191: Portugal’s ‘partial lockdown’ boroughs now include eight in Algarve

Portugal’s partial lockdown boroughs now include eight in the Algarve: Vila Real de Santo António, Tavira, São Brás de Alportel, Faro, Albufeira, Portimão, Lagos and Vila do Bispo.

With prime minister António Costa still answering questions from journalists after another ‘marathon’ meeting of the Council of Ministers, the State of Emergency ‘get-tough’ measures have now been confirmed as extended to a total of 191 national boroughs.

Seven have been dropped from the original list of 121 – Mesão Frio, Moimenta da Beira, Pinhel, São João de Pesqueira, Tabuaço, Batalha and Tondela – while 77 have been added.

They are as follows:

  • Águeda
  • Albergaria-a-Velha
  • Albufeira
  • Alcanena
  • Aljustrel
  • Almeida
  • Almeirim
  • Alvaiázere
  • Anadia
  • Ansião
  • Arcos de Valdevez
  • Arganil
  • Arronches
  • Boticas
  • Campo Maior
  • Cantanhede
  • Carrazeda de Ansiães
  • Castro Daire
  • Celorico da Beira
  • Coimbra
  • Condeixa-a-Nova
  • Coruche
  • Crato
  • Cuba
  • Elvas
  • Estarreja
  • Évora
  • Faro
  • Ferreira do Alentejo
  • Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo
  • Freixo de Espada à Cinta
  • Grândola
  • Ílhavo
  • Lagos
  • Lamego
  • Mangualde
  • Manteigas
  • Mealhada
  • Mêda
  • Mira
  • Miranda do Corvo
  • Mirandela
  • Monforte
  • Montalegre
  • Montemor-o-Velho
  • Mora
  • Murtosa
  • Nelas
  • Oliveira do Bairro
  • Ourém
  • Pampilhosa da Serra
  • Penalva do Castelo
  • Penamacor
  • Penela
  • Ponte de Sor
  • Portalegre
  • Portimão
  • Proença-a-Nova
  • Reguengos de Monsaraz
  • Resende
  • Salvaterra de Magos
  • São Pedro do Sul
  • Sátão
  • Seia
  • Sousel
  • Tábua
  • Tavira
  • Torre de Moncorvo
  • Vagos
  • Vieira do Minho
  • Vila do Bispo
  • Vila Nova de Foz Côa
  • Vila Nova de Paiva
  • Vila Real de Santo António
  • Viseu

These boroughs will bound by restrictions in force in the original 121 boroughs from a minute past midnight on November 16.

This means they will be ‘locked down’ not this coming weekend, like the original 121, but the following weekend of November 21-22 (click here).

How many millions of people these new decisions affect has not yet been worked out. But it’s a huge portion of the national population.

Stressed Mr Costa, “this new effort being asked is not for eternity. This isn’t changing our lives for ever”. But it is already wearing people down.

Giuseppe Ramuzzi, director of the Milan centre of pharmacological investigations has warned that the world may have to maintain measures of prevention (like the use of masks/ physical distancing, etc.) until 2024 – particularly as the vaccines still under development “will be like those of the flu virus. They won’t eliminate Covid-19”.

In the US, infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci has said much the same: “I doubt we’re going to eradicate this,” he said today. “I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic that we have to just be careful about.”

But for now, in Portugal as in so many other countries, the situation remains ‘serious’.

As to support for businesses affected by the new ‘enforced paralysis’ at weekends, particularly restaurants, Mr Costa said this would be cumulative with municipal support as with other forms conceded by the State.

The overriding rule for the looming two weekends is “everything closed” , he said.

Exceptions are bakeries, pharmacies, clinics and medical consultations, funeral parlours, food shops up to 200 m2 that have their doors directly onto the street, and fuel stations.

The fact that certain sized food shops remain open, said the PM, does not mean that people should feel it’s fine to go out food shopping after 1pm at weekends. “If you run out of milk, you can go out and buy milk”, he said. But the general idea is ‘try and make sure you don’t run out of milk…’

The problem with this ‘second wave’ of the virus nationally is that it is now killing more people than it did in the spring.

In the last 14 days – and taking the population into account – Portugal has registered more deaths than Greece, Germany and Sweden, explained the PM, conceding that the country has pegged less fatalities than Italy, France, Spain and Belgium.

But the scenario is bleak, hence the extraordinary efforts to try and bring the virus under control.

Outlining a new support for restaurants seeing their main income of the week further decimated by these measures, Mr Costa said they could look forward to 20% of lost receipts and would be able to request this extra support from November 25.

“Through e-Fatura, the government will be able to verify what the average receipt of each restaurant in the 44 weekends” between January and the end of October has been, he explained.

“From 25th, through Balcão 2020, restaurant owners, and owners of cafés and other such establishments can communicate what their effective receipts in the next two weekends would have been”, and the government will then offer the 20% support.

How businesses react to this news will come tomorrow. It is unlikely to be positive. Indeed Expresso has already carried comments from association ProVar saying the measures are “unacceptable”.

Mr Costa however showed he understands the nation’s pain and exhaustion. He explained that from November 24, he’s hoping measures can start being ‘staggered’ in the various boroughs.

November 24 is the date for the next meeting of the Council of Ministers, and the moment when extension of the current State of Emergency will have to be considered.

It’s too soon to anticipate any kind of reduction in intensity of measures, said the PM, but there should be some form of ‘differentiation’ as realities between boroughs “are (and will be) different”. There are, for example, some with just a few cases over the 240 per 100,000 inhabitants limit, and others that are already running with over 3,000 infections per 100.000.

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