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Approximately 300,000 people in the Algarve are still awaiting their vaccination, but the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve believes that it will be possible to ensure 70% of the Algarve population are vaccinated by August.
During yesterdays' regional press conference on the epidemiological situation Paulo Morgado, president of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) from the Algarve noted that to date (April10th), 82,209 Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the Algarve, of which 23,423 people have already received both doses.
At the moment the transmissibility index (rt) of COVID-19 in the Algarve is 1.05, slightly higher than the national level of 1.02.
Asked if there would be a chance that the region would achieve immunity before the tourist season, so as not to harm the tourism market so much, the president stated that the vaccination plan is done at a national scale and not at a regional scale, even when in the Algarve the prevalence the English variant has a higher percentage than the national variant (94 percent to 82.09).
“The UK strain of Covid-19, when it enters a country, or a community, becomes easily prevalent because the virus replicates more easily and generates more cases. The situation in the Algarve is not that different from the national situation in that the English variant has already become dominant. We cannot say that we are going to vaccinate more in the Algarve region just because we have more cases of English variant ”, he said.
Morgado went on to say "most likely, the Algarve will be part of the so-called third phase of vaccines, starting at the end of April or at the beginning of May, where we will start vaccinating from the oldest to the youngest".
"Assuming that age is a risk factor for the complications of the disease, we will have, in the coming months, following this plan, a vaccination that will cover the adult population in general, starting with the elderly. This is a plan to follow at the national level, there are no regional vaccination plans. The Algarve will follow the rhythm of the other regions. We receive the vaccines and administer them according to what our resident population is", he said.
“We will reach national values for vaccination coverage, most likely before August. Around 300,000 people still need to be vaccinated. If we vaccinate these 300 thousand people at the rate of three thousand per day, which is not even high, in 100 days we will have vaccinated these 300 thousand people, resulting in a coverage rate that exceeds 70% of the population at risk. We will arrive in the summer with the population covered".
Still on the percentage of 70 percent, Morgado said that it is a value "debatable, which is not consensual, but which is accepted in terms of group immunity, called a psychological barrier".
"The key is to act quickly. Health authorities are doing the job, as are other entities and ministries. Since March 15th, we have performed more than 26,000 tests with 866 positive cases. We are mass testing and isolating both primary cases and high and low risk contacts very quickly, ” Paulo Morgado concluded.,
Three new rapid Covid vaccination centres have now been given the green light to open, in Olhão, Faro and Lagoa, with more in the pipeline.
If you are a resident in Portugal and not yet registered with the Portuguese healthcare system, it is important to do so in order to receive your vaccination. CLICK HERE.
The Government will decide tomorrow whether the country (or parts) is in a position to start yet another phase of the deconfinement plan. Meanwhile, the Assembly of the Republic voted this afternoon to renew the State of Emergency until the end of the month, with the support of PSD, CDS-PP and PAN parties.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has already made it known he wants this to be the last renewal of the State of Emergency in the current pandemic situation, "coinciding with the end of April". But everything depends on the evolution of the situation in the next 15 days.
The new period of the State of Emergency will take effect from midnight on Friday, 16th April and will continue until April 30th.
The Municipality of Lagos has approved the final proposal for the “Study of Planning for the Practice of Self-Caravanning in the Municipality of Lagos”, which will enable the municipality to manage this tourist activity efficiently, namely with regard the installation of new infrastructures and facilities for caravanners, whether public or private.
"The document is the culmination of a work that began with a survey, characterisation and diagnosis and, in a second phase, the identification of the territorial potential for the practice of motorhoming, which takes into account the need to safeguard of patrimonial, natural and landscape values, the sustainable use of resources, as well as the perspectives and interests of social and economic development of the municipality ".
The study predicts that "the potential for caravanning (caravans and motorhomes) in Portugal will increase by 50% in the next ten years.
The proposal has involved assessing the areas with the greatest potential for the location of Camping and Caravan Parks (PCC) and Motorhome Service Areas (ASA), classifying them in four classes: Priority, Opportunity, Negotiable and Critical.
Regarding the types of facilities to be created, with regard to the Camping and Caravan Parks, these may be related to the themes “Sun and Sea”, “Eco resorts” and “Rural Camping Parks”, aiming to allow the combination of caravanning with other activities in rural environment, such as agribusiness, wine tourism, fishing, hiking, cycling, etc.
Motorhome Service Areas may be themed as “Urban”, “Cultural and natural heritage”, and “Rural”, depending on their location. There will be defined “Parking Spaces”, commercial areas, fuel pumps /service stations and picnic parks on site.
Combating the illegal and wild practices of caravanning and motorhoming, minimising its harmful effects, and maximising the advantages and benefits that it can generate by the strengthening of local and regional tourism, are the main objectives of this study, which intends to focus on Lagos as one of the most sustainable and inclusive tourist destinations.
The strategy also recommends the modernisation and qualification of the existing facilities and the definition of minimum requirements and services provided at these PCC's and ASA's.
The rules for air circulation remain the same in the next phase of the deconfinement plan that starts on Monday, and the land border with Spain remains closed for the next 15 days, the prime minister announced yesterday.
“Regarding flights, the rule is the rule that is in force, therefore, in the majority of origin countries that have less than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, they can come as long as they have a test. Other than that, they can come and subject themselves to testing, plus quarantine”, affirmed António Costa, in the press conference that followed the meeting of the Council of Ministers, who were assessing the situation of the pandemic in Portugal, in order to assess the conditions to evolve to the next stage of the deconfinement process.
The minister gave the example of passengers from the United Kingdom, who continue to be able to enter Portugal with the proof of a negative test for SARS-COV-2, with no need to be quarantined.
Regarding the land border with Spain, António Costa said that, despite the positive evolution of the pandemic in both countries, it remains closed for the next 15 days.
The third stage of the deconfinement plan, which starts on Monday, applies to most of the country, except in seven counties (Alandroal, Albufeira , Beja, Carregal do Sal, Figueira da Foz, Marinha Grande and Penela), which will keep with the rules currently in force, and four (Moura, Odemira, Portimão and Rio Maior), which will retreat to the 'tighter' rules of the first phase of deflation.
On May 3rd, the last phase of this deconfinement is planned, however, this is dependent on the evolution of contagions and the number of new cases of Covid-19.
The Algarve municipality of Portimão, in addition to Moura, Odemira and Rio Maior, will return to the rules of Phase 1 of deconfinement from Monday, instead of moving forward to Phase 3 like the majority of Portugals' municipalities.
In his announcement yesterday, according to António Costa, the majority of the continent's municipalities move on to the third phase of the Government's deconfinement plan, starting on Monday 19th April, but there are seven municipalities that are retained in the second phase, maintaining the measures in force today, and four other municipalities that, due to the high incidence of Covid-19, are returning to the first phase of this deconfinement plan that started on March 15th.
"It is not enough not to move on to the next stage [of the deflation], it is necessary that we go back to the set of rules that were in force before the last deflation," said António Costa, at a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Lisbon.
According to the Prime Minister, in the four municipalities returning to Phase 1 due to an incidence of at least 240 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days, the prohibition of inter-city circulation is again in force"and, therefore, people have a duty to remain in his municipality, exceptions that are known, in particular the need to have to go to work or to support any family member ". The measure applies every day of the week.
So, to recap, the restrictions and measures of the first phase of the deconfinement plan will be applied again, starting on Monday 19th, in the municipalities of Moura, Odemira, Portimão and Rio Maior. This means the closure of cafe and restaurant terraces again, shops up to 200 square meters (m2) with a door to the street, gyms, museums, monuments, palaces, art galleries, plus closure of fairs and non-food markets, and a ban on low-risk sports.
In these four counties, from April 19th for 15 days it is forbidden to move outside the municipality again, with exceptions such as for work or to give assistance to family members.
Still permitted in these 4 municipalities is service from the door at shops, takeaway from cafes and restaurants. Hairdressers, manicurists and similar may operate by appointment only and limited occupancy. Book shops and libraries may open. Parks, gardens, green spaces and leisure spaces are open.
The seven municipalities remaining in Phase 2 due to "two successive assessments at risk", with more than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants are Alandroal, Albufeira , Beja, Carregal do Sal, Figueira da Foz, Marinha Grande and Penela. This means the following current guidelines remain in place for these munipalities, with no change from Monday, for 15 days.
- Stores up to 200 m2 with a door to the street are open;
- Fairs and non-food markets are open (decided by municipality);
- Terraces/outdoor areas at cafes and restaurants are open, with a maximum limit of four people per table, until 10:30 pm on weekdays and until 1:00 pm on weekends;
- Practice of sports considered to be of low risk allowed;
- Outdoor physical activity for up to four people allowed;
- Operation of gyms allowed, without group classes;
- Functioning of social facilities for the disabled allowed
However, in ALL municipalities, schools continue to operate in person and secondary school and higher education students return to face-to-face education - as in the rest of the Portuguese continent - because "measures relating to the education system will always be measures of national scope", said António Costa.
Within his announcement, António Costa emphasised that these restrictions "are neither prizes nor punishments" , but "measures adopted for the safety of the populations themselves", appropriate to the situation of the pandemic in these territories.
“This means that in these municipalities we will have to continue, as we have done until now, to test more and more, identify positive cases, establish the transmission chains, isolate the group of people who have been in contact with positive cases, in a way as soon as possible we can contain the pandemic in these counties and [so] they can join what is the rule in the country as a whole, [where] fortunately the pandemic is controlled and that is why we can move on, "he said.
Costa also drew attention to 13 other municipalities that, “having their incidence rate higher than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants for the first time, must pay particular attention to the way they control the pandemic in the next 15 days”.
They are Aljezur , Almeirim, Barrancos, Mêda, Miranda do Corvo, Miranda do Douro, Olhão , Paredes, Penalva do Castelo, Resende, Valongo, Vila Franca de Xira and Vila Nova de Famalicão.
“I particularly call your attention to those who are more populous - the case of Vila Franca de Xira, the case of Valongo, the case of Vila Nova de Famalicão. They are very populous municipalities and, therefore, this incidence rate has a particular risk ”, he stressed.
On the other hand, there are eight other municipalities that 15 days ago had an incidence rate higher than 100 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, but had a positive evolution and "can fully enter the next phase of deflation".
They are the municipalities of Borba, Cinfães, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Lagoa , Ribeira de Pena, Soure, Vila do Bispo and Vimioso.
The executive's deconfinement plan foresees four phases of reopening - two have already advanced on March 15th and April 5th, the next will be on Monday, April 19th, and the last on May 3rd.
Next Monday, April 19th,for most of the 278 municipalities on the continent, all stores and shopping centers, cinemas, theaters, auditoriums and theaters, and citizen's offices will be reopened by appointment.
Medium-risk sports and outdoor physical activity for up to six people also return, and outdoor events are permitted with reduced capacity, with weddings and baptisms allowed with 25% of the respective reception capacity.
Restaurants and cafes also reopen, but with a maximum of four people at the tables inside or six per table outside - opening until 22:00 on weekdays or 13:00 on weekends and holidays.
The measures are being constantly reviewed, to monitor if Portugal exceeds 120 new cases of infection with the new Coronavirus per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days, or if the transmissibility index (Rt) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus exceeds 1.
Enjoy your weekend. More news next week!
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