David Thomas President of Safe Communities Portugal said “that as SCP is an official Civil Protection Volunteer Organisation in Portugal, with statutory responsibilities in the area of communication, we are taking all the steps we can to ensure that official information we become aware of, is disseminated as soon as possible”. One step is forming a dedicated team of five members with extensive experience in crisis management, policing, civil protection and law.
He added, “we cannot do this alone, as in times such as this, people need to come together to collaborate and share the official information and advice so all communities have the best information in order to protect themselves. I am very grateful therefore that so many have done this and I thank the many Facebook Admins and associations who are helping”.
We are working closely with several government departments and ministries especially Civil Protection, the security forces and health authority, the tourists boards, including of course the British Embassy, and in particular the British Vice Consul in Portimão, Clive Jewel. It is a collective effort and enables us to reflect issues to those authorities concerned.
Part of our work involves attendance at the Faro Comissão Distrital de Proteção Civil, a statutory body that makes key decisions in emergencies, and which last week activated the Districts Emergency Plan. Here we are able to provide input on behalf of the foreign community. We have also participated in video conferencing meetings, including one with the Secretary of State for Internal Administration recently.
Our website “Coronavirus Covid-19” section has become a key tool in providing information and over the last week alone has experienced a ten-fold increase in visits at certain times. This provides information and advice such as: our daily up-date pages for overseas; Portugal and the Algarve; Emergency Legislation; how Portugal protects it’s people; dealing with confirmed cases; Frequently Asked Questions and How to obtain further information. www.
safecommunitiesportugal.com/Cornvirus Covid-19
We encourage everyone to use this in conjunction with the websites of DGS and GOV.UK
In summing up the situation, Dave Sheldrake, a regular visitor to our Facebook page, stated the following which I feel is the most appropriate message to us all: “We all have to make many concessions regardless of the subject in hand. It is imperative if we want to keep the spread of the virus down and especially the number of deaths, we should not be looking for excuses or ways around the law, because it infringes upon what we do normally.
“This is a battle and I believe a long and protracted one, we all have to learn to live differently for a while, there will be, as with any new laws, misunderstandings and different interpretations. The important thing is to work together as a community and not be selfish. I’m sure none of us are enjoying this, but let’s make the best of it we can”.
David Thomas concluded “Given my experience in the police in Hong Kong during the SARS outbreak and monitoring how other countries are responding to the current pandemic, the government in Portugal, is doing an amazing job”. The introduction of the State of Emergency was timely in order to protect its citizens and we do must do everything possible to follow this for our own and everyone’s safety.