Portugal’s response to pandemic receives renewed international praise

There has been a ‘second wave’ of more than complimentary articles in the international media over Portugal’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Following European praise earlier this month (click here), we have now seen ‘big spreads’ in papers like the UK Guardian and the International Business Times.

The Guardian’s article was based round an interview with health secretary António Lacerda Sales who explained how response had been based “on the best scientific advice and on other countries’ experience… regularly reassessed and adapted to a very fast evolution”.

In short, “the country has been preparing for the worst-case scenario” from the outset.

But a key difference in Portugal’s approach vis-a-vis neighbouring Spain, for example, or even Italy has been the ‘political synchrony’. Stressed Sales: “Political parties have adopted a responsible behaviour because everybody understood very well the importance of being united to tackle an unexpected pandemic with dramatic consequences.”

The IBT article concentrates more on the “determination and solidarity” of the Portuguese people themselves.

Taking its material from an interview that Ricardo Baptista Leite, a physician specializing in infectious disease gave Politico, it suggested the country’s success is not down to ‘an impeccable healthcare system’ but the ‘discipline’ of people who could see just how bad the situation might become.

Baptista Leite told Politico that “due to the frailty” of our Portugal’s health system, the pandemic “could potentially have been worse here than Spain. The Portuguese people understood very clearly that if we want to survive this, we would have to do even more than the others in crushing the curve, in prolonging and pushing forward the number of new cases. The country has shown tremendous solidarity”.

Indeed, according to IBT, “Portugal stands tall in the midst of the chaos”.

As a PR slogan approaching what will be a very different summer season, you couldn’t wish for better. But as the authorities keep telling us, there is still an awfully long way to go.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com