Portimão mayor Isilda Gomes held a press conference this Thursday morning (March 12) to launch a campaign urging citizens to “act responsibly, do their part and follow recommendations” in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
This means staying at home as much as possible, avoiding large groups and not rushing to the supermarket or pharmacy “as if the world was going to end tomorrow, which it isn’t,” the mayor stressed.
Gomes also confirmed that two further cases of Covid-19 infection were identified in Portimão, bringing the town’s total tally to five.
That is why it is more important than ever for people in Portimão to play it safe and only leave home if strictly necessary.
“We are going through a tough period and now is the time to join our efforts in order to contain the spread of coronavirus in Portimão,” Gomes told reporters at the town hall.
“If we do not act responsibly, we won’t be able to stop this pandemic. It is obviously the council’s responsibility to alert its citizens, particularly when two schools had to be closed, yet shopping centres and beaches are filled with youngsters and people in general. That is what we are doing – telling people that each citizen is responsible for their health and the health of others,” the mayor said.
“We only have two options – either we make responsible and brave decisions for a period of time, however brief it may be, or we face the risk of our economy collapsing to a point from which it will be very difficult to recover,” said Gomes, adding that the repercussions will be huge if the town is not able to control its outbreak until this summer.
“Nobody knows if the person next to them is infected. We have to be extra careful now that we have detected cases of secondary transmission,” the mayor added.
Said Gomes, “we have to be proactive”.
“In my opinion, I would rather do too much than not enough,” she said, admitting however that panic has to be avoided at all cost.
For now, all cultural and sports venues in Portimão are closed until March 31. Many local associations have also followed suit.
Students and teachers at the schools that have been closed are advised to stay at home, while all citizens are encouraged to be wary and avoid travelling unnecessarily.
Restaurants are also advised to provide soap and hand sanitizer and ensure that tables are kept at least one or two metres away from each other.
Gyms should either close or limit the number of people who are using a certain area or room to just 10, whilst also increasing ventilation and cleaning more often.
The council also advises small businesses to limit the number of people inside them to just 10 at a time, while shopping centres should avoid large gatherings of people and ensure that people keep a safe distance from each other in queues.
Citizens are also asked to avoid big crowds at beaches, playgrounds, malls, cinemas and other establishments.
Bars and nightclubs are also being asked to close at 11pm at the latest and Gomes praised live music bar Marginália for making the decision to cancel all events even before the council launched this campaign.
Photo: JOSÉ GARRANCHO