Here is your weekly news overview…
The Portuguese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs announced today that British Tourists will be allowed to enter Portugal as of the 00:00 of 17th of May, next Monday.
This decision, will revoke the essential travel restrictions, that are in place until the 16th of May.
Any person entering Portugal will have to provide a negative result RT-PCR Covid test, done 72h before the departure.
The Portuguese National Tourist Office has been also ensuring that testing capacity in Portugal will meet the demand from tourists.
The expansion and renewal of the Clean & Safe seal for 2021-22 (www.portugalcleanandsafe.com) now includes the whole tourism chain, with over 22,400 businesses registered and more than 23,000 professionals trained is another layer of the trust and transparency strategy which Portugal has been implementing to manage the pandemic.
With an air capacity from at least 21 airports in the United Kingdom into Portugal, reinforced due to the high demand from this market, the options are wide for the British Tourists to visit Portugal, from any point after May 16th.
People from the United Kingdom have visited Portugal and celebrated our culture, traditions, landmarks, history, and enjoyed our warm hospitality for decades. We look forward to welcome all travellers coming from the UK!
The “Vaccines Report for Covid-19” by the National Medicines Authority (Infarmed), released at the end of last week, shows Portugal has seen no deaths as a result of having the Covid vaccine, but 34 deaths after inoculation.
As of the end of last week, Portugal had registered more than five thousand adverse reactions (RAM) in patients after inoculation against Covid-19. Of the 5359, more than half (2997) were considered “non-serious”
Within the 'serious adverse reaction' however, there are “serious (non-fatal)” adverse effects (2328) and “serious (fatal)” adverse effects (34). The report insists that the 34 deaths are“notifications of cases of death that occurred after vaccination without a demonstrated direct causal relationship with the vaccine administered”.
The report reveals that 73.56% (3942) of the adverse reactions were registered after the Pfizer vaccine, which is the vaccine with the most doses administered in Portugal (2,529,640).
After the Pfizer vaccine, the vaccine with the highest number of adverse reactions was AstraZeneca (1122), followed by Moderna (295). The Janssen vaccine has yet to experience any adverse reaction.
However, taking into account the doses administered (that is, if the same amount of vaccines for each brand had been administered), the results point to 41% of adverse reactions with Pfizer, 33.3% with AstraZeneca , and 25.6% with Moderna.
The most common adverse reactions in Portugal are muscle pain, joint pain (2520), headaches (1637) and fever (1494). Side effects also occur more in women than in men, and mostly affect the 30-39 and 40-49 age groups.
Latest data shows that more than 3.6 million doses have now been administered in Portugal. Since Saturday, self-scheduling of the vaccine for those in the 60s age group is possible.
The project for Mobile Vaccination Units against Covid-19, initiated in the North, now extends to the rest of the country to reach people with less access to vaccination centres more quickly, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation have announced.
After a pilot phase in the North of Portugal, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation project, carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Health, is now being extended to Alentejo, Algarve, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo e Centro, the institution said in a statement.
Between March 12th and April 11th, the five mobile vaccination units created by the Gulbenkian Foundation tojoin the 'task force' for vaccination against Covid-19 circulated within the North of the country.
According to the institution, the five mobile units travelled 9,680 kilometers to administer 1,188 vaccines to populations with difficulty in accessing normal vaccination centres.
“The circulation of these five units through the North of the country (to which a light vehicle was added) was part of the Gulbenkian pilot project 'Onde é Preciso' and the balance of this phase is clearly positive”, he stresses.
Now, the project has entered another phase, with 15 light vehicles circulating in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, with four vans in the Alentejo, three in the Algarve and eight vans in the center of the country.
The mobile units have never stopped circulating in the North, says the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, announcing that, over the course of this week, 14 more will be delivered to the Northern Regional Health Administration (ARR), thus fulfilling the agreement with the Ministry of Health, of make 50 mobile units available as a way to support the Vaccination Plan against Covid-19.
“The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation's vocation has been, since its inception, to be close to the most vulnerable. After launching an Emergency Fund at the beginning of the pandemic, we are now trying to help health authorities and the task force to reach those who have the most difficulty in accessing normal vaccination circuits”, underlined the president of the Gulbenkian Foundation, Isabel Mota, cited in the statement.
“With this project, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation remains where it is needed, similar to what it has done for decades with the itinerant libraries program. It was based on this spirit that he developed this project, in partnership with the Ministry of Health .”
The coordinator of the task force for the vaccination plan against Covid-19 anticipated again today that 70% of the population will have at least the first dose of vaccine by late July or early August.
“In late July / early August, the first dose is anticipated. This does not include the 2.7 million vaccines of Janssen [for aged 50+ years] because if we include them we would anticipate more”, affirmed Gouveia e Melo, today heard by the deputies of the Parliamentary Health Committee.
Regarding the capacity of the vaccination centres, the official said that it is estimated that 100,000 people per day are being vaccinated, and explained that the authorities will need to extend the operating hours of these places.
Asked about the vaccination of young people under 16 years old, Gouveia e Melo said that “as soon as there are solutions for this type of population, they will be adopted”.
Linking the difference between population protection and group immunity, the official said that the data is still not solid, but that in Israel (the country most advanced in vaccinating its population) the data indicates that, in addition to protecting those vaccinated, the vaccine also acts as a barrier in the transmission of the virus.
“With 70% of the population vaccinated, if the virus is not being transmitted, it begins to disappear in the community”, affirmed Gouveia e Melo, stressing, however, that, despite the data from Israel being “good news”, still “ there is no scientific proof” on this matter.
“We, the older ones, have an obligation to protect the younger ones by getting vaccinated. It is intergenerational solidarity ”, he stressed.
The task force coordinator also explained, when asked about the matter, that the authorities have difficulties in identifying some immigrants for the vaccination process, but stressed that, "as long as the person is identified, they have every right to be vaccinated", because "the pandemic does not choose nationalities, races or ages".
Gouveia e Melo pointed out yet another difficulty: “There is a seasonal fluctuating population, which also complicates the process”.
Regarding the vaccination process of teachers, he said that "it is becoming endless" and guaranteed that the authorities have been confronted with several lists. "It is a process that is becoming interminable, which requires a lot of energy to vaccinate groups of 100 or 200 people, when we still have a lot of people," he said, adding: "But whenever lists arrive, we update and people are vaccinated" .
The Government is evaluating "different solutions" to implement the reduction of tolls "as approved" by parliament in the State Budget for 2021, since the measure is constitutional, said the Minister of Territorial Cohesion today.
“From the legal analysis that was done, it was concluded that the rules are not unconstitutional, but they have big implications, namely because this weight, these implications on the budget of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing now have to be reassessed and we have to find compensations”, said Ana Abrunhosa.
Parliament previously voted and ordered a 50% reduction in tolls on some inland roads, but in today's planning meeting of the Assembly of the Republic on the topic of Territorial Cohesion, the Social Democrat deputy Luís Leite Ramos said he was "a little disturbed when I see that the minister is outlining the strategy to try to stop, block, even postpone this decision".
In response, the Minister for Territorial Cohesion said that the measure that was approved in the State Budget “has heavy budgetary implications”, but added that the Government is working on finding solutions to “be able to implement the reduction of tolls as approved in the Assembly of the Republic ”.
The main ministries involved in this work are Territorial Cohesion, Infrastructure and Housing and Finance, with different solutions being evaluated to implement the toll reduction measure, after having concluded that it is constitutional.
At issue are the discounts in the collection of toll fees, included in the State Budget law for 2021, after PSD proposal, which provides for a 50% reduction for all combustion vehicles and 75% for electric and non-electric vehicles. As of July 1st, the discounted prices should be applicable to all stretches and sub-stretches of the A22, A23, A24 and A25 motorways and in the Costa de Prata, Grande Porto and Norte Litoral concessions.
By Government decision, other toll discounts on the old SCUT (roads at no cost to the user) and inland highways came into effect on January 11th this year, with reductions between 25% and 55%, depending on the vehicle class and the day or night period, in certain sections of the A22 - Algarve; A23 - IP; A23 - Beira Interior; A24 - North Interior; A25 - Beiras Litoral and Alta; A28 - North Coast; A4 - AE sub-concession from Trás-os-Montes; A4 - Marão Tunnel; A13 and A13-1 - Pinhal Interior sub-concession.
Self-scheduling for the Covid-19 vaccine is now available to all people over 55 years of age, the task force responsible for the vaccination process announced today.
The age extension measure comes just four days after the ability for people over 60 to self-schedule opened on Sunday, an evolution that reflects the period of intensification of the vaccination.
"Bearing in mind the good pace at which vaccination against Covid-19 has been taking place, it is reported that, since today, the possibility of self-scheduling for people aged 55 and over is available," says the 'task force' in a statement sent to newsrooms.
According to the task force calendar, vaccinations for this new age group were only scheduled to start from the 24th of May.
In the last meeting of Infarmed at the end of April, the coordinator of the national vaccination plan against Covid-19, Gouveia e Melo, said that the goal for people between 60 and 69 years of age is for everyone to have a vaccine dose before May 23rd. For the group between 50 and 59 years old, which includes part of the population now covered by the new expansion of self-scheduling, the date indicated is June 13th.
In Portugal, 16,998 people have died from 840,493 confirmed cases of infection, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.
If you are over 55 you can book your vaccination online HERE.
You can translate the booking page to English by viewing in Google Chrome, and right clicking on the page, then selecting translate from the menu.
More news next week!
Good investment - spacious 5 bed ensuite villa of 390m2 with self-contained 1 bed apartment in a unique style with swimming pool, tennis court, garage and garden set in a ...Read more ...
Patroves is an increasingly popular hillside community of mainly individually designed villas on substantial plots.
This lovely home enjoys views toward the ocean, whilst benefitting from a landscaped garden with ...
Starting in Espiche in 1996 the Nandi was very successful. So much so that in 2000 more accommodation was required and the shop moved to Bungalow Park (Espiche Campsite).Read more ...
To see more info about events coming up in the next few weeks, check out My Guide Algarve's event calendar.
For latest information and advice regarding crime, wildfires and the Covid-19 pandemic, visit the Safe Communities Portugal website at https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com
We publish daily news updates at www.algarvedailynews.com AND on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, so you can catch up anytime.
Just like or follow to connect with us on your favourite social media channel, and read and comment on our daily news updates!