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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Situation Reports Overseas



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