Algarvian COVID-19 testing centre at Portimão Arena not operating, despite being ready for a week

8portimao arenaThe new COVID-19 screening centre set up beside the Portimão Arena is set to open "in principle next Friday", Mayor Isilda Gomes told press. The testing centre, which is to be operated in cooperation with the Algarve Biomedical Center (ABC), similarly to the centre that is already in operation at the Algarve Stadium in Faro, will be put into operation mainly by Aqualab, a contracted company.

This Wednesday, during a visit of two cabinet ministers to the region - Ana Mendes Godinho, of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security, and Manuel Heitor, of Science, Technology and Higher Education - and a Secretary of State - Jamila Madeira, - online news agency Sul Informacao asked the group of politicians for the reason behind the delay in opening the centre, which was ready to be used a week ago, at the expense of the Municipality of Portimão.

Jamila Madeira dodged the question, replying only that, "having the conditions for this equipment to be set up for public health is essential". So when does it open? And why isn't it already open?

Paulo Morgado, president of the Regional Health Administration, replied that “there is no date to open, but it will be soon. This has to be articulated with the agreed laboratory”.

As for the fact that this testing centre is no longer under the purview of the ABC, Morgado explained that this body, which results from a consortium between the “Centro Hospitalar Universitário do Algarve” and Algarve University will instead be “directing its entire capacity for the Covid-19 screening project in nursing homes”.

In Portimão, in addition to the drive-thru centre at Portimão Arena (where people with suspected cases of the disease can be tested without even leaving their vehicle), there is also a second screening centre, operated by another contracted company, linked to the same Aqualab group. In any case, people can only go to these places if they are prescribed a test for COVID-19 by a health worker, or by SNS 24. The prior appointment of the tests is mandatory. The Regional Health Administration of the Algarve also opened on the 26th of March three Areas Dedicated to COVID-19 (the so-called ADC-Community), in the Health Centres of Portimão, Olhão and Tavira.

They are intended "only to assist users with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection, by teams consisting of doctors, nurses, administrative assistants and cleaning teams", explained the ARS.

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