EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM

Deconfinement begins with Portugal firmly in ‘green zone’

Today’s Covid bulletin shows Portugal firmly in the ‘green zone’ of the government’s colour chart for recovery (see image above).

Numbers in hospital (996) suffered a slight increase on Sunday (of 20 people), but numbers in ICUs (231) have continued to fall (this time by 11 patients).

Deaths for the entire country and two archipelagos came to just 10 in the last 24-hour period, with only 256 new cases recorded, and 2,371 people deemed ‘recovered’.

These are the kind of numbers unseen since the end of last summer – but as experts and the government warn, ‘everything could change’ and very fast as the country starts ‘living again’.

Lisbon and Vale do Tejo is the region leading new infections and deaths – albeit vastly reduced after two months of lockdown.

Prime Minister António Costa has marked ‘reopening day’ with a couple tweets, saying: “We enter the first phase of deconfinement today which has to be very prudent, gradual and step-by-step. And step-by-step does not mean doing everything we would like to do as if there wasn’t still a serious pandemic.

“This is a very demanding phase. Remember up until Easter and including, the duty of staying at home continues. We cannot run risks and let everything be lost. Life and health come first”.

Recalls Público: “If the country can remain in the green zone, deconfinement will advance with the progressive reopening of businesses and other activities. 

But if numbers stray into the yellow zone, deconfinement could be ‘paralysed’ (halted until the situation reverts) – and if they reach the red zone, we will be looking at a return to confinement.

It has been said time and again – and frustratingly even the experts warn it will be nigh impossible to keep the Rt (transmission) rate down to below 1 indefinitely (click here).

Unless Portugal is very lucky, there will be hiccups along the way.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com