The Algarve has 10 days to save Christmas. The majority of those 10 days see the region, and the country, confined to ‘borough lockdowns’.
But whereas 127 boroughs are also subjected to further restrictions, due to the level of infections within them, the Algarve – up till now – has been much more ‘free’.
No businesses are required to shutdown at 1pm at weekends; neither are populations ‘confined to their homes’ on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
But that could all change, very quickly. The warning has come from authorities during the latest ‘Covid press conference’ which heard that the Rt level in the region is now at 1.1 (ie above the national average of 1.05).
Worst affected boroughs are Vila do Bispo, Lagos, Portimão and Faro. Indeed, due to infection rates in Vila do Bispo, the essentially rural borough is in danger of entering the ‘elevated risk’ list, along with much more highly populated Portimão. This would instantly propel both into the requirement to shut down on trading after 1pm at weekends.
With the rest of this long Bank Holiday weekend in hand, and another one starting next Friday – running to the following Wednesday morning – the future is in Algarveans’ hands, stressed Olhão mayor and president of the association of Algarve municipalities António Pina. Everyone’s behaviour could help make the difference that is needed after a ‘bad last fortnight’ in which the region has registered the largest number of cases since the start of the pandemic (1,500).
One ‘positive point’ is that despite the high number of active cases in the region, hospitals are far from inundated. There are only 40 people in total in hospitals, 11 in intensive care – only four of whom have required to be placed on ventilators.