State of Emergency
Michael Reeve - 08-04-2020
State of Emergency
This article was update 20-03-2020 12:10 Following the recent announcements by the president of Portugal and the prime minister, I wanted to give you an update on where the nation is with regard to movement, goods and services and health provision. There are many things included in the “State of Emergency”, but a lot of them are to do with education, commerce, bureaucracy and local government which will not directly affect most of our Members.
With regard to what we should, or must, be doing as citizens according the government advice, we have the following information.
Restriction of movement of people and mandatory isolation is NOT in force. The government accepts that people need to go to the shops and go to work and the freedom to do so has not been removed. There is some mis-information out there that people can only move within their own concelho or town – this is NOT true. People who have to go to work can do so and people can go to the shops etc. However, the government is asking citizens not to make unnecessary journeys. If you can work from home they are asking people to do so, but if not then you can go to your place of work as normal. People aged 70 or over are being asked to stay indoors except for trips to the supermarket, purely because it is still considered that this is the age group most at risk of contracting the virus.
Those people with dogs can still walk them and you can go out to get some fresh air, as long as it is not for a long time and if the street is free of crowds. Please remember that the advice is to leave at least two metres between people. I’m sure that this doesn’t mean you should walk two metres away from your spouse or partner, but leave that space between you and others.
Supermarkets will remain open, although with reduced opening hours, and will have restrictions on the numbers that can be inside at any one time.
Cafés and restaurants can remain open but for take-away services only. They are not now allowed to have customers inside their premises. Bars are to be closed for the period of the State of Emergency.
Health centres and pharmacies are open but have restrictions on numbers. If you feel you may have symptoms you are advised to stay home and ring the SNS 24 hour help line 808 24 24 24 which is available in Portuguese and English. It’s a busy line – so keep trying. They will then advise you what to do, either to self-isolate or go to a medical facility.
In the sad event of a death during this period, funerals will still go ahead, but there will be a limit on the number of people able to attend. The funeral directors will have more information should you need to ask.
There is also the advice that has been out for a few days now about washing your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds when you do, coughing or sneezing into tissues or using your forearm to cover your mouth, not your hands. To avoid close contact with others and to avoid rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
We urge all Members not only to listen and follow the advice on this but to pass the information to as many people as they can. The advice is in place for our health and well-being and we should all follow it.
The afpop office will remain operational but without accepting visitors. This is because all of our database and contacts are held on our server and whilst if we need to we can work on a limited capacity to provide the information and support that Members need. As long as we are able to travel to the office we will continue to do so and will advise Members if we need to change our procedures. We will always continue to accept e-mails and phones calls whatever the restrictions are. The afpop website and facebook pages will carry information as we have it.
Please stay safe and remember we are here to help you in any way that we can.