“Christmas with few round table. New Year without parties”

At a point where the country is being bombarded with dismal information almost by the hour, PM António Costa has told Rádio Observador that Portugal has to be prepared for a Christmas with ‘few people round the table’ and a New Year bereft of parties.

The government’s ‘confinement plan for Christmas will be announced on Saturday’, two days after we’re all given the low down on how vaccination will be rolled out (click here).

What does seem likely is that nighttime curfews will be relaxed on New Year’s Eve to allow people to celebrate at midnight without breaking the law.

Beyond that, the festive season looms devoid of its habitual sparkle.

“We all want a normal Christmas but it’s not going to be”, admitted Mr Costa – adding that “the more people round the table at Christmas, the more the danger because we are without a mask – and when people are at the table, the risk of contamination is greater…”

New Year’s Eve will play out with the country still confined to its various ‘tiers’ – meaning restrictions will stay in place even if curfews are temporarily extended.

“There will not be any end of year parties”, the PM reiterated – neither can pupils look forward to Christmas holidays being extended, or brought forwards.

All in all, it was another ‘announcement’ that will leave families further troubled as they now have to decide who to leave out round the table this year, and who may not make it to 2021 (for all kinds of reasons) and shouldn’t be ‘left out’ for a virus that (let’s face it) leaves the majority of victims ‘fully recovered’.

According to Portugal’s latest numbers, 274,011 citizens (out of 10.2 million) have fallen victim to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic: 189,356 have recovered; 80, 528 are currently ‘still infected’; 4,127 have died; 3,251 are currently being treated in hospital: 517 of which are in intensive care.

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