Albufeira and Loulé “unfairly penalised”: mayors urge government to review how Covid cases are tallied

The Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL) and Algarve tourism boss João Fernandes have put out a joint statement urging the government to “urgently review” the way it tallies Covid-19 cases

They believe tourist destinations such as Albufeira and Loulé – which are being held back in Portugal’s plan to fully emerge from lockdown (click here) – are being unfairly “penalised”. As they explain, if someone tests positive for Covid-19, they are considered a positive case in the borough they were tested in instead of where they live.

In other words, if someone from Lisbon tests positive in Albufeira, they increase Albufeira’s tally instead of their borough of residence’s.

“As Loulé Mayor Vítor Aleixo has recalled, the Prime Minister himself has said that national Covid-19 cases should be attributed to the borough where they live and not the tourist destination where they are detected,” said António Pina, president of AMAL and mayor of Olhão.

He believes that the current method “falsifies the ration between positive cases and the resident population” and “penalises the councils which receive the most tourists at this time of year, such as is the case with Loulé and Albufeira.”

The president of the Algarve tourism board (RTA) has also thrown his support behind the cause.

“Given this incongruent ratio calculation, what sense does it make to force Loulé and Albufeira to take a step back and apply measures from the past, such as the closure of restaurants at 10.30pm, which will punish the regional economy even more during the high season,” João Fernandes said.

“This statistical pumping-up of case number must urgently end, as not only are more restrictive measures unfairly applied to boroughs with the most tourist activity, but we must also take into account how our main foreign markets evaluate the Algarve as the country’s main summer tourist destination,” Fernandes concluded.