News from afpop - Thursday 15th of October 2020
Michael Reeve - 18-10-2020
News from afpop - Thursday 15th of October 2020
Included in this briefing: 1. State of Calamity, 2. Public gatherings, 3. Masks in public, 4. STAYAWAY COVID app, 5. Isolation period, 6. Document expiry dates, 7. Exchange/renewal of driving licences on-line, 8. BLiP Expo, 9. Formula 1, 10. Travel through Europe/UK, 11. Interactive Covid-19 map
I hope you are all well and keeping safe. As always if English or German are not your first language and you need clarification on any of the information included in this mailing, please contact the afpop office to ask for assistance.
Once again it has been some time since my last briefing to you and I had hoped of course that with each passing briefing the news would be better and things would be moving towards some semblance of normality for us all. Sadly on this occasion, as I’m sure you’re all now aware, that is not the case this week and some new restrictions have been imposed for the coming 2 weeks. The council of ministers held their fortnightly meeting yesterday, from which came the following new rules and recommendations. I have also included some non-Covid related matters as usual, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know!
So without further ado:
State of Calamity: The Council of Ministers decreed the heightening of restrictions and determined the State of Calamity in Portugal, which is the highest level that can be declared by the government under the civil protection legislation. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister at the end of the Executive meeting yesterday, where he referred to the measures that will come into force and stressed that Covid-19 has had a "serious evolution" in the country. Sr Costa stated that this will; "Raise the level of alert of the situation of Contingency for the State of Calamity", enabling the "Government to be able to adopt, whenever necessary, the measures that are justified to contain the pandemic from the restrictions of circulation" to others that "come to be justified" locally, in order to reinforce the collective sense of preventing the expansion of the pandemic. What this means as far as I can tell is that local authorities may be given the authorisation to impose restrictions in their area to address what they see as specific areas of concern.
Public gatherings: As of 00:01 this morning, gatherings in public are now limited to five people (down from 10) and events of a family nature that are scheduled from today, such as weddings and baptisms, are limited to 50 people (but bear in mind that all will have to comply with the rules of physical distance and must wear masks) . In universities, all academic celebrations and receptions are prohibited. It was also determined that the security forces and ASAE will enact a “reinforcement of inspection actions", to ensure compliance with the rules in public and in shops and catering establishments. The fines for companies that do not comply with the regulations in force have been increased and now go to a maximum of ten thousand euros.
Masks in public: The use of a mask on public roads will be "strongly recommended to all citizens", however a proposal for a law will be presented to the Assembly of the Republic, in which they will request an urgent procedure to impose the mandatory wearing of masks in public and download the ‘STAYAWAY COVID app’ in work places and schools. Please note that it is already being said that masks in public and the downloading of the app are compulsory, but at the moment that is NOT the case. If that changes we will of course make sure that Members are informed, but I’m sure that the media will be very quick to broadcast that news if the situation changes.
STAYAWAY COVID app: The use of the STAYAWAY COVID application for smart phones, "and communication through this app whenever there is a positive test". The STAYAWAY COVID app aims to identify the potential exposure to people infected with COVID-19. The operation is simple: each user who has tested positive enters their test code in the app and after validation by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), the application will alert other users who have been close to the infected user - for 15 minutes or more - without ever revealing their identity, their contacts or those of other users. When there is no record of proximity contacts with a high risk of contagion, the app's homepage displays a green colour that will change to yellow whenever the user has been close to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
It is not clear at the moment what happens if your app changes colour and indicates that you have been near someone who has been infected and what you have to do, but we are looking into that and will issue a further bulletin when we have more information. Again, at the moment this is a suggestion rather than being compulsory.
Isolation period: The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) updated the rule on the isolation period in cases of covid-19, reducing it from 14 to ten days in cases of mild or moderate disease, in patients who do not have severe immunosuppression, and in cases where they are asymptomatic and have tested positive. However, anyone who tests positive will be advised by the health authorities if they can cease isolation after 10 days or must complete the full 14. The issue of isolation periods is a moving feast at the moment and this may change quickly and from country to country. As we hear more about this again we will make Members aware, but the health service must advise patients of their particular situation.
Document expiry dates: The previous extension for official documents (such as Driving Licences, Citizens Cards, Visas, Residencias etc.) has been further extended to 31st of March 2021.
Non-Covid related matters:
Exchange of foreign driving licences and renewal of Portuguese driving licences online: We are aware of a new possibility to start the process to exchange a foreign licence to Portuguese and also to renew an existing Portuguese licence online on the IMT website. Whilst the details are not yet clear, this is of course excellent news for those needing to change or renew their licences and we will be updating our Information Bulletin with all the new information as soon as we confirm the processes, which will then be available on our website or through the afpop office on firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
BLiP Expo 2020: You will have seen in UPDATE Magazine that BLiP this year is an online exhibition and I ask you all to support it by visiting the BLiP website (www.bliportugal.com) from the 24th of October to the 1st of November. We have almost 100 exhibitors so far, with more joining us each day, and I invite you to tell your friends about our efforts to try to do something to help the business community this year. For the last 19 years businesses have supported our event and this year we want to support them. We have not charged them to be part of this year’s event and I ask you to help us by spreading the word and by visiting their ‘stands’. The website is open 24 hours a day for the whole period, so you can visit as often as you like and there are no masks required and social distancing is guaranteed.
Formula 1: Many Members have bought tickets for the F1 race in Portimão and will no doubt be concerned as to what will happen now over the race weekend. I ask you not to call the autodrome as they will likely be swamped with enquiries and may not know at the moment what they will be allowed to do. We have contacts with the management at the track and I will be liaising with them over the next few days, to update you with any news about the F1 weekend. Please don’t contact the afpop office to leave your details for any updates about F1, as we will send a further mailing on this and other matters as soon as we have the information.
Travel through Europe
UK travel form: If you are travelling to the UK, fill in the declaration from the government before you go. You can download it here: https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk - Don’t leave it until you get there.
Travel through Europe: This link will help you to find information about travel throughout Europe, how to enter individual countries and what conditions exist. https://reopen.europa.eu/en/map/PRT
Links to other countries information: The information in these links is taken from their official websites and sets out the advice and regulations that they have in place for people travelling to Portugal.
Interactive Covid map: You may find the information in this website interesting https://qap.ecdc.europa.eu/public/extensions/COVID-19/COVID-19.html
Until next time as always my best wishes to you all and please continue to,
Michael R Reeve
afpop - Making Life Better