) – About 40,000 workers from 4,000 day care centres across the country are going to be tested at Covid-19 this week, in a process whose start was announced today in Azambuja (Lisbon) by the Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security.

Ana Mendes Godinho watched the testing of some of the employees of the Centro Social Paroquial da Azambuja, which reopened on Monday, within the scope of the first measures of deflation, the valences of day care, pre-school and Leisure Activities (ATL).

According to the minister, the testing of professionals who work in day care centres and as nannies aims, in addition to preventing contagion with the new coronavirus, to give “confidence and also tranquillity” in the resumption of teaching activities after almost two months of confinement due to the rapid growth of cases SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Stressing the satisfaction she saw in the children, educators and assistants in this matter, Ana Mendes Godinho said that it is necessary to thank and value “all the people who have not stopped at the service of others”, as well as the “great capacity” of the social sector and its employees, who “have always been on the ground, on the front line, working for children and the elderly”.

The minister stressed that day care testing comes in addition to the integrated monitoring and prevention program in homes, in an effort to reach the various dimensions of social responses.


Vaccines

Brussels, 16th March 2021 (Lusa) – The European Commission announced today that it has reached an agreement with BioNTech-Pfizer for the early delivery of 10 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, which will thus be available as early as the second quarter.

In a statement released in Brussels, the community executive explains that these 10 million doses are part of the batch of 100 million doses contemplated in the second contract with BioNTech-Pfizer, whose delivery was scheduled for the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

“I know how critical the second quarter is for the development of vaccination strategies in the Member States. These 10 million advance doses raise the total doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine in the second quarter to 200 million. This is excellent news, as it gives the Member States room for manoeuvre and possibly compensates for gaps in deliveries ”of other vaccines, commented Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

This anticipation of the delivery of 10 million vaccines for the months of April, May and June has yet to be approved by the Member States.

The announcement of the agreement between the European Commission and the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech and its North American partner Pfizer takes place one day after several Member States, including Portugal, decided to suspend the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a “precaution”, due to the formation of blood clots in some of the vaccines.

Currently, there are four vaccines against Covid-19 approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA): BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson group).


Johnson & Johnson signs agreement to produce vaccine in Germany

The American company Johnson & Johnson and the German IDT Biologika today closed an agreement for the production of vaccines in Germany, a protocol welcomed by the German government at a time when Europe faces delays in the delivery of these drugs.

The agreement, which will allow Johnson & Johnson to use “for three months” the facilities on the German territory of the IDT Biologika laboratory for “bottling and packaging”, will “increase the reliability of deliveries” of the vaccine in the European Union (EU), said the German Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, in reaction to the protocol.

The American group Johnson & Johnson, through the European subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, developed a vaccine against the Covid-19 disease in a single dose, which received, last week, the ‘green light’ from the competent European authorities to begin distribution and use in the community space.

It is the fourth vaccine against Covid-19 authorized in the EU.


Suspension of AstraZeneca vaccine.

The Director-General of Health yesterday appealed for those who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine to remain calm and guaranteed that no adverse reactions like those identified in other countries have been reported in Portugal.

“If you have been vaccinated, stay calm. These reactions are extremely rare and in our country no phenomena similar to those found in other countries have been reported”, said Graça Freitas, in a joint press conference with the National Medicines Authority (Infarmed) and the vaccination plan task force.

According to the Head of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), “although the adverse reactions mentioned are extremely serious, they are also extremely rare”, and the cause and effect between this vaccine and blood clots in other countries has not been identified.

“Although the causal link between the vaccine and these reactions has not been identified, on the precautionary principle it was decided to pause vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said.

Addressing people who have already received the AstraZeneca vaccine in Portugal, Graça Freitas also called for them to remain alert to symptoms of feeling unwell for a few days.

“Above all, if this bad feeling is accompanied by bruising or skin haemorrhages, do not hesitate and consult a doctor”, stressed Graça Freitas, while ensuring that the Ministry of Health and Infarmed “maintain all confidence in vaccination against Covid-19” and called on everyone to continue vaccinating according to the planned schedule.

According to Graça Freitas, the vaccines of this pharmaceutical company that Portugal has already received are “stored in conditions and are not wasted”, waiting for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to inform if it can be administered “with the safety profile”, comparing the benefits with the risks.


Covid-19. Vaccination coordinator says delay is recoverable in “five or six days”.

Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo says that it is up to the authorities to explain the change, in just 24 hours, of the decision by DGS and Infarmed on the security of the continuity of the administration of the vaccine of AstraZeneca in Portugal.

The coordinator of the vaccination plan against Covid-19 avoids expressing a position on the temporary suspension of administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but says he is confident of resuming the vaccination process in “five or six days”.

“If the pause is not too long, we will resume the pace we were having with the AstraZeneca vaccine and we will recover this pause very quickly, which is a pause of five, six days … whatever is necessary to clarify the doubt that exists in this moment “, Vice-Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo said in an interview to the Lusa agency.

With around 400 thousand vaccines from AstraZeneca received, 230 thousand already administered and 170 thousand kept in storage, the person responsible for the vaccination plan expressed his confidence in a quick clarification of the situation, which could occur “in five, six days” and the resumption of the vaccination in that same period.

The admiral guaranteed, however, that Portugal’s decision went through a “pause” and not a suspension.

“It is not a suspension, it is a pause. There is nothing to indicate that there will be a suspension of the vaccine. There is a pause to assess the data in a precautionary manner, avoiding continuing to vaccinate until there is greater certainty about what happened and the cases that have been described as being severe cases of reaction, where it is not possible to understand whether it is a reaction or not to the reaction to the vaccination. As long as this has not been clarified, vaccination has been put on hold” he explained.


Economy

CTT’s profits fall 43% in 2020 to 16.7 million euros.

CTT’s profit fell 42.9% last year, compared to 2019, to 16.7 million euros, in a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Correios de Portugal announced.

Revenues rose 0.7% to 745.2 million euros in the period under analysis, according to information available on the website of the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM).

Income before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 10.8% to 90.5 million euros.


Tourism

Covid-19: Tourist accommodation with losses of 80% in January – INE.

The National Statistics Institute (INE) today confirmed the drop of 78.3% of guests and 78.2% of overnight stays in January, which led to a drop in income of more than 80%.

INE confirmed the data that had been advanced in the quick estimate made on March 1st, with the tourist accommodation sector registering 308,400 guests and 709,900 overnight stays in January, which corresponds to year-on-year decreases of 78.3% and 78.2%, respectively and which compare with the December records, with decreases of 71.2% and 72.6%.

In the first month of the year, the income recorded in tourist accommodation establishments, in turn, reached 33 million euros in total and 24 million euros in relation to the room, corresponding to losses of 81.2% and 80.8%, respectively (-73.9% and -74.4% in December, in the same order).

The net bed occupancy rate (9.4%), in turn, decreased by 19.7 percentage points (against the decline of 18.7 percentage points in December).

The domestic market (weight of 60.1%) contributed with 427.0 thousand overnight stays, which represented a decrease of 60.3% (-54.2% in December).

Overnight stays in foreign markets decreased by 87.0% (-83.2% in the previous month) and reached 282.9 thousand.

In January, 54% of tourist accommodation establishments were closed or there was no movement of guests (52.3% in December).



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Wednesday 17th March 2021, by our Special Correspondent

Covid-19 update

There were 136 new Covid-19 cases, 189 recoveries and no deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Saturday, there were 30 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from France and 29 cases of local transmission) and 40 recoveries. Although the number of patients in hospital decreased to 38, the number of hospitalised patients in intensive care increased to 9.

On Sunday, there were 43 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 47 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 46, 9 of whom were in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 23 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland, 1 passenger who had arrived from Venezuela, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 20 cases of local transmission) and 58 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 27, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 40 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 48 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 30, 6 of whom are were intensive care.

There are currently 651 active cases, of which 17 had been imported while the other 634 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Tuesday, there had been 7,941 cases, 7,223 recoveries and 67 deaths.

On Tuesday, there were 10 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 611 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 30 patients in Covid-19 units, 6 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 124 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 4,376 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,222 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, 168,300 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 15h00). By Tuesday, 326,138 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 504 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 42,561 calls.

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 received 34 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 3,146 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/13/30-novos-casos-de-covid-19-40-recuperados-183-casos-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/14/43-novos-casos-de-covid-19-47-recuperados-191-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/16/23-casos-de-covid-19-58-recuperados-209-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/16/40-novos-casos-de-covid-19-48-recuperados-124-suspeitos/


Vaccination update

Vaccination using the AstraZeneca vaccine is currently suspended in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. The vaccination campaign will continue through inoculation with the Pfizer vaccine.

So far, 3.543 people have been inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the Region and no serious side effects were reported.

The Regional Directorate of Health will continue to the in contact with there relevant national and international health authorities.

A reminder that the Madeira Regional Health Service helpline on Covid-19 vaccination is: 800 210 263

Below are the vaccination statistics from the Autonomous Region of Madeira (as of March 14th – vaccination started on December 31st):

Vaccine doses administered (1st and 2nd doses) – 35,133 (an increase of 7,281)

Vaccine doses administered (1st dose only) – 22,051 (an increase of 4,881)

Vaccine doses administered (2nd dose) – 13,082 (an increase of 2,399)

Number of inoculated people (1st dose) – 22,051 (9%)

Number of inoculated people (2nd dose) – 13,082 (5%)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Porto Santo) – 412 (1st dose) & 307 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Funchal) – 10,470 (1st dose) & 6,247 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Câmara de Lobos) – 1,858 (1st dose) & 1,072 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Ribeira Brava) – 1,030 (1st dose) & 567 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Ponta do Sol) – 634 (1st dose) & 332 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Calheta) – 1,065 (1st dose) & 600 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Porto Moniz) – 339 (1st dose) & 205 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (São Vicente) – 615 (1st dose) & 353 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Santana) – 829 (1st dose) & 484 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Machico) – 1,754 (1st dose) & 1,033 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Santa Cruz) – 3,045 (1st dose) & 1,882 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered (females) – 14,013 (1st dose) & 8,840 (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate (females) – 10.3% (1st dose) & 6.5% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered (males) – 8,038 (1st dose) & 4,242 (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate (males) – 6.8% (1st dose) & 3.6% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (0-17) – 3-0.0% (1st dose) & 3-0.0% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (18-24) – 456-2.0% (1st dose) & 273-1.2% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (25-49) – 6,559-7.2% (1st dose) & 4,727-5.2% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (50-59) – 3,098-7.9% (1st dose) & 2,123-5.4% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (60-64) – 1,595-10.1% (1st dose) & 663- 4.2% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (65-69) – 570-4.3% (1st dose) & 306-2.3% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (70-79) – 1,799-9.6% (1st dose) & 1,416-7.6% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered & vaccination rate by age (80-80+) – 7,971-72.1% (1st dose) & 3,571-32.3% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (Health professionals from both private and public sector) – 5,543 (1st dose) & 5,243 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (Professionals from social care, care homes and similar institutions) – 4,124 (1st dose) & 3,081 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (Professionals from Civil Protection, security forces and critical services) – 1,976 (1st dose) & 766 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (citizens aged 50-79 & aged 80 or older) – 9,386 (1st dose) & 3,973 (2nd dose)

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/16/35-133-vacinas-administradas-na-ram-desde-dezembro-diz-o-gr/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/16/vacinacao-com-a-astrazeneca-suspensa-na-ram-continua-com-a-pfizer/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/16/gr-quer-reabrir-aulas-presenciais-do-11o-e-12o-periodos-situacao-da-vacina-astrazeneca-complica/


Remarks from the President of the Madeira Regional Government

Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Madeira Regional Government, said the suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine inoculation will complicate the vaccine rollout in the Region. He said there is not factual evidence linking blood clots with inoculation of this vaccine and that there were only 30 cases out of 5 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses that had already been administered. He is hoping the European Medicines Agency’s meeting on Thursday will result in a decision on whether to continue vaccination with this specific vaccine.

The plan was for the AstraZeneca vaccine to be used to inoculate teachers and staff from primary schools and possibly teachers from years 11 and 12 before reopening schools for these students who are due to sit exams. Nevertheless, Miguel Albuquerque said the priority is always to inoculate older people and those who have pathologies and who are more vulnerable.

He made another appeal for the population to continue to comply with rules on social distancing, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. He warned the pandemic situation could easily reverse and worsen if there are excessive meetings and gatherings or if less precautions are taken.

As for care home visits, although he acknowledged the desire for people to visit their elderly relatives, he said it is far more important to preserve the life of people in care homes.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/16/gr-quer-reabrir-aulas-presenciais-do-11o-e-12o-periodos-situacao-da-vacina-astrazeneca-complica/


Water supply disruption TODAY

The Municipality of Funchal informed there will be a water supply disruption due to scheduled work on the water supply chain in Caminho das Romeiras (Santo António). The disruption will take place from 09h30 until 12h00 and will affect water supply in the following areas: Caminho das Romeiras, Beco do Freitas and the stretch between Centro Cívico and the junction with Rua Dr. William Clode.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/16/cmf-avisa-para-corte-de-agua-no-caminho-das-romeiras/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Wednesday 17th March 2021

Covid-19: Withdrawal of Portugal from the “British” red list “is welcome” – Turismo do Algarve.

The President of the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA) today considered that the removal of Portugal from the “red list” of countries whose travellers are required to be quarantined in the United Kingdom is “welcome” and reflects “the positive epidemiological situation” in Portugal.

“For the Algarve it is good news, because being the British one of the main outbound tourism markets, it allows British citizens to plan their summer holidays, namely, to start taking out their travel insurance, which was not possible with Portugal included in the list ”, João Fernandes told Lusa.

The British Ministry of Transport announced today in a statement that it will authorize direct flights from Friday and remove Portugal from the list that requires a quarantine upon arrival in the United Kingdom for Portuguese travellers.

The decision was taken “following indications that the risk of importing a worrying variant from these destinations has been reduced,” he explains in a statement, noting that “Portugal has taken measures to mitigate the risk of its links with countries where the variants have become a concern and now has genomic surveillance in place “.

For João Fernandes, the British position “gives a clear signal that the destination [Algarve] is prepared to receive tourists from that country, but it is not yet the final signal that is desired”.

“The signal we want is for British citizens to be able to travel abroad, a reality that will only become clear from May 17th, because at this moment they can only go on essential trips,” he recalled.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/covid-19-retirada-de-portugal-da-lista-vermelha-britanica-e-bem-vinda-turismo-do-algarve/37258-4


Covid-19: Algarve hoteliers cautious about removing Portugal from the British “red list”.

Algarve hoteliers have today shown themselves to be cautious about the consequences for the Algarve of the British Government’s decision to remove Portugal from the “red list” of countries whose travellers are subject to quarantine in hotels in the United Kingdom.

“It is still too early, let’s wait and see. This red list only concerns people who return to the United Kingdom, where the lack of definition only happens on the 17th of May, ”the President of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) told Lusa.

For Elidérico Viegas the decision will benefit above all “those who work in England and want to return to their country” and, eventually, those who have “a second residence” in the Algarve, remembering that Portugal “still does not receive flights from the United Kingdom”.

“We are speculating a lot, our forecasts for this year are essentially of internal demand, with some external demand, which will eventually exist, but let’s take it easy, because air transport is not completely assured”, he stressed.

The United Kingdom announced today that it will authorize direct flights and remove Portugal from the “red list” of countries whose travellers are subject to quarantine in hotels in the United Kingdom as of Friday.

However, air connections are not expected to resume immediately, as the Portuguese Government has extended the suspension of flights, commercial or private, with origin or destination in the United Kingdom and Brazil until March 31st.

Despite this easing of restrictions, the confinement regime due to the Covid-19 pandemic remains in England, so it remains prohibited to travel without valid justification, such as holidays, and circulation is essentially limited to nationals and residents of both countries.

For Elidérico Viegas there are still “many factors of uncertainty on the table” and despite the desire for tourism to reopen, he warned that “this will not happen from one moment to the next”.

“These things require some patience because this situation will not be resolved with the snap of a finger, nor with declarations of goodwill,” he said.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/covid-19-hoteleiros-algarvios-cautelosos-com-retirada-de-portugal-da-lista-vermelha-britanica/37257-4


Covid-19: Câmara de Loulé reopens public spaces.

The Mayor of Loulé, Vítor Aleixo, issued this Monday an order approving the lifting of the restrictive measures in force in the public spaces of the municipality, allowing their reopening.

In a statement the Municipality mentions that the Passeio das Dunas, the pedestrian part of Avenida Infante de Sagres and Calçadão de Quarteira, the footbridge of Forte Novo in Quarteira, the footbridges of Garrão, Ancão and Ludo, the bridge of Quinta do Lago, Queda do Vigário in Alte, the Local Protected Landscapes of Fonte Benémola and Rocha da Pena are the spaces that will be able to be visited again by the citizens and by all those who visit the municipality.

Also the car parks next to the bathing areas, in the parishes of Almancil (Garrão Nascente, Vale do Lobo, Quinta do Lago, Dunas Douradas, Ancão) and Quarteira (Passeio das Dunas) can be used again.

The Louletano mayor also approved in this order the lifting of the ban on the use of benches in all public spaces in the municipality, whether in streets, playgrounds or gardens.

It should be noted that the de-confinement plan presented by the Prime Minister last week leaves the municipalities to reopen public spaces. Despite this easing of measures, the Mayor of Loulé considers it essential that citizens maintain all the rules of protection, such as wearing a mask and social distance, “because these are very attractive spaces and, as such, capable of promoting gatherings of people”, he stresses.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 17th March 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Vaccination 

One year after the first case of Covid-19, the Azores wants to speed up the vaccination process.

Last Monday, marked the ‘one year’ anniversary of the first case of Covid-19 in the archipelago.  The Regional Government plans to resort to the United States to accelerate the vaccination process in the region.

The Regional Secretary of Health, Clélio Meneses has said “What we intend to do is to achieve the greatest number of vaccines for the Azoreans so that the situation can be stabilized in the shortest possible time,”

The minister said that the President of the Government of the Azores, José Manuel Bolieiro, asked last week the commissioner of Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, for a “direct intervention” with the European Commission in the provision of vaccines in number that allow immunization of the Azoreans.

In the Azores, about 10,800 people have already taken the two doses of the vaccine and 18,600 the first, with the expectation that “by the end of April, and with the arrival of more vaccines, if what is planned is accomplished, it will complete the first phase of vaccinations.

The first case of Covid-19 in the Azores arrived on March 15th, 2020, and was a 29-year-old woman, resident on Terceira island, with a history of passing through Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and Felgueiras, in the district of Porto.


AstraZeneca 

The Regional Health Directorate has made a statement about the AstraZeneca vaccine, “considering the joint determination of Infarmed, General Directorate of Health and Task Force for vaccination against Covid-19 of the temporary suspension of administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Portugal, this determination was also made assumed by DRS for the vaccination process underway in the Autonomous Region of the Azores”.

This suspension is due to the “precautionary principle in public health”, while the safety of this vaccine is reassessed by the European Medicines Agency.

DRS ensures that “so far, no complications have been reported after the administration of this vaccine in the Azores”.

The Regional Health Directorate calls for calm from those who have already been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine and clarifies that “those who have already been administered the first dose of this vaccine will only have to take the second dose in about three months, so, until further information, the vaccination process of these people cannot yet be called into question”.  The region still has about 4,000 doses of this vaccine.

“We will align with what the guidelines are and what was determined by DGS, ‘Infarmed’ and the temporary suspension task force, until the safety assessment of AstraZeneca’s vaccines is made,” he said.

The regional director of Health explained that, of the 8,500 doses of this vaccine that arrived in the archipelago on March 3rd, there are still about 4,000 doses to be administered.

“It is not about wasted doses, because, basically, it is not a withdrawal of these vaccines from the circuit, it is a suspension for re-evaluation”, adding that they “have a very long shelf life”.

Berto Cabral clarified that the approximately 4,000 doses that await the opinion of the European Medicines Agency were intended for “private health professionals, the security forces” and “patients between 50 and 65 years old” with “heart failure, coronary disease and respiratory failure”.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,433 tests is 50.  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.  To date, 366,731 tests have been carried out.

São Miguel registered most of the cases with 49. Terceira had 1 case.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 13 in total.  10 on the island of São Miguel, 1 on Terceira and 2 on Pico.

There are 4 patients with Covid-19 in the region’s hospitals.

There are currently 105 active positive cases in the Region. 103 on São Miguel, 1 on Pico and 1 on Terceira.

Since the start of the pandemic, 4,019 positive chaos in Covid-19 have been diagnosed, 29 have died, 67 have left the archipelago and 41 have shown evidence of previous cure.

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 13th March 2021

Introduction

On Thursday there were some important developments with the announcement by the Prime Minster, following the meeting of the Council of Ministers; namely the outline of the long awaited de-confinement plan, which, as expected, will be undertaken in several phases starting 15th March 2021.

Also the Council of Ministers gave details of the extension of the State of Emergency which will commence 17th March to 23:59 hrs on the 31st March.

We have translated these measures and plans into English and published these through Facebook with links to our website.

The de-confinement plan has generally well been received. Thankfully, as it appears at present (without seeing the details in the decree law) the phased de-confinement, subject to bi-weekly risk assessments is relatively simple to understand, being based on two simple risk indicators; namely Rt (rate of transmission) and the number on cases per 100,000. There has been however an increase in Rt yesterday reported at 0.80. This is likely as a result of increased movements of people erven though there has so far been no relaxation of restrictions. Although this is still below 1.0, this is something that government and experts will be monitoring closely.

With the implementation of the de-confinement plan, there will be an increase in movements by the public, resulting in an increased increasing risk of contagion. It is essential therefore, in order not to undo what has been achieved in decreasing the level of new cases, daily deaths, as well as those in hospital and ICU to levels not seen since October last year, to continue to follow the rules in place.

This means; wearing face masks, social distancing, hygiene and no social gatherings.

An unexpected development yesterday was the announcement, effective immediately, to allow the public to purchase from Pharmacies and other places that sell medicines, without a prescription, the rapid Covid-19 tests as a nasal swab, which can be undertaken in your home. These will start to be sold in Pharmacies today.

AstraZenena vaccine is in the news for the wrong reasons. It was reported yesterday that serious allergies are expected to be added to the list of possible side effects of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, after the identification of likely links to these reactions in the United Kingdom, the European Medicines Agency warned today (EMA). This update is based on a study of 41 reports of anaphylaxis seen in about five million vaccinees in the UK, said the agency, in the summary of its committee that assesses the risks of the drugs.

On Thursday, the European regulator indicated that it was investigating a problem related to the formation of blood clots following a few people who had been vaccinated, after Denmark’s health authority announced today it was suspending using the vaccine as a precaution. A move followed by eight other countries. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that it was aware of blood clot concerns linked to “a specific batch” of AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, but maintained that to date, no-one has died from any coronavirus vaccine.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is one of the three vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus approved so far by the EMA and, as such, in use in Portugal.

Yesterday was again good news concerning the key Covid-19 figures, namely: the lowest daily death rate since 20th October 2020; 4th lowest daily new cases since 5th October; recovered nearly 10 times new cases and 40 consecutive days, the number of recovered patients exceeds that of new infections.

In hospital, it is the lowest number since 17th October. Covid-19 Patients 5,823 less compared to number in hospital on 1st February; lowest in ICU since 29th October 2020 – decreased by 69.2% since 1st February and a 10% reduction in active cases. Number of active cases lowest since 19th October, decreasing for 38 consecutive days and over 135,000 since 31st January.

Further good news came last night when Germany announced the removing of Portugal from the list of “countries with a high incidence of mutations in the coronavirus, with effect from next Sunday”, according to a note from the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the social network Twitter. This follows a similar move by Switzerland a few days earlier. With the massive decreases in cases in Portugal to levels below most of Europe, let’s hope this sets the lead for other countries to take similar action.

With that please have a Safe weekend


Headlines

The President of the Republic commented yesterday that the plan of gradual de-confinement announced by the Government represents a “very reasonable and very prudent balance”, talking about convergence between the Assembly, the executive, the parties and the experts.

“It seems to me that a very reasonable and very prudent balance has been reached between what was the position of the experts, the parties and what the Government was studying and what the President of the Republic thought,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

“[The plan] allows several things to be confirmed: first, coincidence and convergence, not only institutional but also strategic, which has involved the President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Republic and the Government, which continues and will continue until end of the pandemic”, he said.

And, secondly, “the plan is until May, which is good because it is not too long and is flexible in the indicators chosen in the way they are linked with the measures, to safeguard an idea that seemed important to me, from Easter with confinement ”, added Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Classifying the plan as “positive”, the Head of State welcomed the idea of ​​it foreseeing “a confined Easter”.

For the Head of State, another important part of the plan is the “idea of ​​a progressive opening, permanently accompanied by economic and social activities and the priority given to the schools”.

“It is prudent to make this balance [because] we never know what is happening in the circulation of people and the virus and this opening in Portugal is to be done gradually and that looks at what is happening in Europe, where a significant part has a panorama more negative than positive”, argued Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, comparing the situation in the country with others, such as Italy, in which a reinforcement of restrictions was announced.


Covid-19

The daily report from DGS yesterday once again shows a continued decline in all key areas

Confirmed cases: 813,152 (+ 577 / + 0.07 %);

Number of admitted: 1,046 (-56 /-5.08 %);

Number of ICU admitted: 266 (-7 /-2.56 %);

Deaths: 16,650 (+ 15 / + 0.09 %);

Recovered: 749,770 (+ 5574 / + 0.75 %).

Active Cases: 46,732 (-5012 / -9.6%)

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Despite all this good news it is important not to let our guard down at this crucial time. Those in hospital and ICU remain high. This means complying with the rules in place, – wearing face masks, social distancing, hygiene and no social gatherings.


Health

Covid-19: Serious allergies among the possible side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In a statement released today, EMA announced that it “recommended an update of the product information to include anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity (allergic reactions) as side effects”.

“This update is based on a study of 41 reports of anaphylaxis seen in about five million vaccinees in the UK,” said the agency in the summary of its committee that assesses the risks of the drugs.

12th March 2021 (Lusa) – “After a careful study of The Hague, serious allergies are expected to be added to the list of possible side effects of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, after the identification of likely links to these reactions in the United Kingdom, the European Medicines Agency warned today (EMA).

The European Medicines Agency clarified that anaphylaxis, which translates into severe allergic reactions, was already a “known side effect, although it rarely occurred with vaccines”.

Information about the vaccine from the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, states that citizens who receive it should be monitored at least 15 minutes after its administration, in case of allergic reactions.


Rapid tests from Pharmacies.

Rapid antigen tests to screen for Covid-19 will go on sale in pharmacies and can be purchased without justification or a prescription from today 13th March 2021.

The procedure is similar to that of the PCR test, but less invasive – just insert the swab via the nasal or oral route – and the result is then received in the next 10 to 30 minutes.

For Public Health Doctors this measure is a good step to implement the strategy of mass testing, but they leave a warning, since the sale of rapid tests in pharmaceuticals cannot be seen as a carte blanche excuse for a life without care.

Until now, rapid antigen tests have cost about 20 euros. For now, the price at which they will be sold for use by the general population is not yet known.


Screening tests start Tuesday at public and private schools.

Nurseries, pre-school and 1st cycle schools will reopen on Monday 15th March and the following day the testing campaign in those public and private schools begins.

More than 50,000 public school workers as well as employees of private establishments begin testing for Covid-19 on Tuesday, the Minister of Education announced this Friday.

The day care centres, pre-school education and the 1st cycle reopen its doors on Monday and the following day start testing the campaign in those public and private schools.

“This new (testing) exercise begins on Tuesday with more than 50 thousand workers in the public system, plus workers from the private sector,” said Minister Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, during a press conference to present support measures to the sectors of Economy, Labour, Culture and Education.

According to Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, there will be a “sweep of all workers”, but “workers will not be tested at the entrance to find out whether or not they can enter the school”.

The testing campaign, he said, is more “a supplementary measure to slow the spread of the disease (Covid-19)” in a school setting.

“There was between 0.1% and 0.2% positivity in the tests” already done in the school community.

The screening tests are accompanied by the vaccination of teachers against Covid-19 and other older measures such as the use of a mask, the distance between students or the circuits of circulation within schools.

Tiago Brandão Rodrigues underlined the work done in schools to ensure that they are safe spaces, reminding of the test results to the school community that started on January 20th and involved about 65 thousand students.


Covid-19. Rt in Portugal Rises 0.8.

Updated this Friday, the value refers to an average between March 3rd and 7th and is already above the 0.78 referred to on Thursday. Contrary to what the Prime Minister said, the transmissibility indicator is not published every two days.

The indicator of transmissibility of the infection (the so-called Rt) is 0.84, according to the report published this Friday by the Dr. Ricardo Jorge Institute (INSA), referring to the period between March 3rd and 7th. The value is already above the 0.78 (between 1st and 5th March) mentioned by the Prime Minister on Thursday, when presenting the de-confinement plan. What this value means is that for now, as it is below 1, the number of cases continues to fall, but the closer it is to 1, the slower the descent.

INSA explains that since February 10th, there has been a “stabilization of Rt with a slight increase” from 0.61 to 0.84 (the value of March 7th), “which suggests a slowdown in the downward trend in incidence of SARS-CoV-2”.

Since the end of May last year, this indicator has been made public once a week by INSA. Contrary to what António Costa indicated, although INSA calculates the Rt every two days, this report is not made public: it is only shared internally with the Government and other institutions.


Education

Measurements, tests, exams and access with the same rules as last school year.

In view of the resumption of activities on a non-face-to-face basis and aiming to contribute to a framework of justice and equity, it was necessary, as in the academic year 2019/2020, to proceed with the approval of a set of exceptional and temporary measures of response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the scope of basic and secondary education, for the academic year 2020/2021, regarding the assessment and certification of learning.

In this way, the educational community is given stability, security and certainty as soon as possible in the face of the unpredictability resulting from the evolution and impact of the pandemic.

The decree-law, approved this Thursday in the Council of Ministers, establishes:

The cancellation of the calibration tests and the final tests of the 9th year cycle.

Access to higher education, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, and the completion of secondary education is done in exactly the same terms as in the past academic year.

Students finish secondary school with an internal classification, that is, they do not take exams for completion and certification.

Students register and take only the entrance exams they want.

In order to continue the diagnosis of learning that may have been lost, which is essential for planning future measures, a study is carried out sample, for which the measurement instruments are expected to be used on the scheduled dates.


Economy

It was in early March 2020 that the government approved the first measures to deal with Covid-19, when it was not yet considered a pandemic by the World Health Organization. This would only happen ten days later.

According to the survey carried out by the Technical Budget Support Unit (UTAO), the government adopted 110 measures (or set of measures) to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The entity that provides support to the deputies of the Budget and Finance Committee divided between the emergency phase and the stabilization phase, following the designation of the executive.

During the first period, which continued until the end of June, 50 measures were adopted. The second will run until the end of 2020, during which 60 initiatives to combat Covid-19 were approved.

In between, there were many setbacks and successes in the measures, as was the case with support for self-employed workers or managing partners who were excluded from the first immediate aid package to maintain income. And many were already recaptured at the beginning of this year with the return of the second general confinement, after that of the spring of last year, as is the case of the simplified lay-off.

According to the figures reported in the budget execution for December last year, the Covid-19 measures had an estimated cost of 4.6 billion euros, which is equivalent to about 2.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP) ). In addition to this figure, this year’s costs, up until the end of January, amounted to 258 million euros, resulting in a total of 4.8 billion euros.

The largest share of this “cost” comes from the expense side of 3.4 billion euros, but there is also unpaid revenue, both tax and contributory. On this balance sheet are more than 1.4 billion euros.

In this figure, only measures with “budgetary expression in public administrations” are taken into account, that is, which aggravate the deficit. The Directorate-General for Budget does not account for “measures to support the financing of the economy that have no impact in terms of budgetary accounting.


Covid-19: Lisbon campaign hospital activity suspended as of Tuesday.

Lisbon, 12th March 2021 (Lusa) – The clinical activity of the field hospital at Estádio Universitário, in Lisbon, will be suspended as of Tuesday, the Mayor announced today, guaranteeing that the infrastructure “remains ready to reopen at any time”.

In a publication on social networks, Fernando Medina (PS) says he hopes that the equipment “is no longer needed”, but he points out that it could reopen “if so justified”.

The mayor also said that a team of operatives from the Lisbon Firefighters Regiment carried out this morning the decontamination of the space.

On March 1st, 11 patients were hospitalized with Covid-19 in the campaign hospital in Lisbon, according to António Diniz, coordinator of the space.

Taking stock of the first month of activity (between 23rd January and 23rd February), the official said, at the time, that the field hospital received 148 patients.

The structure coordinator also mentioned that eight hospital centres and hospitals in Lisbon used this equipment, at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic worsened.

Last year, during the first confinement, the infrastructure had already been prepared, but it was never used.



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Saturday March 13th 20201, by our special correspondent.

Covid-19 update

There were 134 new Covid-19 cases, 189 recoveries and no deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Wednesday, there were 48 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 47 cases of local transmission and the lowest number of new cases since December 21st) and 63 recoveries. The overall number of patients in hospital increased to 36 while the number of hospitalised patients in intensive care decreased to 5.

On Thursday, there were 38 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 88 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 41, 6 of whole were in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 48 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from France, 2 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 44 cases of local transmission) and 38 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 40, 6 of whom are in intensive care.

There are currently 708 active cases, of which 20 had been imported while the other 688 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Friday, there had been 7,805 cases, 7,030 recoveries and 67 deaths.

On Friday, there were 11 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 648 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 40 patients in Covid-19 units, 6 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 111 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 4,295 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,072 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, 167,074 samples had been collected until Friday (at 17h00). By Friday, 322,087 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 421 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 42,057 calls.

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 received 22 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 3,112 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/10/48-novos-casos-de-covid-19-63-recuperados-125-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/11/38-novos-casos-de-covid-19-88-recuperados-187-suspeitos/


Vaccination update

The Regional Health Directorate (Direção Geral da Saúde) assured that the Region did not receive any vaccines from the AstraZeneca vaccine batch that may have caused some adverse reactions on some people who were inoculated with it. For instance, out of the 8,500 vaccine doses that had been delivered on March 5th, 2,400 doses have already been safely administered and without any issues.

On Thursday, vaccination continued on pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, professionals from the security forces, the fire service and the Red Cross. It took place in the Madeira Tecnopolo facilities. As of Thursday, more than 1,300 vaccine doses had been administered to professionals from the security forces, the fire service and the Red Cross, 500 of which have been second doses.

Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Madeira Regional Government, said the vaccination of nearly 5,000 teachers and non-teaching staff will start soon. They are professionals who deal with children in school. These children do not wear masks so this inoculation campaign is a priority. He also said they will be administered the AstraZeneca vaccine, even if they are older than 65.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/11/drs-diz-que-lote-da-astrazeneca-associado-a-reaccoes-adversas-nao-chegou-a-portugal/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/10/albuquerque-diz-que-professores-vao-receber-vacina-da-astrazeneca/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/121465/Covid-19_Vacinacao_de_equipas_das_forcas_de_seguranca_bombeiros_e_Cruz_Vermelha_decorre_hoje_no_Madeira_Tecnopolo


Tsunami warning exercise

On Wednesday a tsunami warning exercise took place across several countries as Safe Communities Portugal had reported (its website also has in-depth information tsunamis in Portugal). Madeira also took part in this exercise through the Regional Civil Protection Service (Serviço Regional de Proteção Civil – SRPC). It was the 4th international exercise and the 1st that staff in Madeira were involved in.

The exercise simulated the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and tsunami and took place from 08h30 util 14h00. Emergency service from Denmark, France, Germany, Morocco and the UK took part in this exercise.

The SRPC was involved in the organisation of an early-warning covering the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean regions, along with the seas around them. Its aim was to test the local response plans to a tsunami, to increased tsunami preparedness and to improve coordination across all the region.

On a national level, professionals from SRPC were tested on the notification procedures and on communications between the Comando Nacional de Emergência e Proteção Civil – CNEPC and all national entities who are entitled to act in this particular type of event. The Navy, several fire brigades from coastal and river estuary areas and the entities with rescue responsibilities also took part.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/121580/Protecao_Civil_Madeira_testa_capacidades_em_exercicio_internacional_de_alerta_de_tsunami_


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be a power cut today due to planned work on the electricity supply network. This work cannot be postponed. The following area will be affected (check the previous Situation Report for information on other scheduled power cuts today and on Friday):

QUINTA GRANDE – 6th March – 09h00 to 11h30  (TODAY)

 – Estrada João Gonçalves Zarco (numbers 960 to 1070)

– Caminho Velho

– Caminho do Vital

– Caminho da Capela

– Travessa da Vera Cruz

CAMPANÁRIO – 6th March – 09h00 to 11h30  (TODAY)

 – Caminho do Pedregal

– Caminho do Chão da Venda

– Rua Comandante Camacho de Freitas (numbers 605 to 679)

QUINTA GRANDE – 6th March – 09h00 to 12h30  (TODAY)

 – Sítio da Fonte

– Sítio da Vera Cruz (including Vialitoral)

FUNCHAL – 16 March – 09h00 to 11h30

 – Vereda do Camacho

16 March – 09h00 to 12h00

– Estrada dos Marmeleiros (numbers 53 to 83-A)

– Beco da Penha de França (numbers 46, 2)

17th March – 09h00 to 111h30

– Estrada Dr. João Abel de Freitas (numbers 79-A to 140)

– Rua 31 de Janeiro (number 140)

– Rua Nova da Quinta Deão (numbers 6 to 30)

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/2021/03/13/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-19-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Saturday 13th March 2021.

Covid-19

The District Civil Protection Commission of Faro confirmed today that there are 427 active cases of Covid-19 in the Algarve.

According to data from the regional health delegate, 19,921 infected people were registered up until yesterday, another 30 in the last 24 hours and 19,153 recovered (cumulative).

There are 400 patients recovering at home, plus 27 inpatients, 7 in the Intensive Care Units and 5 ventilated. The same source says that since the beginning of the pandemic, 341 deaths have been registered in the region.

590 people are currently under active surveillance.

Compared to last week’s bulletin, 273 fewer active cases and 124 new cases are confirmed. Another 393 people are recovered.

There are 12 less hospitalized, 3 less patients in intensive care and 1 less ventilated (5). Under active surveillance there are 173 fewer people.


AMAL approved the economic recovery plan for the Algarve.

The 16 mayors of the region today approved, in an extraordinary meeting of the Intermunicipal Council, the Economic Recovery Plan for the Algarve and a regional strategy to combat the effects caused by Covid-19 on the economy.

A statement from AMAL states that the implementation of the plan provides, “on the one hand, to use public investment in order to enable the region to respond to the crisis and prepare it for the future, making it more cohesive, competitive, resilient and sustainable; and, on the other hand, to mobilize private investment in order to leverage the growth potential and the economic dynamism generated by the public component”.

Of the various items in the plan, the entity highlights a set of investments – 33 differentiating projects – for the region. Among them are the construction of the Hospital Central Universitário do Algarve; the development of the Commercial Port of Portimão; Faro European Capital of Culture; the ABC Loulé Project – Health Research Centre; construction of a seawater desalination infrastructure and the rehabilitation and electrification of the Algarve railway line.

The Economic Recovery Plan for the Algarve also includes several thematic packages, which aggregate the projects considered relevant for each of the municipalities in the Algarve.

The document now approved – and whose preparation work started last year, in close collaboration with the Faculty of Economics of the University of Algarve, is understood as a recommendation. “The fact that it is not watertight allows, over time, adjustments to be made according to the needs felt in the region”, reads the same statement.

In addition to this plan, the Algarve Intermunicipal Community – AMAL, says that it sent to the Government, within the scope of the public consultation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), its contributions with a survey of the investment needs and intentions proposed by the Municipalities of the Algarve, according to the priorities set by the European Union and Portugal for the next programming period.


International exercise «NeamWave21».

The Municipal Civil Protection Service of Portimão (SMPC) participated on Wednesday, March 10th, in «NeamWave21», an international simulation and response to a tsunami exercise, whose main objective was to test the readiness of this alert system.

Through this action, the municipality of Portimão joined the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection and the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and the Atmosphere, as well as other entities throughout the national territory, to test the communication procedures to be implemented after the arrival of the tsunami warning message.

The fictitious scenario outlined focused on the occurrence of an earthquake recorded at 09h07, whose epicentre was located close to the sea of ​​Morocco, with a magnitude of 8.6 on the Richter scale and a depth of 27 kms.

As a result, the Municipal Emergency Plan for Civil Protection of Portimão was tested sectorally, as well as the system of warning to the population inherent to the occurrence, which would have hypothetically resulted 924 fatalities, 3,089 displaced and 9,506 homes destroyed, among other considerable material damages. .

In accordance with the need to relocate the affected people, using 58 buses for this purpose, itineraries were drawn up for the ZCAP – Concentration and Support Zones for the Population, one in each parish of Portimão, and even to the temporary accommodation places, located in eight hotels in the municipality.

The experience, according to the municipality, “will allow to improve the tested procedures and mechanisms, to correct and adjust them, creating capacities and automating processes, all the more so since the Porto municipality is revising its Municipal Civil Protection Emergency Plan. This learning moment will make it possible to incorporate corrective measures in the new content, which will soon be submitted to public consultation”.


Municipality of Loulé launches local trade stimulus package that plans to support more than 600 companies.

This afternoon (Friday), the Municipality of Loulé will present a package of measures to mitigate the effects of this last confinement on the local economy, at 3 pm, at the Gama Lobo Palace, with live transmission on Facebook, having prepared a campaign to stimulate trade, in the initial amount of one million euros.

The campaign, promoted by the Municipality of Loulé in conjunction with ACRAL – Association of Commerce and Services of the Algarve Region and NERA – Business Association of the Algarve Region, in collaboration with the Association of Entrepreneurs Por Quarteira and Associação Restauração e Comércio e Restoration of the City of Loulé, which will start with the period of lack of definition, “intends to stimulate the local economy quickly and effectively”, says the municipality.

With this initiative, it is expected to support, in an initial phase, more than 600 companies.

Vítor Aleixo, a Louletan mayor, considers that “this initiative will make it possible to multiply the financial return for our traders, encouraging in an innovative way consumption in local commerce. This is another considerable and important support provided by the Municipality of Loulé, which, in addition to all the work and investment carried out in this area since the beginning of the pandemic, will now invest more than 1 million euros to respond in a clear and effective way to needs of the county’s micro companies, the sectors of activity most affected.”



Azores

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

Corvo 

Corvo is the first territory of Europe to have the entire population vaccinated with both doses.

This week, the update of the measures to contain the pandemic was announced from the island of Corvo, the smallest of the Azores islands, where the second dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 is administered to the entire population over 16 years.  The island has limited health care provision and no hospital beds.


English Variant 

Most of the new cases of Covid-19 infection detected last Thursday in the Azores belong to a transmission chain in which the English strain was detected, said the chairman of the Commission for Monitoring the Fight against Pandemic.

After a day without registering new cases, the Azores detected 34 new positive cases of infection by the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 disease, all on the island of São Miguel, 26 of which in the municipality of Ribeira Grande and, of these, 25 in the village of Rabo de Peixe, 27 were of the English strain.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last three days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 3,507 tests is 38.  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.  To date, 361,299 tests have been carried out.

São Miguel registered all of the cases with 38.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 45 in total.  40 on the island of São Miguel and 5 on Pico.

There are 2 patients with Covid-19 in the region’s hospitals.

There are currently 69 active positive cases in the Region. 64 on São Miguel, 3 on Pico and 2 on Terceira.

Since the start of the pandemic, 3,969 positive chaos in Covid-19 have been diagnosed, 29 have died, 67 have left the archipelago and 40 have shown evidence of previous cure.

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 viathe email address  esclarecimentocovid19@azores.gov.pt  for clarification on measures taken in the region to cope with the pandemic.



Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 10th March 2021

Introduction

Good morning – Yesterday was certainly highlighted with the inauguration of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa upon his second term as President of the Republic. Following a short ceremony he delivered a speech at the Assembly of the Republic highlighting those in the community who need support most during these difficult times: “the homeless, those without adequate housing, and those of his age or older who live in homes or at home in solitude or guarded by formal or informal caregivers”.

He mentioned that “We will have to rebuild people’s lives,” says Marcelo. “It is more than returning to 2019”, defends the President for whom it is necessary “good management, transparency and efficiency” in public management.

“There will only be real reconstruction if poverty decreases,” says Marcelo, assuming social cohesion as one of his missions.

It was a passionate and well received speech addressing the hardships many people face during this pandemic.

Since our last report on Saturday the general downward trend in hospitalisations, those in ICU, daily deaths has continued, although the number of new cases continues to fluctuate. There are positive signs, but although the Rt rate at 0.74 is currently the lowest in Europe, it has risen from 0.61 since mid-February.

The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, highlighted the three most important threats presented at the meeting on the epidemiological situation of Covid-19 in Portugal on Monday as i) “the increase in the risk of transmission”, ii) the situation of the variants and iii) the change in the confinement index “despite the legal context being the same” (in other words increasing movements of people).

At that meeting a plan for a five point criteria for de-confinement was proposed by experts based on different levels in municipalities, but with rates much lower that previously reflecting the reality of the current situation. This includes the resuming of face to face learning in schools. The President of the Republic, as is usual, will therefore listen to all the stakeholders involved before sending a draft decree as a framework to the Assembly of the Republic this week. The Council of Ministers will meet on Thursday to decide the measures to be contained in the extension of the State of Emergency.

One thing ministers will need to take into account, however, is the fact that there is the considerably increasing number of new cases in some of our neighbouring countries such as: France over 23,000 and Italy over 19,000 yesterday and further afield Czech Republic with 1395 cases per 100,000. The fact that the rates are increasing in most European countries means that considerable caution needs to be taken in relaxing any border restrictions.

Turning to civil protection there are two important exercises that are about to take place. The first of these is that the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC) and the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) will carry out the NEAMWAVE’21 exercise today, March 10, between 8:30 am and 2:00 pm. NEAMWAVE’21 aims to test the effectiveness and readiness of the Tsunami alert system implemented in the Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean and Connected Seas (NEAMTWS). There are no sirens or deployments

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

The second is the ANEPC participation on Thursday 11th March in the ConvEx 2-b exercise under the responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The exercise takes place in the context of the implementation of the International Conventions for Mutual Assistance and Rapid Notification in the event of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency. The exercise scenario relies on a fictional accident arising from the transportation of dangerous materials and involves the discovery of a radiological source. It is thus intended to test the communication and use of the Unified System for Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergencies, as well as training / exercising the issuing of requests and possible responses to requests for assistance of the various IAEA member states.

In fact, Safe Communities participated in one of these in 2018 in Castelo Branco and we learned a great deal from this.

An important announcement for British nationals is that SEF have confirmed to the British Embassy that if you arrived in Portugal before 31st December 2020, and you are not resident or don’t intent to become resident, and you are still in Portugal due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, you do not need a visa or further authorisation to stay in Portugal longer than 90 days. SEF has told the Embassy that this is because you were exercising your right to free movement when you arrived and you are not subject to immigration control.

If you have further queries about this you should contact SEF and be prepared to provide any supporting documentation that may be required.

For those who arrived after 31st December 2020, Schengen rules apply. This means you can stay in the Schengen Area visa-free for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Any stays beyond that will be dependent on rules applied by the Portuguese authorities.

With that news please – Have a Safe Day


Headlines

“It is possible to overcome this crisis, turn this page and rebuild the country”

Prime Minister António Costa and the Ministers of State, Economy and Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Vieira, State and Foreign Affairs, Santos Silva, State and Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, and State and Finance, João Leão, and the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Duarte Cordeiro, represented the Government at the inauguration ceremony of the President of the Republic, which took place in the Assembly of the Republic.

In a statement to the press, the Prime Minister wished President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa “the greatest happiness in the exercise of this mandate that was renewed by the Portuguese”.

He added that, after the President’s inauguration speech “and at the end of such a hard year such as we have been facing collectively, to fight the pandemic, to resist the economic crisis and the social crisis, we all left with another spirit, comforted with the sense of hope and confidence that it is possible to overcome this crisis, to turn this page and rebuild the country”.

António Costa also said that there is “a very clear agenda, not only of institutional cooperation, but of strategic solidarity, which will surely unite the Portuguese, around the mandate of the President of the Republic”.


China launches digital health passport for international travel.

China has launched a digital health passport for its citizens, which can contribute to further opening up Chinese borders.

According to government sources, the “health certificate for international travel” is an application for smartphones that shows and verifies the vaccination history and the results of screening tests for the citizen’s Covid-19.

This passport is intended to “boost the global economic recovery and facilitate” international travel, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to AFP, this passport will only be available to people of Chinese nationality and will not, for now, be mandatory.

China’s system includes an encrypted QR Code that allows each country to obtain health information from travellers, Chinese state agency Xinhua said.

The European Commission is expected to present the proposal for a “green passport” on 17th March.


Covid-19

This Tuesday Portugal registers another 30 deaths and 847 new cases of Covid-19, according to the epidemiological bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). Details are as follows

Confirmed Cases: 811.306 (+ 847 / + 0.10 %)

Number of admitted: 1.278 (-125 /-8.91 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 312 (-30 /-8.77 %)

Deaths: 16.595 (+ 30 / + 0.18 %)

Recovered: 734.218 (+ 1872 / + 0.26 %)

Active Cases: 60,493 (-1055 / -1.7%)

Despite all this good news it is important not to let our guard down at this crucial time. Those in hospital and ICU remain high. This means complying with the rules in place, – wearing face masks, social distancing, hygiene and no social gatherings.


Health

Covid-19. Pfizer vaccine effective against variant in Brazil.

The vaccine against Covid-19 developed by Pfizer and BioNTech proves to be effective in neutralizing the Brazilian variant of the virus. The conclusion is drawn from a laboratory study, the results of which were published this Monday in the “New England Journal of Medicine”.

The scientists who conducted the study say the effectiveness is almost identical to the effect the vaccine has on an earlier, less contagious version of the virus.

University of Texas researchers analysed blood samples from people who have already been immunized. This allowed us to realize that the vaccine was able to neutralize a manufactured version of SARS-CoV-2 that contained the same mutations as the highly contagious variant identified in Brazil.

Pfizer had previously announced, based on previous studies, that the vaccine was able to respond to other variants, such as that of the United Kingdom and South Africa, despite the latter reducing the protective antibodies provided by the vaccine.

This means that Pfizer is already planning to introduce a third, booster dose, in addition to updating the vaccine to combat the South African variant.


CIP wants day care centres, education up to 6th grade, hairdressers and bookstores to open on Monday.

CIP – Confederação Empresarial de Portugal defends a phased deconfinement plan, with the opening, next Monday, of day care centers, kindergartens and education up to the sixth year, hairdressers, bookstores and used bookstores.

“The economy is closed. Portugal is not working, but the Portuguese are not staying at home!”, Says the CIP, led by António Saraiva, in a document that will be presented at the Government’s meeting with the social partners.

The CIP defends “a de-confinement plan that allows the safe reopening of the various activities and the stabilization of the perspectives for citizens and businessmen”.


Covid-19   Portuguese scientific community in the race for medicines and vaccines

The Covid-19 pandemic has mobilized, over the past year, a significant part of the Portuguese scientific community in the race for vaccines and therapies, including projects aimed at new drugs, cheaper vaccines or in new forms.

At the University of Beira Interior, work is being done on the creation of a nanovacin capable of preventing and treating the disease, the work of Dalinda Eusébio, and a PhD student in Biomedicine.

It is a DNA vaccine, which does not use, like conventional vaccines, a weakened form of the virus, but genetic information that leads the body to recognize components of the virus and to formulate an immune response to it, carried by Nano systems directed to specific cells.

The final form of this vaccine may be a dry powder, which can be administered nasally, without needles and stored outside refrigerators, which may reduce the cost of its production.

In partnership with the Centro Hospitalar Universitário de São João, in Porto, researchers from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto (ISPUP) are evaluating the efficacy and safety of Montelukast, a medicine used in asthma therapy, as a complement to the treatment of Covid-19.

If the efficacy of this medication is proven, it can “improve the prognosis of patients, the lung and respiratory injuries resulting from SARS-CoV-2 and contribute to reducing the length of hospital stay”, ensures ISPUP.

Also in Porto, researchers from the Health Research and Innovation Institute (i3S) are developing a diagnostic tool for the 45-minute detection of SARS-CoV-2 based on CRISPR-Cas13a [a nucleic acid editing technology.

The “highly sensitive” technique will be able to detect baseline levels of genetic material when coupled with an isothermal amplification system, with the centre estimating that the price per sample is around one euro.

In Faro, the University of Algarve is studying the use of saliva as a sample to detect SARS-CoV-2, a less invasive method than the swab on the nose mucosa.

According to Clévio Nóbrega, from the UAlg Biomedicine Research Center (CBMR), the objective is to try to “validate other methods” for the collection of samples, especially for “children and people with some pathologies”, since the current PCR method is “Very invasive”.


Outbreak of Covid-19 in the home of Reguengos. Order of Doctors urgently requests sight IGAS inquiry.

The Order of Doctors will urgently request the documents related to the inquiry ordered by the Ministry of Health to the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Reguengos de Monsaraz home to analyze and be able to comment.

The conclusions of the IGAS survey, ordered by the Ministry of Health (MS) following the outbreak of covid-19 in the Home of the Maria Inácia Vogado Perdigão Silva Foundation (FMIVPS), in Reguengos de Monsaraz, admit “deontological responsibility” of the doctors who refused to visit the institution following instructions from the Order of Doctors and a union.

The information was released on Monday and the documents relating to the case will be sent to the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Évora, where a criminal investigation is taking place, as well as to the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security (MTSSS).

In the note released on Monday, the MS also added that “the Minister of Health asked IGAS to issue and send to the competent entity the report of facts susceptible to deontological responsibility on the part of members of the organs of the Order of Doctors and unions involved”, the competent body being the Medical Association itself.

According to the survey, the illegality issues raised by doctors at local health centres to not visit home users resulted from “instructions received either from the Medical Association or from the SIM (Independent Medical Union), which raised in these a climate of doubt and concern, starting on July 2nd, 2020 “.

“Now, contrary to the positions taken by OM and SIM, IGAS concludes that the determinations of travel by health professionals to the FMIVPS home and to sanitary accommodation did not suffer from any illegality or other legal defect”, the document reads. of the MS, in which it was added that the visits had a legal framework in an order published in April 2020.

IGAS also said that a performance contrary to the stipulated conflict with the Doctors Code of Ethics, in the general principle of cooperation and in the due cooperation for the defence of public health.


Tourism

Tourism will ask the Government for “clear measures” for the sector to suspect. “It will be another blow to miss Easter”.

The de-confinement plan that the Government is going to present to the social partners this Wednesday is awaited with maximum expectation by the tourism sector, one of the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

What we are going to ask the Government for is that the measures it is going to take are clear, transparent and timely, because tourist activities, whether hotels, restaurants or travel agencies, need time to prepare, such as stocks, etc.; we need to have predictability here to organize the operation “, says Francisco Calheiros, president of the Confederation of Tourism of Portugal (CTP).

“We are waiting to see what the Government wants to do and the de-confinement plan it is preparing. It is not up to us, employers’ confederations, to comment on the options that are taken for health security, what is up to us is to alert the Government for the economic consequences, particularly in tourism, if we want to keep the offer installed in the country “, stresses the president of CTP.

Francisco Calheiros stresses that “anything that is restrictive to people’s travels penalizes tourism companies”, so everything that contemplates the plan of the lack of definition to be announced by the Government is awaited with expectation by the sector.

The head of the tourism confederation also points out that “Easter is usually the start of the tourist season, and if it turns out, as it is likely, that Easter is lost, this is yet another blow to the eventual recovery and corporate profitability “.


Teleworking

Government argues that telework regulation should move forward quickly.

Miguel Cabrita, Assistant Secretary of State for Labour and Vocational Training, stated this Tuesday the need to “move fast” with the regulation of telework in order to maximize its opportunities and minimize risks.

The minister spoke at the end of a panel of the high-level conference on the future of work, under the Portuguese presidency of the European Union, stressing the importance of finding a “balance” between teleworking opportunities and risks, defending the need “to move forward quickly for the regulation “of this model, which” is no longer new “, but which was disseminated, albeit asymmetrically among countries, by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have to face the challenge of remote work in the context of the future of work, maximize its potential but minimize its risks, and these are challenges that challenge everyone, policy makers, but also the social partners, academia and people”, said Miguel Cabrita.


Covid-19- Resume the sale of take-away drinks now, asks AHRESP.

“Unjustified”. That is how AHRESP.- Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Similars of Portugal classifies the ban on the sale of drinks in take-away, reiterating the need for the measure “to be revoked”.

The objective is to prevent the consumption of products at the door of the establishment or in its surroundings, which is already prohibited, and not the sale, which only harms the already difficult situation of our companies”, says the association at a time when it is beginning talking about the model to follow in the deflation.

“The prohibition on catering and beverage establishments to sell any type of drink in the scope of take-away is not understood, including coffee”, reiterates AHRESP to add that the current situation “is absolutely incomprehensible”.

“The sale of drinks does not represent any added risk”, he justifies.


Enforcement

The PSP investigated 63,688 people and made 49 arrests between January 15th and March 1st as part of the mandatory confinement of citizens infected with the new coronavirus or under active surveillance by decision of the health authorities.

According to data from the Criminal Investigation Department of the National Directorate of the PSP, between January 15th (date when Portugal entered a new general confinement due to the worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic) and March 1st, 938 news reports were collected for the purposes of criminal proceedings.

Speaking to Lusa, sub intendent Carlos Lourenço, from the Criminal Investigation Department, said that in the Lisbon area 14 292 citizens were investigated, 17 people were arrested for non-compliance with the obligation of mandatory confinement and 733 documents were raised.

Despite the numbers, the sub intendent considered that the balance of this period is “very positive”: “These inspections allowed to control the main points of contagion. Today we have a decrease in the number of contagions and the situation is much better than in January”.

The inspection directed at the mandatory confinement of citizens diagnosed with Covid-19 or who are under active surveillance is carried out by criminal investigation agents to the civilian, on a daily basis, after the lists have been sent to them by the health authorities.


Unemployment Benefit

Ombudsman asks for solution for those who lost unemployment benefit between June and December 2020.

The Ombudsman’s Office today warned of the situation of people whose unemployment benefit ended by December 31st, 2020 and who were excluded from the measure that prolongs that support for another six months, asking for a solution.

At the origin of this alert are the more than two dozen complaints that came to the office of Maria Lúcia Amaral from people who, having seen their unemployment benefit end between June 30th and December 31st, 2020 and whose condition of resources did not allow them accessing social unemployment benefit, they fell into a situation of social deprotection since the automatic extension for another six months of the unemployment benefit provided for in the State Budget for 2021 (OE2021) includes only those who cease this benefit during the year of 2021.

In a letter sent to the Secretary of State for Social Security, Gabriel Basto, today published on the Ombudsman’s website, the Deputy Ombudsman, Joaquim Cardoso da Costa, argues that these people “should be given special attention in order to be social protection close to that foreseen for beneficiaries whose unemployment benefit ends in 2021”.

The OE2021 determines that “the periods of granting unemployment benefit that end in 2021 are, exceptionally, extended by six months”.

“In addition, when comparing the situation of beneficiaries whose unemployment benefits ended by 12/30/2020 with that of beneficiaries whose benefit will end in 2021, it is clear that the disparity in social protection conferred in both cases is clear”, says the letter.

The letter also recalls that the worker whose unemployment benefit ended between June 30th, 2020 and December 30th, 2020 and who did not access the social unemployment benefit because he did not meet the resource condition requirements, “may, at most and apparently, accessing extraordinary support for workers’ income (AERT) under the less favourable conditions established for access to it ”.


Spain extends restrictions on passengers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa

Spain extended until March 30th the restrictions in force for passengers entering the country from the United Kingdom, by air and sea, and also flights from Brazil and South Africa.

The decision announced today by the Spanish executive’s spokeswoman, María Jesús Montero, is taken to protect the health of citizens and control the spread of new variants of the Covid-19 virus.

With some exceptions, the travel in question can only be carried out when transporting exclusively Spanish citizens and residents in Spain, as well as residents of Andorra and their nationals, and passengers in international transit to a country that does not belong to the Schengen area with a stopover less than 24 hours and without leaving the transit zone of the Spanish airport.

According to the spokeswoman, the decision is part of the action determined by Madrid to protect the health and safety of the country’s citizens, contain the progression of the disease and strengthen the health and social and health systems, all following the recommendations in the field of European coordination in the fight against the pandemic.



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Wednesday 10th March 2021 by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 193 new Covid-19 cases, 246 recoveries and 3 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report.

On Saturday, there were 59 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from France and 59 cases of local transmission), 82 recoveries and 1 death. A 58 year-old male patient died at Hospital Central do Funchal. No information was provided on whether he had any pre-existing conditions. The number of patients in hospital increased to 50, 8 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 33 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission and the lowest number of new cases since December 21st), 48 recoveries and 1 death. A 70 year-old male patient, who had pre-existing conditions, died at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 46, 7 of whom were in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 43 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from the Czech Republic, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 40 cases of local transmission) and 30 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital and in intensive care remained the same.

And on Tuesday, there were 58 new Covid-19 cases (all 58 cases of local transmission) and 86 recoveries and 1 death. A 71 year-old male patient, who had pre-existing conditions, died at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 35, 7 of whom are in intensive care.

There are currently 763 active cases, of which 19 had been imported while the other 744 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Tuesday, there had been 7,671 cases, 6,841 recoveries and 67 deaths.

On Tuesday, there were 16 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 712 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 35 patients in Covid-19 units, 7 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 123 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 4,167 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,040 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, 166,174 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 17h00). By Tuesday, 319,146 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 455 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 41,636 calls.

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 received 27 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 3,090 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/07/59-novos-casos-de-covid-19-82-recuperados-134-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/07/mais-uma-morte-hoje-com-covid-19-na-ram-um-senhor-de-70-anos/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/121053/E_preciso_recuar_a_21_de_dezembro_para_encontrar_menos_casos_do_que_hoje

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/121050/Mais_33_casos_por_covid-19_na_Madeira

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/08/43-novos-casos-de-covid-19-30-recuperados-170-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/09/morreu-mais-uma-pessoa-com-covid-19-ja-sao-67-na-ram/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/09/58-novos-casos-de-transmissao-local-86-recuperados-123-suspeitos/


Extension of pandemic restrictions

The Madeira Regional Government extended the pandemic restrictions until March 15th at 23h59.

The curfew is from 19h00 until 05h00 during weekdays and from 18h00 until 05h00 during weekends; commercial, industrial and service activities and businesses must close at 18h00 during weekdays and at 17h00 during weekends; take-away deliveries can take place everyday until 22h00 and individual sports practice is allowed.

https://www.dnoticias.pt/2021/3/8/253360-medidas-de-confinamento-na-madeira-prolongadas-ate-15-de-marco/


Vaccination update

The Region started administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine this week, after the arrival of the first batch on March 5th.

Below are the vaccination statistics from the Autonomous Region of Madeira (as of March 7th – vaccination started on December 31st):

Vaccine doses administered (1st and 2nd doses) – 27,853

Vaccine doses administered (1st dose only) – 17,170

Vaccine doses administered (2nd dose) – 10,683

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Porto Santo) – 398 (1st dose) & 305 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Funchal) – 8,130 (1st dose) & 5,061 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Câmara de Lobos) – 1,391 (1st dose) & 877 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Ribeira Brava) – 804 (1st dose) & 456 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Ponta do Sol) – 486 (1st dose) & 257 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Calheta) – 839 (1st dose) & 463 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Porto Moniz) – 267 (1st dose) & 174 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (São Vicente) – 501 (1st dose) & 275 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Santana) – 655 (1st dose) & 386 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Machico) – 1,341 (1st dose) & 864 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by Municipality (Santa Cruz) – 2,358 (1st dose) & 1,565 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered (females) – 11,559 (1st dose) & 7,273 (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate (females) – 8.5% (1st dose) & 5.4% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered (males) – 5,611 (1st dose) & 3,410 (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate (males) – 4.7% (1st dose) & 2.9% (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate by age (0-17) – 0.0% (1st dose) & 0.0% (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate by age (18-24) – 1.5% (1st dose) & 1.1% (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate by age (25-49) – 5.5% (1st dose) & 4.9% (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate by age (50-59) – 5.7% (1st dose) & 4.9% (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate by age (60-64) – 4.5% (1st dose) & 3.9% (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate by age (65-69) – 2.6% (1st dose) & 2.1% (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate by age (70-79) – 9.0% (1st dose) & 5.9% (2nd dose)

Vaccination rate by age (80-80+) – 61.5% (1st dose) & 18.4% (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (Health professionals from both private and public sector) – 5.516 (1st dose) & 4.908 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (Professionals from social care, care homes and similar institutions) – 3.581 (1st dose) & 2.880 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (Professionals from Civil Protection, security forces and critical services) – 810 (1st dose) & 751 (2nd dose)

Vaccine doses administered by priority group (citizens aged 50-79 & aged 80 or older)7.243 (1st dose) & 2.133 (2nd dose)

Vaccination will continue on domestic workers, security and critical services personnel, health professionals from Dental Medicine and Pharmacies and other priority groups. Furthermore, Francisco Oliveira, the coordinator of Sindicato de Professores da Madeira (Madeira Teachers Union) said teaching and non-teaching staff will be vaccinated “very soon”.

The Regional Vaccination Plan (Plano Regional de Vacinação) contains the list of priority groups. Covid-19 Vaccination is dependent on the allocation of vaccines to the Region.

Miguel Albuquerque (President of the Madeira Regional Government) reiterated the goal of having 70% of the Madeira population vaccinated by September, which will allow “another type of reopening”.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/08/governo-regional-diz-que-ja-administrou-27-583-vacinas-contra-a-covid-19/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/121270/SPM_vacinacao_de_professores_e_nao_docentes_avancara_muito_em_breve_na_Regiao

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/121262/Albuquerque_reafirma_intencao_de_ter_70_da_populacao_vacinada_ate_setembro_


Water supply disruption TODAY

Due to scheduled work on the water supply chain, there will be a water supply disruption today, from 09h30 until 12h00, in the parish (freguesia) of São Pedro. It will disrupt water supply in the following areas: Beco da Soca and Beco do Paiol.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/09/cmf-avisa-para-corte-de-agua-na-freguesia-de-sao-pedro-2/


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be a power cut today due to planned work on the electricity supply network. This work cannot be postponed. The following area will be affected (check the previous Situation Report for information on other scheduled power cuts today and on Friday):

FUNCHAL

12th March – 00h00 to 07h00

– Rua da Urbanização da Torrinha (numbers 4 to 19)

– Rua da Carne Azeda (numbers 28 to 91)

– Rua da Cidade do Cabo (numbers 4, 10, 12 and 24)

– Rua do Dr. Ângelo Augusto da Silva (numbers 26 to 28)

– Rua Nova do Til (numbers 3 to 24)

– Rua do Padre Lopes (numbers 1 and 2)

– Rua do Til

– Rua da Torrinha (numbers 52 to 54)

– Bairro do Til

– Travessa das Voltas (numbers 3 to 23)

– Travessa da Costa Dias

– Beco do Sales

– Beco do Sousa (numbers 1 to 8)

– Impasse 1 da Rua do Til (numbers 1 to 5)

GAULA

11th March – 09h15 to 10h00

– Sítio de São João Latrão

– Sítio de Lombadinha

– Zona do Mercado (Market area)

CANIÇO

13th March – 08h00 to 10h00

– Estrada da Ponta da Oliveira

– Caminho Velho da Oliveira

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/2021/03/10/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-18-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Wednesday 10th March 2021

MAR Shopping Algarve raises money for homeless social reintegration projects

During the month of March, MAR Shopping Algarve launches a donation and fundraising campaign for two homeless social reintegration projects that are being implemented in the Algarve by Associação GATO – Support Group for Drug Addicts.

Under the motto “the smallest gesture makes the biggest difference”, the campaign to collect household appliances and equipment aims to help equip the “Shared Apartments” and the “Projecto – Casa Ajuda”, integrated in the national initiative Housing First, two social responses that are being activated in Loulé and that, in total, will support a total of 15 homeless people.

Donations of equipment and materials, new or second-hand, can be made at the MAR Shopping Algarve Information Desk until March 31st. The two types of housing projects will start operating in mid-March and are already furnished, making it necessary to complement the installations with appliances such as irons, televisions, toasters, coffee machines or magic wands, as well as other elements essential to life daily life, such as towels, pillows, blankets, comforters and sheets, lamps, kitchen linen or toilet utensils, describes a note issued today by MAR Shopping.

Through the GATO Association, two temporary “shared apartments” will be implemented, with a capacity for ten people, and five individual dwellings in the “Housing First” typology, a pioneer in the Algarve and a recent innovation in responding to this social problem. These housing models aim to reintegrate and integrate homeless people into society, promoting independent living and monitoring by a technical team, which focuses on areas such as health, education, work, hygiene and domestic management.

Associação GATO is also collaborating with the Municipality of Loulé in the initiatives of “Shared Apartments” and the Projeto – Casa Ajuda “Housing First, which in total will help 15 people.


More than 30 thousand people may be receiving food support in the Algarve

The deputy of the Left Wing Parliamentary Group, João Vasconcelos, and other members of the Left Algarve Block, met with the board of Banco Alimentar do Algarve in order to understand, the difficulties that the institution faces and the impact of the crisis on families in the region.

According to the Bloc, the Food Bank reported that last year, only between April and December, due to the crisis that the pandemic brought to the region, requests for food aid increased significantly, 74%, from 16,200 people supported through 104 institutions, to 26,300 people, through 119 institutions, making the Food Bank go from 2 million to 3.3 million units of food products distributed.

In the same information, the fact that “such a big deal has never been reached” by the Food Bank in the Algarve is underlined as in the year 2020. Not even at the peak of the previous crisis where the maximum support reached 23,000 people. BE clarifies that the Food Bank, “although the number of donations has increased, and requests for support, are experiencing difficulties in responding to the requested support”.

In view of the current crisis, resulting from the pandemic, at the moment people supported at food level in the Algarve should already exceed 30,000. For the Bloco de Esquerda, the Algarve “is experiencing an authentic social catastrophe and the government is primarily responsible, as it is not giving due and necessary responses to people, families and companies, and has not yet presented any plan to combat crisis in the region, despite having been announced several months ago “, considering it to be” an unacceptable and unsustainable situation “.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 10th March 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Arrested Foreigners 

On the island of Faial, the PSP detained 3 foreign citizens for disobedience and non-compliance with health standards related to fighting the pandemic. The arrests took place on Friday the 5th of March at a bar in the Porto Pim area. The owner of the bar accused the Horta PSP of excessive use of force but the police said that they acted on numerous complaints from nearby neighbours.


New Private Hospital 

The first private hospital in the Azores was inaugurated, last Monday, in the municipality of Lagoa, an investment of 40 million euros that will help prevent travel to the continent of patients from the Regional Health Service.

At the inauguration ceremony, the chairman of the board of directors of the ‘Hospital Internacional dos Açores’, Luís Farinha, said that the new unit features more than 40 specialties, some of which do not exist in the Azores, and intends to offer its customers “excellent health care”, with 50 consultation rooms, 96 beds and five operating theatres.

There are only three hospitals in the Azores, all assigned to the Regional Health Service, one of which is in Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel, another in Angra do Heroísmo, on the island of Terceira, and the other on Horta, on the island of Faial.

Luís Farinha said that, due to the specialties he has, some of which do not exist in the Azores, it will be possible to avoid travel to the continent by users of the Regional Health Service and to combat waiting lists in the public system.

This is the case, among other specialties, of cardiac surgery, ophthalmology (vitrectomy), urology and cosmetic surgery.

The Mayor of Lagoa, Cristina Calisto, said that this is a “historic day” for the city, since it is the largest private investment made in the municipality and that, along with other ongoing investments, will generate more economic gains.

The private hospital unit will create 300 jobs and will be equipped with a 3 Tesla magnetic resonance device, a 128-section TAC, five operating theatres, one of which is hybrid and will allow for cardiac, endovascular and surgical procedures to be combined in the same space and in the same patient, as well as a maternity, intensive care and permanent care.

Isabel Cássio is the clinical director of the Hospital.

The International Hospital of the Azores was inaugurated three years after the laying of the first stone, in a ceremony that was also attended by the president of the Regional Government, José Manuel Bolieiro.

That hospital unit is not yet fully operational, the administration envisages the phased opening of services until it is fully operational.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 4,664 tests is 22.  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.  To date, 357,792 tests have been carried out.

São Miguel registered the most cases with 20.  Pico had 1 as did Terceira.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 21 in total.  18 on the island of São Miguel, 2 on Pico and 1 on Terceira.

There are no patients with Covid-19 in the region’s hospitals.

There are currently 76 active positive cases in the Region. 66 on São Miguel, 8 on Pico and 2 on Terceira.

Since the start of the pandemic, 3,931 positive chaos in Covid-19 have been diagnosed, 3,719 people have recovered from the disease, 29 have died, 67 have left the archipelago and 40 have shown evidence of previous cure.

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 6th March 2021

Introduction

Good morning – Firstly, a reminder that the ban on movement between municipalities is now in place from 8 pm last night until 5 am on Monday 8th March in mainland Portugal, with some exceptions provided for, within the scope of fighting the pandemic. These exceptions are the same as previously.

Regarding Covid-19, we start the day with two pieces of good news; the first being that the average transmissibility index (Rt) of SARS-CoV-2 is 0.71 in mainland Portugal, representing a downward trend in cases. The second good news is that one 1 million doses have now been administered in Portugal since the start of the program 2 months ago. The milestone was reached yesterday.

According to a report by the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) released yesterday on the epidemic curve, all regions have an Rt for five days below 1, with the exception of the two autonomous regions, which “suggests a clear decrease in the incidence of the virus in the country, taking into account that the transmissibility index reached 2.12 as the highest value during the pandemic”. More details in our separate story this morning.

Over the last two weeks we have reported four major earthquakes; one in Greece and three off the coast of New Zealand – the largest being 8.1 on the Richter scale 8.1 near Kermadec Islands Region on Thursday. Luckily these, in the case of the New Zealand ones, have not caused any damage, although extensive evacuation plans were put in place with people moving from the coastal areas along the north coast of North Island to higher ground. This was undertaken by all accounts calmly and in accordance the alerts and directions that were clearly in place.

Portugal is also a high-risk country as far as earthquakes are concerned, although thankfully those that do occur daily are seldom felt. However it is important to be aware that there is a risk as well as in some areas a risk of tsunamis. We all need therefore to know what action to take should a major earthquake occour. Each year in November, Portugal practices “A Terra Treme” the national earthquake exercise involving schools, businesses and individuals. To understand the risk and self-protection steps to take, please visit our page – a 10 minutes read which could save your life should a major earthquake occur.

Whilst on the subject of Civil Protection there was an important development on Thursday at the Council of Ministers meeting, with measures approved in the fields of integrated management of rural fires, planning of agricultural areas and forests, and the strengthening of civil protection. Most important is the defining of five strategic objectives (to strengthen governance in risk management; to improve knowledge about risks; to implement strategies for risk reduction; to improve preparedness in the event of risk; and to involve citizens in the knowledge of risks), which translate into projects and activities to be implemented by Central and Local Administration. This is a very welcomed and important approach, as the understanding of risk is essential in determining preparedness in both prevention and self-protection of rural fires.

It was announced yesterday by the President and executive director of Formula 1 Stefano Domenicali, that the Portuguese Formula 1 Grand Prix, in Portimão, will take place on May 2nd, hoping “to be able to receive spectators in Portimão safely again this year and we are working with the promoter on the details of this plan”. The decision to hold the event again in the Algarve is if course very welcomed – the issue is with or without spectators.

There is no decision yet on whether spectators will be able to attend and given the problems last year with overcrowding in various stands and in some indoor areas and clearly social distancing not being respected, we are sure that Government will take a very cautious approach in this regards. It is one thing to produce plans which incorporate DGS safety standards, but another in ensuring these plans are properly executed and enforced. Crowd management and enforcement will require a large deployment of private security and the security forces and the implications of this needs to be taken into full account.

Although the organisers and promotors are obviously pressing for the inclusion of spectators, and there are many fans who are naturally keen to attend, it would be unacceptable regardless of the importance of tourism to the economy, to allow in just 7 weeks’ time a relaxation of confinement to the extent that would undoubtedly bring thousands of people together in one location, if in doing so this results in any risk of contagion. This must not be seen as an exception to other measures that are in place at that time. In other words safety first. We wait and see developments

It is important not to let our guard down at this crucial time.

Have a Safe weekend


Covid-19

Yesterday’s DGS Covid-19 figures compared with the previous day are as follows:

Confirmed Cases: 808,405 (+ 949 / + 0.12 %)

Number of admitted: 1,583 (-125 /-7.32 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 383 (-16 /-4.01 %)

Deaths: 16,486 (+ 28 / + 0.17 %)

Recovered: 728,659 (+ 1606 / + 0.22 %)

Active Cases: 63,260 (-685 / -1.07%)

In analysing these trends it is noted that: deaths were the joint lowest since 24th October 2020; new cases were higher than previous day; recovered cases were more than new cases, for 32 consecutive days; the number of recovered patients exceeded that of new infections; there were the lowest number in hospital since 25th October, decreased by 5286 patients since 1st Feb.

The numbers in ICU were the lowest since 12th November – a decrease of 55.7% since 1st February; the number of active cases lowest since 3rd November, decreasing for 33 consecutive days and over 119,000 since 31st January (in 26 days); those under surveillance were the lowest since August 2020 and there were zero deaths in the Algarve.


Health

Percentage of total deaths attributed to the Covid-19 virus has dropped by nearly a half.

The percentage of deaths in Portugal attributed to Covid-19 has dropped, between 8th and 21st February, to about half of the percentage seen in the previous fortnight.

The number of deaths associated with Covid-19 between 25th January and 7th February had been above 40% of the total deaths, but in the following two weeks it decreased to 21.7% of the total in the week of February 15th to 21st, in which 2824 people died, 696 more than the average for the same period in the last five years, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE)

Between 8th and 14th February, 3,349 people died, 31.6% of whom with Covid-19, 175 more than the average for that week in the years 2015 to 2019.


Covid-19: Researchers use 35,000 samples to assess infectiousness of variants.

Porto, 05 Mar 2021 (Lusa) – Researchers from the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (i3S) will, through more than 35 thousand nasopharyngeal samples, evaluate co-infections with SARS-CoV-2 and see if the infectivity of the variants is changed over the past year.

Speaking to the Lusa agency, Didier Cabanes, researcher and director of the testing center for Covid-19 created at the institute of the University of Porto, explained today that the project has “two strands”: one scientific and the other technical.

Within the scope of the Horizon 2020 program, i3S received funding of 300 thousand euros from the Northern Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR-N), based on its biobank of nasopharyngeal samples tested for SARS-CoV-2, which gathers more than 35 thousand samples, one third of which are positive for Covid-19.

Since March 2020, the biobank has been keeping samples in freezers at temperatures between 80 and 20 minus degrees Celsius and will allow evaluating co-infections in the last year with SARS-CoV-2.

“We will try to analyse whether other pathogens such as batteries or fungi may be associated with infection by the new coronavirus and if they vary seasonally”, explained the leading investigator of the Molecular Microbiology group at i3S.

In parallel, the researchers will assess whether the infectivity and aggressiveness of SARS-CoV-2 variants has changed over the past year.

Within the scope of the project, which runs until June 2023, the University of Porto institute acquired “robots” to “automate” the diagnosis of Covid-19 in the laboratory with the capacity to analyse 350 samples per day.


Covid-19 resulted in the death of 17,000 health workers in 2020, says Amnesty International.

At least 17,000 health professionals have died of Covid-19 in 2020 worldwide, said Amnesty International (AI), calling for “urgent action” to accelerate the vaccination of these “highly exposed” workers “and several times” unprotected “.

“It is a tragedy and an injustice that, every 30 minutes, a health professional dies with Covid-19. Workers around the world have put their lives at risk to try to keep people safe from Covid-19, but many have been left unprotected and paid the highest price “, denounces Steve Cockburn, AI specialist in Economic and Social Justice, cited in this analysis conducted by the non-governmental organization (NGO) and carried out in partnership with Public Services International and UNI Global Union.

The analysis work involved data released by Governments, unions, the press and civil society organizations in more than 80 countries.

The organizations admit that the numbers are likely to be higher, since not all States have gathered official information or have only done so partially.

Data from the Portuguese Directorate-General for Health (DGS), released last Monday, indicated that close to 28 thousand health professionals have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in Portugal, of whom 19 died and more than 16 thousand recovered.


Covid-19: Women were most affected by the pandemic at the University of Coimbra.

Coimbra, 05 Mar 2021 (Lusa) – A study to assess the impact of the pandemic on the faculty and researchers of the University of Coimbra (UC) concludes that women were the most affected group, it was announced today.

Within the Coimbra academy, women “were the group most affected by the severity of the psychological and emotional effects associated with confinement, having reported more often feelings of anxiety, sadness, concern for the professional future and perceived lack of control over the situation” , said the UC, in a press release sent to the Lusa agency.

The study, which included a survey of 281 UC professors and researchers in September 2020, was carried out within the framework of the European project “SUPERA” (Promotion of Equality in Research and Academia), in which the Centre for Social Studies of the University participates. Coimbra University.

More than two thirds of the people surveyed reported that they started to dedicate more time to domestic work and to accompany children and young people, with women noting “a greater influence of the pandemic in the allocation of time to professional work”.

The Covid-19 pandemic pointed to the adoption of contingency measures “which had strong implications for the organization and conditions of academic work”, such as the transition to ‘online’ classes or the compatibility of teaching and scientific activity with the care of children , explained the project’s local coordinator, Mónica Lopes, mentioned in the press release.

“This study has shown that the new conditions for carrying out teaching and research work have had a different impact on women and men in academia, making visible or accentuating pre-existing inequalities in terms of working conditions, possibilities of work-family reconciliation, division of work, academic work, and scientific performance “, added the researcher.


Portuguese government hopes to reopen tourism in May.

Portugal hopes to be able to open borders and tourism in early May thanks to certificates of vaccination or tests, the Secretary of State for Tourism, Rita Marques, told the BBC today.

“For the time being, non-essential travel needs to be restricted, but we believe that Portugal will be able to allow unrestricted travel soon, not only for vaccinated people, but also for people who are immune or who test negative,” she said.

According to the official, “it will happen soon, in about two months. Perhaps in May, early May” she added, guaranteeing that she plans to “have everything ready to allow the British to visit the country”.

Rita Marques told the British public station that the Government is “working to reopen Tourism as quickly as possible in a safe way” and showed confidence in the so-called “green pass” to be issued by the countries of the European Union.

On the 17th, the European Commission is going to present a legislative proposal to create a digital free pass that will make it possible to resume travel at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, proving the vaccination or the recovery of citizens.

The pass may include not only a certificate of vaccination against Covid-19, but also test results or immunity information for people who have recovered from the disease.

The United Kingdom remained the main tourist emitter market in 2020, representing 16.3% of overnight stays from non-residents, despite the 78.5% decrease compared to the previous year, said the Portuguese National Statistics Institute.

Currently, travel between Portugal and the United Kingdom is prohibited and there are no direct flights, although nationals or residents of both countries are allowed to travel with a valid justification and evidence that they have tested the coronavirus with a negative result.

The British government has already said it does not intend to change the rules before 17th May, after evaluating a study with recommendations for safely restoring international travel.


Schools – Protective equipment

The Ministry of Education announced yesterday that it has made about seven million euros available for schools to buy masks and other materials and personal protective equipment against Covid-19.

Specifically with regard to masks, the Ministry of Education explains in a statement that, although mandatory use for 1st cycle students is not foreseen, the amount of the budget was defined in order to allow schools to buy enough masks to these students.

“Bearing in mind the signposts of parents and guardians for their students to use this equipment, it was understood for reasons of prudence that it would be considered for its acquisition for 1st cycle students, with the respective guardians being responsible for decision on its use ”, he says.

According to a note from the Directorate-General for School Establishments (DGEstE), which has already been sent to schools, the materials to which these seven million euros are destined are detailed: three masks for each student, teacher and employee, gloves and aprons for operational assistants, and disinfectant.

“The provision of free masks and other personal protective equipment to students and professionals, as well as disinfection and cleaning products, is part of the set of measures to prevent and mitigate the risk of transmission of Covid-19, which have allowed increase the security of the school space ”, underlines the authority.


Ministry of Health creates new National Trauma Commission.

The creation of a green route for trauma in the provision of pre- and intra-hospital health care is one of the new competences of the renewed National Trauma Commission, according to an order today published in Diário da República.

The order of the Deputy Secretary of State and Health, António Lacerda Sales, renews the constituted National Trauma Commission, which is now made up of representatives of the various bodies of the Ministry of Health with attributions in the field of health and the management of “especially relevant” means. for coordination regarding trauma”.

In addition to ensuring the implementation of the green route of trauma, this commission will propose the model of operation and articulation of the agents participating in the network, identify and encourage the dissemination and implementation of good practice standards and assess the needs in terms of equipment and infrastructure in the emergency services integrated into the hospital urgency and emergency network.

The order also establishes that the commission proposes the creation of the National Trauma Registry in the Urgent Patients Guidance Centres (CODU) and pre-hospital medical emergency means and in the urgency and emergency hospital network, and consequent epidemiological surveillance of trauma in Portugal. , in conjunction with INEM, Shared Services of the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA).

The National Trauma Commission, which by March 31st is expected to present an activity plan for the year 2021, is also responsible for promoting the appointment of local trauma coordinators, from each institution in the hospital network with emergency medical and surgical services (multipurpose) to evaluate the management and reserve mechanisms of relevant blood products in this context and identify the pertinence of constituting a specific component within the scope of the Strategic Medicines Reserve.


Other news

Government approves investment of 30 Million Euros in measures to enhance forest landscape.

The Council of Ministers today approved a set of measures under the policy of enhancing the forest landscape that involve an investment of around 30 million euros, announced today the Minister of the Environment.

At the end of the Council of Ministers (CM) dedicated to forests, which today took place in Monsanto, Lisbon, João Matos Fernandes highlighted that the largest share, of more than 20 million euros, will be destined to investments in public forests and in forest perimeters.

The minister also highlighted the investment of five million euros in the extension of intervention projects for the restoration of ecosystems started in 2016 in the Peneda-Gerês Natural Park.

According to the communiqué of the CM, the Government today approved a resolution for the projects of restoration and enhancement of natural habitats, with structural prevention against fires, in five parks, namely the Natural Parks of the North Coast, Alvão, Serra da Estrela, Sintra-Cascais and the Guadiana Valley.

“The funds dedicated to these projects go from 21 to 26 million euros, with a total of 19 protected areas now covered”, he said.

These projects will “focus on the active conservation of protected areas, associating the investment directed to the restoration and enhancement of natural habitats with the structural prevention against fires, also guaranteeing the provision of the means and equipment necessary for this purpose”, added the statement.

The remainder will be distributed between the launch of four more landscape plans and the extension of co-management measures for parks and protected areas.



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Saturday March 6th 2021, by our Special Correspondent 

Covid-19 update

There were 141 new Covid-19 cases, 444 recoveries and no deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The number of active cases went down to less than 1,000 for the first time in several weeks.

On Wednesday, there were 45 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 44 cases of local transmission) and 130 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 43, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 50 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 194 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 45, 8 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 46 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Luxembourg, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 44 cases of local transmission) and 120 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital and in intensive care remained the same.

There are currently 819 active cases, of which 23 had been imported while the other 1,099 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Friday, there had been 7,478 cases, 6,595 recoveries and 64 deaths.

On Friday, there were 15 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 759 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 45 patients in Covid-19 units, 8 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 196 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 3,645 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,098 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, 164,949 samples had been collected until Friday (at 17h00). By Friday, 315,003 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 521 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 41,181 calls.

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 received 30 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 3,063 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/03/45-novos-casos-de-covid-19-130-recuperados-118-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/04/50-novos-casos-de-covid-19-194-recuperados-96-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/05/46-novos-casos-de-covid-19-120-recuperados-196-suspeitos/


Citizens urged to update personal details due to Covid-19 vaccination

The Regional Secretariat of Health and Civil Protection highlighted the importance of patient personal details being updated at the health centre. For instance, staff from health centres in the municipality of Funchal have been trying to contact elderly citizens who are eligible for Covid-19 vaccination, but many attempts are difficult due to the lack of updated telephone numbers.

Citizens are advised to update their personal details by phoning or emailing their health centre or through the following website: http://www.sesaram.pt/portaldoutente

An appeal was made for people who have relatives aged 75-79 with pathologies (heart failure, coronary heart disease, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or aged 80 or older, who live in the municipality of Funchal and who have not been contacted for vaccination, to contact the local health centre of their relatives.

Alternatively, those who are interested can:

– Call the following numbers:  291 705 490 / 291 705 410 / 966 735 365 / 969 376 956 / 969 320 168 / 969 319 606

– Send an email to: vacinacaocovid19.funchal@sesaram.pt

SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) has been undergoing IT maintenance in the last days. It asked for understanding if there are any issues accessing the website.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/04/utentes-devem-actualizar-informacoes-no-centro-de-saude-por-causa-da-vacinacao-contra-a-covid-19/


Arrival of another shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines

A shipment of 8,500 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Madeira last night after a delay. The Portuguese Air Force aircraft carrying the shipment had been forced to remain in Porto Santo due to windy weather. An Air Force Merlin helicopter then proceeded to carry the shipment to Funchal. After arriving at Funchal Airport, the shipment was immediately taken under police escort to the pharmacy at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça.

https://www.dnoticias.pt/2021/3/5/253133-vacinas-da-astrazeneca-ja-estao-na-madeira/


Heavy seas warning

A heavy seas warning has been issued for today and will be in place until 18h00. Winds are expected to blow from North-West. Visibility is expected to be good. Waves in the north shore are expected do be 2.5-3 metres high and to rise to 3-4 metres high. As for south shore, the waves are expected to be 1-2 metres high and to rise to 1-2 metres high. Vessel owners are advised to keep their vessels docked in harbours.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/05/capitania-avisa-para-ondulacao-forte/


Nem mountain rescue vehicle for the Santana Fire Service

The Santana Fire Service received a new mountain rescue vehicle. It cost €50,000. Several entities, individuals and institutions made this acquisition possible. It is equipped with a stretcher and will provide more safety and comfort for rescuers and victims.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/05/bombeiros-de-santana-com-novo-todo-o-terreno-de-resgate-em-montanha/


British nuclear fuel carrier forced to change route while sailing in Madeira

The British nuclear fuel carrier Pacific Heron is currently on sea trials, although it is not carrying nuclear fuel. Nevertheless, NRP Douro, a Portuguese Navy patrol vessel intercepted Pacific Heron on Wednesday while it was heading towards an area between Ponta de São Lourenço and the Desert islands (it did not have permission to sail in this area), and requested it to change route and to head towards south-west. The ship is heading back to the UK.

https://www.dnoticias.pt/2021/3/3/252808-patrulha-intercepta-navio-de-transporte-nuclear-e-obriga-o-a-se-afastar-da-madeira/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/120635/Cargueiro_britanico_impedido_pelo_navio_patrulha_de_passar_entre_a_Madeira_e_as_Desertas


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be a power cut today due to planned work on the electricity supply network. This work cannot be postponed. The following area will be affected (check the previous Situation Report for information on other scheduled power cuts today and on Friday):

QUINTA GRANDE

6th March – 09h00 to 11h30  (TODAY)

– Estrada João Gonçalves Zarco (numbers 960 to 1070)

– Caminho Velho

– Caminho do Vital

– Caminho da Capela

– Travessa da Vera Cruz

CAMPANÁRIO

6th March – 09h00 to 11h30  (TODAY)

– Caminho do Pedregal

– Caminho do Chão da Venda

– Rua Comandante Camacho de Freitas (numbers 605 to 679)

QUINTA GRANDE

6th March – 09h00 to 12h30  (TODAY)

– Sítio da Fonte

– Sítio da Vera Cruz (including Vialitoral)

FUNCHAL

8th March – 09h00 to 11h30

– Estrada Monumental (numbers 373 to 606)

– Beco da Vitória

8th March – 09h00 to 12h30

– Estrada dos Marmeleiros (numbers 53 to 83-A)

– Beco da Penha de França (number 46,2)

9th March – 09h00 to 11h30

– Rua 31 de Janeiro (number 140)

– Rua Nova da Quinta Deão (numbers 6 to 30)

10th March – 09h00 to 09h20 & 11h10 to 11h30

– Caminho do Ribeiro Choco

– Rua da Quinta do Leme (numbers 1 to 67)

– Beco do Olival

– Beco do Sacristão

– Urbanização da Bela Vista (number 8)

– Urbanização do Pico dos Barcelos (number 26)

11th March – 09h00 to 11h30 & 14h00 to 16h00

– Rua Dr. Barreto (numbers 48 to 50)

– Rua das Pinheiras (number 3)

– Travessa das Pinheiras

12th March – 09h00 to 12h30

– Estrada Monumental (numbers 373 to 606)

– Beco da Vitória

SANTA CRUZ

9th March – 09h00 to 12h00

– Sítio do Lugarinho

PORTO MONIZ

10th March – 09h00 to 10h00 & 12h00 to 12h30

– Casa do Elias

– Campo de Futebol (football pitch)

– Camara de Carga

FAJÃ DA OVELHA

10th March – 09h00 to 10h00 & 12h00 to 12h30

– Sítio da Fonte do Bispo

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/2021/03/04/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-16-2021/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/06/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-17-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Saturday March 6th 2021.

Sports

Formula 1 returns to Portugal in May

On Friday, the organization confirmed the plan to stage the Portuguese Formula 1 Grand Prix, in Portimão, on May 2nd.

The vacancy that was open in the official calendar of the Formula 1 World Championship is filled. From April 30th to May 2nd, the “fireballs” of the main track racing event will accelerate at the Portimão race track, in the Algarve.

The information was released on the social networks of the organization of the Formula 1 race and confirmed in a statement sent to the newsrooms, this Thursday morning.

“We are very excited to announce that Formula 1 will be racing again in Portimão, after the huge success of the race last year. We want to thank the promoter and the Portuguese Government for their hard work and dedication to the return of the race to Portugal, “said president and executive director of Formula 1 Stefano Domenicali, in a statement.

“We hope to be able to receive spectators in Portimão safely again this year and we are working with the promoter on the details of this plan,” added Domenicali.

The Formula 1 returned to Portugal in October 2020, the Algarve International Circuit, after 24 years of absence from the World Cup, following the reorganization of the schedule due to the pandemic Covid-19. “We were pleased to receive 27,000 fans during the Grand Prix weekend last season who were able to enjoy the great moments of action on the track,” adds the statement.

Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (AIA) expects a decision “on the presence of spectators in the coming weeks”, it is also read in the same statement.


In February Algarve hotels recorded a drop of 93.7%.

According to data from the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve – AHETA, in relation to 2020, the month of February 2021 presented an average global occupancy rate of 2.9%, 93.7% below the value registered in the previous year.

According to the same source, the markets that contributed most to the decline were British (-98.0%) followed by German (-97.2%) and Dutch (-94.9%).

Despite having presented the lowest year-on-year decline, the national market declined -71.6%

Sales volume also decreased by -94.5% compared to the same month of the previous year.

The association also registers that, in accumulated values ​​of the last twelve months, the bed occupancy registered an average decrease of -60.5% and the volume of sales a decrease of -66.2%.


Covid-19: Algarve opens 25 beds for intensive rehabilitation of SNS patients.

The Algarve has since today (Friday) had 25 beds for the intensive rehabilitation of patients who were affected by their functions following the Covid-19 pandemic, the chairman of the board of directors of the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA) told Lusa.

The beds, installed at the Center for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (CMFR) do Sul, in São Brás de Alportel, integrated in CHUA, will be able to receive patients with Covid-19 who were subjected to intubation and who were referred by the National Health Service for hospitalization. Health (SNS).

Speaking to Lusa, Ana Castro, said that the measure is “unique at national level” and that its objective is to allow patients who have been affected by the disease as a result of the disease to be able to “return to their normal life” as soon as possible, through a rehabilitation that brings together different therapies.

“We, at CMFR, already had a multidisciplinary team that did an intensive rehabilitation of patients who needed it and we thought that it would be a need to rehabilitate Covid patients who were in Intensive Care Units [UCI] and lost capacities”, he said.

Patients referred to the center in São Brás de Alportel will undergo a multidisciplinary program of “six hours a day” that will help them recover “both motor skills and some skills in terms of breathing, speech, swallowing, because of having been incubated”, he exemplified.

The chairman of the CHUA board of directors – which includes the hospitals in Faro, Portimão and Lagos and the CMFR – stressed that “this program is different from the others” and “unique at national level”, revealing that “a patient is already in hospital ” and another that went to the outpatient phase.


 Southern Rehabilitation Medicine Centre resumes operation.

The Southern Rehabilitation Medicine Centre (CMR SUL), in São Brás de Alportel resumes its full operation with the total reopening of the number of beds in hospital.

An achievement defended by Vítor Guerreiro, President of the City Council, since 2014 with successive governments, achieved on Wednesday, March 3, with the beginning of a new rehabilitation program for post-Covid-19 patients.

This is an innovative service in the area of ​​rehabilitation, under the coordination of the CMR Sul team, which aims to provide an adequate response to complex clinical conditions of Covid-19 patients, subject to invasive mechanical ventilation and who need specific rehabilitation programs, more intensive, and with a multidisciplinary approach.

This new investment in the health of the Portuguese, allowed the reopening of another 25 beds and the hiring of specialized personnel, returning the full functioning to the Southern Medical and Physical Rehabilitation Center.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – Saturday 6th March 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa 

The visit of the head of State, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, to Madeira, this Friday, was postponed due to the forecast wind conditions, and his trip to the Azores was also postponed. The wind conditions forecast for Madeira, forced the postponement of the trip to Madeira and the trip to the Azores.  The visit will be re-scheduled.

The President of the Republic was going to travel to the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores to meet with representatives of the Republic, presidents of governments and regional parliaments.

According to the agenda released on Thursday, the head of state would first go to Madeira, arriving in Funchal close to lunchtime, going in the afternoon to Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, where he would stay until night.

The Constitution says that the President of the Republic appoints a representative of the Republic for each of the autonomous regions, whose mandate has the same duration as the presidential term – ending, therefore, on Tuesday, March 9th.

Re-elected on the January 24th at the presidential elections with 60.67% of the votes cast, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will take office for a second five-year term on Tuesday morning, in the Assembly of the Republic.

According to the program released today, the President of the Republic would have lunch in Madeira with the president of the Regional Government, Miguel Albuquerque, at Quinta Vigia, the seat of the presidency of the Madeiran executive, in Funchal.

Then, a meeting with the representative of the Republic for the Autonomous Region of Madeira, Ireneu Cabral Barreto, in his official residence, the São Lourenço Palace, with the president of the Regional Legislative Assembly, José Manuel Rodrigues, and the president of the Regional Government. .

During the afternoon he would proceed to Ponta Delgada, meeting on arrival with the representative of the Republic for the Autonomous Region of the Azores, Pedro Catarino, at the Convent of Belém, his official residence, and with the president of the Regional Legislative Assembly, Luís Garcia, and the president of the Regional Government, José Manuel Bolieiro.

The program will end with a dinner for Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and José Manuel Bolieiro at the Sant’ana Palace, seat of the presidency of the Regional Government of the Azores.

Under the terms of the Constitution, it is the representatives of the Republic who appoint the presidents of the governments of Madeira and the Azores, after the election.


Vaccines 

The regional secretary for Health and Sport said yesterday that the AstraZeneca vaccines, which arrived on Wednesday in the archipelago, are ready to be administered.

The 8500 vaccines that arrived Wednesday in the Azores can be administered according to the Health Units that have them at their disposal.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 4,680 tests is 15.  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.  To date, 353,128 tests have been carried out.

São Miguel registered the most cases with 14, the other island with reported cases is Pico with 1.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 16 in total.  13 on the island of São Miguel and 2 on Pico and 1 on Faial.

The number of people under surveillance is 948 and the local transmission chain on the island of Pico, remains active.

There are no patients with Covid-19 in the region’s hospitals.

Sadly, there have been 29 deaths due to the virus.

There are currently 76 active positive cases in the Region. 65 on São Miguel, 9 on Pico, and 2 on Terceira.

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 Wednesday 3rd March 2021

Introduction

Good morning, yesterday was one year since the first two cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Portugal. Inevitably there was much reflection on the events over the last year with the President of the Republic leading, by thanking the population by the way they organized and committed themselves in responding to this pandemic, with a particular word of appreciation for the work and commitment of health professionals, thanking all concerned.

He stated that “it was desirable that, more than learning from what went well, we all have the ability to learn lessons from what went less well. Improving the ability to plan and anticipate scenarios and responses, reacting more quickly and being more adapting to circumstances, are examples of areas that should be the focus of current and future attention from all of us”

This is not, of course, confined to Portugal. After any major crisis, and this is arguably the largest for many years, it is necessary to reflect on what went well and what did not – in other words, lessons learned as well as best practices. By doing this improvements can be made in facing major challenges for the future – and there will be more.

In our report this morning we also include the work of two major hospitals in Portugal in dealing with Covid-19, the Hospital Curry Cabral (part of the Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Central Group, (CHULC)) and Hospital Santa Maria. From these two reports it can be seen the considerable pressure these hospitals and all the doctors, nurses and all staff would have been under over the last year. We thank you all for your tremendous work operating in the most dangerous of conditions.

The national average Covid-19 infection rates per 100,000 people have improved considerably, which is clearly reflected at the local level. At extremely high-risk level there are now only 3 municipalities, according to the DGS report published on Monday, compared with 234 municipalities on 1st February 2021. This is a remarkable achievement.

When analysing yesterday’s DGS daily figures, this showed: the second lowest number of daily deaths since 29th October; in terms of new cases – 3rd lowest since 6th October;  that the  number of recovered patients exceeds that of new infections consecutively for 30 days; the lowest number in hospital since 31st October; lowest numbers in ICU since 18th November; number of active cases lowest since 30th December, decreasing for 29th consecutive day and over 115,000 (67.3%) since 31st January (in 26 days) and those under surveillance the lowest since mid-October.

With the improving situation, it would be easy to let our guard down, but to do so now would increase the risk of contagion and jeopardize the sacrifice that people have made during the latest period on confinement and again put pressure on hospitals and the health service, which cannot happen.

The Prime Minister stated yesterday: “It is the way we behave out there that will help us stop this pandemic. Here [in hospitals] they treat patients and save lives, but it is out there that the pandemic is stopped, each one of us, with our behaviour, with the use of a mask, with hand hygiene, with physical distance and with the deprivation of social contact”, he said.

A reminder that the deadline for land cleaning for those living in rural areas still remains 15th March.  The GNR began on 22nd February the Monitoring and Awareness phase by visiting those living in high-risk areas to raise fuel management awareness in order to ensure the safety of the population. This phase, will take place until March 31. The full details of land cleaning can be found on our website. Remember if your land includes holm oak trees then special permission is required before pruning or cutting down such trees. Failure to make the application will incur a large fine.

When undertaking the burning of debris, whereas in the past it was necessary to call the local Bombeiros to register the burn, this has now changed. The procedure now is to make an on-line application either through the ICNF website or by calling the central number.  To make an on-line application visit the ICNF website here. Here you can also find the ICNF manual which Safe Communities Portugal has translated into English.

If you are considering burning debris or land to dispose of pasture, we stress the need to ensure that you are physically able to do this whilst at the same time ensuring adequate safety measures to avoid the burn becoming out of control. Last year over half of rural fires were caused this way. More details are in this week’s Algarve Resident in a SCP feature available tomorrow 4th March.

So with that advice, Stay Safe.


Headline

Prime Minister calls for civic sense for confinement to be maintained strictly.

Prime Minister António Costa appealed to all Portuguese people to maintain the strictness of the confinement rules and reiterated that the pandemic can only be stopped by containing any risky behaviour.

During the visit to Curry Cabral Hospital, which marked the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic in Portugal, António Costa reiterated the need to maintain confinement to ensure control of the pandemic, and that the risk of unemployment and the closure of companies is increasing. But we cannot repeat what happened in the first wave, nor what happened in the second wave, nor what happened in this tragic month of January”.

“We cannot forget what happened because the idea that tragedies are not repeated is a false idea. Tragedies are repeated when the mistakes that resulted in these tragedies are repeated. It is good to keep your memory well because it is the best way to support excellent health professionals”, he added.

António Costa praised the “excellence of all health professionals” for the work they have done during the last twelve months and reiterated that the best way to support those inside hospitals “to do their best to save the life of those lives at risk” is a huge discipline in containment.

“It is the way we behave out there that will help us stop this pandemic. Here [in hospitals] they treat patients and save lives, but it is out there that the pandemic is stopped, each one of us, with our behaviour, with the use of a mask, with hand hygiene, with physical distance and with the deprivation of social contact”, he said.


Covid-19

This Tuesday Portugal recorded 38 more deaths and 691 new cases of Covid-19, according to the daily report of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). The keys figures in the report were as follows:

Confirmed Cases: 805.647 (+ 691 / + 0.09 %)

Number of admitted: 1.997 (-170 /-7.84 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 446 (-23 /-4.90 %)

Deaths: 16.389 (+ 38 / + 0.23 %)

Recovered: 723.465 (+ 3230 / + 0.45 %)

Active cases: 68,370 (-898 / -1.19%)


Health

Covid-19: Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Central received the first of 3,316 treated patients a year ago.

Lisbon, 03 March 2021 (Lusa) – Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Central (CHULC) received the first patient with Covid-19 a year ago and has since treated 3,316 patients, 313 of whom are children and young people, according to data released today to the agency Lusa.

On March 3rd, 2020, Hospital Curry Cabral, one of six hospitals that are part of CHULC, received the first patient diagnosed with Covid-19, one day after the first two cases were diagnosed in Porto, one at the Hospital of Santo António and the other at Hospital São João.

The first was a 38-year-old man who entered the Curry Cabral at 8:20 am and had to wait 10 hours until he knew the result of the analysis confirmed as positive by the National Institute of Health Ricardo Jorge (INSA), a source told Lusa from the hospital centre.

He left the hospital 10 days later, but still tested positive for Covid-19, having stayed at home in isolation until the test was negative, which happened in April.

Of the 3,316 patients who were followed up at the hospital until the 28th of February, 656 were admitted to intensive care units, including three children who received this care at the paediatric hospital D. Estefânia.

During this period 629 people died, including a child, victims of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, 222 of whom were in intensive care units (ICU).

The maximum number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 was recorded on February 7th, totalling 346, and the maximum number of open beds was reached the following day.

The data states that the maximum number of infirmary beds for adults was 274 and that of ICU level 3 beds were 60, and in paediatrics, there were 17 and two beds, respectively.


Covid-19 – One year: Hospital Santa Maria treated around 2,500 infected patients.

Lisbon, 02 Mar 2021 (Lusa) – About 2,500 patients with Covid-19 were treated this past year at Hospital Santa Maria, 450 of which in intensive care, where the survival rate is 78%, according to data from the Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa North released today.

Of the 450 patients who needed to be admitted to intensive care, around fifty needed ECMO, an extracorporeal circulation device that allows them to temporarily replace the function of the heart and lungs.

According to the Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte (CHULN), they were “the highest numbers in the Lisbon region and the highest in the whole country”.

In recent weeks, the hospital centre has had eight intensive care units exclusively dedicated to Covid patients, of which five are new, totalling 69 beds, the Hospital Centre says in a note sent to the Lusa agency, on the day that marks a year the appearance of the first two cases of Covid-19 in Portugal.

“This plan is now beginning to be reconverted in a phased manner to non-Covid activity, which has already resumed the priority surgeries and resumes the outpatient surgery this week”, he stresses.

In the balance sheet of a year of pandemic, the Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte says that the emergency department dedicated to respiratory diseases attended about 31 thousand patients in the last year, more than half (55%) coming from outside the reference area of ​​CHULN .

“The urgency of the Hospital de Santa Maria did not end a single day and responded to suspected Covid patients from the Metropolitan Area of ​​Lisbon and the West region, but also to users from Leiria, Santarém, Alentejo or the Algarve”, he stresses.

Nearly a third (29%) of the consultations resulted from referrals from the National Institute for Medical Emergency (INEM).

“The rate of positivity in CHULN Covid urgency was 13%, while 75% of patients tested negative for Sars-Cov-2. Eleven percent of the patients did not need to be tested and only 1% of the cases were inconclusive”, reveals the hospital centre, which includes the Santa Maria and Pulido Valente hospitals.

In total, the CHULN Clinical Pathology laboratory carried out more than 155 thousand tests for screening


Teachers and non-teaching staff to be included as a priority for vaccinations.

The Minister of Health admitted today that teachers and non-teaching staff can be included as priorities for vaccination against Covid-19, considering that schools are an “essential service”.

“When we talk about essential services – and schools are in some way in our social approach an essential service – it may make sense that adults who work in these places have a differentiated vaccination,” said Marta Temido in an interview with Jornal da Noite da SIC.

On the day that marks a year of the first cases of infection with the new coronavirus diagnosed in the country, the official considered that the inclusion of teachers and non-teachers, including those who are not at risk groups, in the first phase of vaccination that is being carried out, taking place is a “hypothesis that is being analysed, not only in Portugal, but also in other countries”.

“When we look around us and see what the processes of deflation are, we see the very intense presence of two realities: vaccination and testing”, stressed Marta Temido, adding that the experts’ opinion “is quite comprehensive in relation to those that will be the various options that can be taken”.

“This is, in fact, one of the difficulties that we have even had in communication: the fact that there is a variety of opinions on the same subject, which makes the decision process very difficult”, admitted the minister.


Schools

Marta Temido: there are no “conditions” to talk about returning to school. 

Minister of Health stressed yesterday, that although there has been a decrease in cases of infection and deaths by Covid-19 in the last few days in Portugal, the situation is not yet ideal and refers more clarifications on the reopening of schools on 11th March.

Asked about returning to face-to-face education, in an interview with Antena 1, Marta Temido replied: “We are not in a position to talk about this topic yet. We have chosen to keep this information conditional on a set of circumstances, a set of hearings and specifically a calendar that has already been announced by the Prime Minister and which states that on 11th March we will report on a set of rules that, if determined assumptions remain, then they will apply.””

The Minister of Health points out that, although there has been a decrease in cases of infection and deaths by Covid-19 in the last few days in Portugal, the situation is not yet ideal. “When, in August, we had a maximum of 29 patients admitted to intensive care on a given day, yesterday we had 469. When, in August, we had 270 patients admitted to the infirmary, yesterday [Monday] we had 2167 . When, in August, we had a positive rate [from tests to Covid-19] of just over 1%, we are now still above 4%. Therefore, there are many things that, although today – because we are already used to it – seem to us to be calm, they are far from being”, he said.

According to Marta Temido, with regard to the reopening of schools and restrictions planned for Easter, the Government intends to adopt the best possible balance, despite criticism. The minister also highlights the pressure on hospitals and the contact surveillance system.


European Union Health Ministers underline need to speed up vaccinations.

The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, stated that the implementation of the National Vaccination Plans was one of the three main themes addressed during the informal meeting of the Ministers of Health of the European Union, which also counted on the presence of the European Centre for the Prevention and Control of Diseases and the European Medicines Agency.

At the press conference after the meeting, at the Centro Cultural de Belém, in Lisbon, the Minister stressed that the Member States “identified the need to accelerate, together, the alignment between the response of science and the response of industry in the sense of the contracts concluded by the Commission can be fulfilled, guaranteeing the implementation of the National Vaccination Plans as soon as possible”.

Marta Temido reiterated the objectives proposed by the European Union to vaccinate 80% of people over 80 by the end of March, as well as health professionals and professionals supporting health professionals, in addition to reaching 70% of the entire population of the European Union by the end of the summer.

During the meeting, two other key themes were also addressed, said the Minister. “Circulating variants and the various strategies essential for early detection, genetic sequencing and containment, and testing strategies, underlining the importance of uniform and coordinated guidance at Member State level”.

The Minister of Health also referred that the Ministers of Health discussed the possibility of implementing “vaccination certificates and other documents useful for the mutual recognition of the health status of each citizen of the European Union”.


Covid-19: Vaccination of about 15,000 firefighters completed.

The vaccination process for the 15,000 firefighters began on February 11th and was completed last week, a source from MAI told Lusa.

Firefighters were considered a priority in this first phase of the vaccination process, taking into account the essential role of the State they perform and due to the operational dimension of the pre-hospital transport they perform.

According to MAI, the order of vaccination of these firefighters was defined by the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority “based on operational criteria and covered the universe of volunteers, sappers and municipalities”.

In this first phase, which lasted two weeks, about 50% of the total number of firefighters was vaccinated against the Covid-19.


Covid-19: Disposal of 78 doses of vaccines at the Hospital das Caldas da Rainha under investigation.

The Centro Hospitalar do Oeste confirmed today the opening of an investigation to investigate the circumstances in which 78 doses of vaccines against Covid-19 were rendered useless, allegedly due to a failure of the cold system in the Hospital of Caldas da Rainha.

Questioned by the Lusa agency, the Centro Hospitalar do Oeste (CHO) confirmed “the destruction of 13 vials of vaccine against Covid-19”, equivalent to 78 doses, intended for vaccination of professionals.

According to the CHO board of directors, the vaccines were discarded after on the 19th it was detected, at the Hospital das Caldas da Rainha, in the district of Leiria, “an abnormal temperature record inside the cold equipment used for the condition, due to an apparent failure of the refrigerator”.

In an email sent to the newsrooms, the board of directors states that it has already been decided to open an “investigation process to ascertain what happened”, waiting for the conclusion of the same to provide more concrete information about the vaccine’s destruction.

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


Enforcement

Lisbon, 01 March 2021 (Lusa) – Three citizens with false documents were detected on Sunday at Lisbon airport by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), this criminal and border police body announced today.

In a statement, SEF said that two of these citizens were detected during the flight departure to the Republic of Ireland, in possession of other documents.

The third, however, was detained at the health control on arrival of a flight from Vienna, Austria, having identified himself with counterfeit documentation.

At the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, in Porto, SEF also held a citizen from Paris, France, on Sunday, for having presented a falsified proof of test of Covid-19.

The citizen then carried out the Covid-19 test at his own expense, inside the airport, says the SEF.


EU travel certificate does not provide for data exchange nor is it limited to vaccines.

European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, guaranteed today that the digital certificate for Covid-19 that will allow travel within the European Union does not provide for any data sharing between Member States.

“We want to avoid fundamental rights problems and violation of data protection and also discrimination between citizens”, Reynders said today in a press conference, adding that “it will be a very simple verification of data and that it will be coordinated through a legislative instrument.”

“It will be a certificate, not a passport that will give an account of the situation of each person in relation to the disease: if he was ill, if he was vaccinated or if he had a PCR test”, he underlined.

The European Commission is preparing “a legislative instrument on the data that will appear on a digital numeric certificate” that allows the vaccinated persons who have developed antibodies or who have a negative PCR test to circulate in the European Union (EU).

“We will continue to work on a way to organize free movement,” said the commissioner, guaranteeing that “there will be no discrimination in these certificates”.

“We want a legislative instrument that allows the same data to be collected on the same certificates issued through the EU. Then we will see what are the possible uses for the certificates”, he clarified.

The commissioner also said he was waiting for a response from the six Member States that banned non-essential travel, stressing that they should limit themselves to following the recommendations of the EU Council itself.

“We wrote [on 23 February] to six Member States and gave ten days for a detailed response and contacts continue with the countries,” said Reynders, stressing that the countries concerned have nothing more than to correctly implement the recommendations adopted by the Council of the United Nations. EU, a body that brings together the 27.

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary and Sweden are the countries targeted.

These recommendations, he stressed, are aimed at allowing travel restrictions, through the presentation of tests or the imposition of quarantine, but avoiding prohibitions.



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Wednesday 3rd March, by our special correspondent.

Covid-19 update

There were 193 new Covid-19 cases, 417 recoveries and no deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The number of new cases continued to fall and there was a big increase in the number of recoveries.

On Saturday, there were 46 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 44 cases of local transmission) and 96 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 46, 5 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 48 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from France, 2 passengers who had arrived from Poland, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 43 cases of local transmission) and 78 recoveries. Although the number of patients in hospital decreased to 44, the number of patients in intensive care increased to 7.

On Monday, there were 38 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 123 recoveries. Although the number of patients in hospital increased to 45, the number of patients in intensive care decreased to 4.

And on Tuesday, there were 61 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 120 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 48, 6 of whom are in intensive care.

There are currently 1,122 active cases, of which 23 had been imported while the other 1,099 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Tuesday, there had been 7,337 cases, 6,151 recoveries and 64 deaths.

On Tuesday, there were 16 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,058 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 48 patients in Covid-19 units, 6 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 268 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 3,573 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,110 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, 163,810 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 17h00). By Tuesday, 311,609 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 537 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 40,660 calls.

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 received 43 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 3,033 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/27/46-casos-de-covid-19-96-recuperados-151-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/28/48-novos-casos-de-covid-19-78-recuperados-127-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/01/38-novos-casos-de-covid-19-123-recuperados-327-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/02/61-novos-casos-de-covid-19-120-recuperados-268-suspeitos/


Two patients from the mainland returned home

In more good news, two patients who had been airlifted from the mainland for treatment in Madeira have returned home after recovering from Covid-19. They had been in critical condition when they, along with a third patient, were airlifted by the Portuguese Air Force on January 29th. The Madeira Regional Government had offered to treat some patients from the mainland at a time when mainland hospitals were close to full capacity and Madeira had spare capacity for Covid-19 patients. Sadly, the third patient died on February 9th.

The two patients returned home after spending 30 days at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. They were enormously grateful for the Madeira health professionals and for all entities that had been involved in this process.

António Costa, the Portuguese Prime Minister, used his official Twitter account to express his gratefulness to the Madeira Regional Government and for the commitment shown by all health professionals who had been involved in this process.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/27/dois-doentes-vindos-do-continente-ja-recuperados-regressam-a-casa/

https://www.dn.pt/politica/antonio-costa-agradece-a-madeira-e-a-fpf-ajuda-no-tratamento-de-doentes-13402480.html


Vaccination update

As of February 28th, 23,301 Covid vaccine doses (15,735 1st doses and 7,566 2nd doses) had been administered to priority groups in Madeira since December 31st.

An additional 5,850 Pfizer vaccine doses arrived in Madeira on Monday morning. So far, 34,627 vaccine doses have been delivered to the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Martinha Garcia, the Coordinator of the Pharmaceutical Hub (Coordenadora do Núcleo Farmacêutico), informed that 8,500 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are due to be delivered this week. She said this will allow the region’s vaccination plan to proceed at a good speed. She added that the 2nd dose of the the Oxford/AstraZeneca can be administered three months after the administration of the 1st dose, which will make it possible for more people to be immunised.

The plan for this week is to administer 2nd vaccine doses to 1,929 elderly citizens who had received their 1st doses on February 8th-14th.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/01/23-301-vacinas-administradas-desde-31-de-dezembro/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/01/chegaram-a-madeira-mais-5-850-vacinas-da-pfizer/


Parish of Ribeira Brava tested entire workforce

The Parish (Junta de Freguesia) of Ribeira Brava was closed on Friday so that the leadership and staff could be tested for Covid-19. The tests were a preventive measure aimed at protecting citizens who visit its premises, its staff and their relatives. A total of 17 tests were carried out and all came back negative. Marco Martins, the Parish President (Presidente da Junta de Freguesia), said staff are exposed when dealing with members of the public and documentation and informed that another round of testing is scheduled to take place in April.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/01/junta-de-freguesia-da-ribeira-brava-testou-para-covid-19-com-resultados-negativos/


Health professionals praised for their role in fighting the pandemic

José Manuel Rodrigues, President of the Legislative Assembly of Madeira (Madeira’s regional parliament) expressed his gratefulness, on behalf of all Madeira and Porto Santo residents, for the tireless work of all health professionals in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in the region. He also thanked the staff responsible for the vaccination campaign. He expressed the view that Madeira’s vaccination plan is very well-structured and has been smartly implemented by health professionals, nurses and operational assistants. He advised the population to take all precautions to prevent being infected. He ended by praising Madeira for having been a pioneer in introducing the mandatory use of face masks and mandatory Covid-19 testing for passengers arriving in the Region, policies that prevented Madeira from having had more cases.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/28/jose-manuel-rodrigues-agradece-aos-profissionais-de-saude-pelo-combate-a-pandemia/


Portuguese South African young man missing in South Africa

Jason Miguel Ribeiro, 23 years old and a resident of Edenvale (Johannesburg) has been missing since February 26th. Pink Ladies, a South African organisation that provides assistance when people go missing, launched an appeal for help in finding him. His disappearance was reported to South African police.

The following information about Jason was provided by the Pink Links Facebook page:

Age: 23 yrs

Gender: male

Build: slim

Eyes: brown

Weight: 72 kg

Height: tall

Nose: round

Ears: flat

Lips: thin

“Jason was last seen on this day at about 19:00. At the time he was wearing navy jeans, button up grey work shirt, a grey jacket and black sneakers.

If you have information, contact (+27 South Africa country code):

Saps Edenvale Officer De Beer – 060 435 0664

Pink Ladies Org – 072 214 7439 / 083 378 4882 / 08600 10111

https://www.facebook.com/MissingMinorsThePinkLadiesOrganizationNgo2007/photos/a.373558899383243/5007403015998785/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/comunidades/ver/120509/Jovem_lusodescendente_desaparecido_na_Africa_do_Sul


Madeira-Porto Santo ferry services resumed

Ferry services between Madeira and Porto Santo islands resumed on Tuesday after 2 months without any journeys, due to the ferry’s annual inspection and the need for its crew to go into quarantine.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/01/lobo-marinho-retoma-ligacoes-com-o-porto-santo-com-poucos-passageiros/


Blood donation campaign in Funchal

Santander will launch a blood donation campaign in Funchal on March 8th-12th, in partnership with Hospital Central do Funchal. The aim of the campaign is to increase blood stocks in the country as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on Portuguese hospital. Its motto is “Damos Vida” (We give life). Volunteers can sign up by calling 291 705 752.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/120482/Santander_lanca_campanha_de_recolha_de_sangue_no_Funchal


Food collection campaign

On February 20th, Sonae Sierra started a food collection campaign in its shopping centres. It is aimed at collecting food for Banco Alimentar (one of Portugal’s biggest and most famous food banks) to deliver to individuals and families in need.

Customers in Madeira can drop their food donations in a box (caixa) at Centro Comercial Madeira Shopping. A team from Banco Alimentar da Madeira will collect all food donations once a week. The campaign is scheduled to last until March 17th.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/02/banco-alimentar-realca-campanha-de-recolha-no-madeira-shopping/


Two patients airlifted by the Portuguese Air Force

On Monday afternoon, two patients, aged 37 and 38, airlifted between Porto Santo and Madeira. They were airlifted by an Air Force C-295M aircraft belonging to the 502 Squadron “Elefantes“. The Portuguese Air Force are regularly deployed to airlift patients in need of urgent and/or more specialised treatment, both within Madeira and the Azores and between these archipelagos and the mainland.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/120436/Forca_Aerea_transportou_ontem_dois_doentes_entre_o_Porto_Santo_e_o_Funchal


Temporary change in waste collection bins

Due to building work in the centre of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, Águas e Resíduos da Madeira (ARM) informed that the general waste collection bin was moved from Rua Dr. António Vitorino Castro Jorge to Rua do Calvário (next to the recycling bins). This is a temporary move that will last until the building work is completed.

ARM asked residents in the area to drop their waste in bins that are available at Rua do Calvário, Rua da Marinheira and Rua Capitão Armando Pinto (next to the post office – CTT). These locations are marked with a green dot on the map. The red dot shows the bin’s previous location.

Bin collection will still take place 3 times a week (on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays).

http://www.aguasdamadeira.com.pt/noticias.aspx?n=227#.YD8rrC2cYWo


Water supply disruptions

There will be water supply disruptions today and on Friday, due to scheduled work to reduce water leaks on the water supply network in the Municipality of Câmara de Lobos. The following areas will be affected:

Parishes (Freguesias) of Jardim da Serra & Estreito de Câmara de Lobos (3rd March – 09h00-13h00) – Fonte Frade; Foro & Luzirão

Parish (Freguesia) of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos (5th March – 09h00-13h00) – Romeiras & Cabo Podão

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/03/01/arm-informa-para-interrupcao-do-abastecimento-de-agua/


Power cut

Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira (Madeira power supplier) announced there will be a power cut today due to planned work on the electricity supply network. This work cannot be postponed. The following area will be affected (check the previous Situation Report for information on other scheduled power cuts today and on Friday):

SANTANA

3rd March – 09h00 to 11h30

– Rocha do Navio (Cable Car)

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/2021/03/02/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-15-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Wednesday 3rd March.

Covid-19: Most Algarve municipalities at moderate risk, only 4 at high risk

The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) released this Monday, the incidence rates of Covid-19 cases, per 100 thousand inhabitants, referring to the Portuguese counties, in the period between 10th and 23rd February.

In the Algarve, there are no municipalities at extreme risk (over 960 cases per 100,000 inhabitants) or at very high risk (+ 480 to 960).

At high risk (+240 to 480) there are 4 municipalities, namely: Castro Marim – 465, Vila Real de Stº António – 421, Monchique – 276 and Portimão – 251.

At moderate risk, (less than 240), are found most of the municipalities in the region, (12): Faro – 221 , Olhão – 203, Albufeira – 207, Lagos – 181, Lagoa – 167, Loulé – 169, Silves – 152, São Brás de Alportel – 144, Tavira – 126, Vila do Bispo – 58, Alcoutim – 46, Aljezur – 18.

This Monday, DGS confirmed only 12 new cases in the Algarve with no death record. Portugal today registered 34 deaths and 394 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, the lowest number of cases since September, according to the same entity.


Faro City Council launches package with four support measures.

The Faro City Council announced the launch of a set of support and specific initiatives to support the Culture sector, one of the most affected by the measures enacted to contain and mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic.

The municipality says it is “aware of its role and its responsibility in the context of the cultural and creative sector”, thus launching this set of initiatives in partnership with Teatro das Figuras.

In this sense, for 2021, the municipality of Faro prepared a package of four extraordinary measures, highlighting the support for associations, artistic creation and cultural agents. In this context, the municipality will reinforce the support planned for 2021.

During this year, a second edition of the artistic program called «Emergente – 2º Ciclo» will also take place , which consists of a program of artistic residencies whose result will be presented in 2022, at Teatro das Figuras, in the exhibition spaces of the municipality or its partners. , in public space or in initiatives organized by the City Council.

Also, with a return scheduled for 2021, after the success of the first edition, is the cycle «Bands to Figures». The initiative sets the stage, at Teatro das Figuras, for the vibrant music scene in the region.

Starting in April, this creation consists of a program of concerts held using all the technical conditions of the large auditorium, with streaming in digital platforms of Teatro das Figuras and the municipality of Faro.

Since the country was once again in a situation of confinement and the artists were prevented from making presentations to the public, the council proposed to embody a new project to support musicians in the region, namely Dj’s and artists of Portuguese popular music.

The new #FaroMúsicaNaStreet is a concert program held in different locations in the municipality, with streaming in streaming through the municipality’s digital platforms.

Applications for these projects are open and the application forms are available until 12th March on the websites of Teatro das Figuras and the municipality of Faro , where it will be possible to access additional information.

https://barlavento.sapo.pt/algarve/covid-19-faro-anuncia-iniciativas-para-apoiar-setor-da-cultura


The Municipality of Olhão marked the World Civil Protection Day, with the opening of a Temporary Emergency Accommodation.

The social response, which was inaugurated by the mayor, António Miguel Pina, has a capacity for 10 people, and according to a note from the city council, “aims to create an alternative of immediate and temporary support to people living in the municipality, who are evicted afterwards serious accident or catastrophe, such as a fire, flood, landslide, or other exceptional situation “.

In this way, families living in the municipality without back-up support will have, in one of these eventualities, a temporary accommodation solution, in addition to the services of the Social Security Institute.

According to the same source, Olhão’s Temporary Emergency Accommodation has a maximum duration of 48 hours and can be extended for an equal period, with all situations previously assessed by the Municipal Civil Protection Service, in conjunction with the Action Division. Social.


BE party meet with officials from the IEFP regional delegation on the consequences of unemployment in the Algarve.

At the request of the Bloco de Esquerda do Algarve, an online meeting took place yesterday between members of the BE and the IEFP regional delegation.

Representing the IEFP was present the Regional Delegate, Madalena Feu, and António Palma, director of the Employment and Professional Training Services. Deputy João Vasconcelos, Celeste Santos, Augusto Taveira, from the BE / Algarve Secretariat, Vítor Ruivo, Grupo Laboral and Marco Pereira represented the party.

In a statement, the Bloc said that João Vasconcelos “exposed some of the biggest concerns regarding the continuity of the economic and social crisis that has been on the region for a year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Emphasis was given to the growing number of unemployed and job insecurity, “as well as a large number of informal workers without work and completely dependent on government support and city councils”.

The elements of the BE emphasized at the meeting the importance of being known the data, as accurate as possible, on all these situations of job loss, closing of companies, dismissals, number of companies or workers in lay-off, with a view to support measures are “much more strengthened to serve all affected workers”.

They also highlighted the existence of some discrepancy between the unemployment figures released by the IEFP and the INE, as well as workers who are not considered unemployed, in the case of available inactive workers, unemployed workers, but in vocational training and other partial work situations.

According to the same document from the Bloc, Madalena Feu made a presentation on the efforts made by the regional IEFP in monitoring and disseminating unemployment situations in the Algarve, “seeking to make available to the unemployed different types of support provided for under the IEFP, either directly with workers, either through companies “.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 3rd March 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Vaccines 

On Monday of this week, 5,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were delivered to the Santo Espírito Hospital on Terceira Island.

The delivery of an equivalent amount is scheduled for March 15th for the Divino Espírito Santo Hospital in Ponta Delgada.

The doses will allow the vaccination of people over 75 years old and over 50 years old (with existing health conditions) to continue.  The priority in the 1st phase of vaccination includes patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis and haemodialysis in the Azores.

On March 2nd, 8,500 doses of vaccines from AstraZeneca should have arrived, however, the supplying laboratory did not comply with the delivery to Portugal.  There was no cancellation of the delivery, and it is expected that the country will still receive this order.

AstraZeneca’s vaccines will make it possible to extend vaccination to private health professionals and security forces in the Autonomous Region of the Azores.


SRPCBA 

Brigadier-general Eduardo Faria is the new president of the Regional Service of Civil Protection and Firefighters of the Azores, it was announced this Monday, by the regional secretary of Health.

The government official said he hoped that the “mission of Brigadier-general Eduardo Faria, would bring a new dynamic to the Azorean civil protection, which will soon have a new organism, capable of bringing more efficiency and better organization to the service” .


EU 

The European Commission has approved a program of 15 million euros to support the liquidity of small and medium-sized Azorean companies most severely affected by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The program, released in January by the Regional Government of the Azores and entitled “Apoiar.pt Açores”, serves, according to the Commission, to support “micro, small and medium-sized companies” with “permanent headquarters or establishments” in the Azores and that operate in the “sectors most severely affected” by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Companies eligible for the program will receive, in direct grants, funds corresponding to 20% of lost income, with a maximum ceiling of 5,000 euros for micro-enterprises, 20,000 for small companies and 50,000 for medium-sized companies.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,722 tests is 56.  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.  To date, 348,448 tests have been carried out.

São Miguel registered the most cases with 45, the other island with reported cases is Pico with 7. Pico has the only transmission chain active. Terceira had 3 new cases

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 33 in total.  28 on the island of São Miguel and 4 on Pico and 1 on Terceira.

There are no patients with Covid-19 in the region’s hospitals.

Sadly, there have been 29 deaths due to the virus.

There are currently 79 active positive cases in the Region. 65 on São Miguel, 10 on Pico, 3 on Terceira and 1 on Faial.

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 27th February 2021

Introduction

On March 2nd, one year ago, the first case of Covid-19 in Portugal was diagnosed. A study by Instituto Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) published yesterday shows that the virus had been circulating in the country since February 2020. It is important to understand how the new coronavirus entered Portugal and the report gives some insight into this. Safe Communities Portugal first reported the new coronavirus on 26th January 2020, one month earlier.

We start the day with the continuing good news concerning the key Covid-19 Statistics.

Yesterday there was the  3rd lowest in terms of daily deaths since 21st December; new cases – 2nd lowest number since 7th October 2020; those recovered cases were double new cases; lowest number in hospital since 5th November; lowest in ICU since 7th January and a decrease of 39.6% since 1st February; the number of active cases lowest since 30th December, decreasing for 26th consecutive day and over 100,000 (61.4%) since 31st January (in 26 days) and those under surveillance. the lowest since mid-October.

Although these are indeed very encouraging figures, the Government has decided, rightly in our view, to retain the existing State of Emergency measures until 23:59 hrs on 16th March. The Prime Minister explained the rational for this, namely that although there is now “clear improvement” in the European context, the country just two weeks ago was the worst in the EU.

He warned, “all improvements are relative”, this being “the second reason for maintaining the measures “. The number of new cases in the last 24 hours (1027) is still more than four times higher than that registered on 4th May 2020 (242), with similar relationships in the number of hospitalized and hospitalized in Intensive Care Units.

In other words it is too early to make changes with the risk of reversing the downward trend.

“He emphasised that we must remain confined for the next 15 days. This is the message, nothing should change” and “We must avoid confusing citizens with messages that end up inducing wrong behaviour.” So in other words however optimistic the figures, it is important to ensure the basic rules of compliance and in particular the wearing of face masks, avoiding social gatherings, maintaining social distancing hygiene.

In these respects we cannot relax.

Importantly he stated that he will present the de-confinement plan on March 11th.

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

Finally, a reminder about the purpose of our Facebook page.  The aim of our page is to provide information and guidance from official channels which helps people during these difficult times. This can take us quite a bit of research and time, especially when we are publishing this in English. It may take a few minutes to publish a piece of information, but an hour or more to prepare it.

We are also there to answer, as far as we can, people’s questions, which again we need to research. When Facebook becomes full of opinions often bearing no relevance to the topic, this can result in long drawn out debates. This detracts from the topic and with long threads makes it more difficult for people to find the answers they really need. There are many Facebook groups where opinions and personal argument abound and Safe Communities Portugal is not one of them. The challenge for our administrators who have to deal with and try and answer the many questions we receive, is immense. We are an open page not a group, so information can be widely shared so as many people as possible benefit. As a result we now have over 40,000 followers compared with 17,000 just a year ago.

We therefore encourage people to keep abreast of developments through our page and website and through the various official channels, DGS, ECDC, etc as this helps in developing a broader more accurate understanding of the ongoing situation and the state of emergency measures in place.

There is much misinformation around, including as reported a few days ago the fake government plan.  There are Facebook groups and pages which are abound with misleading information, provocative statements, argument, negativity and personal insults which is not helping during a health crisis and goes against our standards and values. This maybe a reflection of stressful times for many, which we understand, but we will not allow this on our page and such comments will be removed. We thank everyone for their understanding.

Please have a Safe Day.


Headlines

The Prime Minister announces extension of State of Emergency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

António Costa said that he will present the de-confinement plan on March 11th.


Covid-19, One Year On

On March 2nd, one year ago, the first case of Covid-19 in Portugal was diagnosed. A study by Instituto Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) explains now that the virus had been circulating in the country since February 2020.

The first known patient was a 60-year-old doctor who had been on vacation in Northern Italy, one of the European countries most affected by the pandemic. He had fever, cough and body pain. He was admitted to the Hospital de Santo António, in Porto.

About two weeks later, contagions soared and Portugal decreed a State of Emergency: police on the street, mandatory confinement, closed-door business, prohibited travel, but above all, crowded hospitals.

According to a study developed by INSA and released this Friday, SARS-CoV-2 had been circulating in Portugal since February. It also advances that by the end of March 2020, more than 200 infected people had landed at national airports.

It is estimated that, for example, one case in Italy originated more than four thousand in Portugal; the majority in the northern and central regions. So far, in the country, more than 800 thousand Portuguese have been infected with Covid-19, 16 thousand lost their lives


Covid-19

This Friday Portugal counts another 58 deaths and 1,027 new cases of Covid-19 , according to the daily report of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

Confirmed cases: 802.773 (+ 1027 / + 0.13 %);

Number of admitted: 2.404 (-209 /-8.00 %);

Number of ICU admitted: 522 (-14 /-2.61 %);

Deaths: 16.243 (+ 58 / + 0.36 %);

Recovered: 714.493 (+ 2780 / + 0.39 %).

Active: 72,037 (-1811 /-2.45%)


Health

Only 55% of those invited responded to the SMS for vaccination against Covid-19. 30,500 messages have already been sent

Since vaccination against Covid-19 began – for people over 80 and certain individuals between 50 and 79 – 30,500 scheduling SMS have been sent and 16,799 responses have been received, Público reveals this Friday.

These are the numbers: 30,500 appointments have been sent and 16,799 responses have been obtained (55.08%), the Ministry of Health’s Shared Services (SPMS) revealed to the Public. Of these, 16,393 people answered yes to the vaccination and 406 said no, which means that only 2.47% of the people refused to be vaccinated.

The call is made by SMS message, whenever there is information on the user’s mobile phone number in the system.

The number 2424 messages that users receive, asks about their availability to be vaccinated at a specific date, time and place.

To this information, users must answer ‘Yes’, fully confirming the scheduling data, or ‘No’, which results in the sending of a second mobile message with a new scheduling proposal. The same happens if the user does not respond.

In the absence of a reply to the SMS or if the scheduling proposals are refused, the users will be contacted by telephone, by the health centres, to find an alternative scheduling, or, in the absence of telephone contact, a letter will be sent.

SPMS explains which message that reaches users explains how they should respond. “The SMS is sent from the number 2424, to the user eligible for vaccination in phase 1, with the location, date and time. This SMS needs a response through the format: SNS.NUMERO UTENTE.SIM or NO. When the user answers yes or no, that confirmation is recorded. ”

When the answer goes in the wrong format, the user receives the following message: “COVID19: Incorrect answer format. Answer: SNS.NUMERO UTENTE.SIM or NO. ” If you answer with an SNS number of a user who is not eligible for this phase “you receive information that the number of users in the response does not match the number of users of the person contacted”.

On the eve of the date scheduled for vaccination, an SMS is sent to remind the appointment.

The second dose of the vaccine is scheduled at the time of the first dose, ensuring that the vaccine used is the same brand.

All vaccines against Covid-19 are available from the National Health Service and are universal and free of charge.


European Union deepens cooperation in vaccine production process

European Union leaders focused their attention on combating Covid-19, during the videoconference that brought them together on 25th and 26th February, said Prime Minister António Costa at the end of the meeting.

The Prime Minister stated that “there was widespread concern and a very constructive exchange of views with the President of the European Commission, with a view to collectively supporting the increase in vaccine production and the streamlining of the vaccine licensing process by the European Agency Medicines’.

“We all realize that, in order to eradicate the pandemic, it is essential to speed up the vaccination process, and to speed up the vaccination process, it is essential to have a more agile licensing process, and the industry to have greater production capacity,” he said.

António Costa underlined that “in addition to the need to ensure compliance with contracts already signed, it was seen that it is essential to develop mechanisms to anticipate the joint detection of new variants, in an articulated effort of cooperation between the different research institutions and the different research authorities, health of all member states’.

“This step is very important”, he underlined, adding that “information about the new variants requires teamwork, through an incubator that the European Commission is developing, in which the pharmaceutical industry participates, so that the industry can adapt vaccines put on the market to the variants that may emerge”.


Covid-19. Vaccination decreases incidence rate among health professionals at São João hospital

The vaccine against Covid-19 is proving to be effective among health professionals at São João hospital, in Porto. The Director of the occupational health service says that the seven positive cases detected this month were identified in people who have not been vaccinated.

“Before the vaccination season, in this hospital, the incidence of illness was around 50 cases per week. Currently, in the entire month of February, we had about seven cases. All of them in unvaccinated professionals. Even so, the incidence that we have in a whole month is lower than what we had a day before starting the vaccination”, says Pedro Norton.

The Director of the occupational health service also stresses that this “is the first evidence that the vaccine is in fact effective and that opens a window of hope for the remaining Portuguese citizens”.


DGS reviews standard for conducting screening tests in the community

In view of the decrease in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, the Directorate-General for Health is preparing a new update of the standard that establishes the criteria for conducting screening tests in the municipalities.

Despite issuing on February 11th an update to the norm that establishes the “National Test Strategy for SARS-CoV-2”, the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) is revising these guidelines, due to the decrease in the number of infections by Covid-19 in the country.

In response to the JN, the DGS explained that “due to the evolution of the epidemiological situation, incidences will be considered lower than those currently provided for in the standard and that better respond to the testing needs for the current and next phases of the epidemic”.

It is recalled that the current regulation provides for regular laboratory screening in schools with secondary school students, in prisons and in occupational contexts with high social exposure, such as factories and civil construction. But only in municipalities with a cumulative incidence over 14 days exceeding 480 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. The data revealed by the DGS at the beginning of the week showed the existence of 113 municipalities in this situation.

“The new version, in preparation, will consolidate the defined strategic axis, always with a view to its alignment with the needs at national level”, according to the recommendations of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Organization Health Organization (WHO), added this entity.

The DGS also stressed that “tests on a large scale, integrated with other measures of Public Health, are a key element to limit the spread of Covid-19.” This new version should include the use of saliva tests, analysed in the laboratory by PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), as has been announced by the Minister of Health, Marta Temido.

These join standard PCR tests, with analysis of samples collected in the nose or mouth (nasopharynx and oropharynx) using swabs and rapid antigen tests with biological material obtained in the same way.

Also this week, the Assistant Secretary of State and Health, António Lacerda Sales, explained that screening criteria were being defined, such as, for example, tests in schools every 7 days, or every 14 days, depending on the epidemiological situation in the region of the country where they are located.


Covid-19: Portuguese industry will contribute to EU collective effort

The Prime Minister, António Costa, said today that the Portuguese industry will certainly contribute to the “collective effort” agreed between all the Member States to increase the production capacity of vaccines against Covid-19 in the European Union.

At the press conference at the end of two virtual summits of European Union leaders, between Thursday and today, the first of which being  devoted to the coordinated European response to the pandemic, and in which the 27 made it a top priority to accelerate the production of vaccines and vaccination, António Costa pointed out that Portugal has already communicated to Brussels “the diverse capacities” of the Portuguese pharmaceutical industry “to be able to collaborate in the different stages of production of a vaccine”.

“We hope and are sure that our industry will do its best to be able to collaborate in this collective effort,” he said.

The Head of Government and President-in-Office of the Council of the EU recalled that, in addition to the reprogramming of the framework for the application of EU funds for the development of the country “Portugal2020”, “credit lines were created that have supported the conversion of industrial lines to the production of the most diverse materials to combat Covid-19 ”.

“This was particularly visible, for example, in the textile industry in relation to the production of masks, but it is also naturally open to the pharmaceutical industry”, he pointed out.


Extension of Portugal – Spain Border Controls

The control of people at land and river borders will continue until 16th March. According to the Ministry of Internal Administration, in a statement sent to the newsrooms, more Authorized Crossing Points (PPA), Ponte da Barca and Vinhais were added to the list, which will operate on working days between 6 am and 9 am and 5 pm and 8 pm.

In this way, from 00:01 on March 2nd, circulation between Portugal and Spain – and only in the PPAs – is limited to “the international transport of goods, cross-border workers and seasonally documented, and vehicles of emergency and relief and emergency service “.

Cross-border rail traffic also remains suspended, and “except for goods transport, as well as river transport between Portugal and Spain”.


About 1,900 people prevented from crossing the borders between Portugal and Spain

About 1,900 people have been prevented from moving across the borders between Portugal and Spain since January 31st, when controls came back into force due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI) said today.

In a report sent to the Lusa agency on land border control, the MAI states that the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) and the National Republican Guard (GNR) controlled, between January 31st and February 24th, a total of 279,578 citizens and 251,750 vehicles at authorized crossing points (PPA).

According to MAI, of the 279,578 citizens, 1,904 were prevented from travelling through authorized crossing points.

The Ministry, under the tutelage of Eduardo Cabrita, states that the refusals of circulation occurred in Valença (593), Caia (367), Castro Marim (339), Vila Verde da Raia (188), Vilar Formoso (140), Quintanilha (62) , Vila Verde de Ficalho (53), Marvão (39), Monção (35), Melgaço (28), Monfortinho (20), Miranda do Douro (15), Barrancos (11), Mourão (8) and Montalegre (6) .

MAI also states that the Valença PPA, Viana do Castelo, was the one that controlled the largest number of citizens, a total of 111,459, followed by Vilar Formoso, Guarda (41,354), Caia, Elvas (33,532), Vila Verde da Raia , Chaves (31,353), Castro Marim, Faro (19,327), Quintanilha, Bragança (10,881) and Vila Verde de Ficalho, Beja (9,209).

In PPAs that operate with limited hours, SEF controlled 3,599 people in Marvão, 10,673 in Monção, 1,018 in Melgaço, 382 in Montalegre, 1,008 in Miranda do Douro, 2,475 in Termas de Monfortinho, 2,690 in Mourão, 593 in Barrancos and 25 in Rio de Onor.

The MAI also mentions that GNR controlled 251,750 vehicles, 114,347 of which were heavy goods and 137,403 light vehicles, having rerouted 225 vehicles to the PPA at unauthorized crossing points.


International Travel

European Union admits creation of “vaccination passport” until summer. Will “dispense with quarantine”

In the aftermath of the European Council meeting, Prime Minister António Costa announced that the EU is considering the creation of “a document to help dispense with quarantine”, but rejected the term “health passport”.

The document will prove that the passport holder already has immunity, due to having been vaccinated, or performed a test with a negative result.

“The Commission will prepare in the coming months a document that allows to certify, in an unidentified way, that a person is in one of the following circumstances: either he has already been infected with Covid-19, or is properly vaccinated, or carried out a test that confirms which is not currently contaminated with Covid-19 “, said António Costa.

Asked about the “vaccination passport”, António Costa said that “this is not a national measure” but rather on a European scale.

“We are defenders of a European-wide measure, it is with that objective that as Presidency we are working together with the European Commission. The wish we all have is that until the summer it is possible that this document exists”, he guaranteed.

In the government’s view, the document “will help freedom of movement”, the functioning of the internal market and will enable “a more peaceful recovery” of tourism.


Other news

Traffic accidents – First week without road deaths since records began

There is no memory of anything similar: for seven consecutive days, between the 18th and 24th of February this year, there was no record of deaths on Portuguese roads.

The information was provided by the National Road Safety Authority, through its Twitter account, on the eve of the launch of the website on the new strategic plan to combat accidents. Called “Vision Zero 2030”, the program aims to achieve zero deaths and zero injuries on the roads over the next decade.

“From February 18th to 24th, 2021, there were ZERO fatalities on Portuguese roads. There were 7 consecutive days without deaths resulting from road accidents, something never seen in Portugal”, reads the Twitter of the Autoridade Nacional de Segurança Rodoviária (ANSR), which has already completed the first phase of the “Vision Zero 2030 Strategy”, the new plan to combat accidents that aims to achieve zero deaths and zero injuries on the roads in the next decade



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report 24th – 26th February by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 185 new Covid-19 cases, 243 recoveries and 1 death from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. All new Covid-19 cases were cases of local transmission. It has been nearly a week since there was a Covid-19 imported from outside the Region.

On Wednesday, there were 74 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Nepal, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 72 cases of local transmission), 86 recoveries and 1 death. An 82 year-old male patient, who had pre-existing conditions, died at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça from Covid-19. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 42, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 53 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 95 recoveries. Although the number of patients in hospital remained 44, the number of patients in intensive care increased to 5.

And on Friday, there were 58 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from France and 56 cases of local transmission) and 62 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 40, 5 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 1,346 active cases, of which 27 had been imported while the other 1,319 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Friday, there had been 7,144 cases, 5,734 recoveries and 64 deaths.

On Friday, there were 26 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,279 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 40 patients in Covid-19 units, 5 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 201 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 3,623 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,555 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, 162,722 samples had been collected until Friday (at 17h00). By Friday, 302,782 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 483 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 40,123 calls.

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 received 38 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 2,990 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/24/sobe-para-64-o-numero-de-vitimas-mortais-da-covid-19-na-madeira/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/24/74-novos-casos-de-covid-19-86-recuperados-155-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/25/53-novos-casos-de-covid-19-95-recuperados-211-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/26/58-novos-casos-de-covid-19-62-recuperados-201-suspeitos/


Curfew extended & some changes to lockdown rules

The curfew was extended until March 8th at 23h59 (curfew is from 19h00 until 05h00 during weekdays and from 18h00 until 05h00 during weekends & commercial, industrial and service activities and businesses must close at 18h00 during weekdays and at 17h00 during weekends). There were also some changes on take-away deliveries, which can take place until 22h00 from Monday to Sunday, and on individual sports practice, which will be allowed from March 4th.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/25/gr-continua-recolher-obrigatorio-ate-8-de-marco-permite-retoma-de-desporto-individual-a-partir-do-dia-4/


Vaccination update

Pedro Ramos, Madeiras’s Health and Civil Protection Secretary, announced that more than 6,000 people have already been administered both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. He also said the Region has so far received more than 29,000 vaccine doses and is expecting to receive 43,550 vaccine does by the end of March.

It was also announced that updates on the vaccination campaign in the Region will be provided once a week, on Mondays, to ensure better data processing on the weekends.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/119986/Seis_mil_receberam_ja_as_duas_doses

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/26/dados-sobre-vacinacao-na-ram-passam-a-sair-as-segundas-feiras/


Individual sports that will be allowed next week

Athletics, canoeing, bodyboarding, swimming (in open waters), surfing, triathlon are some of the sports that citizens will be allowed to practice individually. More details are expected to become available in the next few days.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/119986/Seis_mil_receberam_ja_as_duas_doses


Whale Museum to reopen its permanent exhibition

The Whale Museum will be reopening its permanent exhibition for viewing by visitors. It has launched a discount campaign to attract visitors. Children up to 11 will now have free entry, tickets for young people aged 12-17 will cost €5, adults who do not live in the Autonomous Region of Madeira will have a 10% discount and the Region’s residents will have a 50% discount when purchasing a second ticket.

The opening hours will be from 13h00 to 18h00 from Tuesday to Friday and from 13h00 to 17h00 on weekends, in order to ensure compliance with the current pandemic restrictions. The Museum will be closed on Mondays and on bank holidays (although temporarily).

In addition, the temporary exhibition called “30 Anos de Memórias” (30 Years of Memories), which was organised to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Museum, is once again opened for public viewing. Entry to this exhibition is free of charge.

The Museum may also accept visits at other times (except on Mondays) but it must be booked beforehand.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/25/museu-da-baleia-reabre-exposicao-permanente-ao-publico/


Festival do Atlântico cancelled and Festa da Flor postponed

The Regional Tourism and Culture Secretariat (Secretaria Regional do Turismo e Cultura) informed current pandemic situation in the main countries where most tourists to Madeira come from and the current pace of vaccination in Europe are reasons why some previously scheduled events are now being postponed or even cancelled.

For instance, “Festa da Flor da Madeira” (Madeira Flower Festival), which had been scheduled to take place in May, was postponed due the pandemic situation that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to have a safe event. At the moment, it is thought that the festival is unlikely to take place until the end of summer. The Regional Health Authority (Autoridade Regional de Saúde) must approve any new requests for the event to go ahead, as long as it can be safe for both residents and tourists.

As for Festival do Atlântico (Atlantic Festival), which had been scheduled to take place in June, it has been cancelled.

The Madeira Regional Government stressed once again that ensuring public safety has been at the forefront of every decision taken since the start of the pandemic, and that it has also worked to ensure a “favourable and consistent” pandemic evolution through the current vaccination process with the aim of achieving group immunity.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/25/festival-do-atlantico-cancelado-festa-da-flor-adiada/


Traffic disruptions

The following traffic disruptions will take place next week:

FUNCHAL

– March 1st to March 3rd – Caminho de São Martinho (Parish/Freguesia of São Martinho) on the stretch between Cemitério (Cemetery) and Caminho do Papagaio Verde (due to paving work)

– March 4th (08h00 – 18h00) – Rua Acciauoli (Parish/Freguesia of Santa Maria Maior) on the stretch between Avenida Santiago Menor and Rua Conde Carvalhal (due to private building work)

CALHETA

– March 1st to March 3rd (09h00 to 12h00 & 13h00 to 17h00) – Estrada Regional 222 (Parish/Freguesia of Estreito da Calheta) on the stretch between the junction with Caminho do Lameiro and the crossing with Caminho dos Reis

ER 103 (Estrada Regional 103) – Construction work on the water supply network at “Caminho dos Pretos” (along Estrada Regional 201) means there will be traffic disruptions at ER 103 (Estrada Regional 103). Traffic will be limited to one-way traffic (alternating one-way traffic). And large/heavy vehicles such as lorries and buses will be banned on the the stretch between Terreiro da Luta and Poiso (junction with ER 203-Estrada das Carreiras)

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/26/cmf-comunica-interrupcoes-a-circulacao-rodoviaria/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/26/transito-condicionado-no-estreito-da-calheta/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/120086/Transito_encerrado_entre_o_Terreiro_da_Luta_e_o_Poiso_para_viaturas_pesadas


Power cut

(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:

GAULA

27th February – 09h00 to 09h35 & 11h30 to 12h00 (TODAY)

– Sítio de São João Latrão

– Sítio da Lombadinha

– Sítio das Lajes

– Zona do Mercado (Market Area)

27th February – 09h00 to 12h00 (TODAY)

– Sítio da Fazenda

FUNCHAL

28th February – 09h00 to 11h30

– Estrada Dr. João Abel de Freitas (number 220-A)

2nd & 3rd March – 09h00 to 11h30

– Travessa do Tanque (numbers 18 to 51)

– Beco do Abrigo de Nossa Senhora de Fátima (number 16)

5th March – 00h00 to 07h00

– Estrada Comandante Camacho de Freitas (numbers 668 to 849)

– Estrada Dr. João Abel de Freitas (numbers 145 to 242)

– Estrada da Fundoa (number 58)

– Caminho de Água de Mel (number 108)

– Caminho das Courelas

– Caminho da Fundoa de Cima

– Caminho da Igreja Nova (numbers 1 to 15)

– Caminho da Igreja Velha

– Caminho do Lombo Segundo (numbers 34 to 69)

– Caminho de São Roque (numbers 105 to 168)

– Caminho da Terça

– Ladeira da Terça

– Beco da Igreja Nova

– Beco do Lombo Segundo

– Beco da Terça

– Travessa do Dr. João Abel de Freitas (numbers 6 and 12)

– Travessa do Lombo Segundo

– Travessa da Terça

– Vereda da Igreja Velha

– Vereda do Calhau

– Vereda da Capela do Rosário

– Vereda da Cova

CAMACHA

3rd March – 09h00 to 11h30

– E.R. 102 (numbers 68 to 82)

– Caminho da Constança (Ribeiro Fernando)

– Caminho dos Tanques

– Vereda da Eira Velha (number 14)

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/2021/02/25/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-13-2021/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/27/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-14-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Saturday 27th February 2021

The number of hospitalisations in Algarve hospitals, resulting from Covid-19, decreased over the week of 16th to 19th February, according to data from the Regional Health Authority, which has just been released by the District Civil Protection Commission.

There were 99 patients hospitalized in the Algarve a week ago, with regional data indicating that at 00:01 on this Friday, the 26th, there were 58 hospitalizations, that is, 41 less.

There was also a decrease in patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (there are now 16, less 2 than a week ago), and ventilated (8, that is, less 4).

In the last eight days, there was also a slowdown in the addition of new infections, since, in this timeframe, there were 331 more cases across the Algarve region, while in the previous week there had been another 456 cases.

As for deaths, there are 13 more to regret since the 19th. Faro was the municipality where, during this last week, there were more deaths by Covid-19 (5), while there were still 2 in Lagos, Albufeira and Loulé, and 1 in Olhão and São Brás de Alportel. The good news is that, this Friday, there was no death in the Algarve due to the pandemic.

The municipality of Aljezur was the only one where no new infection or death was reported.

For the new cases of the week, the municipality that contributed most was Portimão (+56), followed by Faro (+47), Loulé (+44), Olhão (+35), Vila Real de Santo António (+26), Silves (+23), Lagoa (+20), Tavira (+18); Lagos (+12), Monchique (+6), Castro Marim (+5), Vila do Bispo (+4), São Brás de Alportel (+3), and Alcoutim (+1).


Loulé informs companies and workers about support for the economy

The Municipality of Loulé is organizing an information and clarification session on the measures to support the economy in force in this period of confinement and crisis, aimed at entrepreneurs and workers.

The session is scheduled for Tuesday, March 2nd, at 17:00.

This is another online initiative promoted by the Municipality of Loulé, with the involvement of IAPMEI, IEFP and Social Security, broadcast live on the municipality’s Facebook page.

The participation of some associations of businessmen in the municipality is foreseen and the general public will also be able to send questions later to the various organizations to clarify any doubts that may arise.


Celebrations planned in 2022 to mark arrival of railway line in Lagos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Azores 

Situation Report Azores – 27th February 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores

Good News!

In the last 24 hours, no new positive cases of Covid-19 were registered in the Azores, resulting from the 1,963 tests performed.

According to the Regional Health Authority, there were three recoveries, two on the island of São Miguel (one in Matriz and the other in Rabo de Peixe) in the municipality of Ribeira Grande, and one in Lajes da Terceira, municipality of Praia of Vitória.

With this recovery in Praia da Vitória, Terceira today enters the map of the islands without Covid-19, thus joining Santa Maria, Graciosa, São Jorge, Flores and Corvo.

As of today, there is also no record of patients admitted to any of the hospitals in the Region.

There are currently 894 people in active surveillance in the Region.

There are currently 56 active positive cases across the archipelago, 47 in São Miguel, eight in Pico and one in Faial.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,839 positive cases have been recorded, with 3,649 people recovering from the disease and 29 deaths.

To find a day without positive cases in the Azores, it is necessary to go back to October the 17th, 2020. From that day on, the cases emerged on a daily basis.  On January the 11th the Region reached a maximum of 132 cases, largely due to mass screening, surpassing on the 18th of the same month, the 900 active cases across the archipelago. Four months and ten days after October the 17th, the Region has again recorded a day without positive cases.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last three days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 4,229 tests was 7.  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.  To date, 342,726 tests and 1963 quick tests have been carried out in the region.

São Miguel registered the most cases with 6, the other island with reported cases is Pico with 1. Pico has the only transmission chain active.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 13 in total.  10 on the island of São Miguel and 3 on Terceira.

There are no patients with Covid-19 in the regions hospitals.

Sadly, there have been 29 deaths due to the virus.

There are currently  active positive cases in the Region.

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 Wednesday 24th February 2021

Introduction

Good morning – All eyes this week are on the meeting of the Council of Ministers to determine whether there will be any changes to the State of Emergency that will almost certainly be extended.

As mentioned, the President of the Republic yesterday and today is hearing the views of the representatives of the various political parties before sending a draft decree law extending and outlining the basic framework of the new law. This will take affect from 2nd March until 23:59 hrs 16th March 2021.

As usual, there will be various statements by the parties following their meeting as to what the President said, but as we know from experience these are not always enshrined in the final law. Yesterday, the sole deputy of the Liberal Initiative said that the President of the Republic has no intention of “changing anything” in the decree of the State of Emergency. The deputy of the Ecological Party “Os Verdes” (ENP), Mariana Silva, also echoed this after meeting with the President.

There is no doubt that the confinement in place has worked and new cases have decreased considerably. The Prime Minister is concerned, however, of the continuing pressure on the health services even though the numbers in hospital and ICU have decreased considerably since the beginning of the month.

A matter of some concern is that, according to government, movements on the streets and in public areas has increased slightly in the last week and there have been three illegal parties one with around 70 people where the police have had to take enforcement action. This is a likely sign of impatience to return to normality. There is also demands on Government to reopen some schools to return to face to face learning.

How to come out of confinement, of course, is not unique to Portugal and is a dilemma government’s face in trying to relax measures in a phased way that does not result in undoing all what has been achieved, in the case of Portugal, over the last 3-4 weeks. From listening to the views of the President and the Prime Minister we would be surprised if there is anything but cosmetic changes at this stage, especially given the delays in the first phase of the vaccination plan.

We expect therefore a cautious approach, but one which may include some form of roadmap of a phased relaxation of measures, such as the re-opening of some schools provided that certain conditions are met; for instance cases in ICU reducing to a certain level, no increase in variants or new ones etc.

This approach would clearly indicate government’s intentions, thereby giving hope to those affected such as businesses, but at the same time allowing the plan to be adjusted if needed.

Our headline today is the statement of the UN Secretary-General over the global distribution of vaccines, namely that ten countries have administered more than 75% of all vaccines against Covid-19. At the same time, more than 130 countries have not received a single dose.

Having worked in an international organisation myself, Interpol, I can empathize with this statement. It is similar in many ways to crime prevention that protection is only as good as the weakest link. Of course people wish to obtain the vaccination as soon as possible, but there are many in the world who will have to wait far longer than ourselves.

A reminder for those of you living in rural areas that according to the national budget law the deadline for fuel management and the cleaning of land is 15th March 2021. Last year due to the first confinement under the State of Emergency the deadline was extended twice – eventually being 31st May. We have been in contact with relevant Government authority concerning this matter and although there is no proposed extension at present, we would not be at all surprised if it were extended.   I have written a feature for the Algarve Resident on this topic which will appear on 4th March. Full details concerning land cleaning can be found on our website here

Please have a Safe Day


Headlines

Guterres: ten countries administered 75% of vaccines and 130 did not receive a single dose.

The UN Secretary-General warns that the virus has exacerbated inequalities and has infiltrated other fields besides health. The distribution of vaccines, he says, has been unfair.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, says that “the world is facing a pandemic of human rights abuses”. Covid-19 accentuated vulnerabilities and weaknesses, but also created new problems, he says in an opinion article published on Monday in the British newspaper The Guardian: “Ten countries have administered more than 75% of all vaccines against Covid-19. At the same time, more than 130 countries have not received a single dose.

António Guterres had already criticized the distribution of vaccines, saying that it was “extremely unequal and unfair”. It was at a meeting with the UN Security Council that the Portuguese Secretary-General advised this data on the 130 countries that have not yet received a single dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“The virus has proliferated because poverty, discrimination, the destruction of our natural environment and other human rights flaws have created enormous weaknesses in our societies. The lives of millions of families have been turned inside out – with jobs lost, overwhelming debt and huge income cuts. ” Those most affected were professionals at the forefront of combating the pandemic, people with disabilities, the elderly, women and minorities, he continued. The pandemic has also “hampered efforts to achieve world peace” and levels of extreme poverty are increasing for the first time in recent decades.


Covid-19 – Portugal is the 6th EU member state with the most complete vaccines administered.

Portugal is the 6th EU Member State with the most complete vaccines. At least 85 countries have already started the vaccination process against Covid-19. In total, more than 194 million doses have been administered. Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom continue to stand out from all other countries in the world ranking.

The most conservative models indicate that group immunity is achieved when 7 out of 10 people are vaccinated. The European goal is to reach the end of the summer with 70% of adults immunized, that is, with both doses of the vaccine given.

In Portugal, when analysed by age group, the group between 65-79 years old is at this stage of the least protected: only 2% of this population has taken a dose and 1% has the complete vaccination. These percentages are the same for people between 18 and 24 years old. In contrast, 12% (79,774 people) of the population over 80 have already taken a dose and 7% (42,991) have a complete vaccination. It is the most protected group.

The North adds more inoculated doses but the Alentejo is the region of the country that leads in population that has the complete vaccination (4%), followed by the Centre (3%), Lisbon and Vale do Tejo and Norte (both with 2%) and Algarve (1%).


Covid-19: Portugal has the lowest contagion rate in Europe

According to André Peralta Santos, from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), on Monday afternoon, the incidence of new contagions had a “very significant decrease”. Incidence is decreasing in all age groups – it is highest above 80 years old. Portugal has the lowest transmissibility index since the beginning of the pandemic

According to Baltazar Nunes, the estimate for the transmissibility index R (t) of Covid-19 in Portugal is 0.67, between February 13th and 17th – “The lowest figure we have estimated since the beginning of the epidemic”, he said. “The value of Rt is below 1 in all regions of the continent and autonomous regions and in the last five days there has been a stabilisation of the value of Rt around 0.66 and 0.68”, he added. According to the expert, Portugal now has the lowest R (t) value in Europe. “If we continue, it is possible to continue descending at a marked speed.”


Covid-19 Situation

On Tuesday Portugal reported 63 deaths and 1,032 new cases of Covid-19, according to the daily report of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

The figures and our analysis of trends reported yesterday is as follows:

Confirmed Cases: 799.106 (+ 1032 / + 0.13 %)

Number of admitted: 3.012 (-310 /-9.33 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 597 (-30 /-4.78 %)

Deaths: 16.086 (+ 63 / + 0.39 %)

Recovered: 705.976 (+ 4567 / + 0.65 %)

Active cases: 77,044 (-3958 / – 4.4&)

So again we see very good news in all key indicators reflected in the following trends:

– Second lowest number of daily deaths since 28th December

– New cases – Second lowest number since 8th October 2020

– Recovered cases four times new cases

– Lowest number in hospital since 2nd January

– Lowest in ICU since 13th January – decreased by 27.5% since 1st February

– Number of active cases lowest since 2nd January, decreasing for 23rd consecutive day and over 100,000 less than 31st January (in 21 days)

– Those under surveillance lowest since 2nd January


Health

Vaccinations

Covid-19: Close to 250 thousand people have already received two doses of the vaccine

Nearly 250 thousand people have already received the two doses of the vaccine for Covid-19 according to data published today by the General Directorate of Health, corresponding to 3% of the population.

According to the data released today by the DGS, they have already received two doses of the vaccine 248,708, representing 3% with the complete vaccination, 46,565 more than in the previous week.

According to the same data, since the beginning of the vaccination plan against SARS-CoV-2, which started on December 27th, at least 433,475 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, having injected 96,701 people in the last week.


Covid-19: Rapid Intervention Brigades activated in homes 431 times since October.

Lisbon, February 23rd, 2021 (Lusa) – The Rapid Intervention Brigades (BIR), created to act in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19 in nursing homes, have been activated 431 times since October, the month they started operating, revealed today the latest State of Emergency report.

“As of October 1st, the BIRs started to operate, which allow responding to the needs of social responses that, due to an outbreak, have the human resources teams compromised, having already activated 431 brigades”, states the report on the situation between 16th and 30th January and delivered to the Assembly of the Republic.

The document, carried out by the State of Emergency Monitoring Structure, coordinated by the Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, stresses that, in the Northern region, the Rapid Intervention Brigades remain properly established in all districts, being activated whenever necessary.

In turn, in the Centro region, BIRs were used in all districts, but there was “a great difficulty” in building these brigades due to the lack of volunteers.

“Institutions’ difficulties in strengthening human resources, namely direct action assistants and nurses, remained. To mitigate some specific needs, the Military Family Volunteers were made available”, reads the report, which explains the “strong pressure on homes and other residential structures for the elderly” that existed in the Center region between 16th and 30th January.

According to the same document, in these residential structures for the elderly in the Centro region there was a “substantial increase in cases” of Covid-19, going from 227 to 282 homes with active cases.


Hospitals have no chance of hiring doctors who trained abroad.

Although the Government allows the hiring of doctors who have trained abroad and who have not yet completed the process of recognition of training, hospitals reject this option. To “Jornal de Notícias”, several hospital units said that they are responding with internal resources and that it is not planned to hire professionals who have not yet seen their courses recognized in Portugal.

The Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central said that “there are no plans to hire foreign doctors and nurses” and the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra said that it has “tried to respond to the challenges with internal resources”. In Porto, the response from the Centro Hospitalar de São João was similar: “At the moment, we have no professional in these conditions who has contacted us or that we can contact” and in Aveiro, “this hiring was not expected”.

There is a “need for professionals” for certain specialties, explained Alexandre Lourenço, president of the Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators. “However, we are obliged, and rightly, to hire certified professionals as a guarantee of quality, “he added. Of the 800 doctors who attended medical courses abroad, only 160 meet the criteria for hiring – that is, having passed a written knowledge test.


Open letter calls for the re-opening of schools

An open letter, published in the weekly Expresso , calls on government that “it is urgent, for the present and for the future of the country, to adopt measures, based on science and data, capable of protecting schools as an essential good”, asking for their reopening “quickly for face to face teaching, safely and continuously, starting with the youngest”.

The signatories argue that the nurseries and pre-school education establishments will be reopened in early March, as well as the 1st and 2nd cycles of basic education, which should gradually resume.

The Government has already signalled that it will give priority to schools when it starts the process of the relaxation of confinement, according to the Minister of Health on Monday after the Infarmed meeting, and that of the Minister of the Presidency last weekend. However, Mariana Vieira da Silva said it was still “premature to speak for this next fortnight of lack of definition and particularly in terms of schools”.

The letter however demands face-to-face classes to resume as soon as possible, recalling not only “the increase in psychological and psychiatric problems of children and young people associated with the confinement and closure of schools”, but also that “teaching distance is less effective than classroom teaching and has been a multiplier of inequalities of all kinds, not just educational, penalizing the most vulnerable “.

“The delay in the acquisition of apprenticeships may lead to the reversal of the progress made in recent decades in the reduction of social inequality and early school leaving”, they warn, also stressing that “Portugal is one of the European Union countries with less conditions for distance learning”, both because of the lack of network coverage and because of the “conditions of material deprivation in which many families with children live, suffering from energy and housing poverty”.


Unemployment

Registered unemployment enters 2021 to rise to the highest level since the start of the pandemic.

Unemployment in Portugal started to rise in 2021. In January, a month marked by the worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic and the return of the country to general confinement, 424,359 unemployed people were registered in employment centres, according to data from the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP), published this Monday.

This figure represents an increase of 5.5% compared to December (more 22,105 people) and 32.4% (more 103,801 people) in year-on-year terms, that is, in relation to January 2020.

While it is certain that registered unemployment is usual in Portugal to increase in January compared to December, due to the negative seasonal impact on the labour market, this is the highest number of registered unemployed since the beginning of the pandemic. Moreover, it is necessary to go back to May 2017 to find a higher value.

At the regional level, in January, “registered unemployment increased in all regions of the country”, indicates the IEFP. Of the year-on-year increases, the most pronounced occurred in the Algarve region (61.3% more), followed by Lisbon and the Tagus Valley (45.3% more) and Madeira (30% more).

The IEFP also indicates that, in terms of professional groups of unemployed registered in the Mainland, the most representative, in decreasing order, stand out: “Unqualified workers” (24.9%); “Personal service, protection, security and salesperson workers” (22.8%); “Administrative staff” (11.6%); “Specialists in intellectual and scientific activities” (10.2%) and “Skilled workers in industry, construction and craftsmen” (10.0%) “.


Tourism

Support line launched for Travel Agencies and Tour Operators with 100 million euros.

Turismo de Portugal, in partnership with Banco Português de Fomento, Mutual Guarantee Societies and Banks, launches a credit line to support treasury, with an endowment of 100 million euros, for Travel Agencies and Tour Operators.

This measure to support the economy aims to help in the recovery of one of the activities most affected by the effects of the pandemic of Covid-19, resulting in bank loans exclusively to finance the treasury needs of Travel Agencies and Tour Operators, in view of the obligation refunds for trips that were not made or cancelled due to the pandemic context.

With a total allocation of 100 million euros, and a term of validity until June 30th, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can apply, as well as Small Mid Cap and Mid Cap that develop activities of Travel Agencies and Tour Operators.

Credit operations benefit from an autonomous guarantee at the first request, provided by the SGM, up to 90% of the capital of each of the loans guaranteed to Micro and Small and up to 80% of the capital of each of the loans guaranteed to Medium-sized Companies, Small Mid Cap and Mid Cap.


Overseas Support – Thank you to Germany.

Diogo Serras Lopes, Secretary of State for Health, said on Tuesday that the help of German professionals who arrived in Portugal earlier this month allowed “to open an autonomous intensive care wing” with eight beds, a number that, according to Serras Lopes, is “significant”.

Yesterday morning, Diogo Serras Lopes and the Secretary of State for Human Resources and Former Combatants, Catarina Armento e Castro, welcomed the German team of military health professionals who will replace the one currently working at Hospital da Luz, in Lisbon.

The Secretary of State also said that “each bed counts” and that the German contribution was “invaluable” and allowed “to relieve the hospitals of the National Health Service” and to treat more patients.

The German clinical team of 26 health professionals arrived in Portugal earlier this month to support the Portuguese health system in the face of pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a joint statement from the ministries of health and defence of Portugal, German health professionals are replaced every 21 days, until the end of March, “if necessary”.


Confinement: Cascais lifts restrictions to sea walls, beaches and parks.

The Cascais City Council announced on Monday that it will lift restrictions on access to the sea wall (Cascais-Carcavelos), beaches and parks in the municipality as of 6 pm on Tuesday, February 23rd.

The municipality, in a statement on the official website , justifies the decision with the “decrease in the number of cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants”, thus guaranteeing the municipality a “two-level descent, abandoning the Extremely and Very High Risk level passing to be part of the group of municipalities with a high risk level ”. The health and safety authorities in the municipality gave a positive opinion to this update.

This reopening still has some rules. Only “physical activity and the training of individual outdoor sports are allowed, as well as all professional and equivalent training and competitive activities, without an audience and in compliance with the guidelines of the DGS, under the terms of the law”. The use of a mask remains mandatory, as well as social distance, still fixed at two meters. Gatherings of people are prohibited, as well as being on the beach. The municipality also asks for “the fulfilment of the directions of circulation”.


Borders

Covid-19. EU asks for explanations from Member States that have closed borders.

The European Commission sent a letter on Monday to six member states of the European Union (EU) asking for explanations about restrictions on freedom of movement, giving the countries concerned ten days to respond, the Community executive said Tuesday.

“On Monday, the Commission sent specific letters about our concerns to six Member States – Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary and Sweden – which are currently applying stricter measures than recommended, in particularly in the prohibition of entry and exit of the country “, informed the spokesman of the community executive with the portfolio of Justice, Equality and Rule of Law, Christian Wigand.

The spokesman stressed that, in the letter, the Commission highlights the “need” to ensure that “restrictions on freedom of movement” are “proportional” and not “discriminatory”, and urges countries to “align their provisions more than closely with the Council’s recommendations “, agreed between all EU Member States, and, more generally,” with EU rules regarding freedom of movement “.

The executive gives the member states ten days to respond to the letter and “the Commission is closely following the steps taken by the member states on an ongoing basis”, said the spokesman.

Asked about the steps the Commission can take if the Member States in question do not comply with the executive’s recommendations, Christian Wigand said that “the European Commission’s aim is to find solutions as soon as possible”.

“We believe that we will find solutions with the Member States in question, without having to resort to legal steps, which can be time consuming. Therefore, Member States now have ten days to respond and we start there,” he said.

The spokesman also recalled that the European Commission has always been clear on the issue of coordinating measures within the EU to combat Covid-19, stressing that “without a coordinated approach between the 27 Member States”, the EU “runs the fragmentation risk “and” disruptions in freedom of movement and distribution chains.”


International Travel

Covid-19. Airlines insist on rapid airport tests.

RENA – Association of Airlines in Portugal yesterday insisted on the implementation of rapid tests for Covid-19 at airports, also stressing that there is an urgent need for a harmonized reduction of imposed restrictions and the end of quarantines.

The appeal was left at the general meeting of RENA that elected its governing bodies for the 2021-2023 triennium, with Paulo Geisler, representative of Lufthansa, being re-elected president, unanimously, according to a statement.

“These rapid tests give passengers and the airport community the certainty that health and safety remain at the top of the priorities and convey confidence,” said Paulo Geisler, adding that he hopes that “vaccination will quickly contribute to recovery”.

“A harmonized reduction of imposed restrictions and the end of quarantines is urgently needed at a global level”, underlined the re-elected president of RENA mentioned in the statement.

The association stresses that the international aviation industry and tourism were among the sectors most affected by the pandemic at the global level, “going through the biggest crisis ever”.

In Portugal, according to RENA, there was a decrease of around 80% in the number of flights and passengers at Portuguese airports and “the situation has been aggravated by the additional restrictions implemented in recent weeks, which are even more severe than any time in 2020 “.


Enforcement

Covid-19: GNR ends party with more than 70 people in Campo Maior.

Campo Maior, Portalegre, 23rd Feb 2021 (Lusa) – GNR ended on Monday an illegal party with more than 70 people in a neighbourhood in Campo Maior (Portalegre), having identified “some” of the participants, revealed today to the Lusa agency source of that security force.

According to the commander of the GNR Territorial Detachment of GNR, João Lourenço, the GNR military became aware of the situation “through various complaints” that reported that “some noise” was heard in a neighbourhood in that Alentejo village.

“The patrol, when travelling to the site, found that there was a large crowd of people and movement on the public road. It was a party, an unauthorized event and that the participants did not respect the duty of home collection”, he said.

According to the GNR captain, reinforcements were immediately requested from other posts in that area and “an hour later” the situation was resolved.

“There were some people identified, who are known and who were able to be identified. In our action, the intention, considering that there was a high number of people, was to disperse and direct all people to their homes, but naturally some of the people were identified ”, he explained.

The Commander of the Territorial Detachment of Elvas of the GNR, who did not provide data in relation to the number of people identified, just added that it is now being “elaborated expedient regarding the administrative offenses” to be applied.

The GNR captain also added that this action at an early stage had “some resistance” on the part of the participants at the party, but later “the indications” of the Guard’s military were accepted.


Covid-19: GNR interrupts illegal party with 19 young people in Famalicão.

Vila Nova de Famalicão, Braga, February 23, 2021 (Lusa) – GNR interrupted, yesterday morning, an illegal party that gathered 19 young people in a house in Gondifelos, Vila Nova de Famalicão, in violation of the general duty of recollection, said a source that strength to Lusa.

Secondly, the source confirmed, the young people transformed the house “into a kind of disco”.

All participants were subject to administrative offences, amounting to 200 euros.

If they are caught again in an identical situation, they will incur a crime of disobedience.

The alert for the situation was given at 00:30, with the GNR mobilized to the location of the Famalicão and Joane posts and a team from the Detachment of Intervention.

The young people were assessed and sent to their homes, and the situation was resolved by 02:30.


Other News

DCIAP investigates case of private jet in Brazil destined for Portugal with 500 kilos of cocaine.

The Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action is investigating the case of the seizure in Brazil of a private jet destined for Tires (Cascais), which was carrying 500 kilos of cocaine, told Lusa source today from the Prosecutor’s Office.

“The existence of an inquiry is confirmed that runs under the terms of the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action” (DCIAP), the press office of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) replied to the Lusa agency, without further details alleging secrecy of justice.

Police sources today revealed to Lusa that the Portuguese Judiciary Police (PJ) and the Brazilian federal police had been alert, since the beginning of the pandemic, to the possibility of cocaine trafficking between the two countries using private jets.

According to the same source, the police had already realized that, with the decrease in regular flights between the two countries, the “modus operandi” of trafficking cocaine between Brazil and Portugal had changed with the traffickers using other means, namely the use of private jet charters.

The recent seizure of more than 500 kilograms of cocaine in the fuselage of a jet chartered to the Portuguese company OMNI Aviação e Tecnologia, based in Porto Salvo, for a flight from Salvador to Tires Aerodrome, Cascais, is one of the cases that fits these suspicions, with the two policemen collaborating and sharing information.

On the jet’s passenger list was João Loureiro, former president of Boavista, who has already been heard by the Brazilian Federal Police (PF) and whom “files were extracted” from his cell phone.



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Wednesday 24th February, by Daniel Fernandes

Covid-19 update

There were 213 new Covid-19 cases, 359 recoveries and 1 death from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. All new Covid-19 cases were cases of local transmission. It has been nearly a week since there was a Covid-19 imported from outside the Region.

On Saturday, there were 53 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission), 93 recoveries and 1 death. A 52 year old female patient died from Covid-19 at her home. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 42, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 62 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 62 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 49, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 43 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 108 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 52, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 55 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 96 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 54, although the number of patients in intensive care decreased to 3.

There are currently 1,405 active cases, of which 28 had been imported while the other 1,377 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Tuesday, there had been 6,959 cases, 5,491 recoveries and 63 deaths.

On Tuesday, there were 29 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,322 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 54 patients in Covid-19 units, 3 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 233 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening.

At the moment, 3,652 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,567 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, 162,111 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 17h00). By Tuesday, 300,301 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 638 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 39,640 calls.

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 received 37 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 2,952 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/20/morreu-mais-uma-doente-com-covid-19-no-seu-domicilio/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/21/mais-62-casos-de-covid-19-igual-numero-de-recuperados-187-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/22/43-novos-casos-de-covid-19-108-recuperados-322-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/23/55-novos-casos-de-covid-19-96-recuperados-233-suspeitos/


Vaccination update

The vaccination citizens aged 80 or older and aged 75-79 who have pathologies is in its second week and so far, more than 800 people from these age groups have been vaccinated. Each municipality has a specific vaccination day. Today, those from the municipalities of Ribeira Brava and Machico will be vaccinated, tomorrow it will be the turn of those from the municipalities of Santana and Santa Cruz and on Friday it will be citizens from the municipalities of Câmara de Lobos and Ponta do Sol. Vaccination in the municipality of Funchal will take place during weekends.

Pedro Ramos, Madeira’s Health and Civil Protection Secretary, is pleased with the vaccination process in Madeira and said its speed will be intensified as soon as more vaccines arrive. He revealed he is in permanent contact with Rear-Admiral Gouveia e Melo, who is in charge of the national vaccination task-force.

The Region will soon receive 4,650 vaccine doses from AstraZeneca and 1,825 doses from Pfizer, which will be enough to vaccinate 2.5% of the population. So far, about 18,000 people have been vaccinated in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

Pedro Ramos also said immunisation quotas have been introduced in the Civil Protection service, public office holders and in critical services. He explained that cab and public transport drivers will be vaccinated when the Region has enough vaccine doses for both the first dose to be administered and for the second dose to be administered within the recommended timeframe.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/119476/Regiao_conhecera_esta_segunda-feira_novo_agendamento_da_vacinacao_contra_a_covid-19


Curfew

A reminder that the curfew times changed on Monday, after the Carnival week. This means that the curfew in the Region takes place from 19h00 until 05h00 during weekdays and from 18h00 until 05h00 during weekends. Commercial, industrial and service activities and businesses must close at 18h00 during weekdays and at 17h00 during weekends.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/119550/Recolher_obrigatorio_as_19h00_e_encerramento_do_comercio_as_18h00_a_partir_de_hoje_na_Madeira


Covid-19 restrictions

Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government announced that restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic will continue until Easter. However, there will be a weekly evaluation of the restrictions.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/119550/Recolher_obrigatorio_as_19h00_e_encerramento_do_comercio_as_18h00_a_partir_de_hoje_na_Madeira


Funchal Mayor in prophylactic isolation

Miguel Silva Gouveia, the Funchal Mayor, went into prophylactic isolation after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday morning. According to a press statement by the Municipality, he called the SRS24 as soon as he was informed of the development and he complied with all of the instructions. He does not have any symptoms and is working from home.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/119736/Air_Nostrum_com_rota_Espanha-_Madeira_entre_17_de_julho_e_11_de_setembro


Road closures

The Municipality of Funchal announced there will be a number of road closures in the following days:

From February 22nd until March 31st (installation of electrical infrastructure) – at Caminho das Virtudes, in the Parish (Freguesia) of São Martinho, on the stretch between Rua Dr. Pita and Rua 4 de Abril (except public transport)

From February 23rd until February 25th (paving work) – at Rua da Levada dos Barreiros, in the Parish (Freguesia) of São Martinho, on the stretch between Rua Dr. Pita and Rua dos Barreiros

From February 24th until February 27th, between 09h00 and 17h00 (paving work) – at Caminho da Ladeira, in the Parish (Freguesia) of Santo António, on the stretch between Caminho das Encruzilhadas and Estrada Comandante Camacho de Freitas & at Ladeira da Chamorra

On February 25th (work on communications infrastructure) – at Caminho de Santo António dos Capuchos, in the Parish (Freguesia) do Monte

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/119587/Transito_interrompido_em_varias_zonas_do_Funchal_nos_proximos_dias


Air Nostrum to resume flights from Barcelona to Funchal

Air Nostrum has scheduled flights Barcelona/El Prat to Funchal, which will take place once a week and from July 17th and September 11th. It will be operated by a CRJ1000 aircraft that can carry up to 100 passengers. In the coming weeks, Air Nostrum is likely to announce the return of flights from Bilbau and Madrid to Funchal, which have been taking place every summer in the last few years.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/119736/Air_Nostrum_com_rota_Espanha-_Madeira_entre_17_de_julho_e_11_de_setembro


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

24th February – 09h00 to 11h30 (TODAY)

– Estrada Comandante Camacho de Freitas (number 242)

– Caminho da Ladeira (numbers 8 to 136)

– Rua do Poço das Fontes

– Vereda do Poço das Fontes

– Estrada Comandante Camacho de Freitas (numbers 4 to 35)

– Rua da Encosta do Pico dos Barcelos (numbers 1 to 20)

SANTANA

24th February – 14h00 to 14h30 (TODAY)

– Avenida 25 de Maio

– Impasse C do Barreiro

– Caminho da Travessa

FUNCHAL

25th February – 09h00 to 11h30

– Rua Dr. Barreto (numbers 47 to 60)

26th February – 09h00 to 11h30

– Caminho São Roque (numbers 1 to 84)

– Rua Dr. Barreto (numbers 48 and 50)

– Rua das Pinheiras (number 3)

– Travessa das Pinheiras

26th February – 00h00 to 07h00

– Caminho do Meio (numbers 1 to 114)

– Caminho das Voltas (numbers 2 to 18)

– Rua do Bom Sucesso

– Rua do Jardim Botânico

– Travessa do Jardim Botânico

– Vereda da Bela Vista

– Impasse do Caminho do Meio

– Impasse do Jardim Botânico

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/2021/02/20/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-12-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Wednesday 24th February

Covid-19: From 3rd to 16th February, only one municipality in the Algarve was at “extreme risk”.

The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) on Monday released the usual epidemiological situation regarding Portuguese municipalities, from 3rd to 16th February.

In the Algarve, at extreme risk (over 960 cases per 100,000 inhabitants) was Monchique with a rate of 1064.

At very high risk (+ 480 to 960), were Vila Real de Stº António – 901 and Castro Marim – 722.

At high risk (+240 to 480) there were 10 municipalities: Albufeira – 445, Alcoutim – 417, Faro – 408, Silves – 406, Loulé – 396, Portimão – 380, Lagos – 346, Olhão – 320 and São Brás de Alportel and Lagoa both with 250.

At moderate risk, (less than 240), there were Tavira – 208, Aljezur – 89 and Vila do Bispo – 78.

Also according to DGS data, in the last 24 hours, 22 new cases and 2 deaths were registered in the Algarve.


Tourism “has a future” and Algarve business people must be resilient – Associação

The President of the Business Association of the Algarve Region (NERA) said today that tourism “has a future”, despite the pandemic of Covid-19, arguing that businessmen should “resist” and maintain activity until the recovery arrives.

Speaking to Lusa, Vítor Neto said that the most optimistic recovery scenarios have not been verified and companies should take into account the different scenarios on the prospects of economic recovery to ensure that their companies remain active until then.

The former Secretary of State for Tourism of the socialist party, António Guterres, summarized in this way the content of a statement that the Algarve business association released yesterday to “signal, on the one hand, that it believes in the recovery and recovery of tourism”, but warning that there are multiple factors that can delay the most optimistic recovery scenarios.

Vítor Neto considered that the crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic is “quite serious and has not only affected companies more directly related to tourism, such as accommodation and restaurants”, also affecting “a group of companies that also provide goods and services accommodation and catering services”.

That person gave as examples the “thousands” of companies of “food equipment, drinks or ‘software’” that were “strongly affected” by the break in activity and considered that entrepreneurs should be “very careful and cool-headed” to be able to reach the phase of recovery with the businesses in activity.

“The question that arises is that there are very large conditions and factors of uncertainty. And the main one is the evolution of the pandemic. It is clear that we have to fight the pandemic in our region and country and generate this perception at national and international level. But it also depends on the pandemic in the other issuing markets”, he argued.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/turismo-tem-futuro-e-empresarios-do-algarve-tem-de-ser-resilientes-associacao/36910-4


Jamila Madeira promotes hearing on resumption of tourist activity

Concerned about the effects of the public health crisis on the economy and tourism, socialist MP Jamila Madeira holds an online public hearing on the resumption of tourism activity with the various entities in the sector.

The meeting, which will be held by videoconference on Thursday, February 25th, between 5 pm and 7 pm, aims to make an assessment of the economic situation of this activity, which has been almost totally stopped for more than a year, and to know the ways appointed by the entities in this area for the recovery process and the new framework of the sector.

From an economic point of view, namely in the tourism sector, the stop was abrupt and, as far as the Algarve is concerned, practically total.

“We know that the limitations will not disappear overnight, but the ongoing vaccination campaign brings an opportunity for the resumption of tourism activity so important for the country’s economy”, points out the deputy elected by the Faro circle in the invitation sector institutions.

Recalling that the government put the Recovery and Resilience Plan in public discussion, with a European contribution of 13 billion euros for the economic and social recovery of Portugal, Jamila Madeira argues that it is necessary to “combine the opportunities for advancing vaccination with this financial instrument to program the reactivation of the activity of our companies and the economy”.

https://barlavento.sapo.pt/politica/jamila-madeira-promove-audicao-sobre-retoma-da-atividade-turistica



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 24th February 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Rabo de Peixe 

The sanitary fence in Rabo de Peixe, in the municipality of Ribeira Grande, will remain, but in a more restricted area, until 23:59 on the 1st of March.

The Regional Health Authority, using the advice of the Commission for Monitoring the Fight against Pandemic, decided to redefine the fence in the village of Rabo de Peixe, with the new perimeter restricted to the area north of

Rua da Praça and Rua de Nossa Senhora de Fátima, including the zone located around Francisco Andrade and Afonso Maria Tavares streets.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,329 tests was 13.  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.  To date, 337,637 tests and 2076 quick tests have been carried out in the region.

São Miguel registered the most cases with 10, the other island with reported cases is Pico with 3.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 42 in total.  39 on the island of São Miguel, 2 on Terceira and 1 on Pico.

As of Tuesday, the 23rdth of February 2021 there are 3 hospitalised patients with 1 of them in the ICU.

Sadly, there have been 29 deaths due to the virus.

There are currently 63 active positive cases in the Region.

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 20th February 2021

Introduction

Good morning – Again we start with the very good news concerning the Covid-19 figures; in particular that the  number of daily deaths at 67, is the lowest since the first of January and that those in hospital from Covid-19 are nearly half that than since the beginning of this month. In addition, the (Rt) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is now 0.66 down from 0.77 a month ago.

Despite this good news, it is clear from our headline story quoting the Minister of State and Presidency Mariana Vieira da Silva that the “extremely high” number of intensive care admissions due to Covid-19 does not allow any expectation of relaxing measures soon.

It seems likely therefore that parliament when it comes to debate the extension of the emergency laws next week will be extremely cautious on easing restrictions too quickly.

Yesterday however, the main story was the apparent change in priority in the administration of vaccinations in Phase One. In this phase, the bulk of vaccines available will be administered to two groups: people aged 80 and over and people aged 50 to 79 with one of the four diseases most at risk for Covid-19 (cardiac, coronary, renal and severe respiratory)

According to a report in Expresso newspaper, however, the scarcity of vaccines and the need to protect those most vulnerable to Covid-19 has led the new task force coordinator to redefine vaccination priorities.

Henrique Gouveia e Melo told the newspaper that 90% of the vaccines available are now intended to “save lives” and only 10% to “reinforce the state’s resilience in a pandemic period”, the latter being firefighters, PSP and GNR. However according to Government, more than 7000 members of the security forces and more than 11,000 firefighters have already received the first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19, in compliance with the vaccination plan for essential functions of the State. Nevertheless, regarding the changes in the priorities foreseen in the plan, António Lacerda Sales asserts that “vaccination is carried out in parallel lines and there is no overtaking by anyone in front of anyone”.

The President of the Portuguese Firefighters League (LBP) told Lusa yesterday after contacting the Secretary of State, that the first phase of vaccinations against Covid-19 of the approximately 15,000 firefighters will continue. “I also contacted the task force coordinator who guaranteed, and I believe in his word, that there is no change in relation to the 15,000 firefighters scheduled for vaccination in this first phase,” Jaime Marte Soares told Lusa.

Both the PSP and GNR associations also expressed concern, with the Head of the GNR staff association suggesting that if there are any delays then frontline GNR personnel should be tested every 15 days given their nature of work and close contact with the public. This seems a very sensible suggestion.

Clearly government can only work with the number of vaccines available in the country and faces difficulty in implementing priorities when there are shortfalls compared to demand. There are very difficult choices that have to be made.

When there are setbacks, it is always good to find positive news, and what can be more positive than NASA’s Perseverance rover safely landing on Mars on Thursday after its 292.5 million mile journey from Earth. The rover landed itself flawlessly, according to the mission’s team.

“Perseverance” is certainly an appropriate name inspiring determination and hope which is what we need at this time in combatting this pandemic.

Another positive note for Portugal came in the findings of what was described as the first comprehensive survey on the crime experience among the population of the EU (including the United Kingdom) conducted by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency). This revealed that 9% of people in the EU have experienced some form of violence in the past five years, with national percentages varying between 3% and 18 percent. However in Portugal, only 4% said they were physically assaulted, a percentage only surpassed by Malta and Italy. This reflects Portugal’s standing currently the 3rd most peaceful country in the world according the Global Peace

Lastly, please be aware that the ANEPC have issued a Notification to the Population concerning bad weather for this weekend. The IPMA have also issued Yellow rain warning for several districts. We posted all the details last evening so please read the bulletin and precautions you may need to take. If this was not enough, a cloud of dust from the Sahara desert is expected to pass over Europe again this weekend, according to the European atmospheric observation service, Copernicus. At present its trajectory appears northwards passing just to the east of Portugal, but we are monitoring.

So with that please have a Safe Weekend.



Headlines

Covid-19: Transmission at 0.66 indicates reduction of cases across the country

The average transmissibility index (Rt) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is 0.66, representing a tendency of reduction in new cases of Covid-19 in all regions of the country, announced today the National Institute of Health Ricardo Jorge (INSA).

“The results indicate a decreasing trend of new cases at the national level in all regions of the country”, says INSA in the situation report on the epidemic curve of infection by the new coronavirus.

On January 11th, the average Rt stood at 0.77, a figure that the Prime Minister, António Costa, considered at the time to be “the lowest the country has had since the beginning of the pandemic”, in the spring of 2020.

According to the INSA data now released, all regions of the country have an Rt – the average number of secondary cases resulting from a case infected by the virus – below 1.

Epidemiological estimates point to a Rt of 0.64 in the North, Center and Alentejo regions, of 0.66 in the Lisbon and Vale do Tejo region, of 0.65 in the Algarve region, of 0.63 in the autonomous region of the Azores and 0.88 in the autonomous region of Madeira.

According to INSA, from January 18th there was a sharp reduction in Rt, but, from February 11th, there was a slight increase, which suggests “a deceleration in the trend of decreasing incidence of SARS- CoV-2 ” in that period.

“From the beginning of August to the middle of November, the Rt was above 1 for 107 days, revealing a phase of sustained growth. From mid-November to 25th December, the Rt remained below 1, representing a phase of sustained decrease in the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, ” says INSA.


Minister of State and Presidency – Too soon to come out of confinement

The Minister of State and Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, warned this Thursday, February 18th, that the “extremely high” number of intensive care admissions due to Covid-19 does not allow any expectation of coming out of confinement soon.

In the briefing after the Council of Ministers, Mariana Vieira da Silva was asked about the evolution of the numbers of the pandemic in Portugal.

Despite considering that the numbers of infected people show “the success of the measures” in force, the official recalled that this is not the only factor to take into account, since it is necessary to analyse the response capacity of the NHS and the number of deaths. , variables that, in spite of the downward trend, do not allow to anticipate relaxing measures soon.

Mariana Vieira da Silva warned of the issue of managing the expectations of the Portuguese and referred that, today, Portugal has 680 people hospitalized in intensive care units.

“It is a very high number, it remains, with the exception of the last month, the highest number we have had throughout this year”.

Thus, the Government maintains the discourse of the Prime Minister, António Costa, who a week ago, also at a press conference after the Council of Ministers, defended that this was not yet the time for the country to focus on the lack of definition, but to continue comply with the containment rules.

“There is technical work to be done, there will be articulation work with the other parties. This is the time to appeal again to all Portuguese women and men that we must consider that we have very high numbers of hospitalisation in hospitals and intensive care units and being encouraged on the path we are taking, it is still too early to think that it is close to the end” she reiterated.


Second contract with Moderna to ensure additional vaccine doses

The European Commission approved a second contract with the pharmaceutical company Moderna, which provides for an additional purchase of 300 million doses (150 million in 2021 and an option to purchase an additional 150 million in 2022) on behalf of all EU Member States. The new contract also provides for the possibility to donate the vaccine to lower and middle-income countries or to re-direct it to other European countries.


Covid-19

Yesterday’s figures reflected again the very positive signs that have been seen over the last two weeks.

Confirmed Cases: 794.769 (+ 1940 / + 0.24 %)

Number of admitted: 3.584 (-235 /-6.15 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 669 (-19 /-2.76 %)

Deaths: 15.821 (+ 67 / + 0.43 %)

Recovered: 691.866 (+ 4404 / + 0.64 %)

Active cases: 87,082 (-2531 / – 2.8%)

The trends in these key areas are as follows:

– Lowest daily deaths since 1st January (49 days)

– New cases – 6th lowest since 20th October (4 months)

– Recovered cases more than double that of new cases

– Hospitalisations lowest since January 9, when 6869 cases were registered. Decreased by 47.8% since 1st February

– Lowest in ICU since 19th January – decreased by 22.6% since 1st February

– Number of active cases lowest since 6th January, decreasing for 18th consecutive day and 52% less than 31st January (in 17 days)

– Those under surveillance lowest since 10th January


Health

Covid-19: Hospital Amadora-Sintra registers 199 inpatients and peak in intensive care

Amadora, Lisbon, 19th Feb 2021 (Lusa) – Hospital Amadora-Sintra, in the district of Lisbon, currently has 199 Covid-19 patients hospitalised, almost half the maximum recorded on 26th January, with 385 patients, but the peak in the unit’s intensive care (ICU) was registered this week.

In response to the agency Lusa, a source from Hospital Fernando da Fonseca (HFF), also known as Hospital Amadora-Sintra, said that 199 patients are currently in hospital infected by the new coronavirus SARS-COV-2, “of which 36 are hospitalized in the ICUs (out of 42 beds available)”.

“At the end of January 26th, the HFF registered 385 hospitalised Covid patients, its maximum”, revealed a hospital source, indicating that this peak represents a Covid effort rate of 62% of the total available beds of this hospital, which serves a population of more than 600,000 people.

Two weeks ago, this hospital had, on February 3rd,  368 inpatients, of which 350 in the HFF and 18 in the HFF ward, which was operated exclusively by its professionals at Hospital da Luz, in Lisbon.

“The peak of patients admitted to the ICUs of this hospital was recorded this week, on February 14th, 15th and 16th, with the maximum capacity of 42 patients in critical condition”, revealed a hospital source, recalling that the contingency plan of the HFF predicted, at its maximum level, that the capacity of the ICU was 12 beds dedicated to Covid patients, so at this moment the situation is “350% of the maximum level”.


Health centres held 11.4 million fewer face-to-face consultations in 2020

Health centres held 11.4 million fewer face-to-face consultations in 2020 (-38%), while distance contacts doubled from 2019 to 2020, from 9.1 million to 18.5 million.

The data released on Thursday night by the Saúde em Dia Movement, led by the Order of Doctors (OM) and the Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators (APAH), also reveal a decrease of 3.6 million in face-to-face nursing contacts at the Health Centres (18% less) which, together with medical consultations, totalled 11.4 million less compared to 2019.

The analysis made by the consultant MOAI, based on the official numbers of the SNS Transparency Portal, also indicates a “sharp drop” in face-to-face medical care in hospitals, with 3.4 million fewer contacts in 2020, between consultations, surgeries and emergencies. .

The emergency episodes dropped by 31%, 11% outpatient visits and surgeries 18%, says the motion, pointing the same panorama in supplementary diagnostic and therapeutic cases, where data is only available until the end of November 2020.

“Even so, globally, less than a quarter of the exams and analyses were performed in 2020”, which translates into less than 25 million acts performed. In Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine alone, there were 12.4 million fewer.


Covid-19 was responsible for more than 40% of deaths from January to February

More than 40% of deaths in Portugal between the end of January and the beginning of February were attributed to Covid-19, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE).

Of the 8,536 deaths recorded between January 25th and February 7th, 3,633 were due to the disease caused by the new coronavirus, which is equivalent to 42.5% of the total.

During this period, “the number of deaths decreased, despite continuing to be much higher than that observed since the beginning of the pandemic”, points out the INE, indicating that the week from 25th to 31st January was the worst in terms of deaths (4,711) since the beginning of the pandemic.

In the week of 25th to 31st, there were 2,036 deaths associated with Covid-19 (43.2% of the total) and in the following week 1,597 (41.8%).

The excess of mortality in relation to the average of the same weeks between 2015 and 2019 was 66.3% in the week from 25th to 31st of January and 42% in the week from 1st to 7th of February.

“The number of deaths from Covid-19 was, in weeks 4 and 5, higher than the excess of mortality, which means that, excluding deaths by Covid-19, the mortality registered in these two weeks would be below the average of 2015-2019 period “, points out the INE.

More than 75% of deaths in these two weeks were of people aged 75 years and over and the greatest excess of mortality was in people over 90 years, of whom 74.1% died more than the average of the last five years for the same period.


Variants of Covid-19

Covid-19: Variant detected in the United Kingdom already represents 48% of cases in Portugal

The variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus detected in the United Kingdom is already responsible for almost half of cases of Covid-19 in Portugal, when in early January it represented 8% of infections, said today Ricardo Jorge National Health Institute (INSA).

“As of February 16th [Tuesday], we estimate that this variant represents around 48% of all Covid-19 cases in Portugal,” João Paulo Gomes, INSA researcher and coordinator of the study on diversity, told Lusa genetics of the new coronavirus in Portugal.

According to INSA data, the incidence in the country of this variant of the virus that causes Covid-19, considered more contagious, has been growing since the beginning of the year, registering a constant increase over several weeks, in the period in which the highest number of infections was registered in Portugal.

João Paulo Gomes estimates that the variant originating in the United Kingdom represented around 8% of cases of the Covid-19 disease in the first week of the year, increasing to 13.4% in the second week of January and to 24.7% in the third week.

According to the expert, this growing incidence of the variant “certainly contributed” to the emergence of the so-called `third wave ‘that occurred in January with the exponential increase in cases of covid-19 across the country, although it was not the“ factor that weighed more ”.

“In the contribution he made, not only the high number of introductions of this variant that took place during the second half of December – the return of Portuguese immigrants for Christmas and tourists from the United Kingdom – but also its high transmissibility”, explained the specialist.

Regarding the variant originating in South Africa, INSA only identified four cases in Portugal, and no case of the SARS-CoV-2 variant initially discovered in Manaus, Brazil, was registered until Thursday.


Vaccinations

“There is no overtaking of anyone ahead of anyone” in the changes to the vaccination plan, says Lacerda Sales

The Assistant Secretary of State and Health argues that the vaccination plan against Covid-19 “is being well executed” and “in alignment with most countries in Europe”. Immunisation is being carried out “according to what has arrived”, says António Lacerda Sales, and stresses that “all vaccines that arrive quickly are administered”.

Speaking to the media, Lacerda Sales said that “about 6.3% of the population is covered by vaccination, with 2.3% having already taken both doses, which is in line with most countries in Europe”.

The Assistant Secretary of State and Health recognizes that “we are always dependent on what is the production capacity [of vaccines] and the mechanisms of European acquisition”, adding: “We need them to arrive so that we can execute our plan later”.

Regarding delays in deliveries, Lacerda Sales says that “instead of the total of 11 million vaccines that would be expected at the end of the first half, we will have an order of 8 or 9 million”. Even so, he believes, “it may arrive to vaccinate 3.6 million people” and “it will correspond to what was the initial phase of the plan”.

Regarding the changes in the priorities foreseen in the plan, António Lacerda Sales asserts that “vaccination is carried out in parallel lines and there is no overtaking by anyone in front of anyone”.

“At the same time that we vaccinate people over 80 years old, people over 50 and with known comorbidities, we still continue to vaccinate health professionals”, he stresses.

For now, António Lacerda Sales does not want to hear about suspicions. “The word now is confinement. That’s where we should focus. It is premature to speak of lack of definition. What we want is to ensure that all Portuguese, in terms of collective conscience, follow the rules”, he added.


7,000 members of the security forces and 11,000 firefighters have already received the first dose of the vaccine

More than 7 000 members of the security forces and more than 11,000 firefighters have already received the first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19, in compliance with the vaccination plan for essential functions of the State.

The vaccination process for 15,000 firefighters began on February 11th and 11 061 firefighters have already been vaccinated.

Firefighters, given the operational dimension of the pre-hospital transport they perform, play an essential role in the State and are therefore being vaccinated over two weeks. The order of vaccination of these firefighters was defined by the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority based on operational criteria and covers the universe of volunteers, sappers and municipalities.

The vaccination of members of the Security Forces – 10,000 from the Republican National Guard (GNR) and 10,000 from the Public Security Police (PSP) – began last Saturday, February 13th, and will last for four weeks.

By the end of yesterday, 3418 members of the GNR and 3638 of the PSP had already been vaccinated.

The planning of this vaccination process was prepared in an articulated manner between the GNR and the PSP, coordinated by the Ministry of Internal Administration.

The order of the members to be vaccinated was defined by the GNR and the PSP, based on operational criteria – prioritising military personnel and agents in the front line and most exposed to the risks of Coronavirus – and also health criteria – with priority to elements suffering from comorbidities / pathologies listed by the General Health Directorate.


Covid-19: Security forces and firefighters with less vaccination priority

Lisbon, February 19th, 2021 (Lusa) – However, according to news reports, vaccination of the security forces and firefighters will no longer lead the way due to the scarcity of vaccines, with administration being strengthened for people aged 80 and over and between 50 and 79 years old with chronic conditions.

According to the Expresso newspaper, which cites statements by the new task force coordinator, Henrique Gouveia e Melo, the shortage of vaccines led to a change in the initial vaccination plan, delaying vaccination to the Armed Forces and security forces, firefighters, members of sovereign bodies, like courts and parliament, and even doctors who are not on the front lines.

The bulk of vaccines available will be administered to two groups: people aged 80 and over and people aged 50 to 79 with one of the four diseases most at risk for Covid-19 (cardiac, coronary, renal and severe respiratory).

According to the newspaper, the scarcity of vaccines and the need to protect those most vulnerable to Covid-19 led the new task force coordinator to redefine vaccination priorities.

Henrique Gouveia e Melo told the newspaper that 90% of the vaccines available are now intended to “save lives” and only 10% to “reinforce the state’s resilience in a pandemic period”.

According to the newspaper, this is equivalent to “removing more speed in the rate of vaccination of professionals of essential services of the State, who also integrate the first phase of the plan and which include the Armed Forces and security forces, firefighters, members of sovereign bodies , like courts and Parliament, and even doctors who are not on the front lines. ”


Covid-19: Vaccination of about 15,000 firefighters will continue – Liga

The first phase of vaccination against the Covid-19 of the approximately 15,000 firefighters will continue, the President of the Portuguese Firefighters League (LBP) told Lusa today.

Jaime Marta Soares stated that there will be no changes in relation to the plan for this first phase of vaccination against Covid-19, which provides for the vaccination of half of the firefighters.

The statements of the President of the LBP came after the League demanded more clarification about the vaccination process to the firefighters, following today’s news from the weekly Expresso that, citing the task force coordinator, Henrique Gouveia e Melo, the vaccination security forces and firefighters will no longer lead the way due to a shortage of vaccines, with administration being strengthened for people aged 80 and over and between 50 and 79 with chronic illnesses.

“I contacted the task force coordinator who guaranteed, and I believe in his word, that there is no change in relation to the 15,000 firefighters scheduled for vaccination in this first phase,” Jaime Marte Soares told Lusa.

According to the President of the LBP, in this first phase, 15,000 firefighters are expected to be vaccinated, 50 percent of the global population, with 12,000 vaccinated so far.

On the vaccination of the remaining staff, Jaime Marta Soares stated that, starting next week, the discussion on how this second phase will be carried out will begin.

The vaccination of about 15,000 volunteer firefighters and municipal firefighters began on February 12th and will continue for another week.


 Covid-19: Association of PSP professionals is concerned with delaying vaccination and asks the political power to “solve the problem”

This Friday, the Association of Police Professionals (ASPP / PSP) expressed “some concern” about delaying the vaccination of security forces against Covid-19 and argued that the Government should give “a sign of solving the problem”.

Expresso reported on Friday that the vaccination of the security forces and firefighters will no longer lead the way due to the scarcity of vaccines, with administration being strengthened for people aged 80 and over and between 50 and 79 with chronic diseases.

Contacted by the Lusa agency, the president of ASPP / PSP, Paulo Santos, affirmed that it is a “sensitive issue”, but nevertheless “showing some concern, since this vaccination model was already being applied in PSP.

“There are policemen who have already been vaccinated in the first phase” and “there are others who are notified to be vaccinated this weekend”, he said.

The President of ASPP / PSP defended that it is a group of professionals who, being on a set of missions and inspections to correspond to what are the needs of fighting the pandemic, where they are in the first line, should already be vaccinated.

“The process should be more accelerated and more developed and now it aggravates everything with this obstacle that is placed and that somehow makes us worried”, he lamented.


Covid-19: GNR Association calls for testing if vaccination is delayed

The President of the Guard Professionals Association (APG / GNR) defended this Friday that tests should be carried out frequently on the security forces if the vaccination plan against Covid-19 is changed.

César Nogueira’s statements to the Lusa agency follow a news story released today by the Expresso newspaper, according to which the vaccination of the security forces will no longer lead the way due to the shortage of vaccines, with the administration of people aged 80 or over being strengthened together with those between 50 and 79 with chronic diseases.

“Since the vaccination plan is going to be changed, at a minimum, what the Government must do is perform tests every 15 days or month by month on these professionals” so that there can be “a better screening” and the military “does not to infect other people “because they have to walk on the ground every day.

According to César Nogueira, these tests on Covid-19 were never carried out, giving his example: “yesterday [Thursday] I was vaccinated, but until yesterday I never took a test and I walk every day on the field, I am a patrolman, have contact with people and I have no idea if I got infected and it’s gone “.

César Nogueira said he realized that due to the scarcity of vaccines there are other priority people, namely the elderly and people with some pathologies, but he regretted being “relegated back”.

“What we think is that all of this is a little badly outlined, we don’t know the reason for this delay in the vaccine, certainly it will be due to the supplier’s delay, but this is proof that the front line professionals, including security forces and services, once again, as is already a prerogative, are relegated to a later plan “, lamented the President of APG / GNR.


Covid-19. PSD suggests Costa creates a permanent scientific commission to support response to the pandemic

The PSD wants the Government to create a permanent scientific committee to support and monitor the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a draft resolution (without force of law) announced today, the PSD defends that “the success of any strategy and the measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic depends – and a lot – on the correctness, reliability and sufficiency of technical information and epidemiological information that, at each moment, is made available to the competent public authorities, in particular those of the governmental sphere “.

“Political decisions and health measures must be solid, clear, grounded and based on the best existing scientific evidence”, reads the document.

The Social Democrats consider that, in Portugal, we have witnessed “the repeated taking of erratic, late, inappropriate decisions, sometimes even blind, often aggravating the social anxiety that the Portuguese understandably have been experiencing for about a year”.

For the PSD, a permanent scientific commission would contribute “to improving the quality of the authorities’ response to the pandemic crisis facing the country”.

In the resolution, the project argues that this commission should support “the response and the decision-making process of the competent public authorities for its control and eradication, also issuing the scientific opinions requested by the Government or by the health and proposing the measures deemed necessary or advisable in that area “.

For Social Democrats, this body must include “an adequate number of specialist technicians of recognised merit, with competences, especially in the field of epidemiology, mathematics and applied health, designated through a process involving the Assembly of the Republic and the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities “.



Enforcement

Authorities investigate movement certificates between municipalities for sale on the Darknet

Authorities have detected the existence of a specialised website that sells illegal certificates for 40 euros.

The national authorities have detected ‘the Darknet’, a website specializing in the sale of travel certificates between municipalities. According to Expresso, the certificates that allow to avoid the limitations dictated by the State of Emergency have been marketed through a Darknet website, which was created with this specific objective.

Sources linked to the investigation say that the site sold certificates for travelling between municipalities at 40 euros each. The copy shown to potential buyers had associated the graphics and the name of a company and was written in the English version of Portuguese, as well as the website that was developed for that purpose. It is unknown how many counterfeit denominations are available for purchase on this website created by con artists.

Those who followed the case say that the site has shown intermittent operation. The fake certificates could be purchased through a simple electronic transaction. The case is under investigation. The fact that the site is on Darknet – an area of ​​the Internet that is often associated with the criminal underworld for facilitating anonymity and eliminating digital tracks – may also make it more complex to identify the creators of this site.

Travel certificates between municipalities are issued by employers to ensure that the respective professionals, due to the functions they perform, can move between municipalities, without being subject to the limitations imposed by the State of Emergency.


The Public Ministry has already opened 33 criminal investigations regarding irregularities related to the Covid-19 vaccination plan.

According to data sent by the Attorney General’s Office, seven inquiries were opened in the area of ​​the Regional Attorney General of Lisbon, eight in the area of ​​the Regional Attorney General of Porto, ten in the area of ​​the Regional Attorney General of Coimbra and eight in the area of ​​the Évora Regional Attorney General.

“It is clarified that, in addition to previously confirmed situations, investigations were initiated in relation to facts reported on private social solidarity institutions in Castelo Branco, Farminhão, Resende and Trancoso or related to the vaccination of local authorities in Lisbon, Portimão and Reguengos de Monsaraz ” , says the PGR.

One of the recent cases of alleged improper vaccination involved the Councilor of the Lisbon municipality, Carlos Manuel Castro. According to the magazine ” Saturday “, which found that among the doses of vaccine left over from administration in the homes, 26 were” administered to members of the teams directly involved in the inoculation operation of the homes “, including the councilman himself, and the rest, a hundred, were administered to 56 volunteer firefighters and the commander and sub-commander of the Firefighters Regiment and 42 members of the Municipal Police.

Three weeks ago, the PGR indicated that it had opened nine investigations regarding the Social Security of Setúbal, INEM in Lisbon, INEM in Porto and facts also reported in Portimão (Elderly Support Center), Vila Nova de Famalicão, Arcos de Valdevez, Bragança, Seixal and Montijo .



Regions

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Saturday 20th February, by our Special Correspondent

Covid-19 update

There were 197 new Covid-19 cases, 213 recoveries and no deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. This is the first time in several weeks that no deaths have been reported in an entire week, which highlights the improving Covid-19 situation in the archipelago.

On Wednesday, there were 72 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland and 71 cases of local transmission) and 87 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 47, although the number of patients in intensive care increased to 5.

On Thursday, there were 59 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 67 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 45, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 66 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 59 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 46, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 1,552 active cases, of which 33 had been imported while the other 1,519 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Friday, there had been 6,746 cases, 5,132 recoveries and 62 deaths.

On Friday, there were 24 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,482 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 46 patients in Covid-19 units, 4 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 257 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening. As of Friday, there had been 8,206 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

At the moment, 3,910 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,667 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, 160,996 samples had been collected until Friday (at 18h00). By Friday, 296,484 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 561 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 39,002 calls.

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 received 33 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has receive915 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/17/72-novos-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-181-suspeitos-97-recuperados/

https://covidmadeira.pt/publicacao/covid-19-relatorio-de-situacao-epidemiologica-na-ram-em-17-02-2021/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/18/59-novos-casos-de-covid-19-67-recuperados-236-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/19/66-novos-casos-de-covid-19-59-recuperados-257-suspeitos/


Vaccination update

As of Friday, 17,521 vaccine doses had been administered in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, of which 12,262 were first doses and 5,259 were second doses. Groups such as care home residents, healthcare professionals, members of the security forces and civil protection, elderly citizens aged 80 or older and citizens aged 75-79 who have pathologies are being vaccinated and will continue to be vaccinated. So far, 3,232 elderly citizens have been vaccinated in different municipalities. In addition, medical students on their residential with SESARAM (Madeira Health Service) were vaccinated this week.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/19/17521-vacinas-administradas-ate-hoje-na-ram/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/18/estudantes-de-medicina-a-estagiar-no-sesaram-ja-foram-vacinados/


Curfew at 19h00 from Monday

The Regional Government amended the curfew rules. This means that from Monday at 00h00 the curfew must start at 19h00 and the closing hours of business activities must be at 18h00 (instead of 17h00).

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/119232/Recolher_obrigatorio_na_Regiao_as_19_horas_a_partir_da_proxima_segunda-feira


Covid test mandatory for ferry travel to Porto Santo

It was announced that all passengers traveling from Funchal to the Island of Porto Santo must have evidence of the negative PCR-test that had taken place up to 72 hours before boarding. The following exceptions will be applicable to: Children up to 11 years old; travellers who are resident in the Island of Porto Santo and who return to the island within 7 days (because they must have a PCR test on the 5th day after returning – must be in prophylactic isolation until then); and travellers who have a medical document, written in the last 90 days, showing they have recovered from Covid-19 or showing they have been vaccinated against Covid-19).

Travellers must book a PCR test at least 4 days in advance (96 hours) by emailing Unidade de Emergência e Saúde Pública (Public Health and Emergency Unit – saudepublica.drs@madeira.gov.pt). This test will be free for the traveller.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/19/quem-viajar-de-barco-para-o-porto-santo-vai-ter-de-fazer-teste-a-covid/


Heavy seas warning

A heavy seas warning has been issued for today and will be in place until 18h00. Winds are expected to blow from South-West and to become stronger in the morning, before blowing from North-West and becoming weaker at the end of the alert period. Visibility is expected to be good and moderate, becoming moderate and weak, often bad, from midnight. Waves in the north shore are expected do be 2-3 metres high and to rise to 3.5-5 metres high. As for south shore, the waves are expected to be 1-2 metres high and to rise to 2-3.5 metres high from midnight and to be 4 metres high temporarily. Vessel owners are advised to keep their vessels docked in harbours.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/119348/Capitania_avisa_para_agitacao_maritima_forte



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Saturday 20th February 2021.

Covid-19: Algarve with less than a hundred admissions

The District Civil Protection Commission of Faros reported on the epidemiological situation in the Algarve with 1,441 active cases of Covid-19.

According to data from the regional health delegate of the Algarve, 19,242 infected were registered until yesterday, 54 more in the last 24 hours and 17,485 recovered (cumulative).

There are 1,342 patients recovering at home, plus 99 hospitalized, 18 in the Intensive Care Units and 12 ventilated. The same source said that since the beginning of the pandemic, 315 deaths have been registered in the region.

At the moment 1,444 people are under active surveillance.

Compared to last week’s bulletin, 958 fewer active cases and 456 new cases are confirmed. Another 1,351 people are recovered.

There are less 86 people hospitalised, 12 less patients in intensive care, maintaining the number of ventilated patients (12). There are fewer than 1,070 people under active surveillance.

According to the same source, the Algarve firefighters’ decontamination brigade carried out, in the last week, 2 decontamination actions, namely, at the MAPS Association – Movement to Support the Problem of AIDS in Faro, and at the Lar da Santa Casa da Misericórdia from Monchique.


Vila Real de Santo António PS says city council executive does not mass-test the population for lack of money

The Municipality of the Socialist Party of Vila Real de Stº António, says in a statement, that the mayor did not accept the proposal to test the population en masse, “because the municipality is plunged into debt, bankrupt and pledged for the next decades, a result of the executive PSD’s wasteful and ruinous management”.

Socialists criticize that the situation does not allow helping families and honouring urgent commitments, “the council is unable to invest in the health and well-being of its residents, in companies, schools and tourism, which remains stagnant”.

In the same communiqué, the PS regrets that the executive does not have the money to join a massive test of the population, as is happening in Castro Marim and in many municipalities at national level. He stresses that a large percentage of the active population of that municipality (Castro Marim) works in VRSA, “sharing the same territorial space, which can seriously jeopardize the effectiveness of the massive testing process they are undertaking”.

In a letter addressed to the mayor of the municipality, the party speaks of a “responsible and considered proposal, defended by specialists and those responsible for health at national level and that can be materialized in complete harmony with all health authorities at local and regional level”.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/ps-de-vila-real-de-santo-antonio-diz-que-executivo-camarario-nao-faz-testagem-em-massa-a-populacao-por-falta-de-dinheiro-/36867-82


Most infractions in the first month of the new motorhome law occurred in the Algarve

The National Republican Guard (GNR) detected 60 violations under the scope of environmental legislation, namely, by caravanning and occasional camping outside the indicated places, in the first month of the entry into force of the new legislation, the authority revealed to Lusa.

Between January 9th and February 9th, GNR imposed fines in the global amount of 3,540 euros, with the vast majority of violations detected in Faro (55), three in Odemira (district of Beja) and two in Moita (district of Setúbal).

The targets were from several countries, namely Luxembourg, Germany, France, England, Poland, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland and also Portugal, according to the GNR.

“With the recent legislative change, the GNR is carrying out awareness and inspection actions in a progressive way, through an adaptation to the new regulations, in conjunction with the local authorities”, pointed out the entity.


Lagos Local Housing Strategy for 399 households

The Lagos City Council approved the Local Housing Strategy, an instrument legally required for the purposes of applying for state financial support, provided for in the New Generation of Housing Policies under the 1st Law Program.

This program aims to ensure access to adequate housing for people living in precarious, unsanitary and insecure conditions, overcrowding or inadequacy, and who do not have the financial capacity to access an adequate housing solution.

The document presents the updated diagnosis of the housing needs of the municipality and the proposed housing solutions, which represent an investment of approximately 19.2 million euros, of which 18 million euros refer to solutions to be implemented by the municipality and 1.2 million euros intended for direct beneficiaries, that is, families with their own permanent housing but without economic conditions to carry out the necessary rehabilitation works.

Based on the housing requests registered in the City Council, the homeless population identified by the Social Network of Lagos and the survey of municipal housing in need of repairs, the diagnosis revealed that there was a universe of 399 households (corresponding to 851 people) living in unworthy conditions and, as such, eligible for support under the 1st Law Program.

The most significant needs are related to precarious situations related to homeless people, victims of domestic violence, families with eviction orders, lawsuits and situations of sharing or transferring housing with / from family and friends. 198 aggregates are in this condition.



Azores

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

Rabo de Peixe 

The ‘Rabo de Peixe’ Parish Council (JFRP) warned yesterday that the population of the village “is saturated” with restrictive measures aimed at combating Covid-19, the mayor’s office says that “they are killing us with the cure”.

Jaime Vieira says that the successive health fences have been affecting the population economically, socially and psychologically, creating problems that, “from now on, we will have to face and that I don’t know how we will control”.

“In a village with almost 10 thousand inhabitants, many are compliant with the restrictive measures imposed by the Regional Government, they have been confined for five consecutive weeks”.  “The economy of Rabo de Peixe is increasingly weak, there are businesses that have been closed since the beginning of the sanitary fence, on January15th, and that have no idea when they will open again”.

The population were expecting that a survey of the sanitary fence would be announced yesterday, in view of the reduction in the number of cases.   Also, there are multidisciplinary teams on the ground doing inspections and counselling in the most affected areas.

“Only 0.5% of the population of Rabo de Peixe is infected and the positive cases that are still appearing in small numbers are referred to as high-risk contacts”.

The cases are distributed within about of 20 houses, which means that, “with four multi-disciplinary teams on the ground, each could dedicate more attention to these houses, thus making inspection more effective”.

The President of the Board has no doubt that, “in addition to the multidisciplinary inspection and counselling teams on the streets, a reinforcement of policing in the areas most affected by the new coronavirus would be a deterrent and sufficient for the intended control”.

The municipality emphasises that, only with greater inspection targeting the most affected areas, it will be possible to stop contagions that have arisen mainly in the family context.


Vaccinations 

The Government of the Azores is investigating the Santa Casa da Misericórdia in Angra do Heroísmo, the similar unit in Lagoa and the previous board of directors of Hospital de Ponta Delgada on possible irregularities in the vaccination process.

The revelation was made this Friday by the Regional Secretary for Health and Sports, Clélio Meneses, during a hearing in the Parliamentary Committee on Social Affairs about the vaccination process in the region.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last three days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5622 tests was 35.  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.  To date, 332,308 tests and 2076 quick tests have been carried out in the region.

São Miguel registered the most cases with 29, the other islands with reported cases are Faial, with 1, and 4 on Pico. There has been a recorded case on Santa Maria.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 19 in total.  15 on the island of São Miguel, 3 on Terceira and 1 on Faial.

As of Tuesday, the 16th of February 2021 there are 7 hospitalised patients with 2 in the ICU.

Sadly, there have been 29 deaths due to the virus.

There are currently 93 active positive cases in the Region.

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 Wednesday 17th February 2021

Introduction

Good morning – We start with the good news concerning the continuing improvement in in all the key Covid-19 statistics.

The risk map published on Monday shows consistent signs of improvement. The number of new infections has fallen in 291 of the 308 municipalities and 119 counties are now at extremely high risk, a hundred less than a week ago. This is according to data from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) updated this Monday for the period between January 27th and February 9th. These figures are now  a week old  and with the continuing downward trend since then, the number of those municipalities in the high risk areas has almost certainly decreased further.

There can be no doubt that it is due to containment, reduction of movement and border restrictions. The very difficult challenge for the government is at what stage to relax measures, balancing the need to avoid any increase in cases but at the same time not prolonging more than necessary measures which clearly effect the economy and people livelihoods.

It was of interest therefore yesterday therefore that the Portuguese Foreign Minister told the British newspaper “Daily Telegraph” restrictions on travel between Portugal and the United Kingdom should be lifted before the summer, but should be maintained for a few more weeks.

He stated that “We hope that within weeks we will be able to overcome this situation and return to the normal connection between the UK and Portugal,” he said, adding that he hopes “to be able to re-establish the connection before the summer.”

Whereas this would be very good news for the tourist industry, measures would clearly need to be put in place to avoid spread of the disease from overseas, in particular the many variants that exist.

Related to this the idea of “vaccination passports” is being considered in some countries including the UK, India and Israel. However, on Monday the European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, stated that “the discussion on the certification of vaccines is still at a very early stage”, and should serve mainly as “proof that you have been vaccinated” and not as a travel passport. He added that it is not possible to “give special rights to some until the vaccine is available to everyone”, something that will hardly be achieved before the end of the year.

The idea of ​​creating a vaccination ‘passport’ that facilitates circulation in the European space without the need for a quarantine period is not ruled out, but you should not see the light of day at European level anytime soon. At least not in a concerted manner among the 27 Member States, since, unilaterally, countries like Sweden or Denmark have announced such initiatives.  We wait and see developments concerning this.

Again on travel, because of the frequent law changes and extension we have decided to create two separate website pages, one for Air Travel and the other for Land and Sea travel. The latter shows the various border crossing points between Portugal and Spain and their times of opening, as well as the restrictions in place. Our International Travel page still remains in place for more general matters on this topic. We regularly receive enquiries from overseas on this subject, as well as people returning to their home countries, so please make use of these pages.

Concerning Vaccinations the Government has started Phase 1 for the general public and to date, under Phase 1, over half a million vaccines have been administered. Under Phase 1 it is important that those over the age 50 with certain pathologies, who are registered under the SNS system with a 9 digit Numero de Utente (Health Number), but have been using a private doctor rather than the Centro de Saude, now contact your doctor. This is to ensure that a statement of any pathologies is uploaded by the doctor onto the SNS system, thus ensuring your eligibility and that you are contacted through SMS for your vaccination appointment.

Portugal has now administered over half a million vaccines. It is inevitable some will compare this with other countries, particularly with the UK where the rollout rate is much higher than Portugal at this point in time. In the European Union, vaccines are sent simultaneously to all Member States and the distribution of doses is proportional to the number of inhabitants in each country. Still, Member States are vaccinating at different speeds.

At the moment, Portugal is slightly above but has almost always been on par with the average of the 27 member states.

However, we see little point in making these comparisons, as the difference of whether or not we would have received a vaccine in another country compared with Portugal maybe just a few weeks apart. The most important point is the decrease in transmissions and the RT level, which in Portugal at present is 0.77, lower than some countries where a higher number of vaccines have been administered. Also bear in mind that in the vaccination rollout figures in some countries for first dose figures may be very high, second doses are much lower. For instance, in the UK whereas 23% of the population have received their first dose, only 1% have received their second.

Trying to compare will just make people more worried. The Portuguese Government has ensured the supply of the vaccines with 22 million ordered for the whole population and that is what is most important.

Have a Safe Day


Headlines

Vaccination update

The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, said yesterday that more than half a million vaccines for Covid-19 had already been administered by 1:00 pm on February 15th.

At a press conference to take stock of the vaccination program for Covid-19, in Lisbon, the Minister referred that “533 070 inoculations, about 333 thousand first doses and 200 thousand second doses» had been carried out”.

Marta Temido added that, at the moment, “the estimated vaccine coverage against Covid-19 is 2.02% of the resident population on the continent, which is equivalent to 5.40 doses of vaccines per 100 people”.

The plan for this week is, stressed the Minister, “the administration of 143 thousand doses of vaccines”, which will continue to affect people residing in residential structures for the elderly, who currently have a vaccination rate of 72%, as well as on health professionals, essential services and the population over 80 or over 50 and with associated comorbidities.

Marta Temido also pointed out that this week 27,500 second doses will be administered to complete vaccination cycles.

The Minister of Health also referred that Portugal received 694 800 doses of vaccines against Covid-19 up to February 12th, of which 42 900 had been sent to the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira.

The week will be marked by the arrival of more than 200 thousand doses and Marta Temido stressed that the last update of vaccines to be received in the first quarter of 2021 points to 2.5 million doses.


Covid-19 Situation

Yesterday’s Covid-19 statistics are as follows highlighting the various trends:

Confirmed Cases: 788.561 (+ 1502 / + 0.19 %)

Number of admitted: 4.482 (-350 /-7.24 %)

Number of ICU admitted: 752 (-32 /-4.08 %)

Deaths: 15.522 (+ 111 / + 0.72 %)

Recovered: 677.719 (+ 8865 / + 1.33 %)

Active cases: 95,320 (-7474 / – 7.2%)

The main trends from these figures are as follows:

– Deaths higher than yesterday but lowest since 11th January

– New cases – 3rd lowest since 13th October 2020 (4 months)

– Recovered cases nearly 5 times more than new cases

– Hospitalisation and ICU significant decreases

– Number of active cases lowest since 10th January, decreasing for 16th consecutive day and a 47.5% decrease since 31st January (in 15 days)

– Those under surveillance lowest since 11th January


Health

Covid-19: More than 183,000 people have used the online simulator on vaccination lists

More than 183 thousand people have used the SNS online simulator since Sunday to consult the vaccination lists against Covid-19, a process that has raised some difficulties, but which has been resolved, according to the president of SPMS.

“We are attentive to the errors that are appearing in the system, many have to do with the fact that it is a new tool, people are not familiar with it and do not always use it in the best conditions”, the President told the Lusa agency today from SPMS – Shared Services of the Ministry of Health, Luís Goes Pinheiro.

This official added that, “as far as possible”, they have tried to improve this tool and try to make it “less sensitive to operating errors”.

“The simulator is new and it is normal for people to want to use it very much” and “it has been used with great intensity”, underlined Luís Goes Pinheiro, adding that since Sunday it has been used by more than 183 thousand people, of whom about 21,000 took the opportunity to update their contacts on the portal.

There were also 323 users who indicated that they did not have an SNS (National Health Service) number, having left their data so that they could be worked on later.

According to Luís Goes Pinheiro, some reports of problems have come to the SPMS about the use of the simulator, “but in ever fewer numbers”.

“This means that, on the one hand, people are learning to deal with the tool and, on the other hand, we have also been trying to improve it since Sunday to make it the best possible and we will continue to do so,” he assured. .

In this regard, he announced that he requested ANAFRE – National Parish Association to disclose all information related to the simulator to the parish councils.

The objective, he explained, is “to support people who may experience more difficulties, or who are unable to use information systems at home, so that they can go to the parish councils and, with their support, use the simulator”.


Seven ministers have already been vaccinated, deputies start receiving the first dose today

The Prime Minister and seven more members of the Government have already received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. In the Parliament, some deputies start to be vaccinated this Tuesday, while others still await the contact of the health authorities, reports the Observer

These are the Minister of State and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Mariana Vieira da Silva, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, the Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, the Minister of Justice, Francisca Van Dunem, the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, the Minister of Infrastructure, Pedro Nuno Santos, and the Minister of the Environment, João Pedro Matos Fernandes. They all received – like the Prime Minister – the AstraZeneca vaccine, since they are under 65 years old.

However, only António Costa announced on social media that he took the first dose of the vaccine on Monday, reaffirming the goal of “70% of the adult population in Portugal to be vaccinated by the end of the summer”.

In the Parliament, some deputies begin this Tuesday to be vaccinated, while others still await the contact of the health authorities, according to the newspaper. Only Ferro Rodrigues and Edite Estrela were vaccinated on Friday at the Hospital das Forças Armadas, as President and Vice President of the Assembly of the Republic.


Vaccination passport? European Commissioner: “We cannot give special rights to some until the vaccine is available to everyone”

The European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, stated on Monday that “the discussion on the certification of vaccines is still at a very early stage”, and should serve mainly as “proof that you have been vaccinated” and not as a travel passport. Asked at a press conference that followed a Eurogroup meeting, the official explained that it is not possible to “give special rights to some until the vaccine is available to everyone”, something that will hardly be achieved before the end of the year.

The idea of ​​creating a vaccination ‘passport’ that facilitates circulation in the European space without the need for a quarantine period is not ruled out, but you should not see the light of day at European level anytime soon. At least not in a concerted manner among the 27 Member States, since, unilaterally, countries like Sweden or Denmark have announced such initiatives. The same is happening or being discussed in different formats in different countries around the world, such as Israel, India or the United Kingdom.

The issue has raised some ethical issues related to discrimination between citizens, but several voices in the European Union – including the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen – do not completely dismiss this hypothesis, as long as legal issues are resolved. Firstly, due to purely medical and public health needs, but also as a way of boosting the resumption of tourist activity and facilitating intra-community circulation.

The matter was discussed in the January 21st leaders’ videoconference. At the time, the heads of state and government agreed to work on a common certificate format for medical purposes, leaving the debate on other uses for later. For now, it is intended to support the interoperability of this type of certificates and to guarantee the standardisation and mutual recognition of vaccination certificates as medical documents. The possibility of global coordination through the World Health Organization is also accepted. However, the debate and the attempt at coordination are still ongoing and there is no date for a final consensus.

 


Portugal to receive 1.25 million vaccines from Johnson & Johnson in the second quarter

The President of the National Medicines Authority (Infarmed) announced that Portugal should receive in the second quarter of the year the first vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, a drug whose application for approval was submitted to the European regulator this Tuesday.

“By the time we are gathered here, the process must be formalised with the European Medicines Agency ” (EMA) of the vaccine produced by Janssen, said Rui Santos Ivo in the Eventual Commission for monitoring the application of measures to respond to the disease pandemic Covid-19 and the economic and social recovery process.

According to the Head of Infarmed, the new drug from Janssen (pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson) for single use now enters the final evaluation phase and, “if all goes well” with the evaluation of its safety and effectiveness, it is expected that be approved next month, with the first dose deliveries scheduled for the second quarter of this year.

At the end of January, the medical director at Janssen told Lusa that the commitment remained to make vaccines available in the European Union in the second quarter of this year, when Portugal will receive the first 1.25 million doses.

“The commitment to the European Union is the second quarter of 2021 and this commitment continues,” said Manuel Salavessa at the time, adding that the first 1.25 million vaccines of the American company against covid-19 are part of a 4.5 million lot that the country will receive throughout this year.


Testing

Graça Freitas: “It is estimated that approximately 100 thousand tests can be carried out daily”

The Director-General of Health, Graça Freitas, estimated, in an interview with the newspaper Público, that Portugal could reach the 100,000 daily tests of Covid-19.

“If we were able to maintain around 70,000 to 80,000 tests for two or three months, it would be good. The average was 51,000 in January and a little lower in February, 41,000” she said, adding that “it is estimated that around 100,000 tests can be carried out daily, whether for PCR or rapid antigen tests”.

This is a strategy, he said, to maintain “as long as it is considered relevant, depending on the evolution of the epidemic”.

On the issue of testing, the public health specialist recalled that “DGS has many consultants” and “one of the topics that is regularly revisited is testing”.

“We tested a lot of people in January. We reached a value that was around 77 thousand tests in one day. In our strategy, one of the proposals at this point is what can be called an opportunistic screening – a person goes to a health centre or health facility for some other reason and your doctor or nurse [can] ask you if you want to do a test. This will allow us to identify some positive cases, which will be few, but above all to understand what is going on under this low incidence. But we have the problem of false negatives, because if there is not enough viral load, a test can be negative”, he explained.


Covid-19: Occupancy rate of 75% in intensive care at the hospitals of the Centre

Public hospitals in the Centro region have a 75% occupancy rate in intensive care dedicated to the Covid-19, the Centre’s Regional Health Administration (ARS) source told Lusa.

“The occupancy rate in the Covid wards in the region’s hospitals is 72% and in the Covid ICU [Intensive Care Unit] is 75%” in the public hospitals in the area of ​​influence of the ARS Centro, reveals a press release.

The note added that, up until Monday at midnight, “1,029 people were hospitalised with Covid-19, 892 in the infirmary and 137 in the Intensive Care Unit, and of these, 85 ventilated”.

In the region, which includes public hospitals in the districts of Aveiro, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Guarda, Leiria and Viseu, ARS Centro recorded “17 deaths in a hospital setting”.

ARS registered 92 hospital admissions and 133 discharges, “130 from the infirmary Covid and three from the ICU Covid”, in all hospitals in the region.

In the rear support structures and in the social / private sector “49 Covid patients are hospitalized, six less than the previous day, in 110 active beds”, up until 00:00 today.


Rates of infection by municipality

Covid-19. Number of cases goes down in almost all municipalities but 245 maintain a very high risk

Four out of five municipalities are still painted red on the risk map. Even so, there are signs of improvement and, unlike what happened a week ago, there is no longer a municipality above 4 thousand new infections per 100 thousand inhabitants

The risk map for Covid-19 by municipality is still mostly painted red, but there are already consistent signs of improvement. The number of new infections has fallen in 291 of the 308 municipalities and 119 counties are now at extremely high risk, a hundred less than a week ago, according to data from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) updated this Monday. and for the period between January 27th and February 9th.

Although there was a decrease in the incidence in almost all municipalities in the country, in many cases this decrease only allowed the municipalities to move from the maximum level of the risk scale to the second highest level. And that means that they continue to have more than 480 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in two weeks, above what is already considered worrying by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

There are still 245 municipalities (80% of the total) above that level, although they are less than the 277 that were in the same situation a week ago.

Castanheira de Pêra (3596), Fronteira (3362), Castelo de Vide (3083) and São João da Pesqueira (3032) are the only four with an incidence above 3 thousand new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants between January 27 and 9 February. A week ago, there were 12 counties above this value and in the previous week they were almost double.

Among the few municipalities that have seen the number of new infections increase, is Castanheira de Pera, with the highest incidence in the country, Monchique and five municipalities in Madeira, such as Porto Moniz, Ponta do Sol, Funchal, Santana and Câmara de Lobos . Until recently, the region of Madeira was the only one where the average number of people that each infected population (Rt) was not below 1.

There are 63 counties with less than 480 new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants and with a downward trajectory. Celorico de Basto, Ponte de Sor, Vila Velha de Ródão and Portel managed to drop from the maximum level of risk to lower levels in a short time.


International Travel

United Kingdom willing to provide vaccination “certificates” for international travel

The British government is willing to provide vaccination “certificates” for international travel if required by other countries, but has ruled out domestic use, said today the secretary of state responsible for the Covid-19 immunization program, Nadhim Zahawi.

Some countries have started to demand a [vaccination] certificate, as we do now with (Covid-19) tests before travelling,” he explained, speaking to the British ITV TV station.

According to Zahawi, some countries only allow people to enter if they have some kind of certificate that proves that they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. “We will try to make it easier for the individual” to ask, he said.

Israel has announced in recent days that it has reached principle agreements with Greece and Cyprus to allow unrestricted movement of citizens vaccinated against the new coronavirus between their respective countries, while in Europe, Sweden and Denmark have already announced the creation of certificates of digital vaccinations for trips abroad, similar to Iceland.

Zahawi stressed, however, that so-called “vaccination passports” will not be used in the UK domestically to allow the current restrictions to be eased.


European economy

Portugal was the fourth country in the Eurozone that grew the most in the fourth quarter

In a quarter when the economy in the Eurozone contracted 0.6% compared to the previous three months, Portugal’s GDP was the fourth to recover most. However, in the year-on-year comparison, the Portuguese economy recorded the weakest performances, indicating that it is far from recovering from pre-pandemic levels.

The 0.4% chain growth of the Portuguese economy in the fourth quarter of 2020 was the fourth highest among Eurozone countries that have already presented data.

According to the report published this Tuesday by Eurostat, Spain matched the growth of Portugal and best only Cyprus, Lithuania and Latvia.

The Eurozone, on the other hand, registered a 0.6% contraction compared to the previous three months, even better than that announced in the first estimate (-0.7%).

Among the major economies, and at a time when several countries have not yet reported their fourth quarter GDP, only Germany has managed to grow. The largest European economy advanced 0.1% in the fourth quarter, while France contracted 1.3% and Italy retreated 2%.

Extending the analysis to the entire European Union, there are more countries with growth above Portugal, such as Romania (5.3%), Bulgaria (2.2%), Hungary (1.1%), Denmark (0.6%) and Sweden (0.5%).


Eurostat: Eurozone GDP falls 6.8% and EU 6.4% in 2020

It is the first estimate of the annual growth rate for 2020, based on seasonally adjusted and calendar quarterly data. Employment rate increased

The eurozone economy retreated 6.8% in 2020 and that of the European Union (EU) slowed 6.4%, with the employment rate increasing in both, according to a quick estimate advanced by Eurostat this Tuesday.

According to a first estimate of the annual growth rate for 2020, based on seasonally adjusted and calendared quarterly data, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell 6.8% in the euro area and 6.4% in the EU.

The EU statistical office further estimates that employment growth in 2020 was 1.8% in the euro area and 1.6% in the EU, based on quarterly data


Other News

Digital transition of schools foresees 260 thousand more computers

Government assumes an investment of € 559 ​​million to acquire 260 thousand computers for individual use, intended for students and teachers.

Portugal’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) provides for the purchase of 260 thousand computers for students and teachers, in the context of the modernisation of the digital school, which will have a total investment of 500 million euros.

The objective of the digital transition in schools is “to create conditions for educational and pedagogical innovation through the development of skills in digital technologies, their transversal integration in the different curricular areas and the modernization of the Portuguese educational system”, says the PRR, today placed in public consultation.

To this end, the Government reserves a total investment of 559 million euros, 500 million of which for the continent and is the responsibility of the General Secretariat for Education and Science that will allow the purchase of 260 thousand computers for individual use, intended for students and teachers.

The amount is also intended for the purchase of 15 thousand pieces of equipment suitable for the administrative needs of schools and for the expansion of internet connectivity of the Extended Education Network.

The creation of more than a thousand laboratories for Digital Education and the installation of projection equipment in 43,000 classrooms is also planned.

In addition to the amount expected for the continent, 21 million euros are earmarked for digitizing Education in Madeira and 38 million for the Azores.



Region Reports

Madeira

Madeira Situation Report, Wednesday 17th February, by our Special Correspondent

Covid-19 update

There were 296 new Covid-19 cases, 388 recoveries and no deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. This is the first time in several weeks that no deaths have been reported on this bi-weekly situation report, which highlights the improving Covid-19 situation in the archipelago.

On Saturday, there were 85 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 115 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 49, 1 of whom was in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 60 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passengers who had arrived from Spain, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 58 cases of local transmission) and 58 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital was still 49, although the number of patients in intensive care increased to 4. On the same day, it was announced that the 2 patients who had been airlifted from Lisbon at the end of January have recovered from Covid-19, and have been moved into a non-Covid-19 ward.

On Monday, there were 72 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission) and 109 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 45, 4 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 79 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from Poland and 78 cases of local transmission) and 106 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital increased to 50, 3 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 1,568 active cases, of which 33 had been imported while the other 1,535 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Tuesday, there had been 6,549 cases, 4,919 recoveries and 62 deaths.

On Tuesday, there were 35 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,483 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 50 patients in Covid-19 units, 3 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 164 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, to referrals by SESARAM (Madeira Regional Health Service) and to airport screening. As of Tuesday, there had been 8,009 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

At the moment, 3,940 travellers are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,720 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, 160,217 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 18h00). By Tuesday, 293,864 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 660 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 38,441 calls.

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 received 37 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 2,882 calls.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118737/Covid-19_Madeira_tem_hoje_85_novas_infecoes_e_115_recuperados

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118739/Covid-19_49_estao_hospitalizados_na_Madeira

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/14/60-novos-casos-de-covid-19-277-suspeitos-58-recuperados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/15/72-novos-casos-de-covid-19-109-recuperados-300-suspeitos/


Vaccination update

On Saturday evening, 5,850 Pfizer vaccine doses arrived in Madeira on a TAP flight. They were kept in the airport until Monday, when they were transported to Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça.

The vaccination plan for the elderly (aged 80 or more and aged 75-79 who have pathologies) was announced by the Regional Health and Civil Protection Secretariat. There are more than 11,000 people in the archipelago who are older than 80 year old.

Yesterday, vaccination took place at the health centre in Calheta. Today, it will be the turn of those who are resident at the health centres in municipalities of São Vicente and Porto Moniz

On Thursday, it will be the turn of those who are resident in the municipalities of Santana and Santa Cruz. The vaccination in Santana will take place at Casa da Cultura de Santana while the vaccination in Santa Cruz will take place at Pavilhão da Escola Básica e Secundária de Santa Cruz. Those entitled to be vaccinated have already been contacted.

Vaccination in the municipality of Funchal will take place on February 20th and 21st at Madeira Tecnopolo.

Further information can be obtained by contacting the Covid-19 vaccination helpline (800 210 263) or by email (vacinacao@sesaram.pt).

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118809/_Covid-19_5850_vacinas_que_chegaram_ontem_a_Madeira_transportadas_amanha_para_o_hospital_

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118959/Consulte_o_programa_de_vacinacao_contra_a_covid-19_na_Madeira_para_idosos

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118969/Calheta_idosos_recebem_hoje_vacina_contra_a_covid-19

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118970/Porto_Moniz_e_Sao_Vicente_idosos_vacinados_esta_quarta-feira_contra_a_covid-19

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118972/Santana_e_Santa_Cruz_vacinacao_de_idosos_a_18_de_fevereiro

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118977/Funchal_vacinacao_contra_a_covid-19_prossegue_no_Tecnopolo_a_20_e_21_de_fevereiro


Covid-19 testing capacity

The Regional Health and Civil Protection Secretariat published a press statement on testing capacity in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. It said testing capacity is integrated on a regional strategy that is focused on containing and preventing Covid-19. This capacity has been increasing and has addressed, in a timely and safe manner, countless issues that had come up. The data suggests the testing capacity in the Region is 115,071.5 tests per 100,000 inhabitants. In contrast, the testing capacity on a national level is 75,435 tests per 100,000 inhabitants.

There were weeks when on average less than 1,000 tests were carried out per day, while there were other weeks when on average 1,500 or 2,000 tests were carried out per day. During Christmas week, an average of more than 3,000 tests were carried out per day. This was due to reasons such as airport screening on passengers, which represent nearly 50% of all tests carried out so far.

The decrease in tests carried out is due to a fall in the number of passengers flying into Madeira. On the other hand, more than 23,000 antigen rapid tests have been carried out since January 1st to address outbreaks and to detect cases in places such as institutions, schools, fire stations and prisons.

Crucially, more than 56,000 tests have been carried out in laboratories in the Portuguese mainland on passengers who had been due to fly to the Region. This scheme enabled the detection of 460 Covid-19 cases, which means such passengers ended up not flying into the Region.

According to the Secretariat, testing capacity in the Region is “confident, dynamic and proactive”. The press statement also explained that random testing is not beneficial to the population and that testing must only take place according to epidemiological and scientific criteria.


British tourist undergoing cancer treatment “stranded” in Madeira

Michael Thomas has been undergoing treatment for stage four incurable cancer. He travelled to Madeira in December for a 10-day holiday with his wife and 14-year old daughter. After the number of Covid-19 cases increased in the UK, British Airways cancelled their return flight and rescheduled it for early January. This and other replacement flights also ended up being cancelled As a result, they moved into an apartment in Madeira and Michael began chemotherapy in Madeira. Michael has been advised by his GP and oncologist that it would be dangerous for him to return to the UK and to stay in a quarantine for 10 days. This is because he requires a special diet and access to medical supplies and support. He also fears contracting Covid-10 from another guest or from a member of staff. Additionally, he is unable to access the Covid-19 vaccine he was offered in London and is also unable to get one in Madeira.

More details on this story can be read on:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/17/uk-quarantine-hotels-a-death-sentence-for-at-risk-britons-says-cancer-patient


Water supply disruption

There will be a water supply disruption on February 17th and 18th, from 12h00 to 17h00. The following areas will be affected: Rua dos Frias, Travessa dos Frias and 2ª Travessa dos Frias.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/15/cmf-avisa-para-corte-de-agua-na-freguesia-de-sao-pedro-funchal/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report, Wednesday 17th February 2021

Municipality of Vila Real de Santo António provides Youth Support Line

The Municipal Council of Vila Real de Santo Antonio will launch the line “Question, which we answer”, a resource that aims to provide support and information to the young people of the municipality.

In a press release, the municipality says that the service will allow, for example, young people to get help to develop a curriculum, to know the mechanisms for access to youth leasing or to know the requirements for applying to higher education.

Going to meet the platforms used by young people, Valencia will be available through WhatsApp (911 006 978) or through an electronic form, accessible at www.cm-vrsa.pt, where all doubts and questions can be raised.

The line will be promoted by the Division of Education, Youth and Health of the Municipality of VRSA and is one of ten activities aimed at young people in the municipality, which are being prepared for the year 2021, and which focus on areas such as artistic expression, urban art, sport, professional training or volunteering, highlights the municipality.

Taking into account the current pandemic situation, the chamber notes that many of these actions will only be implemented as soon as the health authorities allow.

In parallel, the municipality is also organizing the Youth Forum, a project that aims to debate ideas and exchange opinions on themes and issues identified by young people, which will be promoted – in this pandemic phase – through digital platforms.

The theme of the first forum will be chosen through online voting, soon to be posted on the social networks of the Vila Real de Santo António City Council.


Covid-19: 114 users and employees of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia of São Brás de Alportel were vaccinated.

In compliance with the National Vaccination Plan against Covid-19, 114 users and employees of Santa Casa da Misericórdia of São Brás de Alportel received this Monday, the first dose of the vaccine.

According to the municipality, the vaccination took place at the premises of Santa Casa da Misericórdia and was administered by professionals from the Algarve Regional Health Administration.

The municipality recalls that 24 firefighters from the Voluntary Firefighters Corporation and all users and employees of the São Brás House of Health and Rest are already vaccinated with the first dose of vaccination.

Regarding the next steps, namely the extension of vaccination to seniors and the population, the municipality has already made available to the health entities in the region all its spaces, logistics and human resources, if they can be useful in this operation.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/covid19-114-utentes-e-funcionarios-da-santa-casa-da-misericordia-de-sao-bras-de-alportel-foram-vacinados-/36808-1


New Cardiology Service at the Hospital and University Centre of the Algarve (CHUA) after requalification works at the Hospital Unit in Faro.

The inauguration of the rehabilitation works of the Cardiology Service at the Faro Hospital Unit of the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA) takes place today, Wednesday, February 17th, at 11 am.

The works allowed the expansion of the Electrophysiology area and the creation of an Echocardiography Room and a Recovery Room, next to the Coronary Unit, with the objective of supporting these two areas. In terms of comfort and improvement of facilities, the general intervention in the entire service also covered the painting of spaces, replacement of ceilings, lighting and electrical installation, modernization of patient call systems and fire detection, air conditioning installation in corridor and replacement of the floor, in a total remodelling area of ​​780 square meters.

As explained by the Clinical Director, Horácio Guerreiro, “with these works, the global logistics of the service have improved, especially the functionality in the areas of Hemodynamics and Electrophysiology, therefore in the intervention procedures, where the service, traditionally, is very strong. It can be said that it is a work that increases the safety and comfort conditions of users and professionals who work there “.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 17th February 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 4,027 tests was 14.  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 12, the other islands with reported cases are Terceira, with 1, and 1 on Pico.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 62 in total.  49 on the island of São Miguel, 9 on Terceira and 3 on São Jorge.

As of Tuesday, the 16th of February 2021 there are 10 hospitalised patients with 3 in the ICU.

Sadly, there have been 29 deaths due to the virus.

There are currently 77 active positive cases in the Region.

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 13th February 2021

Introduction

When the new extension of the State of Emergency was announced by the Prime Minister on Thursday evening, it came as little surprise that the confinement would continue, perhaps through March.

It is clear that these existing measures, the latest border restrictions and the closure of schools has reduced the movement of people and therefore the risk of transmission. In fact, the latest figures show RT [transmissibility ratio] of 0.77. If this is maintained therefore the number of new infections will continue to decrease, thereby placing less pressure on the health service.

In the weekly indicators on the pandemic, the National Statistics Institute (INE) registered on Wednesday a total of 29,511 cases accumulated in the previous seven days, corresponding to 4216 new cases on average per day, “the lowest level since December 31st 2020 “.

Yesterday again, there was good news concerning the daily Covid-19 figures, namely that: deaths were the second lowest since 14th January and third less than 200; a large number of recoveries similar to Wednesday; new cases second lowest since 28th December; number of active cases lowest since 13th January and a 27.5% drop since 31st January; those under surveillance lowest since 15th January; Largest one day decrease in hospitalisations and a decrease by 1639 in 11 days. However, against this there was a slight increase in ICU’s

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Health have both emphasised that, despite the reductions we have seen over the last week or so, the numbers in hospital and ICU remain unacceptably high. The vaccination program has also suffered a setback due to the shortfall of vaccines produced by the manufacturers and this will be factor that the Government has to consider as well in determining when to lift the current restrictions in place. 

The situation is also more complicated than previously, as there are a number of different variants of the coronavirus in circulation and these behave in different ways, so the task facing the health services has become far more complex.  

António Costa made it clear that we must maintain the current level of confinement safely for the next 15 days and very realistically we will probably have to maintain it even during the month of March. He made an important point by saying that “in the same way that we should be pleased that the measures are producing good results, no-one should take them as sufficient reason to lighten the measures. We must maintain this effort”.

In other words ,as he said last year, we cannot take our foot off the brake at this stage, and undo what has been gained recently. This is indeed a lesson that needs to be learned, and we start today’s report with a very interesting interview of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, who admits the Government’s responsibilities in the aggravation of the Covid-19 pandemic in Portugal, in January, for the relaxation of measures at Christmas.

The new State of Emergency law comes into effect midnight Sunday 14th/ Monday 15th February and extends for 15 days until 23:59 hrs 1st March 2021. It was very clear from the Council of Ministers Communique that the measures remain the same, except the sale of books and school supplies is now permitted in retail establishments that are already in operation. 

The Decree 3-E/2021 was published last night and confirms the only change from the existing State of Emergency is that books and school materials, must remain available to students and citizens in general in supermarkets.   

Following news on Thursday that vaccinations of volunteer firefighters had begun, yesterday it was announced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs that in the next three weeks, 10,000 GNR personnel and 10,000 PSP agents will be vaccinated. The vaccinations start today. 

Lastly, please be aware of a warning by The Regional Command of the Madeira Public Security Police (PSP Madeira), which is also applicable to mainland Portugal.  They have warned the elderly that usually ‘well-dressed’ individuals, who often falsely identify themselves as doctors (médicos in Portuguese) or state officials/civil servants (funcionários do Estado/funcionários públicos in Portuguese) charged with carrying out statistical surveys for the creation of Covid-19 vaccination lists, will attempt to scam the elderly.

These individuals may ask for payments in cash for the vaccine and may falsely diagnose other illnesses, so as to extort more money. If you are approached it is important that a report is made to the GNR or PSP with as many details as possible.

Please remember that the ban on travelling between municipalities remains in place between 8pm Fridays and 5am Mondays’ except where permitted. These measures and others remain the same and are in force under the State of Emergency extension until 1st March 23:59 hrs.

We do not know what measures will be in place beyond this date.

Have a Safe weekend.                                                 


Headlines

European Commission warns against “fraudulent vaccines”

The European Commission warned this Friday of the risk of the purchase of “fraudulent vaccines” by the Member States, after reports that the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has offered vaccines to the Czech Republic and three other Member States of the European Union (EU).

“Everyone should be extremely cautious when it comes to vaccines, because it is a matter of injecting an active substance into the human body. Therefore, one must be 100% sure that the channels used to buy vaccines are completely transparent and legitimate, “said the spokesman for the European Commission , Eric Mamer , during the daily press conference of the Community executive.

Mamer thus led a news item published on Friday by the Euractiv news portal, which cited statements by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis that the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca had proposed a parallel purchase of vaccines to his government.

In the article, Babis stated that, “while AstraZeneca refused to deliver 80 million doses to the EU “, the Czech Republic and three other EU member states “received recurrent offers of this vaccine” through an “intermediary in Dubai “.

“Believe me, we would definitely have used this opportunity if it had been realistic. But we don’t have that money. And, of course, we have European agreements and we have to respect them,” said Babis according to Euractiv.

Asked about these statements, the Commission spokesman stressed that the process of joint purchase of vaccines made by the community executive serves to guarantee the transparency of vaccines, and said that “whatever is outside this channel”, must be “analysed with great caution “.


We thought there were conditions to facilitate it.” Government admits responsibilities at the peak of the pandemic

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, admits the Government’s responsibilities in the aggravation of the Covid-19 pandemic in Portugal, in January, for the relaxation of measures at Christmas.

In an interview with CNN International’s ‘Connect the World with Becky Anderson’ program, Santos Silva said he believed the strain of the new coronavirus initially detected in the UK was the main factor behind the peak of new contagion cases in Portugal in January.

However, the Foreign Minister acknowledged that the relaxation of measures to combat the pandemic at Christmas may also have contributed to the serious situation of the health crisis in Portugal.

When the journalist asked Santos Silva if the easing of containment measures at Christmas and New Year were behind the peak of contagions and deaths in January, the minister corrected it and recalled that the easing of restrictions only happened during the period Christmas, “when people were able to go and visit the family”.

Santos Silva attributed the worsening of the pandemic situation to the appearance in Portugal of the new strain initially detected in the United Kingdom, which “represents about half of the new cases” in the territory, rather than the relaxation of the measures.

“At the time, we thought there were conditions to make it easier. But in fact, we believe that the new UK variant was the main reason,” added Santos Silva.


Covid-19

On Friday, Portugal registers another 148 deaths and 2,854 new cases of Covid-19, according to the daily balance sheet of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

Today’s data also reveals that more than 7,617 people recovered, bringing the number to 652,739 since the beginning of the pandemic in Portugal.

Taking into account the number of new cases, deaths and recoveries there are now 113,450 active cases down 4,912 from Thursday.

As for hospital admissions  the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 5,230 people are admitted to the infirmary, 340 less than the previous day – the biggest drop in the number of hospitalisations since the beginning of the pandemic – and 846 in intensive care , 10 more compared to yesterday .

The biggest reduction in the number of hospitalised patients until today was registered on February 9th, when the bulletin reported that 274 people were hospitalised.

Health authorities have 149,651 contacts under surveillance, down 5,647 from yesterday.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has accounted for a total of 15,034 deaths and 781,223 cases of infection by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus,


Health

Covid-19: Marcelo received yesterday the first dose of the vaccine

President of the Republic was vaccinated at the Hospital das Forças Armadas, in Lisbon.

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, “today received the first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19, at the Hospital das Forças Armadas, in Lisbon”, advances the Presidency of the Republic, in a statement.

The Head of State and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces “should receive the second dose even before taking office on March 9th”, adds Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s office.


Minister of Health ensures that vaccination in community pharmacies has always been on the horizon

The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, assured today that the eventual expansion of vaccination against Covid-19 to community pharmacies was “always” among the options of the ‘taskforce’ process, but admitted “unknowns” in relation to the long term. He also said that private laboratories will respond to an increase in testing for Covid-19.

“The issue of vaccination in community pharmacies is a hypothesis that has always been present on the horizons of all member states at a time later in the vaccination process. We still have many unknowns as to what will be the long-term development of this process, but it is of course, an expansion hypothesis that, as in other vaccines, we will have to keep in mind and we will consider if possible in terms of storage and the availability of partners ”, he said.

During a visit to the Joint Command for Military Operations, where the support group for the coordinator of the ‘taskforce’ of the National Vaccination Plan against Covid-19, Vice Admiral Gouveia e Melo, in Oeiras, is installed, the Minister avoided committing herself with a position in relation to vaccines developed in China and Russia and a hypothetical inclusion in the batch contracted at European level.

“It is a dossier that is being conducted by the European Commission and it is up to us, as the Presidency [of the European Union], to support the work of the Commission and monitor the work of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), of our national regulators. Infarmed is in the support group for the Commission for the vaccine process and that’s where we have the technical discussions”, she stressed.


Covid-19. Director of intensive medicine of S. João defends confinement until March 21st.

Speaking to the Lusa agency, José Artur Paiva defended that “the deflation cannot occur before two months of confinement”

The Director of intensive care service at Hospital de São João, Porto, defended today to maintain the confinement until March 21st, a measure accompanied by “robust” testing, suggesting 50 times more tests than the diagnosed cases.

Speaking to the Lusa agency, José Artur Paiva defended that “deflation cannot occur before two months of confinement”, counted from what he calls “real confinement”, that is, since January 21st, when the closure was announced schools to curb the contagion of Covid-19.

“I would say that the deflation must not start before March 21st,” he stressed.

Revealing that he “very much” appreciated the positions of the epidemiologist Manuel Carmo Gomes at the Infarmed meeting on Tuesday, when the professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon criticized the Government in his last participation in this meeting of experts, José Artur Paiva reaffirmed the conviction that measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic must be taken “based on forecasts and not on evidence”.

“We have to be one step ahead of the pandemic. And these criteria cannot be just related to viral transmission,” he said.

The President of the College of Intensive Care Medicine of the Ordem dos Médicos defends the combination of three criteria before deciding: reduction of viral transmission, relief of the overload of the hospital system and robust public health measures.

“We have to be on a sustained basis with less than 2000 cases per day. We have to have Wednesdays and Thursdays [most prevalent days] below 2000 [cases for] weeks in a row and an RT [transmissibility ratio] below 0.8, sustained too. And a test positivity rate of less than 5% “, he described.


Marta Temido says private companies are able to increase testing capacity

The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, said this Friday that private laboratories will respond to an increase in testing for Covid-19, complying with the update of the norm of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) about testing risk contacts.

“We have the private laboratory network, with whom we have already contacted and in which we all need, more than ever, to put ourselves at the disposal of the country in this turning point and we know that there is also the capacity to significantly increase, both in tests of classic method, or in rapid antigen tests and availability for new methodologies “, he said.

In statements made on the sidelines of a visit to the Joint Command for Military Operations, where the support group for the task force coordinator of the National Vaccination Plan against Covid-19, Vice Admiral Gouveia e Melo, in Oeiras, is based, the Minister of Health highlighted the importance of revising the standard in relation to tracking contacts and the impact it can have in combating the pandemic at this stage.

“Among the various updated aspects, we have the answer to what the Ministry of Health had asked to be technically evaluated and that other voices also underlined this need, which is a more widespread use of laboratory tests, whether PCR tests or rapid antigen tests, in tracking contacts”, she said.

Marta Temido also pointed out that, “regardless of the level of risk, the determination is that all people should be referred for testing”, whether they are high or low risk contacts with an infected person.

“Then, [there will also be] another intensification of screening in certain environments at a stage that we are entering – in which we are beginning to see a decrease in incidence:,counteracting what is the lowest demand for an expansionary movement in the offer of detection of cases in the community, “he added.


Failure in deliveries leaves over a million Portuguese without vaccine by the end of March

Initial target cannot be met due to lack of vaccines. Mass inoculation is expected to be concentrated in the three summer months, during which eight million doses of the vaccine against Covid-19 may be administered, which will hamper government work.

The failure to deliver vaccines against Covid-19 will delay the vaccination of another million Portuguese, whose inoculation was initially scheduled bythe end of March. The Prime Minister, António Costa, informed this Thursday in a press conference that it was contracted to deliver 4.4 million vaccines against the new coronavirus in the first quarter, but that Portugal will only receive 1,980,000 during that period. As two doses of each of the three vaccines currently authorised are required (BioNTech / Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca/Oxford), this will only allow one million people to be vaccinated in full.

In the announcement of the vaccination plan, made at the beginning of last December, it was stated that in the first three months of the year it was planned to deliver more than four million doses, which would allow more than two million people to be inoculated in Portugal by the end March. 

However, two weeks later, the then coordinator of the task force created by the Government to manage the vaccination plan, Francisco Ramos, admitted in an interview to the PUBLIC that “the doses that we would receive in the first quarter would hardly exceed 2.5 million. And even that, it is an optimistic scenario, which implies that the approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine occurs very quickly. It will most likely be less than that, surely a million and a half, between the Pfizer vaccine and that of the Modern”, said Francisco Ramos.

At the end of January, when it presented the balance of the first month of vaccination, the taskforce estimated to receive 2.2 million doses by the end of the first quarter, which would allow it to vaccinate with both doses 811 thousand people and another 520 thousand with only one. The real number should not reach that much, since, comparing these data with those made available this Thursday by António Costa, 234 thousand fewer doses will arrive in Portugal than was predicted 15 days ago.

Most of the vaccines administered in the first quarter will be from BioNTech / Pfizer (close to 1.3 million), with the arrival of 227 thousand doses of Moderna, according to the balance of the task force made on 28 January. The rest must be from AstraZeneca/Oxford, which was only authorised by the European Medicines Agency on the day following the balance of the first month of vaccination and whose first batch, comprising 43,200 vaccines, arrived last Sunday. As of this Wednesday, according to official data from the Directorate-General for Health, 415,283 vaccines against Covid-19 had been administered, with more than 116,000 people receiving both doses and close to 300,000 only one dose.


Schools

Covid-19. Exams postponed to July and September

The Minister of Education, in an interview with Rádio Renascença’s As Três da Manhã program, announced that the interruption of 15 days of teaching activity in January ‘pushed’ the school calendar backwards. There are two assessment tests that will not be carried out and the exams will be carried out in July and September.

Tiago Brandão Rodrigues announced this Friday that, due to the mandatory 15-day break in January, one of the measures taken by the Government to halt the growth of pandemic numbers in Portugal, the exams will be postponed following the new school calendar.

“As at the end of the year we will have another week of classes, the school calendar has moved forward and we will have a first phase of examinations to take place in July, instead of in June, and a second phase of examinations to take place, in September, instead of happening in July, as it traditionally does, “explained the Minister of Education in an interview with Rádio Renascença’s As Três da Manhã program.

Still in the same program, the government official also announced that the Physical Education and Artistic Expressions tests, scheduled to take place between May 3rd and 11th, for 2nd year students, were cancelled.

“Specifically, the Physical Education and Artistic Expressions tests, these yes, it was decided not to take place at this time, also because they were going to take place in May, they are the ones that take place closer to the moment where we are, and also by sharing of elements and for all the issues that we know “, he affirmed, assuming that it is” too early “to make decisions in relation to other disciplines.

At this moment, according to the calendar of external evaluations for the current academic year, the tests foreseen for the 5th and 8th year students, who between 17th and 26th May must carry out the oral interaction tests of English.


Enforcement

PSP identified and fined participants in an event at the Lapo restaurant, in Lisbon

The restaurant ‘Lapo’ in downtown Lisbon, which refused to close on January 15th, in the middle of a State of Emergency, broadcast this Thursday a direct posting on the social network Facebook, in which a group of people appears without physical distance or mask.

In the images you can see dozens of people with glasses of wine in hand in a festive environment, violating the restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19.

“My friends, resistance is necessary. Open your business. Freedom is not asked for, it is exercised”, says the owner while listening to Zeca Afonso’s Grândola Vila Morena, inside the restaurant. The people inside are waving, without a mask or physical distance. At least one child is seen in the middle of the group.

The PSP raised 13 cases of administrative offence to participants in this illegal event that took place on Thursday night at the restaurant “Lapo”, in Bairro Alto, in Lisbon, today announced that police force.

In a note, PSP revealed that the participants in the event were identified “for participation to the competent authorities”, at 10 pm on Thursday, when they left the building where the restaurant “‘Lapo’, which was closed” is located.

The 13 administrative infraction notices were issued based on the “violation of the general duty of obligatory collection” by citizens.


International assistance

Covid-19. After German aid, clinical teams from Luxembourg and France arrive in Portugal

First they were German health professionals and now they will be doctors and nurses from Luxembourg and France to help their Portuguese colleagues. Portugal accepted help from these two countries and is preparing to receive clinical teams in two hospitals of the National Health Service.

The Luxembourg team consists of two doctors and two nurses and will support the Intensive Care Service of Hospital do Espírito Santo, in Évora. A doctor and three nursing professionals will also arrive from France to work at Hospital Garcia de Orta, in Almada.

The information was released in the late afternoon of Thursday by the Ministry of Health. “This assistance constitutes an important support for two hospitals that have been experiencing high pressure in terms of Intensive Care. Both teams must arrive in the week of February 15th, with a stay of 15 days. ”



Region Reports

Madeira 

Madeira Situation Report Saturday 13th February, by our special correspondent

Covid-19 update

There were 279 new Covid-19 cases, 371 recoveries and 5 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. Only 5 cases were from people who had arrived from outside the Region. This also reflects border restrictions and the consequent reduction of the number of flights.

On Wednesday, there were 82 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Northern Portugal Region and 79 cases of local transmission), 131 recoveries and 3 deaths. Three male patients (aged 82, 85 and 92), who allegedly had pre-existing conditions, died from Covid-19 at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The number of patients in hospital increased to 66, 7 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 86 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from Poland, 1 passenger who had arrived from France and 83 cases of local transmission) and 151 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 57, 3 of whom were in intensive care. As for the patients who had been airlifted from Lisbon at the end of January, 1 remains in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit while 1 remains in the regular Covid-19 unit.

And on Friday, there were 111 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission), 89 recoveries and 2 deaths. Two patients, aged 36 and 80, who had pre-existing conditions died from Covid-19 at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 57, 3 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 1,660 active cases, of which 46 had been imported while the other 1,614 cases had been a result of local transmission. As for the patients who had been airlifted from Lisbon at the end of January, 1 remains in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit while 1 remains in the regular Covid-19 unit. As of Friday, there had been 6,253 cases, 4,531 recoveries and 62 deaths. 

On Friday, there were 52 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,551 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 57 patients in Covid-19 units, 3 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 222 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 7,713 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

At the moment, 3,782 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,683 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, 159,144 samples had been collected until Friday (at 19h00). By Friday, 289,927 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 600 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 37,781 calls.

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 received 35 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has received 3,845 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/10/82-novos-casos-de-covid-19-mais-223-suspeitos-131-recuperados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/10/tres-mortos-ontem-tres-mortos-hoje-com-covid-19-no-hospital/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/11/86-novos-casos-de-covid-19-280-novos-suspeitos-151-recuperados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/12/111-novos-casos-de-covid-19-222-novos-suspeitos-89-recuperados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/12/doente-de-36-anos-com-comorbilidades-e-a-61-a-vitima-de-covid-19-na-madeira/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/12/mais-um-morto-com-coronavirus-no-hospital-dr-nelio-mendonca/


Vaccination update

As of Friday, 14,124 vaccine doses have been administered in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, of which 9,603 were the first dose and 4,521 were the second dose. Herberto Jesus (Regional Health Director) also revealed that 170 healthcare professionals from SESARAM (Madeira Health Service), out of 5,900 professionals, refused to be vaccinated, mostly for health reasons such as allergies. Despite this, he made it clear this represents a “minimal number” and reinforced that if 70%-80% of the population is immunised, those who were not vaccinated “will also be protected”. Nevertheless, he stressed that everybody must continue to protect themselves.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118652/Mega_operacao_de_vacinacao_na_RAM_ja_ultrapassa_os_14_mil_utentes

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118660/Os_170_profissionais_do_SESARAM_que_nao_levaram_as_vacinas_tem_doencas_associadas


More Covid-19 testing on Madeira Legislative Assembly legislators

The Madeira Legislative Assembly (Madeira’s regional parliament) informed that PCR tests carried out on 14 legislators came back negative for Covid-19. The President of the Legislative Assembly (José Manuel Rodrigues) and its Vice-President had also tested negative on Tuesday. On Wednesday, an additional 13 antigen rapid tests were carried out on members of staff and journalists, thus bringing to an end the first operation to prevent the risk of transmission, which had started on Monday. Overall, 111 antigen rapid tests were carried out this week on legislators, members of staff and journalists. All tests came back negative and more antigen rapid tests will be carried out every 15 days, until the pandemic is brought under control. A reminder that as a result of a Covid-19 infection on a Madeira Legislative Assembly legislator, 15 legislators and its President went into prophylactic isolation. 

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/12/testes-pcr-a-14-deputados-confirmam-negativo-a-covid-19/


Police warning on vaccination scam

The Regional Command of the Madeira Public Security Police (Comando Regional da Polícia de Segurança Pública da Madeira – PSP Madeira) warned the elderly that usually well-dressed individuals, who often identify themselves as doctors (médicos in Portuguese) or state officials/civil servants (funcionários do Estado/funcionários públicos in Portuguese) charged with carrying out statistical surveys for the creation of Covid-19 vaccination lists, will attempt to scam the elderly.

These individuals may ask for payments in cash for the vaccine and may falsely diagnose other illnesses so as to extort more money.

If faced with such situations, the citizens are advised not to provide any money. Instead, they are advised to contact the local PSP branch or even to call 112 (national emergency number), to enable the security forces to act quickly to intercept, identify and charge the suspects.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/12/psp-avisa-idosos-para-possiveis-burlas-por-causa-das-vacinas/


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 February – 09h00 to 10h00

– Caminho do Terço (numbers 66 to 103)

– Rua Nova do Pomar

– Beco do Pomar

– Beco do Transval

– Travessa do Pomar

– Vereda do Camacho

15th February – 10h30 to 11h30

– Caminho de Ferro do Monte (number 147)

– Caminho do Monte (numbers 129, 131, 133 and 180)

– Caminho da Babosas (number 5)

18th February – 09h00 to 12h00

– Rua Pedro José de Ornelas (numbers 35 and 35 C)

– Travessa do Damião

– Rampa do Damião

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/2021/02/13/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-11-2021/



Algarve

Algarve Situation Report Saturday 13th February 2021

Covid-19: Reduction in the number of cases and vaccination leave entities optimistic in the Algarve

Today, health organisations were optimistic about the evolution of Covid-19 in the Algarve, due to the reduction in the number of new cases and hospitalisations and the beginning of vaccination.

At the fortnightly press conference of the Civil Protection District, in Loulé, in the district of Faro, the regional health delegate stated that the region is going through a “good time” with a “drop in the number of cases”.

Ana Cristina Guerreiro also revealed that, in the last 24 hours, there are “106 new cases” and “7 deaths” in the Algarve.

There are “185 inpatients in the region, 30 in intensive care units (ICU)”, of which 12 are ventilated, said the official.

Ana Cristina Guerreiro said that, in the Algarve, the peak of cases occurred on “January 26th”, classifying that as the “worst day” of this third wave.

 The regional health delegate also indicated the 4th of February as the worst for hospitals, since, “since that time the pressure has been eased, albeit slowly”.

The official was also concerned about the situation in nursing homes, where outbreaks are still registered, with currently “561 cases in the Algarve, mainly in residents, but also in some employees”.

For the delegate, the existence of these cases is due “essentially to the fact that the disease circulates in the community”.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/files/resizes/noticias/730X407/img_602689064ef3c.jpg


Outbreaks at 16 care homes in the Algarve

There are outbreaks in 16 homes in the Algarve, which are associated with a total of 561 cases of Covid-19, revealed this Friday Ana Cristina Guerreiro, Regional Health Delegate, at the press conference to assess the epidemiological situation in the Algarve.

Many of these outbreaks have been going on for several weeks and there are even places where there are no active cases among users, such as the home of the Santa Maria Parish Center in Tavira, as well as the Semear Afetos Day Center, where all those affected have already been discharged.

Ana Cristina Guerreiro also said that of the 280 deaths by Covid-19 that have already occurred in the region, since the beginning of the pandemic, “82 were in homes”.

According to data from the Regional Health Authority, the county with the most outbreaks in homes is Faro, where there are cases in five institutions.

There are 57 cases associated with Cantinho do Avô, while 47 with the Residential Structures for the Elderly (ERPI) of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Faro.

Still in the Algarve capital, there are active outbreaks in the Parish Centre of Santa Bárbara de Nexe (16 cases, in accumulated total), in the Semear Afetos Day Center (7 cases, all of them already discharged) and in the ERPI Torre de Natal (4) .

The municipalities of Albufeira and Loulé each have outbreaks in three homes.

In Albufeira, the outbreak of the Roseiral home (69 cases), the Casa de Repouso da Senhora da Guia (39) and the Nossa Senhora da Visitação home in Guia (19) are still active.

Loulé has outbreaks in the home of Ribeira, in Tôr (61), in the ERPI of the Social and Cultural Association of Almancil (27), Home of the SCM of Loulé (20).

The list also includes the homes of SCM in Monchique (47 cases), in the residential structure for people with disabilities of ACASO, in Olhão (14 cases), in the home Rainha dona Leonor, in Lagos (41), in the home of SCM in Armação de Pêra, in Silves (19) and in the Santa Maria home, in Tavira (74).

The 561 cases mentioned by the regional health delegate are “essentially of residents, but also include those of employees”.

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/2021/02/ha-surtos-de-covid-19-em-16-lares-do-algarve/


Covid-19: Câmara de Tavira allocates 450 thousand euros to support companies

The Câmara de Tavira announced today that it will allocate 450 thousand euros to a Fund to Support Entrepreneurs to help the sustainability of companies with revenues up to 350 thousand euros affected by the crisis caused by the pandemic of Covid-19.

“As of February 15th, the period for submitting applications to the Tavira Entrepreneurs Support Fund (FAET) is open, with the available amount of 450 thousand euros. This action is promoted by the Association for the Integrated Development of Baixa de Tavira with the support of the Municipality and is aimed at companies with revenues of up to 350 thousand euros”, the municipality announced in a statement.

Applications are open until June 30th or until “the estimated budget is used up” and the measure aims to “revitalise the county’s business fabric, mitigate the harmful effects of the serious economic crisis, keep companies in business and ensure maintenance jobs”, justified the Faro District Council.

The municipality stated that companies that started operations before 2019 must have “essential conditions” to access the fund “a drop in revenue, of at least 25%, in the year 2020, compared to the same period”.

For companies with activity started in 2019, “a decrease in the average monthly billing, reported to the Customs Tax Authority (AT) in the e-Invoice system” will be recorded.

In this case, the drop “should be at least 25%, in the period between March and December 2020, compared to the monthly average between the month of beginning of activity and the month of February last year”, explained the municipality.

For this accounting, “only the full calendar months will be considered”, stressed the same source.



Azores 

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

As from Friday the 12th February, all of the Boroughs on all of the islands in the region are in the ‘Low’ risk category, all apart from the sanitary fence which still exists surrounding a part of the town of ‘Rabo de Peixe’. 

The situation there will be re-evaluated after the carnival period has passed.

This means that for nearly the whole region the following rules apply.

  • Limitation of gatherings on the public road of a maximum number of eight people, unless they are from the same household.
  • Limitation to a maximum of eight people per table in restaurants and cafes, unless they belong to the same household, respecting a maximum capacity of 3/4 of the capacity of the establishment in question.
  • Closure of all drinks and similar establishments, with dance spaces.
  • Closure, from 10 pm, of all catering establishments, drinks and the like, with or without a show and with or without terrace service, including spaces for holding events, except for take-away or home delivery purposes.
  • Fuel filling stations can maintain their operation from 22:00 hours until 06:00 hours of the following day, exclusively for the purpose of selling fuel and supplying vehicles to the public.
  • Closure of the Elderly Living Centres and the recommendation for the users of the Residential Structures for the Elderly and Continuing Care Units to remain in their respective institutions, and, in cases where a user leaves, the respective return to the institution in question is subject to the rules imposed by the Regional Health Authority.
  • Suspension of all travel in service, between and outside the archipelago, of workers in the regional administration, including public institutes and companies in the regional business sector, unless they are absolutely essential, and public and private entities in the Region are recommended 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.
  • Suspension of all trips to the archipelago by external entities, requested by the regional administration, including public institutes and the regional business sector, unless absolutely essential, provided they are authorized by the Regional Health Authority.
  • Suspension of the holding of public events promoted by the regional administration, including public institutes and companies in the regional business sector, this recommendation being extended to all public entities, namely local authorities, as well as to private sector entities, urging the non-holding events open to the public.
  • Limitation of the public presence at cultural events and sports competitions to 1/4 of the respective capacity, guaranteeing the rules of social distance.
  • Face-to-face teaching in all teaching cycles (schools in Vila Franca do Campo resume face-to-face classes, after the school break from the carnival period, on February 18th, 2021)

 

In addition to these rules there are special restrictions for the ‘Carnival’ period, these rules apply to everyone.

Between 8:00 pm on February 12 and 11:59 pm on February 14th, the following measures are in effect in all Azorean counties:

a ) Closure of all non-essential trade, considering establishments providing first-class goods as essential trade necessity or other goods considered essential, or those that provide services of first necessity (see here the information circular of the Regional Health Authority )

b ) Closure of all restaurants, drinks and similar establishments, except for take-away and home delivery service.

ç) Prohibition of any festivities or gatherings of people in public or private places, associated with Carnival or motivated by the carnival season.

d ) Prohibition of circulation on public roads between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am the following day, except for the exceptions already provided for high-risk municipalities.

Between 00:00 on February 15 and 23:59 on February 16 , the following measures are in effect throughout the Azorean counties:

a) Closure of all restaurants, drinks and similar establishments at 3:00 pm, with the limitation that, during the period of operation, the maximum capacity per table is six people, unless they belong to the same household, respecting a maximum capacity of 2/3 of the respective capacity of the establishment.

b) From 3:00 pm, food, beverage and similar establishments can only operate on a take-away and home delivery service, with the exception of the provision of meals to guests of hotel or similar establishments by the respective catering services.

c) Prohibition of pedestrian circulation, motorized or similar, on public roads between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am the following day.

d) Prohibition of any festivities or gatherings of people, in public or private places, including those associated with Carnival or motivated by the Carnival season.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last three days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,557 tests was 32.  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 18, the other islands with reported cases are Terceira, with 2, and 1 on Faial.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 148 in total.   120 on the island of São Miguel, 27 on Terceira 4 and 1 on Pico.

As of Tuesday, 9th February 2021 there are 13 hospitalised patients. 10 on São Miguel with 4 in the ICU, 2 on Terceira with 1 in the ICU and 1 on Faial.

Sadly, there have been 29 deaths due to the virus.

There are currently 126 active positive cases in the Region, 104 in São Miguel, 16 in Terceira, 2 in Faial, 3 in São Jorge and 1 in Pico.

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 Wednesday 10th February 2021

Introduction

We thank those who responded to the Facebook post by my colleague Mike Evans on Saturday, concerning the work of Safe Communities Portugal. It reached around 18,000 people. We thought this was timely given the very large increase in people following our page, from around 17,000 a year ago to almost 40,000 now. People often visit Facebook pages not knowing anything about who is responsible for the page, and whether or not it is a credible source of information. In our case it is an entry point to our website and all the information gathered there over the last 9 years.

Some respondents appeared surprised by the diversity of our work – this being amply demonstrated in a period of just 3 hours on Monday this week, when we posted six urgent posts in around an hour covering; a landslip blocking a railway line; a small earthquake epicentre close to Portimão; the latest daily Covid-19 statistics; the 14 day Covid-19 averages by municipality; DGS announcement of creation of an on-line vaccine simulator and the ANEPC bad weather warning to the public.

As a qualified Civil Protection Volunteer Organisation, our role is not just to publish news reports or (copy and paste, news reports) the role of the media, but using our knowledge and experience, to explain these and provide our own comments where we can – and of course answer your questions. Most of our posts require some form of research beforehand and are possibly the culmination of many hours of work.

In this respect, although everyone is immersed in Covid-19 matters, it is important to pay attention to safety matters concerning weather warnings because these can affect life and property. So when you see these, particularly the ANEPC notifications, this means there is a risk and the advice should be shared and followed.    

On Sunday we reported the words of Virologist Pedro Simas, who said that Portugal is experiencing an abrupt reduction in the number of new contagions, resulting from confinement, which could put the country among one of the best in the world to control the third wave of the pandemic.

Certainly this appears to be the case. Covid-19 cases are showing a welcomed downward trend namely; recoveries 3rd highest in one day since start of pandemic with six times new cases; new cases lowest since 28th December; number of active cases lowest since 15th January; those under surveillance lowest since 19th January and hospitalisations and ICU numbers decreasing – largest one day decrease in hospitalisations. Deaths on the other hand increased very slightly but second lowest since 18th January.

Also welcome is the fact that the estimated value for the average of the last five days analysed, between January 30th and February 3rd, is 0.82 for Rt (average number of people who each infected). It is a low value, which clearly indicates a reduction in incidence.

Yesterday the main focus was on the Infarmed meeting where government discussed with various experts the current situation concerning Covid-19 and various forecasts. At Safe Communities we followed this live and updated our Facebook page and site with a summary of the various briefings. Certainly there were some very interesting facts produced, with a clear indicator that the current level of confinement, with far less movement of people, is producing results, both in the reduction of cases and the pressure on the national health service (SNS). However, it is clear from what the Prime Minister said that there will be a need to prolong the general confinement currently in place.

Coupled with this yesterday was news that the first vaccination phase, which was due to end before March 31st, will be extended to April due to the “problem of vaccine availability”, announced the new co-ordinator for the vaccination plan against Covid-19.

This situation, explained Gouveia e Melo, who succeeded Francisco Ramos in office, is not a problem of administration, nor of the speed of administration, it is a logistical problem and a problem of the availability of vaccines upon arrival in Portugal and, therefore, of access to vaccines.

Yesterday, as part of the seventh renewal of the second State of Emergency, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa started the hearings with the Political Parties with parliamentary representation, which took place by videoconference. This will continue today following which ,this evening, it is likely that he will send to the Assembly of the Republic, for its authorization, the draft diploma that renews the State of Emergency for fifteen days, until 1st March 2021, allowing the adoption of measures necessary to contain the spread of Covid-19 disease.

We therefore wait and see the measures that will be announced later this week following the Council of Ministers meeting tomorrow.

Have a Safe Day


Headlines

António Costa says it is necessary to prolong the confinement

The Prime Minister stated yesterday that the current confinement is producing results against Covid-19, but it is necessary to prolong it in view of the high levels of the pandemic and to continue to invest in massive testing and in the tracking capacity.

This position was transmitted by António Costa in his personal account on the social network Twitter, after another meeting at Infarmed, in Lisbon, on the evolution of the epidemiological situation in Portugal.

In relation to the results of this meeting, according to the Prime Minister, it could be “concluded that the current level of confinement is producing results, both in the reduction of cases, and in the pressure on the National Health Service and also in the limitation of the British variant circulation “.

“We also concluded that the greater the intensity of the confinement, the faster the results are; that the high levels of the pandemic require the prolongation of the current level of confinement and that it is necessary to continue to invest in massive testing and in the tracking capacity”, stressed the leader of the executive.

In his message, António Costa also mentioned that “the level of citizens’ confidence in the vaccine has been increasing”.

As long as the pharmaceutical industry continues to produce at the level now estimated, we will be able to achieve the goal of having 70% of the vaccinated adult population by the end of the summer,” he added.


Covid-19. WHO says virus unlikely to escape laboratory

An expert at the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that the new coronavirus is unlikely to have escaped from a Chinese laboratory, instead advocating the possibility of it being transmitted by an animal.

WHO food safety and animal disease expert, Peter Ben Embarek, summarised the research carried out by a team of Chinese scientists and WHO on the possible origins of the new coronavirus in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology, one of China’s leading virus research laboratories, built an archive of genetic information about coronaviruses in bats after the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which emerged in the Asian country in 2003.

This led to claims that the Covid-19 could have left that facility, a theory promoted by former US former President Donald Trump.

Together with scientists from the institute, the WHO team, which includes specialists from 10 countries, visited hospitals, research institutes and the seafood market where the first cases were diagnosed.

“Our initial findings suggest that introduction, via an intermediate host species, is the most likely route, which will require more studies and more specific research,” said Embarek

The researchers said they had found no evidence of the presence of the virus in Wuhan before the first cases were diagnosed.


Covid-19

On Tuesday Portugal registered 203 more deaths and 2,583 new cases of Covid-19, according to the daily balance of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

Taking into account recoveries, deaths and new cases, with 127,867 cases being active this Tuesday, down 12,777 compared to Monday.

As for hospital admissions, the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 6,070 people are hospitalised in the infirmary, 274 fewer than the previous day, and 862 in intensive care, 15 less compared to Monday.

Health authorities have 171,554 contacts under surveillance, down 9,351 from yesterday.

Today’s data also reveals that an additional 15,157 people were reported to have recovered, bringing the number of recovered to 628,078 since the beginning of the pandemic in Portugal in March 2020.

Regarding the 203 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, 115 occurred in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 34 in the Centro region, 35 in the North region, 16 in the Alentejo, one in the Algarve region, one in the Autonomous region of Madeira and one in the Azores.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has recorded a total of 14,557 deaths and 770,502 cases of infection with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus


Health

Covid-19: 3,500 lives will be saved by the end of September if vaccination goes as planned

Lisbon, February 9th, 2021 (Lusa) – Epidemiologist Henrique Barros estimated yesterday that if the vaccination process against Covid-19 goes as planned, 3,500 lives will be saved by the end of September.

The estimates, which are based on two scenarios, were presented by the President of the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto at the meeting to analyse the epidemiological situation of Covid-19, which gathered, at Infarmed (Lisbon), with researchers, the Prime Minister, the President of the Republic, ministers, parties, employers’ confederations, union structures and state councillors.

The parameters used to think about the effect of vaccination are based on a model that considers general hospitalisations and hospitalisations in intensive care units and also vaccinations, assuming two hypotheses of vaccine efficacy: 90 or 70%.

“Assuming that 70% of the population will be vaccinated by the end of September, we have two different scenarios for the speed of vaccination,” he said.

One scenario assumes that two million people will be vaccinated by the end of April and the remaining five million by the end of September.

The other scenario is based on the fact that about four million people can be vaccinated by the end of April, which implies inoculating 4,000 people a day.

“Vaccination is assumed to be random, that is, we will not know whether the person has had an infection or not,” he said, adding that on the day the vaccination started, it was assumed that one million Portuguese people would have been infected and were immune.


Rt is 0.82 in Portugal

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Regarding behaviours, in the general sense there was a positive recovery after the parties.

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

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

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


Vaccinations

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

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

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

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

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

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


Support measures for businesses and employment will continue as long as the pandemic lasts

The Minister of State and Finance, João Leão, underlined that the Government will keep supporting the economy in 2021, as it happened in 2020, in his presentation at the Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee.

“On the Government side, we want to send a very strong message of support and commitment to companies and workers who see their activity conditioned by the pandemic: the guarantee that measures to support companies and employment will be maintained as long as the pandemic lasts and economic activity is conditioned, whatever the cost, ”he said.

João Leão pointed out that,, in view of the worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government widened the layoff, created simplified support for micro-enterprises, expanded support for the progressive resumption, expanded the Apoiar program, which supports the breakdowns of small and medium-sized companies, and reactivated the first confinement support measures for self-employed workers, family support, etc.


Economy

Third wave of the pandemic is much more intense than expected”, says Finance Minister

“The third wave of the pandemic was much more intense than expected in Europe and in particular in Portugal and in the countries of southern Europe, more dependent on tourism”, stated Minister of Finance João Leão yesterday.

The minister pointed out that despite the 7.6% drop in GDP, the largest in 100 years, and the deficit forecasts, the economy resisted better than expected. “The deficit review represented 2.2 billion euros more than was expected,” said João Leão.

Employment developments have been better than anticipated, thanks to government support, the minister said. “The provisional unemployment rate for December is expected to be around 6.5% and 7% for the year as a whole,” he added. And despite the drop in GDP, the IRS still grew 3%.

For 2021, the minister stressed that the negative impact of the new confinement, especially in the sectors most affected “will have to lead to a significant revision of the macroeconomic scenario and an upward revision of the predicted deficit”. But he was confident of a “very intense recovery” in the second half of the year, counting, for this purpose, on vaccines, public investment programs, and the injection of 500 million euros by tax, among others.

“We are confident that 2021 will be a year of economic recovery due to this very intense recovery in the second half of this year,” he added. João Leão also admitted that he believes in the possibility of “reaching an economic recovery in 2022 to levels very similar to the pre-pandemic”.


Covid-19: GNR temporarily suspends 10 territorial posts in Castelo Branco

Castelo Branco, 09 Feb 2021 (Lusa) – GNR has temporarily suspended the operation of 10 territorial posts in the district of Castelo Branco due to the “exceptional situation that the country is going through”.

“The temporary suspension of the activity of some Territorial Posts, which already operated under a reduced attendance regime, was based on the particular and exceptional circumstances that the country is going through, in particular the restoration of control of land borders, a task with a strong commitment from the National Republican Guard “, explained the GNR to the Lusa agency.

In the area of the Castelo Branco Territorial Command, activity was temporarily suspended in 10 Reduced Service Points (PAR).

This exceptional and temporary measure covers the Territorial Forest Posts, Cebolais de Cima and Malpica do Tejo (Castelo Branco); Unhais da Serra and Paul (Covilhã), Soalheira (Fundão), Monsanto, Ladoeiro and Rosmaninhal (Idanha-a-Nova) and Cernache do Bonjardim (Sertã).

According to GNR, this measure allowed the temporary transfer of 43 military personnel to the Headquarters of Grouping.

“The Guard [GNR] considered operationally advantageous to adopt this temporary measure, which allows to allocate a greater number of military personnel for the operational service, namely for the control of the land border, stressing that it will only remain in force as long as it appears absolutely necessary, resuming normality as soon as possible “, he concludes.


Other news

EU / Presidency: Council and European Parliament provisional agreement on strengthening EU civil protection

The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) and the representatives of the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on Monday night on a proposal to strengthen the EU’s civil protection mechanism.

This proposal, according to an official communiqué from the EU Council, will allow the Union and the Member States “to be better prepared for natural and man-made disasters” and to “respond more quickly when they occur, including in cases affecting majority of Member States simultaneously”.

The new rules will enable the European Commission to “close gaps in the field of transport and logistics” and, in urgent cases, “to directly acquire certain additional capabilities of ‘rescEU’”, which, alongside the capabilities organised by Member States, will be “fully financed by the EU budget”.

The Portuguese Presidency of the Council and the representatives of the European Parliament reached a preliminary agreement after a meeting on Monday evening, February 8th, chaired by the Secretary of State for Internal Administration, Patrícia Gaspar.

In an official note sent to the press today, the Ministry of Internal Administration welcomes the previous agreement, highlighting Portugal as “one of the countries that boost development and strengthen the mechanism”.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, underlines that this mechanism is “an essential instrument of EU solidarity”, as it “provided vital support to Member States facing fires, earthquakes and other devastating disasters”.

In the words of Eduardo Cabrita, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown “the challenges faced when many Member States need support simultaneously” and, therefore, the new rules will allow them to be “even better prepared for similar situations in the future”.



Regional reports

Madeira

Situation Report by Daniel Fernandes – Wednesday 10th February 2021

Covid-19 update

There were 341 new Covid-19 cases, 419 recoveries and 8 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. One of the deaths was that of a patient who had been airlifted from Lisbon in January. This death was not included in Madeira’s death toll from Covid-19. The vast majority of new cases were cases of local transmission. Only 5 cases were from people who had arrived from outside the Region. This also reflects border restrictions and the consequent reduction of the number of flights.

On Saturday, there were 91 new Covid-19 cases (from 3 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Northern Portugal Region and 87 cases of local transmission), 57 recoveries and 1 death. A 78-year old female patient, who allegedly had pre-existing conditions, died from Covid-19 at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 66, 7 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 79 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the Czech Republic, 1 passenger who had arrived from Switzerland and 77 cases of local transmission), 152 recoveries and 3 deaths. Three female patients, two of them aged 87 and one aged 88, who had pre-existing conditions, died in hospital from Covid-19. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 61, 7 of whom were in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 83 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission), 72 recoveries and 1 death. An 80-year old female patient died in hospital from Covid-19. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 57, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 88 new Covid-19 cases (all cases of local transmission for a second consecutive day), 138 recoveries and 3 deaths. A 76-year old man and an 84-year old woman, both Madeira residents, died in hospital. And one of the 3 Covid-19 patients who had been airlifted from Lisbon on January 29th died at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. As for the other 2 patients, one was moved from the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit to the regular Covid-19 unit while the remaining patient remains in intensive care. The number of patients in hospital increased to 61, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 1,757 active cases, of which 65 had been imported while the other 1,692 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Tuesday, there had been 5,974 cases, 4,160 recoveries and 57 deaths. 

On Tuesday, there were 38 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,658 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 61 patients in Covid-19 units, 6 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit.

There are currently 239 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 7,434 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

At the moment, 3,972 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 1,750 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, 158,326 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 19h00). By Tuesday, 286,292 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 793 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 37,181 calls.

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 received 37 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has received 3,810 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/06/ram-com-51-mortos-91-novos-casos-de-covid-19-mais-218-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/07/mais-79-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-mais-260-suspeitos-152-recuperados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/07/mulher-de-88-anos-e-a-52-a-vitima-mortal-da-covid-19-na-madeira/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/07/mais-duas-doentes-morreram-hoje-com-covid-19-na-ram/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/08/83-novos-casos-de-covid-19-241-suspeitos-72-recuperados/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118133/Covid-19_Madeira_regista_hoje_mais_uma_morte

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/09/88-novos-casos-de-covid-19-mais-239-suspeitos-138-recuperados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/09/mais-tres-mortos-com-covid-19-hoje-na-madeira/


Curfew at 18h00 during Carnival week

Miguel Albuquerque, the President of the Madeira Regional Government, announced the curfew will start at 18h00 during the Carnival week, which will be next week. It will start an hour earlier than usual. Commercial activities must close at 17h00. These measures will be officially approved at tomorrow’s Council of Government (Conselho de Governo) meeting. Miguel Albuquerque explained the aim of these changes is to avoid the temptation to hold Carnival festivities.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/09/albuquerque-anuncia-recolher-obrigatorio-as-18-h-na-semana-do-carnaval/


First Covid-19 case at Legislative Assembly of Madeira

On Saturday, a legislator from the Legislative Assembly of Madeira (Madeira’s regional parliament) tested positive for Covid-19. It was the first Covid-19 case in the Assembly. Olga Fernandes, from PS (Partido Socialista), went into prophylactic isolation after testing positive. José Manuel Rodrigues, José Prada, Cláudia Gomes and Clara Tiago, the legislators who had the closest contact with Olga Fernandes, have also gone into prophylactic isolation.

On Monday, 98 rapid Covid-19 tests were carried out on Assembly legislators and staff. All tests came back negative. The Assembly building was disinfected on the same day.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117930/Mesa_da_Assembleia_Regional_em_isolamento_profilatico

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118094/98_testes_covid_realizados_na_Assembleia_deram_negativo

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118082/Hemiciclo_regional_ja_esta_a_ser_desinfetado_


Vaccination update

The Madeira Regional Government set aside 90 vaccine doses so that pharmacy staff could be vaccinated against Covid-19. They started being vaccinated on Sunday, at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. So far, 38 pharmacists and 54 pharmacy technicians have been vaccinated. As a result, at least 1 member of staff from at least 50 pharmacies, which are 78% of the Region’s pharmacies, was vaccinated. Pharmacists aged 50 or over, with or without pre-existing conditions, who are 30% of all pharmacists in the Region, were classed as a priority group for Covid-19 vaccination. There are 65 pharmacies in Madeira. Pharmacy staff from the pharmacy in Porto Santo will be vaccinated this week, during a visit to the island by a vaccination team.

Prison guards from Funchal’s Prison started being vaccinated on Sunday morning. This is part of the vaccination process for the Region’s security forces. There are about 140 prison guards in the Region.

Dentists from the private sector also started being vaccinated on Sunday. It was decided that 75 of the Region’s 220 private sector dentists would be vaccinated.

The elderly, aged 80 or older and aged 75-79 who have pathologies, from the municipalities of Porto Moniz and São Vicente will be vaccinated today (Wednesday). Vaccination will take place in their respective health centres. On Thursday, vaccination will take place in Santana (Casa da Cultura) and in Santa Cruz (Pavilhão da Escola Básica e Secundária – sports hall at Escola Básica e Secundária). On Friday, vaccination will take place in Câmara de Lobos (Pavilhão do Centro Social e Desportivo – sports hall at Centro Social e Desportivo), Porto Santo (Centro de Congressos – Congress Centre) and Ponta do Sol (Pavilhão da Escola Básica e Secundária  – sports hall at Escola Básica e Secundária). And on Saturday and on Sunday, vaccination will take place in the municipality of Funchal (Madeira Tecnopolo).

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117941/Covid-19_Madeira_vacina_cerca_de_80__das_equipas_das_farmacias

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117927/Covid-19_Guardas_prisionais_da_RAM_sao_ser_vacinados_este_domingo

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117991/Farmaceuticos_guardas_prisionais_e_dentistas_privados_sao_hoje_vacinados_na_Madeira

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118255/Covid-19_Vacinacao_no_Porto_Moniz_e_em_S_Vicente_esta_quarta-feira


Heavy seas warning

A heavy seas warning has been issued for today. Waves are expected to be 3-4 metre high and to temporarily increase to 3.5-4.5 metres high on the north shore, until the end of the morning. As for the south shore, waves are expected to be 1-2 metres high and 2-3 metres high in the westernmost area. Tonight, there will be small to moderate wind. Visibility is expected to vary between moderate and good. Vessel owners are advised to keep their vessels docked in harbours.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118233/Capitania_emite_aviso_de_agitacao_maritima_forte__para_amanha


Jet2 to resume flights on April 15th

Jet2 has cancelled all flights until April 14th. This means there will not be any Jet2 flights to the Madeira Region until at least after Easter.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118242/Jet2_so_retomara_operacoes_a_partir_de_15_de_abril_incluindo_para_a_Madeira


Mein Schiff 1 cruise ship sailed off the coast of Madeira

Mein Schiff 1, a cruise ship from TUI CRUISES, is well known in Madeira and is currently sailing from Santa Cruz (Las Palmas) to the Strait of Gibraltar. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, it is unable to dock in Madeira. Once again, it sailed within sight of Madeira and did not dock at the port of Funchal.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/118120/Mein_Schiff_1_ao_largo_da_Madeira


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 February (TODAY) – 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

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

– Caminho da Barreira

– Caminho do Trapiche (numbers 149 to 176)

– Vereda do Camacho

PORTO MONIZ

10th February (TODAY) – 09h30 to 10h00 & 15h00 to 15h30

– Casa do Elias

– Campo de Futebol

– Câmara de Carga

PRAZERES

10th February (TODAY) – 09h30 to 10h00 & 15h00 to 15h30

– Sítio da Fonte do Bispo

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/2021/02/06/publicidade-o-fornecimento-de-energia-sera-interrompido-nos-dias-horas-e-locais-abaixo-indicados-anuncio-9-2021/



Algarve

Situation Report Wednesday 10th February 2021

Covid-19: University of Algarve studies the use of saliva in the detection of SARS-Cov-2

The is studying the use of saliva in the collection of samples to detect the new coronavirus; a less invasive method compared to the classic test against the mucosa of the nose, one Portuguese told Lusa investigator.

According to Clévio Nóbrega, from the UAlg Biomedicine Research Center (CBMR), the objective is to try to “validate other methods” for the collection of samples, especially for “children and people with some pathologies”, since the current PCR method is “Very invasive”.

Speaking to Lusa, the official said that the investigation sought to compare the efficacy of saliva collection with nasopharyngeal and subsequent analysis by PCR, a process based on molecular biology and which allows an increase in the amount of genetic material to detect the new coronavirus (SARS- Cov-2).

In collaboration with the Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve (CHUA), the researchers obtained samples from hospitalised patients through three types of collection: the “classic” nasopharyngeal (with the collection of secretions from the nose), through the saliva and oropharynx, obtained at the bottom throat.

According to Clévio Nóbrega, “the same results” were obtained, and it was possible to detect by saliva “the same level” as “classical” sampling, which means that, in some cases, “this type of collection”.

The use of this method is still “not possible”, because “authorisation is required” from the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge Instituto Ricardo Jorge (INSA), where the data were sent.

Clévio Nóbrega recognizes, however, that it is understandable that the focus is on “continuing mass testing and not so much on optimisation” of collection methods.

Meanwhile, the researchers will continue to carry out “additional tests” to confirm that the results are “in fact reliable”, something that has been “confirmed”, he stressed.


Covid-19: Vila Real de Santo António firefighters hope to return to normal next week

The Vila Real de Santo António firefighters, affected by an outbreak of Covid-19 detected on Saturday, hope to restore the corporation to normal operations “starting next week”, the commander told Lusa.

Nuno Pereira said that the initial cases reported on Sunday accounted for 12 infected elements of the corporation and that 38 were in isolation, but clarified that “the cases that are in isolation include and incorporate the positive cases”, so the total number of affected elements is 38 and not 50.

“Of these [12 infected], 10 were wage earners and two were volunteers, who had no direct connection with them, but as they are from the firefighters they are also quantified,” he added, correcting the data initially put forward by the Humanitarian Association on Sunday.

The commander of the Voluntary Firefighters of Vila Real de Santo António said that, “little by little, people are being tested and released” and “at this moment a team is already working and a reinforcement of voluntary personnel to ensure the first intervention 24 hours a day”.

“We hope that the situation will change quickly, tomorrow another team will be tested, which if they continue to test negative they will recover and allow a greater reinforcement of the fire brigade’s readiness”, he stressed.

Nuno Pereira guaranteed that the fire department of Vila Real de Santo António, which also provides assistance in the neighbouring municipality of Castro Marim, “never failed to respond to the first intervention”.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/covid-19-bombeiros-de-vila-real-de-santo-antonio-esperam-voltar-a-normalidade-na-proxima-semana/36699-83


Castro Marim tests the entire population at Covid-19

Castro Marim will test the entire population of the county for Covid-19 as of Saturday, the 13th, to see if it ends “once and for all” with the strong spread of the disease in the county.

The tests will be made available free of charge to all citizens, being only necessary to make an appointment, through the email Biblioteca@cm-castromarim.pt or by contacting 281 510 747 or 281 510 778 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) and 961 743 222 (9:00 am) -20h00).

The exceptions are children up to 10 years old or people already immunized, because they had the vaccine or because they had the disease.

In order to make this mass testing operation possible, the Castro Marim Chamber bought “4 thousand rapid tests” and counts on the help of about two dozen health professionals “who volunteered to collect and do all the work, without charge for anything,” Francisco Amaral, Mayor of Castro Marim, revealed.

“This Saturday and Sunday we will have five collection points operating at the Pavilhão Municipal de Castro Marim, two for people who come by car and three for those who come on foot. We are waiting for a great response”, revealed the mayor, who is also a doctor.

The collection is done with a swab, through the nose, and “the test result is quite fast”.

The following weekend, on the 20th and 21st, the tests will be taken to the population that lives the most isolated, “namely in the parishes of Azinhal and Odeleite”, through the Mobile Health Unit.

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/2021/02/castro-marim-testa-toda-a-populacao-a-covid-19/


Loulé celebrates Carnival but with online initiatives

The Municipality of Loulé, the organizing body of Carnival, does not want to miss this moment and will promote some initiatives alluding to this tradition strongly rooted in the local community.

“We live in difficult times, with a pandemic affecting millions of families around the world, and it would be impossible to organize a Carnival as we know it, with the gathering of the public and the enthusiastic interaction between the revellers. But we are aware of the importance of this party for the Louletanos and we could not fail to point out and bring a little of the spirit of Loulé Carnival to all who are confined”, underlined Vítor Aleixo, president of the municipality.

In a press release, the municipality added that the main initiatives will take place online, “allowing everyone to follow this program in the safety and comfort of their homes, without jeopardizing compliance with the rules implemented in this state of emergency in which the country is experiencing”.

On the 14th, 15th and 16th of February, a virtual exhibition with images from old editions of the Corsican, where the themes that have served as satire to the parade, artistic quality will be published on the municipality’s social networks, namely Facebook and YouTube. applied in the execution of floats or the beauty of the facts and props of the extras that, for over 100 years, have given colour and joy to Avenida José da Costa Mealha.

On February 15th, starting at 9:30 pm, it will be possible to attend an Online Carnival Ball. The traditional Gala Ball at Nera’s “Palácio” is replaced this year by a ball broadcast in streaming, through the Facebook of the Municipality of Loulé. From the Solar da Música Nova Auditorium, the Fora d´Horas Orchestra takes to the home of the Louletan families, but also to all parts of the globe, known themes of Carnival, above all a lot of samba, which will certainly be an invitation to a dancing feet in the living room or any other improvised space in the rooms.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/loule-assinala-carnaval-mas-com-iniciativas-online/36701-1



Azores 

Situation Report Azores – 10th February 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

English Variant 

Two cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the Azores resulting from infection by the English variant of the new coronavirus, which is more contagious, with one case in Terceira and another in São Miguel.

There are currently over 60 suspicious samples that are still being analysed by the National Institute of Health, (INSA), in Lisbon.

A case of this variant of the new coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, had already been detected in the Azores, a passenger who arrived in late December in the city of Horta, on the island of Faial.


AstraZeneca 

The Azores soon hopes to receive, about 1600 doses of the new vaccine against Covid-19 from AstraZeneca, this is the correct percentage of doses from a batch of 70 to 80 thousand doses being sent to the mainland.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 4,846 tests was 21.  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 18, the other islands with reported cases are Terceira, with 2, and 1 on Faial.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 148 in total.   120 on the island of São Miguel, 17 on Terceira 8 on Faial and 3 on Pico.

As of Tuesday, 9th February 2021 there are 15 hospitalised patients. 11 on São Miguel with 5 in the ICU, 3 on Terceira with 1 in the ICU and 1 in Faial.

According to a note from the Regional Health Authority, a 76-year-old man died Tuesday morning at the Santo Espírito Hospital on Terceira Island, a victim of Covid-19.

The man was a resident of São Mateus da Calheta, municipality of Angra do Heroísmo, and had been hospitalized since last January 20th.

With this further death, the number of fatalities for Covid-19 in the Azores rises to 28.

There are currently 202 active positive cases in the Region, 174 in São Miguel, 21 in Terceira, 4 in Faial and 3 in São Jorge.

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 6th February 2021

Introduction

Good morning – We start today with some positive Covid-19 statistics reported yesterday namely: since Thursday there were nearly five more recoveries than new cases; deaths, although higher than Thursday, were second lowest since 21st January; hospitalisations decreased again but not as much as the previous day and the number of active cases and those under surveillance were the lowest since 20th January. However, the number of patients in ICUs increased by 41 bringing the total to 904, a new maximum. So there are some signs of optimism, but the pressure of ICUs is of continuing concern.

The demand on the health services is considerable, so it was welcome news yesterday that an additional 2,300 beds are in now in place in the support centres as announced by the Minister of Internal Administration.

Another piece of positive news was the announcement of a mechanism being put in place for seeking the assistance of volunteers to support the SNS. We promoted this on our Facebook page on Wednesday reaching nearly 30 thousand people with many responses stating that they had done this, or were considering doing so. This in my view brings out all the best in voluntarism among the community. If you wish to do so please check the details through the link here 

Some further good news is that that 15,000 firefighters and 20,000 members of the security forces will begin to be vaccinated against Covid-19 next week. This will be mainly those involved in front line operational duties who have regular contact with the public.

On the subject of vaccines, the Prime Minister’s message to the public yesterday was to, “wait serenely for your turn to be vaccinated”. The guarantee, on the other hand, is that everyone will be contacted to receive the vaccine against Covid-19. 

“You don’t have to rush to the emergency room, go to the health centre or make phone calls,” said António Costa. “People will receive a message saying the time and place of the vaccination. They simply have to wait and they will be called in turn. Those who do not have a cell phone will receive a call or a letter,” he said.

It is important to understand that Portugal is dependent on the production of vaccines by the industry and that it is vital that this industry is able to increase production capacity. António Costa stressed that the pharmaceutical companies have already committed to fulfil this objective. The Prime Minister said that “we will only return to normal when we are all vaccinated or when at least 70% of people are vaccinated “.

So the message here is to be patient. I find it somewhat ironical just a few weeks ago that people were complaining that the vaccine development period had been rushed, but now that that they cannot obtain the vaccine soon enough! We all have to be patient and await our turn. There is little point comparing the roll out in one country with another, as the only difference as to when we receive the vaccine may be just a few weeks. 

There have, over the last few days, been a number of reports of allegations against certain Mayors and other officials that they have been vaccinated where their position and medical condition does not allow for this under Phase One of the vaccination roll out plan. It is best to avoid speculation concerning this, other than to say that this is a serious matter and it is reported that the prosecution services are looking into this. We welcome the message therefore from the new coordinator, Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, of the vaccination plan against Covid-19 in Portugal who guaranteed on Wednesday, that he will tighten the rules and control the process.

It is pleasing to see that the effects of the current State of Emergency law, coupled with an increase in enforcement by the security forces, is clearly making a difference in terms of reduction in transmission. Clearly the closure of schools and the consequential reduction in movements has been a significant contributory factor. As such it is almost certain, without being speculative, that the current measures in force will be carried forward (as is almost certain) for a further period of 15 days with effect from 15th February.  

Please have a Safe Day


Headlines

Austria’s support to fight the pandemic in Portugal

At the end of last week, following contacts at the highest level between Heads of Government, the Ministry of Health held bilateral contact, within the framework of European cooperation, with the Minister of Health of the Republic of Austria, with a view to supporting the combat the pandemic in Portugal.

In this context, the Austrian Government has provided capacity for the treatment of 10 intensive care patients in different hospitals in the country.

This option, of support that may be fundamental at a time when Portugal still faces high pressure on hospitals, was referred for consideration by the Monitoring Committee for the National Response in Intensive Care Medicine for Covid-19.

The Portuguese Government stresses that “they are important gestures of European solidarity, but symbolic in the battle of the pandemic. There were several offers, with all hypotheses being considered in order to continue to provide health care to the Portuguese”.


Covid-19

On Friday Portugal counts another 258 deaths and 6,916 new cases of Covid-19, according to the daily balance of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

Taking into account the number of new cases, deaths and recoveries there are now 156,758 active cases 4,684 less than on Thursday.

The DGS epidemiological bulletin indicates there are 6,412 people in hospital 84 less than the previous day, and 904 in intensive care (a new maximum since the beginning of the pandemic), 41 more than yesterday.

Health authorities have 198,263 contacts under surveillance, 6,073 fewer than yesterday.

The bulletin also reveals that 11,342 more patients have recovered bring the total to 585,276.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has recorded 13,740 deaths and 755,774 cases of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus,


Health 

Covid-19. Third week of January had the most deaths since the start of the pandemic

More than 75 percent of deaths in Portugal between January 11th and 24th were from people over 75 years old, according to the INE in the bulletin on mortality

The third week of January this year was the one that registered the most deaths in Portugal since the beginning of the pandemic, released this Friday by the National Statistics Institute (INE), which recorded 4898 deaths in that period.

More than 75 percent of deaths in Portugal between January 11th and 24th were from people over 75 years old, according to the INE in the bulletin on mortality, which states that 24.3% of the 4530 deaths in the second week and 34, 6% of the 4,898 in the third week of January (18 to 24) were attributed to Covid-19.

The greatest excess of mortality was found among people aged 90 and over, with an increase of 87.9% in relation to the average for the same period calculated based on the last five years.

In the third week there was an excess of mortality (compared to the average for the same period in the last five years) of 70.9%, while in the second week it was 60.9%. Of this increase in the number of deaths in relation to the average, 64.4% in the second week and 83.3% in the third week were attributed to Covid-19.

In this period of the second and third weeks of January, 63.1% of the 9,428 people who died were admitted to hospitals. Three regions concentrated 82.6% of the total deaths: North (27.8%), Centre (27.2%) and Metropolitan Area of Lisbon (27.6%).

The highest number of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants occurred in Alentejo (140.5), Centro (115.7), Lisbon Metropolitan Area (90.9%) and Algarve (90.3).


The Effect of the Restrictions on Covid-19

Since the start of Covid-19 in Portugal, the Ricardo Jorge National Institute (INSA) has measured the R(t) in Portugal and recorded its evolution in all national regions.

From December 25th, the pace accelerated dramatically.

On January 7th, the government imposed new restrictions, which worsened three times: on January 13th, 18th and 21st, the date on which practically total new confinement was determined, including the closing of schools.

What effect did the measures have on the speed of transmission of the disease?

The measures of January 7th (which included the curfew across the national territory and extending to the high-risk municipalities the ban on driving on public roads after 1 pm) had an immediate effect to contain the damage felt since Christmas.

But new rules imposed on January 13th – which established the general duty of home collection, closing restaurants, closing culture or mandatory teleworking – and those of January 18th (banning circulation between municipalities, closing public spaces that are conducive to agglomerations) did not have the desired effect.

Only the closure of schools on January 21st and the closure of practically all non-essential activity, accompanied by an increase in fines for those who do not comply with the containment rules, had immediate consequences on the pace of transmission of Covid-19.

The effects of late December 2020 and early 2021, however, continue to be felt. On January 28th, there was a peak in daily cases, with a new maximum of 303 deaths, repeated on January 31st. 

But since then, the indicators of new cases and deaths have been improving, probably as a result of the new confinement.


Covid-19: Santa Maria Hospital has 60 patients admitted to intensive care

The Hospital de Santa Maria, in Lisbon, has 395 patients with Covid-19, of whom 60 are hospitalized in intensive care, the President of the Board of Directors of the hospital said to Lusa agency today.

“The remaining patients [335] are hospitalized in the infirmary and in the emergency room, waiting to go up to the floors”, Daniel Ferro told Lusa.

The chairman of the Board of Directors of the Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte, which is part of the Santa Maria Hospital, said that the average number of patients hospitalized daily in that unit is 25 and, “more and more, of lower age groups”.

“The notion that we have in this second phase is that people in the lower age groups have been affected and, in general, the severity is also greater”, he stressed.

Asked by Lusa about the possible lack of beds and means, the administrator pointed to the “enormous pressure” that Santa Maria is subjected to, with the daily arrival of many patients, stressing that the hospital unit “is at the limit”.

“We are currently the hospital that has the most patients. We have received patients from other hospitals who sometimes suspend the reception of patients in an emergency. All of this makes the pressure great and that, as the needs exist, we are opening wards and that is what we have been doing and that is what we will do at this time”, he assured.

Despite this “limit” situation, Daniel Ferro appealed to the tranquillity of the Portuguese and guaranteed that “until now, no one has stopped being treated and receiving the care he needs”, given the “quality and professionalism of health professionals”.


Outbreak at Casa do Artista with 42 infected: half are users

The number infected in the outbreak of Covid-19 at Casa do Artista, in Lisbon, is 42 people, half of whom are users and, of these, ten are hospitalized, a source from the Regional Health Administration (ARS) told Lusa this Friday. Lisbon and Tagus Valley.

According to the same source, among the residents of Casa do Artista there are “21 active cases, eleven of which are in the institution, duly separated from the negative ones, and 10 are hospitalized”. In addition, there are 21 active cases among employees, who are “fulfilling isolation in their homes”.

According to the same source, since the beginning of the outbreak, during the month of January, six deaths have been registered at Casa do Artista.

To Lusa, ARS Lisboa e Vale do Tejo stressed that, “as usual, the local health authority, in conjunction with the direction of Casa do Artista, determined the Public Health measures appropriate to the situation according to DGS guidelines [Directorate-General for Health], such as the evaluation and activation of the contingency plan, testing, confinement of positive cases and separation of positive and negative”


Covid-19. Security forces and firefighters start vaccination next week

The Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, said this Friday that 15,000 firefighters and 20,000 members of the security forces will begin to be vaccinated against the Covid-19 next week.

“Next week, the vaccination of essential functions of the State will begin, it would highlight the firefighters, about 15 thousand and about 20 thousand elements of the security forces [PSP and GNR]”, said Eduardo Cabrita.

The minister spoke to journalists in Castelo Branco, where he travelled to preside over the signing ceremony of the protocol between the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC) and MOVIJOVEM – Youth Mobility, for the operation of five Rear Support Structures (EAR) in youth hostels.

The Minister of Home Affairs explained that not all elements of the security forces will now receive the vaccine against Covid-19.

“It is not all staff. They are those who, primarily, are assigned to operational activities, from the surveillance of people in prophylactic isolation, to the guarantee of respect for the rules of the state of emergency or the disinfections that have been made by GNR”, he concluded.


Support centres provide 2300 beds

The national network of reserve support centres has been reinforced with five more centres in youth hostels and currently integrates about 2,300 beds distributed throughout the country.

“What we do today is yet another example of the timely response that aims to support those who must respond [to the pandemic], health and social security. These centres, since November, have allowed us to create a network that today is present in all districts of the country “, said, this Friday, the Minister of Internal Administration, in Castelo Branco, where he chaired the signing ceremony of the protocol between the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC) and Movijovem – Youth Mobility, for the operation of five Rear Support Structures (EAR) in youth hostels.

“These centres have a national capacity to accommodate 2,300 people and are designed to receive Covid patients who no longer require hospitalization,” he explained.

The minister also underlined that the EARs allow beds to be released in hospitals, receiving people who are not yet in a position to go to their homes or homes.

“There are 212 people installed in these centres, that is, about 10% of the installed capacity. This is an action that has involved these three areas, civil protection, social action and health. There is also a great connection to the local authorities”, he stressed.

During the signing ceremony of the protocols, the Secretary of State for Youth and regional coordinator of the fight against the pandemic in the centre of the country, João Paulo Rebelo, explained that there are 401 beds in Rear Support Structures in this region


Vaccination: By SMS, phone call or letter, your turn will come. It is the guarantee of António Costa to the Portuguese

The message is to “wait serenely for your turn to be vaccinated”. The guarantee, on the other hand, is that everyone will be contacted to receive the vaccine against Covid-19.

“You don’t have to rush to the emergency room, go to the health centre or make phone calls,” said António Costa. “People will receive a message saying the time and place of the vaccination. They simply have to wait and they will be called in turn. Those who do not have a cell phone will receive a call or a letter,” he said.

The Prime Minister was speaking to journalists after a visit to the private hospital CUF Tejo, where he was accompanied by the Minister of Health, Marta Temido.

Stressing that Portugal is “dependent on the production [of vaccines] by the industry” and that “it is important that this industry is able to increase production capacity”, the prime minister recalled that “we will only return to normal when we are all vaccinated or when at least 70% of people are vaccinated “.

“This is the fight we are doing,” he reiterated.


Covid-19. Ten deputies and 24 officials have been infected since March 2020

Since 10th December, the Assembly of the Republic has carried out 1029 tests on deputies, parliamentary employees, collaborators and party advisers.

At the moment when vaccination against Covid-19 will start, the Assembly of the Republic registered ten cases of infection of deputies and 24 of parliamentary employees since March last year, according to the general secretary. Last week, ten deputies were in isolation, but the number varies over time – in the previous week there were only two. As for the number of tests, 1,029 have been carried out since the beginning of December, of which only nine were positive.

People from all areas of Parliament’s operation are covered: deputies (258 tests were carried out, which means that some of the 230 have already repeated); parliamentary officials (362 tests); members of parliamentary groups (227, as advisers and lawyers); security forces (PSP and GNR who serve in the palace, 35); employees of companies that provide services there, such as the bar, cleaning and maintenance (139); and also journalists (8). Under the prerogative of the State of Emergency, which determines that companies and other entities can demand tests from employees and those who frequent the space, the target names for testing are warned in the previous days.

The idea is to reach people from all organic units and from all spaces and services, specifies João Amaral, director of the communication office, including those that the Assembly has in other buildings in the immediate vicinity and where parliamentary divisions or entities like UTAO operate. Despite the nine positive tests (only two were officials), services have not yet closed in Parliament.


Costa praises the mobilization of the private and social health sectors to fight the epidemic

“For the pandemic to be eradicated, it must be eradicated in the European Union and on a global scale, which is a huge effort”, underlined the prime minister.

The Prime Minister also underlined that to speed up the vaccination process, the industry has to increase the vaccine production capacity. António Costa stressed that the pharmaceutical companies have already committed to fulfil this objective.

For the head of government, it is essential to vaccinate the majority of the population in order to return to normality: “We will only return to normality in our lives when we are all vaccinated or, at least, 70% of the population, reaching group immunity”.

“It is essential that each one waits serenely for his or her turn to be vaccinated”, he recalled with the indication that the call for the vaccine will arrive via SMS or letter.

The Prime Minister also said today that one thing is the turmoil of political debate and another is reality, praising the joint work of the National Health Service and the private and social sectors in combating Covid-19.

“I want to leave a word of thanks here, because one thing is the turmoil of political debate and another thing is reality. Since March we have been in contact, we have worked together, and the National Health Service (SNS) and private hospitals and of the social sector, or of the Armed Forces, have been mobilized whenever necessary to respond to this pandemic situation “, maintained the leader of the executive.


Covid-19: Government will not give point tolerance (official day off) on Tuesday of Carnival

The Government will not give an official day of for workers on Carnival Tuesday, the 16th, because the country is in general confinement due to the Covid-19, without public festivities, Lusa source told the agency executive officer.

“Point tolerance (official day off) aims to allow people to participate in festivities and celebrations that this year will not exist in view of the country’s current context,” said the same government source.

Next week, the State of Emergency in Portugal should be renewed for another 15 days, extending until March 1st, and everything indicates that the general duty of retention and the closure of a wide range of activities to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

On the other hand, according to the Government, on the 16th, distance learning should be underway in a period that is usually of academic interruption.

Since António Costa is prime minister, this will be the first time that there will be no point tolerance on Tuesday of Carnival.

The current general confinement in Portugal has been in place since the 15th and the State of Emergency since November 9th.


Covid-19: More than half of schools reported cases of infection

More than half of the country’s public schools have registered at least one case of infection by Covid-19, according to data from the Ministry of Education released today by Fenprof, which refer to situations in almost three thousand educational establishments.

Since the beginning of the school year, “2,933 public schools on the continent, which do not include higher education”, have reported cases of infection among its population, according to information from the Ministry of Education handed over to Fenprof following a sentence handed down by the Administrative Court of Círculo of Lisbon.

The data arrived at Fenprof after the federation appealed to the court, which forced the tutelage to give this information.

The National Federation of Teachers points out that there are 5,568 educational establishments on the continent, “which means that there have been cases of infection in more than half of them”.

Despite the identification of educational establishments, there is no information on how many cases were registered in each school, despite having been requested by the federation.

Without these data, it is not possible to quantify how many outbreaks there were, but Fenprof concludes that the figures released today indicate that the number “outbreaks was well above just a few dozen, as was repeated by the Directorate-General for Health”.



Region Reports

Madeira Situation Report by our special correspondent

Covid-19 update

There were 295 new Covid-19 cases, 355 recoveries and 3 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The vast majority of new cases were cases of local transmission. Only 4 cases were from people who had arrived from outside the Region. This also reflects border restrictions and the consequent reduction if the number of flights.

On Wednesday, there were 90 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 89 cases of local transmission), 123 recoveries and 2 deaths. Two female patients, aged 83 and 89 and who apparently had pre-existing conditions, died from Covid-19 at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The number of patients in hospital increased to 75, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

On Thursday, there were 97 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the Czech Republic, 1 passenger who had arrived from Germany and 95 cases of local transmission) and 92 recoveries. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 75, 6 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Friday, there were 108 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the Northern Portugal Region and 107 cases of local transmission), 140 recoveries and 1 death. An 88 year old female patient, who had pre-existing conditions, died from Covid-19 at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 68, 7 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 1,842 active cases, of which 85 had been imported while the other 1,757 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Friday, there had been 5,633 cases, 3,741 recoveries and 50 deaths. So far, 2% of the Region’s population has been infected with Covid-19.

On Friday, there were 31 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,743 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 68 patients in Covid-19 units, 7 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit. The 3 Covid-19 patients, who had been airlifted from Lisbon on January 29th, remain in the Covid-19 Unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça.

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 7,093 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

At the moment, 4,686 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 2,047 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, 157,207 samples had been collected until Friday (at 19h00). By Friday, 281,628 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 1,739 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has so far received 36,388 calls.

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 received 31 calls from Tuesday to Friday. Overall, it has so far received 2,773 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/03/90-novos-casos-de-covid-19-225-novos-suspeitos-123-recuperados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/03/madeira-com-mais-duas-mortes-por-covid-19-estamos-quase-nas-50/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/04/97-novos-casos-de-covid-19-continuam-as-discrepancias-dos-numeros-regionais-com-os-nacionais/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/05/ram-atingiu-meia-centena-de-mortos-com-covid-19/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/05/108-novos-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-245-novos-suspeitos/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117822/5_da_populacao_da_Regiao_ja_esta_vacinada_contra_a_covid-19


Vaccination update

Vaccination is starting next week on two new groups of people in Madeira: people aged 80 or older and people aged 50 or older who have chronic pathologies.  People who have already been vaccinated but who have not finished the vaccination process will also be vaccinated. These include public and private healthcare staff, care home residents and staff and civil protection and security forces personnel. 

According to Pedro Ramos (Madeira’s Health and Civil Protection Secretary), taking into account the number of vaccine doses available, the aim is to vaccinate about 2,000 people aged 75 or older, who are about 10% of the people of this age group in the Region. He added that Madeira is “meticulously” following the Covid-19 vaccination plan and the vaccination of priority groups. He explained the aim is to reach herd immunity by vaccinating 60%-70% of the population.

Pedro Ramos said the Region is expected to receive 51,255 vaccine doses until the end of March. This will enable the vaccination of about 10% of the Region’s population (2 x 25,000). As of Friday, 5% of the Madeira population has been vaccinated. So far, 10,240 vaccine doses have been administered. And 3,203 people have been administered two vaccine doses, 1,027 of whom are older than 80 years old and 10 are older than 100 years old.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117863/Pessoas_com_mais_de_80_anos_ou_com_50_anos_e_patologia_cronica_vacinadas_na_proxima_semana

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117862/Madeira_preve_vacinar_10_da_populacao_ate_final_de_marco

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117822/5_da_populacao_da_Regiao_ja_esta_vacinada_contra_a_covid-19


Madeira to receive another 3 Covid-19 patients 

Once again, Madeira has offered to receive another 3 critically-ill Covid-19 patients from the mainland. It is not known yet when they will be transferred to Madeira. The Portuguese Air Force is likely to fly the patients to Madeira, just as it did when the first Covid-19 3 patients who were transferred on January 29th.

https://executivedigest.sapo.pt/covid-19-madeira-recebe-mais-tres-doentes-do-continente/


Hospital staff offered food by bar owners and employees

On Friday evening, the owners and staff of Os Castrinhos bar offered vinha d’alho sandwiches (sandes de carne de vinha d’alho – made with pork, wine and garlic – a traditional Madeira dish), juice and chocolates to staff from Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. Each bag had 1 sandwich, 1 pack of juice and 1 chocolate bar. Esmeralda Castro explained the aim was to bring some comfort to those who are working to serve the patients. She said it was an act of recognition for what hospital staff have been doing for others at such a difficult moment that affects everybody. She hoped this generous action will inspire others to carry out similar acts of solidarity.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117887/Covid-19_Os_Castrinhos_mimam_profissionais_no_hospital


Heavy seas warning

A heavy seas warning has been issued for today. Waves are expected to be 3-4 metre high and to increase to 3.5-4.5 metres on the north shore. As for the south shore, waves are expected to be 2-3 metres high and to gradually decrease to 1-2 metres. There will be moderate wind blowing from the north-west. Visibility is expected to vary between moderate and good. Vessel owners are advised to keep their vessels docked in harbours.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117867/Capitania_prolonga_aviso_de_agitacao_maritima_


Snow returned to Madeira

The highest areas in Madeira were hit by snow on Friday. Two roads in the Municipality of Calheta, Estrada Rochão and Estrada da Fonte do Bispo, were cordoned off and some drivers had trouble driving on snow-covered roads. People have been told not to visit these areas. The Police has warned it will be closely monitoring these areas, controlling those entering and leaving these areas and could even fine visitors and drivers.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117853/PSP_ja_esta_a_controlar_idas_a_neve_com_video

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117848/Neve_esta_de_volta_as_zonas_altas_da_Madeira_com_fotos

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117791/Neve_obriga_a_fechar_duas_estradas_na_Calheta_


Stolen items recovered and returned to owners

The Regional Command of the Public Security Police (Comando Regional da PSP Madeira) announced the recovery of several stolen items, including a baby Jesus statue worth approximately €2,000. It had been stolen on January 9th from a nativity set at Avenida Arriaga. In addition to this statue, the Police recovered 10 rings, 5 watches from several brands, 3 bracelets and 3 necklaces, worth approximately €1,500, which had been stolen from several homes in December. A Honda JF93 scooter, worth approximately €100 and which had been stolen on February 4th, was also recovered. All items were returned to their owners. Three male suspects, aged 39-56, were identified for qualified theft and a 65 year old female was identified for possession of stolen goods. The court in Funchal will deal with them.

The Regional Command of the PSP empathised the importance of citizens immediately alerting the Police as soon as a crime has taken place, so that investigations can start quickly, be successful and result in the identification of suspects and the recovery of stolen items.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117860/PSP_recuperou_Menino_Jesus_roubado_do_presepio_da_Avenida_Arriaga

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/05/psp-recupera-produtos-roubados-e-detem-individuo-por-trafico-de-droga/


Man arrested for drug trafficking 

The Regional Command of the PSP (Comando Regional da PSP Madeira) announced the arrest of a 24 year old man from Funchal for drug-trafficking. His arrest took place during a Police patrol in the higher areas of Funchal-Penteada, in the early hours of Friday and during the curfew. Police apprehended 122 individual doses of hashish, 0.65 grams of liamba, 1 Kg of an undetermined psychoactive substance, a precision scale and other materials linked with drug consumption and trafficking. After appearing before a Funchal court, he was subjected to a Statement of Identity and Residence (Termo de Identidade e Residência).

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117858/PSP_apreendeu_122_doses_individuais_de_haxixe_no_Funchal


Sweet potato exports to France

This year, Madeira has so far exported about 4 tons of sweet potatoes to the south of France. Associação de Jovens Agricultores da Madeira e Porto Santo (AJAMPS – Association of Young Farmers from Madeira and Porto Santo) had been contacted by a French businessman, who had visited the Region and who had been very impressed with the quality of the Region’s sweet potatoes. Vitor Castro, AJAMPS’s president, said that due to demand, shipment of sweet potatoes to the south of France could increase in the near future and take place every fortnight, depending on the reopening of borders and easier conditions for freight transport by road.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/04/madeira-exporta-batata-doce-para-o-sul-de-franca/



Algarve Situation Report

Covid-19 trends and hospitalisations in the Region

The District Civil Protection Commission of Faro today revealed the epidemiological situation in the Algarve with 3,726 active cases of Covid-19.

According to data from the regional health delegate of the Algarve, 18,059 infected were registered until yesterday, another 193 in the last 24 hours and 14,093 recovered (cumulative).

There are 3,453 patients recovering at home, plus 273 hospitalized, 39 in the Intensive Care Units and 22 ventilated. The same source said that since the beginning of the pandemic, 240 deaths have been recorded in the region.

At the moment 4,873 people are under active surveillance and 337 (cumulative) were discharged.

Compared to last week’s bulletin, 2,286 fewer active cases and 1,645 new cases are confirmed. A further 3,885 people are recovered.

There are 26 more people hospitalized, 5 more patients in intensive care and 5 more ventilated. Under active surveillance there are less than 1,591 people.


Ualg Team” provides lectures for students and teachers in response to the state of emergency

Given the current pandemic situation and the return of distance learning, the University of Algarve, with the objective of continuing to strengthen the relationship between higher education and basic and secondary education, adjusted the “Team UAlg” initiative to the new reality.

In a statement, the institute of higher education informs that it will make available a set of lectures and other actions, free and informal, in an online format, taking into account the needs of students.

According to the publication, the UAlg Team is an initiative of the University of Algarve that, in addition to allowing closer relations, aims to provide students and teachers of basic and secondary schools with in-depth knowledge in diverse scientific areas and raise awareness of the importance of entering higher education.

Mainly held by UAlg professors, the lectures may be integrated into the programs of the disciplines and activities provided by the schools, now in an online format. The themes are defined according to the age groups and the level of training of the recipients.


Covid-19: After the suffocation, Tavira comes out of extreme risk

The municipality of Tavira registered this Thursday, 5 new cases, for 232 accumulated in the last 14 days, per 100 thousand inhabitants, below the 236 that enter the highest level of contagion.

Despite descending to “very high risk”, it is still a news of hope for those in Tavira, after the suffocation that they have been living with a virus that gained strength in the county, due to the British variant. Today also the direction of Lar de Santa Maria in Tavira, announced that the outbreak that killed 13 users is over, with the discharge of the last patient.

In this Thursday’s bulletin, on the epidemiological situation in the county, there are 141 active cases and 285 in prophylactic isolation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1459 cases have been confirmed, 1294 recovered and 24 deaths.

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/covid19-depois-do-sufoco-tavira-sai-de-risco-extremo-/36628-1


Covid-19: ARS Algarve strengthens psychological support

Anxiety, depression and panic attacks are symptoms that have been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic. Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve is strengthening the response to the population and health professionals.

During the first confinement, last March, ARS do Algarve joined forces to create a telephone line capable of providing psychological support to the collateral damage of the Covid-19 pandemic, which opened on April 6, 2020.

 “As soon as we knew there was going to be confinement, we immediately started to think about how we could collaborate, in order to have an answer that, from the start, we felt would be useful. ARS endorsed and used our proposal in response to the Regional Office for Mental Health crisis.

 “The service is based on a telephone line, with a response that lies between crisis intervention and brief intervention, where we make about 10 calls per user, depending on the needs of each one. In practice, we provide psychological counselling by phone. Contacts are made until we feel that the situation is stabilized or directed to other structures with more thorough care”, explains Natacha Gonçalves, a psychologist at the Albufeira Health Centre,

Almost a year after the opening of the line, more than 300 people sought this help. The vast majority are young and old, not positive, but suffering.

“In reality, situations linked directly to Covid-19 have not been many. They have been, mainly, due to collateral damage: great increase of anxiety; stressful situations; previous depression situations, which in the meantime worsen; some suicidal ideation and panic attacks. They are very varied pathologies, but mainly linked to anxiety issues. In fact, the anxiety and depression that were already prevalent in our population, even before the pandemic, but that with this situation have worsened or created new case”, explains the professional, who already has almost 30 years of experience in the health area mental.

https://barlavento.sapo.pt/destaque/covid-19-ars-algarve-reforca-o-apoio-psicologico


PS Portimão recognizes Isilda Gomes’ work in fighting the pandemic

The Socialist Party of Portimão highlights the “determined, selfless, solid and exemplary” way in which the citizens and institutions of the community have, “for the most part”, fought the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the PS says that Portimão has been a national reference in the way it was organized, “anticipating problems, anticipating responses, ensuring all conditions for the community in the prevention and treatment of this serious pandemic”, referring to the work of the institutions, health and safety authorities, civil protection agents, parish and city hall officials, mayors and ordinary citizens “who have been faultless in this struggle”.

The socialists who speak of Portimão, as a “solidary city”, recall that in this pandemic, in addition to activating Support and Reception Areas for the Population (ZAP), a field hospital, (CHUA Arena), “investment” was also installed, “that has welcomed Covid-19 patients from other Portuguese cities, who have seen their hospitals full due to the worsening of the pandemic.

In the same statement, the PS emphasizes “the many militants and mayors of the party in Portimão who have been at the forefront of this struggle, their contribution having been predominant in ensuring that the impact of Covid-19 is as small as possible in our community”. 

In this sense, the party speaks “of the most elementary justice, not only recognizing this fact, but also highlighting the decisive and unsurpassable role that Isilda Gomes has assumed in this fight, not begging for efforts to ensure that Portimonenses have been spared this disease” .

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/d/ps-portimao-reconhece-trabalho-de-isilda-gomes-no-combate-a-pandemia/36633-82



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 6th February 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Carnival 

The Regional Government of the Azores will implement restrictive measures during the Carnival period, on all the islands, to contain the spread of Covid-19, announced the regional secretary of Health.

The Government Council has said that from 20:00 on February 12th, that is, the Friday before Carnival, all non-essential establishments will be closed, also, all restaurants and bars will be closed, with the exception of ‘take-away’ and home service.

 A ban on all festivities related to Carnival and a ban on circulation on the public road between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am is also planned during this period.

“These are restrictive measures, but they are necessary to avoid clusters and risky behaviour. And they are certainly the necessary and appropriate measures to enable us to have a great Carnival in 2022”.


Rabo de Peixe 

It has been decided in the Government Council, to maintain the sanitary fence in Rabo de Peixe for another week, but with an adjusted perimeter.

Clélio Meneses, said that Rabo de Peixe “is in fact the main focus of concern in the Azores”, stressing that the measures in force are being adequate but “more time is needed”.

“It was decided to adjust the perimeter of the fence to the area where there are positive cases,” explained the minister. Thus, the fence “will get tighter inside the village of Rabo de Peixe and will extend to the north of the circular road of Rabo de Peixe and within the boundaries of the parish”.

The village of Rabo de Peixe, in the municipality of Ribeira Grande, is currently the location in the archipelago with the most active positive cases of infection by the new coronavirus (160) and has been subject to a health fence since the 13th of January.

In addition to the sanitary fence, the executive created multidisciplinary teams, with social workers, nurses, doctors and psychologists, to do “permanent monitoring and be present on the spot” in Rabo de Peixe.

The Regional Secretary for Health said that these teams are already in the town, orienting people towards changing behaviours and better conduct in the face of contagion or to prevent it from happening.  Also, to accommodate close contacts and positive cases, who are unable to stay in their own homes to ensure the safety of others.

There are already several cases of people who are staying in social support establishments or even hotels, who were removed from their accommodation, obviously with full agreement, to ensure the health of everyone else.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last three days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,553 tests was 36.  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 28, the other islands with reported cases are Terceira, with 4, 1 on Faial and 1 on São Jorge.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 127 in total.   104 on the island of São Miguel, 15 on Terceira 7 on Faial and 1 on Corvo.

As of Friday, 5th February 2021 there are 19 hospitalised patients. 15 on São Miguel with 6 in the ICU and 3 on Terceira.

There are currently 332 active positive cases in the Region, 277 in São Miguel, 38 in Terceira, 11 in Faial, 3 in Pico and 3 in São Jorge.

The Regional Health Authority announced on Friday that a man passed away at the Hospital do Divino Espírito Santo, in Ponta Delgada another victim of Covid-19.

The 86-year-old, natural and resident in Ponta Garça, municipality of Vila Franca, São Miguel, had been hospitalized since 23rd January 2021.

With this more death, the Region has had 27 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.



Portugal Situation Report Wednesday 3rd February 2021

Introduction

We start the day with a sad note and that is the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died yesterday aged 100 years with coronavirus. Sir Tom, who raised almost £33m for the NHS, was taken to Bedford Hospital after requiring help with his breathing on Sunday.

His daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore said he had been treated for pneumonia over the past few weeks and last week tested positive for Covid-19. The Army veteran won the nation’s hearts by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

We covered Sir Tom’s walk at the time through our morning reports on Facebook. We send our condolences to his family and many friends. A real hero and legend who will be remembered as an inspiration to us all.

On a happier note we start the day with some positive news; namely the latest Covid-19 figures from yesterday. These showed the following trends: largest number of recoveries in one day since start of pandemic; daily new confirmed cases were the lowest since 11th January; number of total of people hospitalised and in ICU both decreased; deaths were still high but lowest in 8 days; active cases showed the largest daily decrease to date and both number of people hospitalised and in ICU decreased compared with Monday.

This could be early signs of the lockdown working, but we still need to take into account at the weekend as far as new cases are concerned. However, these are welcome signs. Now is certainly not the time to let our guard down and it is very important to ensure compliance with all the measures in place especially social distancing, hygiene and face masks.

Importantly, for those who are in Phase One of the vaccination plan who are registered with your Centro de Saúde but use a private doctor, now is the time to ensure your health records are up to date on the SMS system

Advice has been circulated to some in the foreign community to visit your private doctor obtain a letter and take it with you to the Centro de Saúde. Not unsurprisingly, some who have tried this have encountered various difficulties, because it is not an official process and also due to language communication problems in some instances. 

Safe Communities approached the Director Regional Health service ARS Algarve concerning this issue in December last year to enquire about the progress that would be put in place for Phase One of the plan. Once the system had been formulated they replied last week and were able to help us explain this. The process can be downloaded here

It is important to note that this is only for those registered with the SNS, but are using private doctors instead; not those who use their Centro de Saúde as they will already have your up to date records. 

Those registered with their Centro de Saúde will be contacted through SMS ahead of the vaccination. SNS reiterate not to contact your Centro de Saúde asking when you will be vaccinated – you will be informed through SMS.

Concerning fake news and misinformation on social media, we regularly read comments from ‘instant experts’ that can only have “graduated from the University of Facebook” as one of our followers put it. People are of course entitled to their opinions, but during a health crisis such comments often using dubious and unproven “so called scientific studies” could cost lives. Where we have seen these ourselves we have reported to Facebook and extreme cases other appropriate authorities.

Since fake news has the ultimate goal of manipulating public opinion, it provokes an emotional response in the reader and, therefore, it can provoke feelings of anger, distrust, anxiety and even depressive symptoms, distorting the perception of reality. Recent research points to the constant consumption of news information, especially when it comes from less credible sources, as an important explanatory factor of concern.

I have written an article on this subject which will appear in the Algarve Resident tomorrow.

Dealing with these sorts of comments places demands on our admin staff on Facebook and I am pleased therefore that Lucy Gable who has spent 25 years as a doctor in E &A has come onto the team. Thank you Lucy.

For those of you who receive our newsletter, our apologies that yesterday our issue contained an incorrect link regarding the updating of SNS records. We spotted this and the correct version was sent out within the hour.

This mornings report takes a team of four of us around 10 hours to produce and upload onto the website. We have produced around 200 editions since February 2020, providing an overview of the main news over the last day or so. By doing this it avoids numerous reports on our Facebook page throughout the day, concentrating more on topics where we need to communicate key information including those where you may need to take some form of action. 

We hope you have a Safe Day. 


Headlines

EU / Presidency: Costa and Von der Leyen call for European industry to be mobilized for vaccine production

The Portuguese Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission have written to European leaders to involve the industry in order to increase the capacity to produce Covid-19 vaccines and to prepare against new strains of the coronavirus.

“I wrote, with President Ursula von der Leyen, to the European Union Heads of State and Government to underline the importance of combining efforts and involving the industry to increase the production capacity and supply of vaccines in the European Union,” António Costa revealed today in his personal account on the social network Twitter.

In the same message, António Costa said that he and Ursula von der Leyen also warned European heads of state and government that it is “essential to support Commission initiatives already underway” so that Member States are “prepared in the face of possible new strains of this virus and future public health risks “.

On Tuesday, the Portuguese Prime Minister met with the executive president of the pharmaceutical multinational Astrazeneca, having received guarantees to reinforce the production capacity of vaccines against Covid-19 to meet the delivery schedule in the European Union.

In that meeting with Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s global CEO, according to António Costa, this multinational “reiterated its commitment” to “strengthen its production capacity in Europe, in order to meet the schedule of vaccine deliveries to the European Union”.

“Every day of delay in the vaccination process is a lost day and there are lives that are put at risk,” noted the leader of the Portuguese executive.

According to the Prime Minister of Portugal, a country currently presiding over the Council of the European Union, “AstraZeneca will supply the European Union with nine million additional doses of its anti-covid vaccine, for a total of 40 million doses in the first quarter, an increase of 30% over the company’s previous proposal “.

The Prime Minister added that he continues “to work together with the European Commission, in this which is another step in the long marathon for the protection of the life and health of Europeans”.


Covid-19

On Tuesday Portugal registered 260 deaths and 5,540 new cases of Covid-19, according to the daily balance of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

The bulletin states that 17,572 people recovered bringing the total to, 551,956.

The total number of active cases is now 166,888, down 12,292 compared to Monday.

As for hospital admissions, the DGS epidemiological bulletin reveals that 6,775 people are in hospital, 94 less than the previous day, and 852 in intensive care, 13 less.

Health authorities have 215,536 contacts under surveillance, 4,817 fewer than yesterday.

Regarding the 260 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, 116 occurred in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, 55 in the Centro region, 65 in the North region, 17 in Alentejo and 7 in the Algarve region.

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 already infected at least 330,550 men and 401,081 women in Portugal, according to DGS data, according to which there are 230 cases of unknown sex, which are under investigation, since this data is not provided automatically.

Of the total fatalities, 6,789 were men and 6,228 women.

The largest number of deaths continues to be concentrated in the elderly over 80 years old, followed by the age group between 70 and 79 years old.

Of the total of 13,017 deaths, 8,763 were people over 80 years old, 2,661 aged between 70 and 79 years old and 1,103 were between 60 and 69 years old.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has recorded 13,017 deaths and 731,861 cases of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus


Health

German delegation is led by the chief of the medical staff

German support for Portugal in the most acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic promised by Chancellor Angela Merkel to Prime Minister António Costa arrives today, at 1 pm, at Figo Maduro Airport, in Lisbon. The PUBLICO newspaper reported that this delegation is led by the chief of staff of the medical branch, who, however, will return shortly afterwards to Germany. The teams consist of 26 military personnel and comprised of eight doctors and 18 nurses, most of whom specialize in Intensive Care, in addition to the logistics sector.

This was the decision after the visit made last Wednesday by a German delegation that surveyed the needs in Porto and in the area of the Regional Health Administration of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, specifically at the Amadora-Sintra hospital, where, in principle, this action will focus on it. This is the area in which, currently, the rates of infected are greater and the one in which hospitals are under greater pressure

The German military carries a variety of materials, including 50 fans, pumps and infusion syringes. Its presence in Portugal is estimated at three weeks and may be extended if the evolution of the pandemic so warrants.

The confirmation of the arrival of the German military team was made by the German Minister of Defence, ahead of a joint statement on Monday evening, by the Ministries of National Defence and Health – shortly after Marta Temido Minister of Health, in a press conference, had stated that nothing was yet decided.


PGR investigates nine cases of vaccination of non-priority people

The Public Prosecutor’s Office has already decided to initiate inquiries in relation to some of the cases made public, first of all those relating to Social Security in Setúbal, INEM in Lisbon, INEM in Porto and facts also reported in Portimão (Support Center of Seniors), Vila Nova de Famalicão, Arcos de Valdevez, Bragança, Seixal and Montijo . This information was given to Expresso by the Attorney General’s Office.

On Thursday, the National Association for Emergency and Civil Protection denounced vaccination to non-priority professionals at the National Institute for Medical Emergency (INEM). In a statement, INEM denied asking health authorities for more doses of the vaccine than were needed to vaccinate priority workers. After the accusations of giving the vaccine to non-priority employees, INEM guarantees that in these cases only leftovers were used.


Vaccines

China arrests over 80 suspected of selling fake vaccines

China has arrested more than 80 people suspected of involvement in a scheme to sell fake vaccines against Covid-19, which has been in operation since September last year, the official press reported today.

The state-run Global Times newspaper reported that Chinese authorities also seized 3,000 doses of the fake antigen during the operation.

According to the same source, the criminal network was present in several cities and the operation was carried out jointly by the security forces of Beijing and the provinces of Jiangsu and Shandong, on the northern coast of China.

Cited by the newspaper, vaccine specialist Tao Lina said that “the ‘vaccines’, filled with saline, have no effect, but they also do not cause health problems, so it is clear that the suspects wanted money”.

Other sources cited by the Global Times argued that the chain could be involved in marketing these fake vaccines abroad.

On January 28th, Chinese pharmaceutical Sinovac, which developed one of the vaccines in the Asian country, published a statement in which it warned that some “companies and individuals” had falsified and used company authorization documents to try to act as “distributors of the CoronaVac vaccine against Covid-19 and other vaccination products in markets outside China “.


President of the Assembly of the Republic wants working group to coordinate vaccination in parliament

The President of the Assembly of the Republic yesterday suggested the setting up of a working group to monitor the vaccination process against Covid-19 in parliament, until reaching all the deputies who want to be vaccinated.

This position was conveyed by Ferro Rodrigues in a statement, in which he also referred to the process of vaccination of officials of the Assembly of the Republic “considered indispensable to guarantee the effective functioning of this sovereign body”.

“The President of the Assembly of the Republic considers it most useful to set up a working group to monitor the process that is now beginning and that will continue, on a scheduled basis, until it reaches all the deputies who want to be vaccinated, as well as the officials considered indispensable for guarantee the effective functioning of this sovereign body, reviewing the advanced proposals, on which the conference of leaders will address, in a meeting that will be convened when justified “.

In the statement, Ferro Rodrigues states that the vaccination process “started with the responses to the request of the Prime Minister [António Costa] is being developed, contemplating the observations and proposals that have been sent to the President of the Assembly of the Republic in recent days”.

According to Ferro Rodrigues, after the meeting of the leaders’ conference last Thursday, the criteria for the letter to be sent were defined – precedence of the State Protocol and members of the Permanent Commission, and with a subsequent suggestion to the parliamentary leaders of nomination based on age or health status “.


Director of the Pharmacy Service at Penafiel Hospital fired after vaccine accident

The director of the Pharmacy Service at the Centro Hospitalar do Tâmega (CHTS) has been fired following last week when there was a failure to use the refrigeration system, which damaged 130 vials of vaccines against Covid-19, which would have been used to vaccinate about 600 professionals.

At the time of the incident, the CHTS Board of Directors opened an “inquiry process” to ascertain responsibilities and evaluate submitting a criminal case.

The batch with hundreds of vaccines against Covid-19, which was to be administered to professionals at the Centro Hospitalar do Tâmega e Sousa (CHTS), in Penafiel, was damaged during the night from Monday to Tuesday of the last week, making it impossible to use it.

At the time, a source from the CHTS Board of Directors said that everything indicated that the failure was “associated with an inadequate use of the hospital’s pharmacy refrigeration system”. The vaccines in question, 130 bottles that would give 600 doses, would be used to vaccinate health professionals.


Covid-19. Five patients transferred from Beja Hospital to the Air Force reception centre

Also according to the above report, the Armed Forces provided the SNS and the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security with a total of 12 reception centres for patients. The centres operate in military units from the three branches of the Armed Forces (Army, Air Force and Navy) in mainland Portugal and in the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores.

With 68 beds, the centre, provided as a back-up support structure, provides accommodation and meals for patients, being supplied and managed by personnel from the National Health Service, Social Security and Civil Protection

The reception centre at Air Base No. 11, in Beja, received on Monday afternoon five patients infected with the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease. According to a note from the General Staff of the Armed Forces (EMGFA), the patients came from the José Joaquim Fernandes Hospital in that city of Baixo Alentejo.

Patients were welcomed following a request from the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC) to EMGFA.


Economy

The Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Vieira, made a statement on the data on the evolution of the Portuguese economy last year, after the publication of the quick estimate by INE.

The Minister pointed out that, “in the last quarter of 2020, the Portuguese economy grew 0.4% compared to the previous quarter”.

The Office of the Minister of State and Finance issued a statement in which it states that “economic activity performed better than previously expected in the second half of the year, with a 5.1% growth compared to the first half”.

Minister Siza Vieira said that “in the year as a whole, there was a very significant drop (7.6%) compared to 2019, but much less drastic than was expected by all institutions and that Government’s projections” is (8. 5%) in the State Budget for 2021.

This sharp drop was felt across the Eurozone, particularly affecting countries where the tourism sector has the greatest weight, such as Spain (11%), Italy (8.8%) and France (8.3%), and 6.8% for the single currency economies as a whole.


Pfizer expects sales of their vaccine to reach $ 15 billion by 2021

The American pharmaceutical group Pfizer said today that it expects sales of the vaccine against Covid-19 that it developed in partnership with the German BioNTech to reach about 15 billion dollars in the year of 2021.

This sum, equivalent to 12,457 million euros, may increase if the laboratory signs additional contracts.

Pfizer, which reported quarterly results today, has already sold vaccines worth $ 154 million in the fourth quarter after the product was authorized in several countries in late 2020.

The drug maker revised upwards its adjusted earnings per share estimate it made in early January, from $ 3.00 to $ 3.10 to $ 3.10 to $ 3.20.

The total turnover in 2021 is expected to reach 59.4 to 61.4 billion dollars, which will correspond to an increase between 42% and 47%.

These predictions, underlines Pfizer, are based on the hypothesis of “a continuous recovery of macroeconomic activity and health throughout 2021 as populations are vaccinated against Covid-19”.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, Pfizer’s turnover increased by 12% to $ 11.7 billion. It was driven by the increase in sales of treatments against various types of cancer (+ 23%) and by the group of vaccines in the group (+ 17%).

The laboratory, which had recorded losses of $ 333 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, spent in the same period in 2020 achieving a net profit of $ 534 million (about 433 million euros).

Throughout the year, the group’s turnover increased 2% to $ 41,900 million and net profit fell 41% to $ 9,600 million.


Other news

Almost all river basins recorded increases in the amount of water stored

Eleven hydrographic basins registered, in January, increases in the amount of water stored, registering only a decrease in Mondego compared to the previous month, according to data from the National Water Resources Information System (SNIRH).

The decline, in the Mondego basin, “is associated with flood management”, says the bulletin referring to water availability recorded on 31 January.

According to SNIRH data, of the 60 monitored reservoirs, 25 (eight more than in the previous month) had water availability greater than 80% of the total volume at the end of the month and 12 (two less than in December) recorded lower availability and 40%.

Despite the rise registered at the end of January, only the Lima, Cávado, Ave, Douro and Tejo basins have total storage values above historical average values.

All other basins, according to SNIRH data, are below historical storage values for this time of year, namely the Mira, Guadiana and Barlavento basins.

The Ribeiras do Barlavento basin had the lowest water availability at the end of January, with 21.8%.

Following the Mira (43.4%), Sado (52.8%), Arade (55.8%), West (59.5%), Lima (64.6%), and Mondego (57.3%), among those with the lowest amount of water.

According to SNIRH data, at the end of January, the basin with the highest level of storage was that of the Douro (82.9%), followed by that of Cávado (75.4%), Guadiana (67.9%) and Mondego (67.2%).



Madeira

Madeira Situation Report Wednesday 3rd February by our special correspondent 

Covid-19 update

There were 352 new Covid-19 cases, 412 recoveries and 7 deaths from Covid-19 in Madeira since the previous Madeira Situation Report. The vast majority of new cases were cases of local transmission and none were from passengers who had arrived from abroad.

On Saturday, there were 98 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 97 cases of local transmission) and 59 recoveries and 4 deaths. Two female patients and two male patients, aged 80-88 and who had pre-existing conditions, died from Covid-19 at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The number of patients in hospital increased to 73, 8 of whom were in intensive care.

On Sunday, there were 94 new Covid-19 cases (from 2 passengers who had arrived from Northern Portugal Region, 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 91 cases of local transmission), 118 recoveries and 1 death. A 90 year old male patient, an 85 year old female patient and 74 year old female patient died from Covid-19 at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. They had pre-existing conditions. The number of patients in hospital increased to 76, 8 of whom were in intensive care.

On Monday, there were 61 new Covid-19 cases (from 1 passenger who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 60 cases of local transmission), 149 recoveries (the highest number of recoveries on a single day this year) and 1 death. A 91 year old female patient, who had pre-existing conditions, died in a care home from Covid-19. Her death was the first death from Covid-19 in a care home in Madeira. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 75, 8 of whom were in intensive care.

And on Tuesday, there were 99 new Covid-19 cases (from 6 passengers who had arrived from the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region and 93 cases of local transmission), 86 recoveries and 1 death. A 70 year old male patient, who had pre-existing conditions, died from Covid-19 at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça. The number of patients in hospital decreased to 73, 8 of whom were in intensive care.

There are currently 1,972 active cases, of which 102 had been imported while the other 1,870 cases had been a result of local transmission. As of Tuesday, there had been 5,338 cases, 3,386 recoveries and 47 deaths.

On Tuesday, there were 40 patients in isolation in a dedicated hotel, 1,859 patients in isolation in their own accommodation and 73 patients in Covid-19 units, 8 of whom were in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit. A further 3 Covid-19 patients, who had been airlifted from Lisbon on Friday, remain in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit at Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça.

There are currently 258 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 6,798 suspected cases, of which 1,460 were not confirmed.

At the moment, 4,806 visitors are under monitoring by the health authorities. Monitoring is being carried out through the ‘MadeiraSafe’ app. There are also 2,505 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, 156,171 samples had been collected until Tuesday (at 19h00). By Tuesday, 277,982 samples had been processed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

The SRS 24 helpline (Regional Health Service – 800 24 24 20) received 981 calls from Friday to Tuesday. Overall, it has so far received 34,649 calls.

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 2,742 calls.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/30/4-mortos-98-casos-positivos-de-covid-19-295-suspeitos/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117201/Covid-19_Mais_quatro_doentes_morrem_na_Madeira

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/31/94-novos-casos-de-covid-19-mais-170-suspeitos-e-118-recuperados/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/01/31/mais-uma-vitima-mortal-da-covid-19-na-madeira/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/01/61-novos-casos-de-covid-19-149-casos-recuperados-194-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/01/mais-uma-morte-por-covid-19-uma-senhora-de-91-anos/

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117401/Registada_a_primeira_morte_num_lar_na_Madeira

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117404/Recorde_de_recuperados_por_covid-19_num_so_dia

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/02/99-novos-casos-de-covid-19-73-hospitalizados-258-casos-suspeitos/

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/02/mais-uma-morte-com-covid-19-no-hospital-dr-nelio-mendonca/


Lockdown renewed in Madeira

The lockdown period was renewed in Madeira and will remain in place until February 21st. The following measures will apply:

– The curfew will remain in place from Monday to Friday (from 19h00 to 05h00) and during weekends (from 18h00 to 05h00). 

– In person school classes for 3º Ciclo and Secondary School will remain suspended. 

– Industrial, commercial and service activities must also comply with the curfew, with the exception of pharmacies, clinics and veterinaries, services delivering oxygen and medical gas to households and petrol stations (only to fill up vehicles). 

– Restaurants can remain open until 22h00 but only for meals to be prepared for home delivery.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117306/Novo_periodo_de_confinamento_entra_hoje_em_vigor_na_Madeira


Vaccination update

On Sunday, a shipment of 11,700 Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Madeira. The shipment arrived on a TAP flight from Amsterdam, which had made a stopover in Lisbon and had landed in Funchal shortly after 15h30. The vaccines were stored at the airport until being taken to Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça on Monday, shortly after 10h00. They two boxes were taken to hospital in a cold storage van from Loginsular, under police escort from the PSP (Polícia de Segurança Pública – Public Security Police). Although 17,550 new vaccine doses had been expected, only 11,700 were delivered. A third box with the remaining 5,850 vaccine doses is expected to arrive in two weeks time. Nevertheless, some vaccine doses from the December’s shipment are still available. A new shipment of 17,500 doses is expected to arrive at the start of March.

Miguel Albuquerque (President of the Madeira Regional Government), Pedro Ramos (Madeira Health and Civil Protection Secretary, Ireneu Barreto (Representative of the Republic for the Autonomous Region of Madeira), José Manuel Rodrigues (President of the Legislative Assembly of Madeira), Rafaela Fernandes (President of SESARAM – Madeira Regional Health Service), Herberto Jesus  and José Dias (President of the Regional Civil Protection Service) have been administered the Covid-19 vaccine. They have been included in Phase 1 of the vaccination campaign due to the nature of their roles as top political leaders, healthcare and civil protection leaders in decision-making roles. The remaining members of the Regional Government and the Mayors will also be vaccinated.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117265/Aviao_com_mais_17500_vacinas_ja_chegou_a_Madeira

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117280/Segundo_lote_de_vacinas_chega_amanha_ao_Hospital_Dr_Nelio_Mendonca

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117323/Segundo_lote_de_vacinas_contra_a_covid-19_ja_esta_no_Hospital_Dr_Nelio_Mendonca

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117326/Covid-19_Madeira_recebeu_apenas_11700_das_17550_vacinas_previstas

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117450/Representante_presidente_da_Assembleia_e_cinco_membros_do_Governo_Regional_ja_foram_vacinados


Praia Formosa/Socorridos Promenade closed

The 2 km-long Praia Formosa/Socorridos promenade that links the municipalities of Funchal and Câmara de Lobos has been closed as a result of damage caused by rough seas in the early hours of Monday. It will remain closed the next few days for repairs and because weather conditions are likely to remain adverse.

https://funchalnoticias.net/2021/02/01/estragos-causados-pelo-mar-motivam-encerramento-da-promenade-da-praia-formosa/


SATA Air Açores aircraft involved emergency descent landed safely in Funchal

On Monday morning, SATA Air Açores flight S4 160 was forced to undertake an emergency descent as a result of technical damage linked to a pressurisation issue on the aircraft. Although cabin crew offered oxygen to the passengers, it was ultimately not required. The flight had departed from Ponta Delgada at 08h35 and landed safely in Funchal at 11h40, under the watchful eye of the emergency services that had been deployed in accordance with the emergency procedures for this type of situations. All 9 passengers and 5 members of crew disembarked safely. Paramedics made health checks on the passengers, one of whom is pregnant and had panicked. Aircraft technicians were carrying out checks on the aircraft.

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117338/Nove_passageiros_incluindo_uma_gravida_estao_bem_apos_aterragem_de_emergencia

https://www.jm-madeira.pt/regiao/ver/117353/SATA_confirma_descida_de_emergencia_para_a_Madeira

 



Algarve 

Algarve Situation Report Wednesday 3rd February

CHUA Arena can have an Intensive Care Unit if needed

There is still “no need”, but, “if necessary”, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) will be created inside the CHUA Arena, in Portimão, guaranteed this Monday, February 1st, Ana Castro, chairman of the Board of Administration of the Centro Universitário do Algarve (CHUA). 

Speaking to Sul Informação, the official said that, for now, “there is still the capacity to expand” hospital capacity, without having to resort to CHUA Arena.

According to data from 1st February, there were 33 patients admitted to the field hospital, with a total capacity of 100.

On his visit to the Algarve yesterday, the Assistant Secretary of State for Health made sure to highlight the “extraordinary upgrade” that CHUA Arena has been doing.

“We started with little more than a back-up structure for patients with Covid-19 with low oxygen flows, 2.3 liters per minute, and we have evolved into situations where high flow is possible, with level 2 patients being treated”, He told reporters.

António Lacerda Sales also alluded to the meeting he had with Ana Castro, where the chairman of the Board of Directors of CHUA assured him that, “as soon as it was necessary, there are certainly fans available to set up an UCI inside the Arena”.

This field hospital was initially set up to treat patients with less critical situations and has also served to receive people from other regions of the country.

https://www.sulinformacao.pt/2021/02/chua-arena-pode-ter-unidade-de-cuidados-intensivos-se-for-necessario/


Lagos PSP discovers restaurant that served lunch and dinner behind closed doors

The Public Security Police (PSP), this Monday detected a restaurant in Lagos, which was serving meals inside to several customers.

In a statement, the PSP states that the inspection took place, after several complaints by citizens who anonymously reported that there would be an establishment operating behind closed doors in the Atalaia area, “serving meals during the lunch period and dinner at groups of people who work in the city from other parts of the country “.

The police said that the establishment welcomed people through a back entrance. In the operation, PSP identified 10 customers, who were at the table for lunch. The same source found that “there would be an agreement between the establishment and some companies to provide meals at a more affordable price to their employees”.

As a result of the police action, the owner of the restaurant was charged for keeping the establishment operating outside the rules set out in article 2 al) J Dec-Law 28-b / 2020, as well as the customers who were inside it, for breach of the general duty of confinement at home.


Covid.19: Situation in Monchique worsens with 52 active cases

The Municipality of Monchique has seen its epidemiological situation worsen sharply in recent days, as a result of the outbreak that occurred at the Lar da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Monchique (SCMM).

In this Monday’s update, four more new cases of Covid-19 were registered in the parish of Monchique. Of these four cases, two are users of the SCMM Home and two more in the community. In the outbreak at Lar da Santa Casa alone, DGS confirmed 30 infected people, 26 users and 4 employees. The municipality registers 52 active cases. 

According to the mayor Rui André, this Monday tests were carried out for the 5th and 6th grade classes at Escola EB 2,3 in Monchique and a wide range of education professionals and parents of students. The strategy aims to test the largest number of people and thus control possible chains of contagion.

It should be remembered that in the update this Monday, between 13th and 26th January, the Algarve had 7 counties at extreme risk: Castro Marim, Vila Real de Stº António, Albufeira, Loulé, Faro, Tavira and Olhão.

At very high risk, Lagos, Silves, Alcoutim, São Brás de Alportel, Portimão and Lagoa. At high risk the municipality of Vila do Bispo and at moderate risk, Aljezur and Monchique, the latter with the lowest incidence base in the region, however, with the new data both in the community and with the outbreak that occurred in the home of Santa Casa, the municipality will be at extreme risk in the next assessment.



Azores

Situation Report Azores – 3rd February 2021 – From our colleague in the Azores 

Festivities 

The Regional Health Authority recommends not holding festivities or events until further notice.

The Regional Directorate of Health has said that it has received “several requests” regarding the holding of “festivities or events, whether of a religious nature, namely the festivities in honour of Holy Spirit, or of popular nature”.

They went on to say that the decision “at this moment is complex, as it is not possible to predict, with a reliable degree of certainty, how the epidemiological situation in the Azores will evolve”.


SATA 

SATA Air Azores has reported on Monday that flight S4 160 from Ponta Delgada (São Miguel) to Madeira made an emergency descent following a technical problem associated with the pressurisation of the aircraft.

The flight left Ponta Delgada at 08:35 (local time, one less than in Lisbon and Madeira) and landed at Madeira airport at 11:40, having triggered the emergency procedures at destination airport.

The landing and disembarkation of the 14 passengers took place in a normal way. SATA’s communication office said that “a technical assessment” is being carried out on the aircraft in Funchal.


Covid-19 

The Regional Health Authority has said that in the last four days the number of new positive cases of Covid-19 resulting from 5,389 tests was 97.  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 89, the other islands with reported cases are Terceira, with 6 and 2 on Faial.

There have been some recoveries in the last few days, 183 in total.   169 on the island of São Miguel, 12 on Terceira 1 on Faial and 1 on Pico.

There are currently 424 active positive cases in the Region, 353 in São Miguel, 48 in Terceira, 18 in Faial, 3 in Pico, one in Flores and one in Corvo.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Daily Situation Reports February 2020Download
  • Daily Situation Reports January 2020Download
  • Situation Reports 1st 15th March 2020Download