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The Secretary of State for Health estimated today that Portugal could achieve group immunity to Covid-19 “more likely in the beginning of Summer than the end”, if the current rate of arrival of vaccines and vaccinations is maintained.
“I usually say the phrase 'vaccines arrive and are given' and we continue to do that. If the forecasts come true, then during the summer, more towards the beginning than towards the end, 70% of the adult population will be vacinnated”, Diogo Serras Lopes told journalists.
The governor presided today, April 26th, at the inauguration of the rapdi vaccination centre in Portimão, one of the four municipalities in the country with the highest incidence rate of Covid-19 per 100 thousand inhabitants when the third phase of doconfinement began, on April 19th, which forced the municipality to go back to the first phase.
According to Diogo Serras Lopes, the Government's goal is to achieve, during the summer, the goal of group immunity (70% of the population), although the Government “does not like to give very specific goals, given that there have already been surprises with bad news about delivery of vaccines”.
The minister revealed that the Government will reinforce vaccination in the municipalities that had to go back to the first phase due to their number of registered cases, "so that the pandemic can be controlled more quickly".
“One of the things that has been done is that the municipalities that had to retun to phase 1 of deconfinement are privileged in terms of vaccination, having a higher percentage of vaccines allocated. There will be a logic, not only of age groups, but also where there are more cases, and Portimão is one of those cases”, he said.
The Secretary of State for Health refused to delay the vaccination process for the population of the Algarve, refuting the accusations of mayors who protested the fact that the Algarve is, allegedly, one of the regions with the least vaccinated population.
One of the most striking accusations came from the Mayor of Portimão, Isilda Gomes (PS), who a week ago said that the Government was not assuming its responsibility in the vaccination process.
“There is no delay in vaccination in the Algarve, because the rate of vaccination depends on the number of vaccines that arrive. The Algarve is a vital area for the country in terms of the economy”, claimed the Secretary of State for Health.
Regarding the opening of the vaccination centre in Portimão, one of the demands presented by Isilda Gomes to the Government, the officials considered that the space, installed in the municipal Sports Pavilion since March 3rd, "has now opened to respond to the greater capacity for vaccination".
"It was necessary to carry out a greater number of vaccinations per day than was being done, and the centre has now opened" he said, stressing that it is an example of "what is good organisation" of a vaccination centre.
Diogo Serras Lopes acknowledged that Portimão "is making an effort so that it can have the best possible result in terms of the number of cases of infection" by Covid-19, hence the centre is operating with a capacity to vaccinate 100 people per hour.
According to data provided at the scene by the health authorities, the vaccination centre in Portimão received, to date, 220 people registering to receive the first dose of the vaccine against the new coronavirus.
Isilda Gomes expressed to her satisfaction with the fact that the Government agreed to comply with all six requirements expressed in a claim book presented by the Mayor a week ago to combat the pandemic in the municipality.
"In addition to the opening of the rapid vaccination centre, we have the guarantee of strengthening the vaccination of the population, the reinforcement and greater intervention of the security forces and health professionals to monitor cases of infections", she pointed out.
"It was my duty to safeguard the safety of the population, because I answer, not to the Government, but to the populations that elected me," concluded the Mayor.
This weeks meeting at Infarmed left no doubt: the next phase of the deconfinement plan will be fulfilled. Portugal will enter the fourth phase next Monday, May 3rd, the date that had been set by the Prime Minister way back on March 11th.
The State of Emergency will no longer apply, but with the presidential promise that it can return if “necessary”. It is not yet that full normality will be resumed: regular Infarmed meetings with experts continue, however, this last phase of deconfinement represents the closest approximation so far to how pre-pandemic life was.
Following are the steps that will be taken next Monday, still subject to changes by the local Council of Ministers and, in some municipalities, delayed according to the local incidence rates.
Restaurants, cafes, patisseries and other similar establishments no longer operate with time limits. In addition, restrictions on service are also extended: inside establishments it is now possible to have groups of six people per table, and on the outdoor terraces that number rises to ten.
The third phase of the plan gave the green light to sports considered to be of medium risk, but this fourth phase foresees that all sports can return to normal.
In gyms, it is now possible to practice physical activity in a group. In addition, outdoor physical activity is now allowed without any restrictions, when until now it was limited to groups of up to six people.
Large outdoor events will be able to go ahead without having their capacity reduced, as has been the case up until now. However, this rule of reduced capacity still holds true for events held indoors.
The authorised capacity for private events, such as weddings and baptisms, will also increase: the venues will now be able to have 50% of the capacity, instead of the current 25%.
Yesterday, the Portimão Court passed sentence on the women accused of killing 21 year old Diogo Gonçalves, in March last year.
In reading the judgment, the president of the panel that judged the case said that the court proved that Maria Malveiro killed Diogo Gonçalves, but were unable to prove the participation in the murder of the other defendant, Mariana Fonseca.
The court therefore decided to sentence Maria Malveiro to 25 years in prison, and Mariana Fonseca to four years, decreeing her immediate restitution to freedom, since the crimes attributed to her are not likely to constitute detention.
Mariana Fonseca, a 24-year-old nurse, and Maria Malveiro, a 20-year-old security guard, were accused of the crimes of qualified homicide, desecration of a corpse, illegitimate access, computer fraud, simple theft and use of a vehicle.
The collective's judges agreed to "convict Maria Malveiro on a legal basis for all the crimes she was accused of, resulting in a single sentence of 25 years in prison", explained the collective's chief judge, Antonieta do Nascimento.
The court found that Maria Malveiro was the perpetrator of a felony of qualified homicide, for which she was sentenced to 23 years in prison, a crime in co-authorship of desecration of a corpse (two years), a crime of theft (two years), two crimes illegitimate access (20 months, ten months for each of the crimes) and a crime of computer fraud and communications in continuous form (two years), a crime of using and stealing a vehicle (one year) and a crime of detention of prohibited weapon (two years).
The defendant was ordered to pay an indemnity of 265,396 Euros to Diogo Gonçalves' father, of which 150,396 Euros of property damage and 115,000 Euros of non-property damage.
Mariana Fonseca, on the other hand, was sentenced to a single sentence of four years of effective imprisonment for co-authoring a crime of desecrating a corpse (one year and 10 months), computer and communications fraud (one year and six months) and crime of embezzlement (one year and six months).
The nurse was also ordered to pay 350 Euros in compensation to Diogo Gonçalves' father.
The collective understood that the death of Diogo Gonçalves, caused by asphyxiation, resulted from a plan outlined by the defendants to seize the money that the victim had received in compensation for the death of his mother, run over in 2016, in the Albufeira area.
The court expressed its conviction that the women's plan was only to seize the compensation money Diogo had received for the death of his mother, run over in 2016, in the Albufeira area, and that “it did not include the death of Diogo Gonçalves”.
According to the ruling, the victim suffered "moments of great suffering and pain" before he died, as he was fully aware of what was happening, "during the period of time in which the victim was strangled and asphyxiated twice".
The court's conviction as to the defendants' guilt was based on the totality of the evidence produced and interpreted by the scientific evidence of the police, and documentary evidence and statements made by the defendants to the investigating judge in the first judicial interrogation.
Questioned by journalists at the exit of the Portimão court, lawyer João Grade, defending Mariana Fonseca, admitted that "there is a very high probability" of appealing the judicial decision.
"There are matters that give grounds to appeal," pointed out the lawyer, reiterating "the lack of evidence" for a conviction of his defendant.
Lawyer Tânia Reis, a defender of Maria Malveiro, declined to comment on the ruling that sentenced her client to the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
See previous coverage:
September 28th 2020 - Young Portuguese Man Dismembered For His Money
February 24th 2021 - The trial of the two young women who beheaded and dismembered a boy begins
The worlds biggest motorsport competition has arrived in Portugal, for the third race of this year. Trucks and engine teams' mobile homes already fill the parking lot of the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve and paddock, ready for the Formula 1 Heineken Grande Prémio de Portugal, taking place this weekend.
The first two races of the 2021 season were marked by intensified competition between Max Red Bull driver Verstappen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. Both with 1 victory won in the season so far, it seems that next Sunday we will see a very intense race.
In his last race in Portugal, Hamilton became the driver with the most victories in F1 history, the year he won his 7th world title, becoming then the driver with the most victories ever (92), surpassing the record that belonged to the German Michael Schumacher . This weekend could be marked by another Lewis Hamilton record, who could become the first F1 driver to reach 100 pole positions.
With the competition between the remaining riders on the grid tighter than ever, the weekend promises to be marked by an unforgettable race, on Sunday starting at 3 pm.
Traffic restrictions at the main accesses to the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (AIA), in Portimão, will be in place and monitored by the GNR between 6pm Thursday and the end of Sunday 2nd May, "with the passage of only residents and people accredited to the event being authorised."
"Due to the situation of the pandemic [Covid-19], the passage of vehicles and all persons that do not present valid justification will be prohibited", explains the GNR spokesperson.
GNR will set up 'control points' on the routes next to the junction of the A22 (Via Infante de Sagres) to Mexilhoeira Grande and on the junctions to the race track from the areas of Montes de Cima, Casas Velhas, Moinho da Rocha, Folga and Pereira.
According to the command of the GNR do Algarve, the plan deployed for the event, the third round of the Formula 1 World Championship, “is similar to what was implemented” two weeks ago at the time of the MotoGP race on the Algarve circuit.
"There are about a hundred military personnel who will be on the ground daily integrated into the security plan", he pointed out.
Security in the immediate vicinity and within the AIA will be ensured by the various guards, namely the traffic divisions, criminal, territorial, man/dog patrols, and police on horseback.
Some municipalities of Portugal will be held back from the final phase of deconfinement for a week, to be reviewed. In the Algarve region, Aljezur and Portimão will not accompany the country in the last phase of deconfinement, while Lagos and Vila Real de Santo António will be on alert for a week.
In total, 7 municipalities -Miranda do Douro, Paredes, Valongo, Aljezur , Resende, Carregal do Sal, Portimão, plus two parishes in Odemira, will not benefit from the easing of restrictions that will take effect in other municipalities in Portugal as of Saturday May 1st. The Government justifies this decision with the fact that they were above 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in two consecutive evaluations.
In the case of Odemira, the parishes of São Teotónio and Longueira / Almograve are concerned, subject to a local lockdown. The remaining parishes of Odemira will benefit from the easing of restrictions and will move on to phase four of the deconfinement plan.
Several municipalities are on alert for having an assessment of more than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. They are as follows: Alijó, Alpiarça, Arganil, Batalha, Beja, Boticas, Cabeceiras de Baixo, Castelo de Paiva, Celorico de Basto, Cinfães, Coruche, Fafe, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Lagos , Lamego, Melgaço, Oliveira do Hospital, Paços de Ferreira, Penafiel, Peniche, Peso da Régua, Ponte da Barca, Póvoa de Lanhoso, Tábua, Tabuaço, Vidigueira, Vila Real de Santo António .
There are seven counties that have recovered from their hih rate of cases since the last assessment: Alandroal, Albufeira , Figueira da Foz, Marinha Grande, Moura, Penela and Rio Maior.
Municipalities advancing to the new phase will benefit from the following measures: restaurants, cafes and pastry shops (max. 6 people inside or 10 on terraces, per group) will start operating until 10:30 pm every day; cultural shows until 10:30 pm every day; weddings and baptisms with 50% capacity; all stores and shopping centers open until 9 pm on weekdays and 7 pm on weekends and holidays.
The prime minister announced that from now on, the Covid-19 incidence risk assessment will be weekly instead of biweekly.
Enjoy the weekend! More news next week.
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