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News from afpop - Tuesday 19th update

Michael Reeve - 20-01-2021

News from afpop - Tuesday 19th update

Included in this briefing: 1. Additional restrictions; 2. The islands; 3. Risk areas; 4. Vaccine information; 5. Flights to UK; 6. afpop office; 7. Covid-19 website

Included in this briefing:
  1. Additional restrictions
  2. The islands
  3. Risk areas
  4. Vaccine information
  5. Flights to UK
  6. afpop office
  7. Covid-19 website
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. 

As you have probably heard, the government has taken the decision to reinforce and strengthen the lockdown measures that came into force last Friday, as they consider that too many people are not adhering to the guidelines that they believe are critical to combat the new wave of Coronavirus infections.

The prime minister announced last night that they will be presenting the new restrictions to the president for ratification and it is expected that they will be announced in Diário da República today. The regulations will be in force until the already established deadline of January 30th. However, with new restrictions being imposed only a few days into the current State of Emergency, the government has shown that it will take action when it feels it needs to, rather than wait for deadlines to arrive.

António Costa said when making the announcement on Portuguese TV; “The time we are experiencing is the most serious moment in this pandemic. A further 167 people died today. There is no reason to be less concerned about Covid-19 today than the fear we had when it arrived in March last year.”

He added that due to the increase in new cases and the low adherence of the Portuguese to the duty of collective responsibility, he asks everyone to be more aware of their civic duty in order to control the pandemic.
Mr. Costa explained that he believes that the numbers will get worse in the coming days and insisted that the measures are always appropriate and necessary, whilst trying to affect people's lives as little as possible, respecting the framework given by the President of the Republic state of emergency decree.

The new restrictions, which will come into force tomorrow, are as follows:
Once again we return to a prohibition of movement between municipalities at the weekends.

All establishments of goods and services open to the public are to close at 20h00 on weekdays and at 13h00 on weekends and holidays, however food retailers can operate at weekends until 17h00.

Restaurants and cafés may not sell any drinks at the door and the consumption of meals or products outside the establishment or on the public road is also prohibited. Only the sale of packaged products to take away is allowed.

Food outlets in shopping centres are closed except for home delivery service.

Home delivery and click and collect in any non-food business is prohibited.

Some public parks and gardens may stay open, but it is forbidden to stay in them.

Activity centres for the under 12s may operate, but those for the over 12s remain closed. Senior universities and social centres and day centres for the elderly are also closed.

To reinforce the mandatory nature of ‘telework’:
  • all workers who have to travel to perform on-site work require authorisation issued by their employer;
  • all companies in the service sector with more than 250 workers are required to send, within 48 hours, to the Working Conditions Authority the nominal list of workers whose face-to-face work is considered indispensable.
The islands: The restrictions in Madeira and the Azores are different to those in continental Portugal. The links below will take you to the Covid pages for those areas.
Madeira: https://www.madeira.gov.pt/Covid19/DecisoesExcecionaisCovid19
Azores: https://portal.azores.gov.pt/en/web/comunicacao/news-detail?id=2621765

Risk areas: The previous maps of risk areas across the country are now no longer in force, as the State of Emergency conditions are now in general force across mainland Portugal.

Vaccine in Portugal: Residents in Portugal are entitled to the Covid vaccination. If you do not have a Número de Utente, you should visit your local centro de saúde and apply for your Número de Utente, which automatically includes you in the vaccination programme. When you are registered in the system you will be contacted by the health service (SNS) when they are ready to vaccinate you. They will contact you by SMS, landline or by post, depending on which contact details they have recorded for you. Remember that the vaccine is NOT mandatory, but is advised by the government.

Flights to UK: At the moment all flights to the UK from mainland Portugal are suspended. This is due mostly to the link between Portugal and Brazil, as flights from Brazil to the UK are banned.

afpop office: As you know, throughout the pandemic we have kept the office operating as normally as possible and will continue to do so as far as we are able to do. In order to comply with the government’s guidelines as far as possible and still maintain an acceptable level of service to Members, we will be adapting our working procedures and sadly it is not possible now to receive Members in the office. There may be some delays in responding to telephone calls, but the e-mail service will of course still operate. As we are expecting an increase in e-mails, please bear with us if you do experience any delay in receiving a reply. If your enquiry is urgent, please indicate that in the subject field of your e-mail. We will do our best to maintain the level of service to Members that you are accustomed to.

Covid website: The government Covid website carries information on the restrictions and also on the vaccine situation. https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/ 

Covid around Portugal: In this link you can see the current infection situation in Portugal. The document is in Portuguese, but with the exception of the final page it is quite easy to understand the tables. 

Until next time as always my best wishes to you all and please continue to,
STAY SAFE

Michael R Reeve
CEO
afpop - Making Life Better

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