Portugal’s lockdown is breaking down – no matter what authorities want to tell people.
Data specialists PSE report that last Friday “beat all records for mobility” by citizens. Never before, in any of the previous two-week periods of confinement have so many people left their homes.
Indeed, Friday’s ‘results’ show a level of mobility that corresponds to 83% of what was happening before Covid-19 existed, says SIC television news – adding that in almost 40% of cases, travel outside the home involved distances of ‘more than 10 kms’.
Friday is a key indicator for PSE. It is always on Fridays that the agency records the highest percentage of mobility among citizens. Irrespective of all the constraints in force, people are still ‘going away for weekends’ – particularly those who live in city areas.
This ‘disregard’ of State of Emergency rules has been ‘gradually increasing since January 22’ as the horrors of Portugal’s third wave started to decline.
It’s “a clear sign that the second lockdown is in erosion”, says the team at PSE, recalling that in the fourth and fifth week of confinement “just 12% of people left home in the space of six or seven days”. In the first week of March (which signalled the eighth week of confinement) that percentage leapt to 20%.
What is not quite so clear is how PSE has gathered its data. According to Público, “the analysis is based on the continuous recovery of data taken by monitoring the localisation and means of transport via mobile application of a sample of 3,670 individuals representative of the universe of Portuguese over the age of 15 and resident in the regions of Greater Porto, Greater Lisbon, the coastal North, coastal centre and district of Faro”.
But what is interesting is that PSE reported a similar ‘relaxing of the Portuguese’ with regard to lockdown measures at the end of April 2020 – when the final two-week period of confinement was running.
In other words, the study almost certainly assures ‘the end of lockdown’ once this latest two-week period of State of Emergency expires (at midnight on March 16).
Covid numbers are now ‘well down’ with less than 2,000 people in the nation’s hospitals – and a Saturday bulletin that recorded no deaths for four of the seven Portuguese regions.