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Portugal And COVID-19 - Update

"We understand that people of various nationalities, whether expats or visitors, in Portugal may be struggling to find accurate information in the current fast-changing scenario, particularly if they do not understand Portuguese. Below we have listed some resources (in English and Portuguese) that we hope will be helpful." (See the website for the links - good stuff on there)

"On April 30 the Portuguese Ministers' Council approved a plan to start releasing the country from the COVID-19 container measures and cancelling the State of Emergency.[22]The plan was divided in three stages, beginning respectively on 4 May, 18 May and 1 June. The first stage eased some restrictions[23], such as

  • Barbers and hair salons are open but with health restrictions and appointments

  • Small shops with less than 200m2 can open but cannot have more than 5 customers/100m2 and all should use masks

  • People can use the public transportation if remote work cannot be achieved. Can only be filled until 2/3 and all passengers must use a mask

  • All public services are open to everyone with an appointment and is an obligation the use of a mask

  • Physical exercise only outdoors

  • Libraries and Archives are open

  • No more than 10 people together"

- How Portugal Confronted the Coronavirus - South EU Summit, May 03 (? - cited as "two weeks ago"):

"Portugal has escaped the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, with approximately 25,000 confirmed cases and fewer than 1,000 dead as of April 30. This is a stark contrast from Spain and its record of 24,000 fatalities from Covid-19, though many believe that the real numbers are likely much higher. ...

The country is relatively more isolated than other European nations and its population is less dense, limiting routes through which the virus could enter the country, as well as reducing transmission within its borders. Outbreaks have been mostly limited to the cities of Porto and Lisbon, where 90 per cent of cases were identified. ...

The government also moved quickly to increase lab capacity and ventilator ability, and boost the number of intensive care unit beds – in addition to sustained investment in the country’s healthcare system over the past five years. ...

Meanwhile, Portugal’s general tenor on politics is less polarised, especially when compared to the political fragmentation in neighbouring Spain. Because the minority socialist government hasn’t combatted the opposition, and the latter has been cooperating with the government, there has been limited friction in addressing the crisis in a straightforward manner. “Political parties have adopted a responsible behaviour because everybody understood very well the importance of being united to tackle an unexpected pandemic with dramatic consequences,” stated Sales. ... (António Sales, the Secretary of State for Health, told the Guardian)"

"The country has recently announced that it will grant temporary residency rights to all immigrants and asylum seekers who applied for residency in the country before the country’s state of emergency for Covid-19 was announced on 18 March 2020. ... Anyone with these rights will be given access to the country’s national health service, bank accounts, and work and rental contracts until 1 July 2020 at least.

It is not known exactly how many people will be affected by this policy, but recent government statistics suggest that in 2019, a record number of 580,000 immigrants resided in Portugal, and 135,000 were granted residency in that year alone. ...

Portugal has been praised for its response to the pandemic, and the country has witnessed a fraction of cases and fatalities of its neighbouring country Spain.

The reason for this difference is not known for sure, but some doctors have suggested it is down to the country’s early movement restrictions, which were put in place after the country had witnessed only two deaths. Portugal also became the first EU country to open a drive-through Covid-19 testing centre."

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