Evolution of the pandemic in Portugal

in News · 05-04-2020 12:00:00 · 3 Comments
Evolution of the pandemic in Portugal

Schools closed, people were forced to stay at home, tourism ended and companies went bankrupt, all in a single month that the covid-19 pandemic radically changed the lives of the Portuguese.

The first cases of the new coronavirus were announced at the end of the year in China. The contamination started in a live animal market in the city of Wuhan, which was isolated on 22 January and from which 18 Portuguese were taken.

In late January, with the spread of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak as a case of an international public health emergency. On 21 February, Italy recorded its first deadly victim, where contamination increased sharply, as also happened in South Korea and Iran and Spain. By the end of the month, the virus was spread to more than 180 countries.

Chronologically, the main moments of the month that changed the lives of the Portuguese are as follows:

2 March - The Minister of Health announces the first two cases of people infected with the new coronavirus. Countries like Spain or Italy already had many records of infection and travel to those Portuguese countries during the Carnival holidays were some of the ways the virus reached Portugal.

According to a government order, civil servants will be placed in teleworking or prophylactic isolation without loss of salary.

3 March - The Government activates the National Civil Protection Commission, which starts to function permanently. The number of confirmed cases increases to four, while in the world the disease has already reached 90 thousand people, causing more than three thousand deaths.

São João and Santo António Hospitals, in Porto, have exhausted the capacity to respond to suspected cases, new units are activated

Portuguese government gives public companies five days to prepare contingency plans

4 March - The number of infected in Portugal rises to six.

The Escola Superior de Música e Artes do Espetáculo, in Porto, suspends classes due to contacts with the infected fifth.

The Prime Minister announces a credit line for treasury support to companies affected by the economic impact of the new coronavirus in the initial amount of 100 million Euros.

5 March - Portugal registers three more cases of infected people, bringing the total number to nine, with patients hospitalized in Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra.

The Lisbon Tourism Exchange (BTL) is postponed to the end of May after public tourism entities and several train associations cancelled their participation.

TAP announces that it will cancel more than a thousand flights and in March and April, it cancels and suspends investments and places employees on unpaid leave.

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, visits infected patients at the Curry Cabral Hospital, in Lisbon, and speaks to them by intercom.

6 March - The number of infected people rises to 13.

The Porto Football Association announces the postponement of three games. News about cancellations and postponements of initiatives, many of them related to sports, follow one another.

7 March - Portugal registers 21 cases of infection.

The President of the Republic reduces part of the agenda because of the coronavirus and visits the Centro Hospitalar Universitário de São João, in Porto, where there are more hospitalized patients. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa praises the "mature, quiet and serene" way in which the Portuguese are reacting to the pandemic and praises the health professionals involved.

Visits to hospitals, homes and prisons in the Northern region are temporarily suspended, announces the Minister of Health, also recommending the postponement of social events.

An Idães school in Felgueiras, ICBAS, the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto and the building of the History course of the University of Minho are closed.

The matches of the first football league are held.

8 March - The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) and the Portuguese Football League (LPFP) suspend the initial compliance between the players and the refereeing teams.

The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) announces the closure of all schools and the suspension of activities in all leisure or cultural establishments in the municipalities of Lousada and Felgueiras, in the district of Porto. Teaching activities on the 'campus' of Gualtar at the University of Minho (UMinho), in Braga, are also suspended after a student has been infected.

The President of the Republic suspends the agenda for two weeks and remains at home under monitoring, after having been with a class from a school in Felgueiras, which was closed.

It is announced that visits to prisons over the weekend will be suspended across the country from the following day, being limited during the week to two visitors per prisoner.

In Portugal there are 30 confirmed cases of infection.

9 March - Postponements and cancellations of various initiatives are announced in catadupa, from fairs and local parties to congresses and grand access to some public services and visits to hospitals are restricted or conditioned, and schools from north to south announce the suspension of face-to-face classes, including universities.

In the Algarve, 60 percent of hotel reservations are cancelled for the coming months, announces the main association in the sector.

The Government suspends the medical evaluation boards for disability, doubles the credit line to support companies, to 200 million Euros, postpones the deadline for companies to make the first Special Payment on Account.

The Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, announces the suspension of all flights to or from the areas most affected by covid-19 in Italy and recommends the suspension of events in open spaces with more than 5,000 people or in closed spaces with more of a thousand.

TAP cancels another 2,500 flights.

Portugal has 39 cases of infections.

10 March - The number of infected people rises to 41.

The Prime Minister, António Costa, admits the closure of schools, anticipating Easter holidays, but refers the decision to the National Council for Public Health. But he also says that schools should only be closed on the margin of "strictly necessary".

Despite the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities (CRUP) and the Coordinating Council of Higher Polytechnic Institutes rejecting the general closure of institutions, saying that there are no “public health reasons that justify it”, there are school closures and the conditioning access or closing other public services, including hospitals.

The 30th edition of the Lisbon Half Marathon (on March 22) is postponed to September and the games of the 25th round of professional football competitions will be held behind closed doors.

The Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage has all public activities in museums, monuments and palaces suspended.

The Assembly of the Republic cancels trips abroad and reassesses external visits.

The Government suspends all flights to all regions of Italy.

11 March - The number of infections in Portugal goes to 59, when in Geneva the World Health Organization declares the covid-19 disease as a pandemic.

The National Council for Public Health recommends that schools only be closed, public or private, on the recommendation of health authorities. The director-general of Health, Graça Freitas, agrees.

Still, school and other institution closures continue to be announced.

The Superior Council for the Judiciary (CSM) determines that the courts of 1st instance can only carry out procedural acts and diligences related to fundamental rights.

Several sports (such as the Portuguese Volleyball Federation or Basketball Federation) suspend all competitions.

Images of beaches full of people are disseminated around Lisbon, namely young people.

12 March - The number of infections in Portugal rises to 78.

The Council of Ministers meets and the Prime Minister also listens to parties with a parliamentary seat, with António Costa asking the Portuguese to avoid “more friendly spaces”, such as beaches.

At the end of the day, António Costa announces that all schools of all grades of education suspend the classroom activities, a measure that will be reassessed on 9 April.

António Costa also announces the closing of nightclubs, the reduction of the maximum capacity of restaurants, the limitation of people in shopping centres and public services and the prohibition of disembarkation of cruise passengers. And it promises to create a mechanism with employers to ensure the partial remuneration of parents who stay at home with their children due to the closing of schools.

The Portuguese Football Federation announces the suspension of the national football and futsal competitions it organizes. The football matches of the I and II Liga are suspended indefinitely.

The Association of Hospitality of Portugal estimates losses of tourist revenues between 500 to 800 million Euros, between 1 March and 30 June.

The Assembly of the Republic suspends all visits and postpones events and conferences.

13 March - The number of infections rises to 112.

The President of the Republic promulgates the Government's diploma with extraordinary measures and warns that the pandemic "can be more serious and lasting", urging the Portuguese to mobilize.

Among other measures, the Government also approves the hiring of retired doctors and suspends overtime limits, or the suspension of deadlines for the Justice sector.

Public servants are urged to stay at home on a telecommuting basis.

The Minister of Internal Administration explains that the State of Alert (until 9 April) was triggered in Portugal and that the disrespect of the security forces' determinations will be considered a “crime of disobedience”, subject to “aggravated sanction measures”.

The Portuguese Episcopal Conference suspends masses, catechesis and other acts of worship.

The Azores are on alert.

The Finance Minister says that he will revise the GDP growth estimates downwards and that the extraordinary measures announced by the Government cost around 300 million Euros.

Gymnasiums are advised to close.

14 March - The number of cases in Portugal rises to 169, with the Minister of Health warning that the country has entered “a phase of exponential growth of the epidemic”.

GNR, SEF and DGS carry out specific control actions at the border with Spain.

The Government decrees that the bars will have to close from 9pm every day.

15 March - The number of cases of covid-19 infection reaches 245. There are nine people in intensive care and more than a hundred patients are recovering at home.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announces that he summoned the Council of State for Wednesday to discuss the possible decision to enact a state of emergency. António Costa later says that if the President does so, the Government will not give a negative opinion.

Portugal and Spain decide to limit movement on the common land border to goods and cross-border workers.

The Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage reveals that all museums, monuments and national palaces are closed.

The National Maritime Authority prohibits all sports or leisure activities that bring people together on the beaches of the continent.

The Government prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public roads and the holding of events with more than one hundred people.

The Independent Doctors' Union says there are more than 50 doctors infected with the new coronavirus and that 150 are in quarantine, calling for the rapid availability of means of protection.

16 March - The number of infected people rises to 331, on the day that Marta Temido announces the first death in the country, an 80-year-old man who had several associated pathologies.

The minister also announced that Portugal will intensify health control at airports. And Eduardo Cabrita says that air traffic between Portugal and Spain will be suspended as of the night, as well as the railway connections and the two river connections. Also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, appeals to the Portuguese to avoid non-essential trips abroad and to those who are abroad to return.

The President of the Government of the Azores announces the closure as of Tuesday of non-essential services.

With the global crisis caused by the pandemic, the Lisbon stock exchange accompanies the other stock exchanges in sharp declines.

17 March - The number of infected people rises to 448.

It is announced that the SNS has been reinforced with an additional 1,800 doctors and 900 nurses and that there are 30 infected health professionals, 18 of whom are doctors. And the birth of the first child of an infected woman is also announced. The baby was not infected.

The regional government of Madeira announces the first case in the region.

The municipality of Ovar is subject to “geographic quarantine” and the Government declares the state of public calamity for the municipality, which now has controlled entries and exits. The movement of people on the streets is also controlled.

António Costa announces the suspension of air connections outside and outside the European Union.

CP reduces daily calls by 350.

18 March - The President of the Republic decrees a state of emergency for 15 days, after hearing the Council of State and having obtained the positive opinion of the Government and the approval of the decree by the Assembly of the Republic.

The state of emergency runs until 2 April.

António Costa says that “the country does not stop” and that the Government will do everything to maintain the production and distribution of essential goods.

The state of emergency includes mandatory confinement and restrictions on circulation on public roads. Disobedience is a crime and can lead to imprisonment.

On the day that the Government reveals a set of credit lines to support the treasury of companies of 3,000 million Euros, it is also announced that companies' contributions to Social Security are reduced to one third in March, April and May, and that companies will have a moratorium granted by the bank in the payment of capital and interest.

The number of infected people rises to 642 and there is a second death. The Alentejo records the first two cases.

19 March - The number of fatalities rises to three in Portugal, with confirmed cases rising to 785. Graça Freitas announces that anyone who presents mild or moderate symptoms of the disease is followed from home.

The Prime Minister announces, after the meeting of the Council of Ministers, the measures and rules to comply with the state of emergency, including "mandatory isolation" for patients with covid-19 or who are under surveillance. The remaining citizens must fulfil “the general duty of home collection”. The rule is that public service establishments must close and teleworking is widespread.

The Government's draft law with exceptional measures is immediately promulgated by the President of the Republic.

It is also announced that the Government has created a “crisis cabinet” to deal with the pandemic and that it has suspended the payment of the Single Social Tax.

The government of the Azores determines the suspension of the air connections of the SATA carrier between all eyes and TAP announces that it will reduce the operation until 19 April, forecasting to fulfil 15 of the approximately 90 destinations.

20 March - With the country taken in, responses from civil society and local authorities to tackle the pandemic begin to emerge, solidarity actions are announced for those most in need.

The Government meets in the Council of Ministers to approve a set of social and economic support measures for the most affected population. António Costa announces that the payment of VAT and IRC is postponed to the second semester, the automatic extension of unemployment benefit and solidarity supplement for the elderly and social insertion income.

It is also announced that religious celebrations, such as funerals, and other events that involve concentration of people, are prohibited, and that health or civil protection authorities can decree the civil requisition of public goods or services if necessary to combat the disease.

Portugal has six fatalities and 1,020 confirmed cases.

21 March - The number of deaths rises to 12, double the previous day, and the infected are 1,280.

Marta Temido estimates that the peak of cases will happen in mid-April, and says that Portugal will adopt a new model for the treatment of infected people, which includes increased monitoring at home. Graça Freitas estimates that the fatality rate is about 1 percent, but warns that it can change.

The Government announces that it will extend the deadlines for car inspections and reduce auctions at auction, creating a line of credit of up to 20 million Euros for the fishing sector.

With the country at home, the first reports of infections in nursing homes emerge. At the Idanha Health House, in Belas, on the outskirts of Lisbon, it is announced that 10 users are infected. A home in Vila Nova de Famalicão is left without employees after eight tested positive for covid-19.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs announces that TAP plans to fly to Praia e Sal (Cape Verde), Bissau (Guinea-Bissau) and São Tomé to transport Portuguese people home.

22 March - The number of deaths associated with covid-19 rises to 14 and the number of infected to 1,600 (plus 320).

On a sunny Sunday many people take to the streets and in Póvoa de Varzim the police are called due to “disrespect for the state of emergency” (crowd walking). In Coimbra, the PSP is also called because of a cluster in the National Forest of Choupal.

Seven people are detained in the country for the crime of disobedience.

Users of the Famalicão home are transferred to the Porto Military Hospital.

The authorities begin the repatriation of more than 1,300 passengers arriving in Lisbon on a cruise ship (among them are 27 Portuguese).

The Government signs three orders, which come into force on the following day, to guarantee essential services of water and energy supply, garbage collection and operation of public transport.

The president of the National Association of Parishes, Jorge Veloso, asks people from the cities and emigrants to avoid going to the interior.

23 March - Portugal has 23 deaths and 2,600 infections.

Complaints about the lack of equipment for those most in need, such as health or safety professionals, are beginning to emerge. The government announces that the state is going to buy protective equipment from China and that it expects four million masks. Five policemen and two technicians without police functions are infected in a police station in Vila Nova de Gaia.

The Government creates an emergency support line of one million Euros for artists and cultural entities and reinforces cooperation agreements with the social sector (responsible for nursing homes or day care centres) with 50 million Euros.

A residence for the elderly in Maia, Porto, places 46 elderly in isolation due to cases of infection.

24 March - The number of deaths rises to 33 and the number of infections is 2,362.

The Secretary of State for Internal Administration, Patrícia Gaspar, announces the activation of the National Emergency Plan for Civil Protection, on the same day that there are already 27 arrests for violations of the rules of the state of emergency.

The President of the Republic admits that the peak of the pandemic may occur after 14 April.

In parliament, the president and parliamentary leader of the PSD leaves the plenary after a discussion about the excessive number of deputies in the Social Democratic bench.

The Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) launches a financing line of 1.5 million Euros for research and "rapid implementation" of responses to the needs of the NHS.

In Vila Real, the mayor warns of the existence of 20 users and employees of a home infected with covid-19.

The Portugal Rally is postponed.

25 March - Portugal registers 10 more deaths reaching 43 cases, when 2,995 infections are counted.

The Secretary of State for Health says the system has the capacity to perform 8,600 tests daily. The question of whether to do more tests or not divides opinions.

The National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection puts on orange alert, the second most serious, the districts of Lisbon, Porto and Aveiro.

The Minister of State and Finance says that the country "has never been better prepared" to face a crisis such as that caused by the virus. Banco de Portugal announces that the granting of personal credit by banks is facilitated.

The Câmara de Melgaço implements a sanitary enclosure in the village of Parada do Monte, with 370 inhabitants, after confirmation of three cases of infection.

ASAE says it has already inspected 41 economic operators because of price speculation.

26 March - There are 3,544 infections and 60 people died.

There are patients being treated with malaria and ebola drugs, even if they are not sure, says Graça Freitas.

Banco de Portugal estimates that Gross Domestic Product will fall 3.7 percent this year in a base scenario and 5.7 percent in an adverse scenario, due to the pandemic. The unemployment rate is expected to rise above 10 percent.

On the day Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa admits to prolonging the state of emergency, the Government meets in the Council of Ministers and approves the suspension until September of the payment of housing credits and company credits. It also approves exceptional measures for the protection of jobs (such as temporary reduction of hours or suspension of the contract) and a law proposal that provides for a system of late payment of rent, also enabling the Institute of Housing and Urban Rehabilitation to grant loans to tenants.

In Maia an infected nursing home is evacuated, in Vila Real, infections in a nursing home increase from 20 to 45.

It is announced that anyone who lands in the Azores has mandatory confinement of 14 days.

27 March - In the Nossa Senhora das Dores home in Vila Real, 88 people are now infected, including 68 users.

In Portugal the number of deaths reaches 76 deaths and the number of infected people rises to 4,268.

Graça Freitas now says that the peak of the pandemic may after all be only in May.

António Costa announces the arrival in Portugal of thousands of personal protective equipment and the Military Laboratory also announces that it has started to carry out diagnostic tests. Other entities such as the Institute of Molecular Medicine are also beginning to do tests.

1,500 nurses volunteer to reinforce support for the SNS24 telephone line, according to the President of the Order.

Since the beginning of the state of security, security forces have detained 64 people for the crime of disobedience, and have closed 1,449 establishments. The balance is from MAI, according to which 850 people were also prevented from entering Portugal and one of them was arrested. The detainee, later confirmed, was infected with covid-19.

In the Algarve, when the Easter period approaches, which usually fills hotels, the business association in the sector says that the hotel sector is practically closed.

28 March - The number of deaths rises to a hundred and the infected are 5,170. Marta Temido also says that the peak of the epidemic should not happen until the end of May and that the measures of social restraint are easing the infection curve.

The President of the Republic asks the Portuguese to continue to respect the rules of containment during the Easter period. The PSP challenges all people crossing the 25 de Abril Bridge, in a north-south direction, and images of long lines of cars are released, some of them, says the PSP, in breach of the state of emergency.

A rectification of the initial diploma of the simplified lay-off is published, warning that no workers from companies that resort and this support can be dismissed.

The Government announces that it will organize an air transport operation for the temporary return to Portugal of Portuguese teachers who are in East Timor.

29 March - Portugal counts 119 deaths and 5,962 cases of infections. The number of people hospitalized in intensive care is 138 patients, an increase that doubled from the previous day.

The news about infections in homes continues, as in Foz Côa, Guarda, where the home has 47 infected in a home of 62 elderly people, according to the provider.

In Ovar, where the state of public calamity was declared, there are five deaths, one of them a 14-year-old girl, says the deputy mayor.

In the Azores, the municipality of Povoação, on the island of S. Miguel, is also subject to a sanitary cord.

News emerges, through unions, that there is at least one infected prison guard at the establishment of Custoias and a medical assistant at the Caxias hospital. The Government says it will carefully consider the United Nations' recommendation for the immediate release of some more vulnerable prisoners.

30 March - António Costa warns that Portugal “will enter the most critical month of this pandemic”, on the day that the DGS figures indicate that there are 140 deaths and 6,408 infected.

According to the Prime Minister, with or without a state of emergency, it will be necessary to prolong the measures that have been adopted. And, he also says, that next week we intend to cover the country with covid-19 expenses in homes.

The Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales, says that the number of infected health professionals reached 853, and Graça Freitas admits to imposing a health fence in the Porto region, motivating strong criticisms.

The Minister of Labour, Ana Mendes Godinho, says that social security received 1,400 requests from companies that intend to adhere to the simplified “lay-off”.

31 March - DGS data indicate that Portugal has 7,443 confirmed cases and 160 deaths.

The Minister of Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, admits nationalisations and says that it would be "a tragic mistake" to react with austerity measures to the crisis caused by the pandemic, defending instead to support the growth of the economy.

The Government asks for the opening of “conditioned conditions” of the parish councils where CTT posts are installed, remembering that these services guarantee the delivery of pensions. The company announced that it would anticipate the issuance and payment of vouchers by two business days.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa says that it is necessary to maintain the containment measures in force in Portugal.

TAP advances to a “lay-off” process for 90 percent of workers.

The government of the Azores extends the contingency situation in the archipelago until April 30.

1 April - Portugal registers 187 deaths and 8,251 infected.

The President of the Republic proposes to Parliament to renew the state of emergency for another 15 days, clarifying issues such as the right of resistance and covering the area of ??education, providing for distance classes, in addition to other proposals. Regional parliaments agree.

António Costa says that the Government gave a favourable opinion to the President's proposal and, after the meeting of the Council of Ministers, affirms that the Government will “tighten up a little” and clarify the circulation rules, and warns that this will be a “very dangerous” month” in terms of the spread of covid-19.

And he also says that a solution based on Digital Terrestrial Television is being prepared to ensure the classes and that he will propose to the President a set of pardons and present to the parliament a legislative change in the regime of execution of sentences.

The Armed Forces announce that they have 50 confirmed cases of infected military personnel, two of them hospitalized.

The Energy Services Regulatory Authority approves a drop in the price of the tariff applied in the regulated market of five Euros per megawatt / hour.

2 April - The Assembly of the Republic approves the decree of the President of the Republic that extends the state of emergency until the end of 17 April.

António Costa considers the renewal of the state of emergency to be “absolutely essential”.

Among the new measures approved by the Government is the ban on travel outside the municipality of residence in the Easter period, between 9 ??and 13 April (only with declaration), and the closure of all airports in the same period to passenger flights.

The Government also announces that it will propose a partial pardon of sentences of up to two years for less serious crimes, and expedite presidential pardons, to prevent the spread of the virus in jail.

The Government proposes, and the parliament approves, that the expenses that the municipalities make to fight the pandemic are outside the limits of indebtedness foreseen in the Law of Local Finances.

The government of the Azores fixes sanitary fences in the six municipalities on the island of S. Miguel.

The government of Madeira orders the suspension of the admission of new guests in all places of tourism.

PSP, GNR and firefighters are among the priority group in testing for the disease, according to the Government.

Precisely one month after the first covid-19 infections were confirmed, Portugal accounts for more than two hundred deaths and almost 10,000 infections (209 dead, 22 more than on Wednesday, and 9,034 infected, 783 more than in Wednesday).


Comments:

And what will happen in August, will we see my seaside town
back to where it was in the 70's, oh how i can dream, no crowds,
no traffic jams, how life should be.

By Mr John from Algarve on 06-04-2020 06:04

There are a difference between the statistics of the recover cases present from the Portugal news publications and this site

By ARMANDO from USA on 05-04-2020 11:03

Excellent reporting, thank you

By Carl from Other on 05-04-2020 01:33
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.