Photo by: BRUNO FILIPE PIRES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP

Algarve health authority to release daily coronavirus map

The Algarve’s health authority (ARS Algarve) will be releasing a daily ‘coronavirus map’ providing information on the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Algarve by municipality.

The chart, which will be updated daily on its website, also reveals how many tests have come back negative, how many people have died, how many are awaiting test results and how many people have recovered.

It was presented in a press conference at ARS Algarve’s headquarters in Faro this Friday afternoon (March 20) by regional health delegate Ana Cristina Guerreiro.

So far, there are 29 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the Algarve – 10 in Faro, 8 in Portimão, 4 in Albufeira, 2 each in Lagoa, Silves and Loulé and one in Tavira.

Fifteen of them are in hospital, while four are in intensive care units although none are in critical condition.

According to Guerreiro, “the situation in the Algarve is completely different from that in the North”.
“With our borders closed and the number of flights in the region reduced, we were able to lower the risk of infection. Here we are in a phase of containing the outbreak, while in the North they are in a phase of mitigation,” she told reporters.

Guerreiro also confirmed that six of the Nepalese agricultural workers from Faro who tested positive are hospitalised, while 59 others remain in quarantine at the E.B. Santo António School.

“They are being actively watched. As soon as their condition changes, we can perform a test on the spot or transfer them to the hospital, which has already happened in many cases,” she said.

Two new cases have also been detected in Faro, with Guerreiro confirming that they are also work in the agricultural sector although they are not believed to be linked to the initial group.

However, the health delegate said that the decision to put the first group of agricultural workers in quarantine may have helped avoid an “explosion of cases in Faro”.

Guerreiro also confirmed that the Algarve’s first coronavirus victim was a 77-year-old Portuguese man who lived in Albufeira.

“He arrived in serious condition at the hospital. He had many underlying conditions and a complex clinical situation,” she said, adding that it is “unclear how he became infected”.

The regional health delegate also commented on the fears that workers are currently feeling, particularly at Faro Airport.

“They are scared, they call us with questions. The truth in this situation is that fear is our biggest enemy,” she said.

“I understand that people are scared of closer contact at the airport, but we have to leave those situations in the hands of citizens, we cannot have a police officer at every door or in every area,” she stressed.

She also praised how the Portuguese people have reacted to the pandemic.

“I think people are responding in the best way possible. You can notice a big difference on the streets.

Supermarkets are asking people to form queues at the door and keep their distance from each other, letting people in when other shoppers leave to ensure a reduced number of people inside.

“They have also created special schedules for police officers, health professionals and other workers with little time available. Establishments that were not deemed essential have closed, reducing the risk of contagion. I think things are going well and according to the proposed measures.”

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com – in collaboration with Barlavento newspaper (www.barlavento.pt)