The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a new virus for the human species, therefore we have no immunity against it. It is likely that all of us will have contact with this virus in the future.
However, it is the transmissibility that is worrisome. Only a minority of people require hospitalization and, in the most extreme cases, ventilator support (respirators). Now, if many of us get sick at the same time, there may not be resources to treat everyone.
Time for an update, time to give some answers to questions about the Coronavirus. What is the situation in Portugal and in the Algarve? Algarve Housing will do the best they can to help you!
- Limit social contact to a minimum. Stay at home as long as possible.
- Particularly avoid contact with older people or immunocompromised, as they are at greater risk of complications from the infection.
- Avoid contact with surfaces that other people may have touched. The virus is able to survive on surfaces for a long time (up to 72 hours on plastic surfaces!)
- Avoid touching the mouth, nose and eyes with your hands. These are the main entry points for the virus.
- Wash your hands frequently. 15 seconds with soap or an alcohol-based solution
- Maintain a healthy diet, some exercise and try to get enough sleep.
- Don’t panic. As long as we follow these basic principles, the probability of getting the infection is low.
Has the Coronavirus reached Portugal?
Yes, it has. On the 26th of February, the first 25 suspected cases were found. On the 2nd of March, the first two cases were confirmed. As of today (17th of March), there are 448 confirmed cases, of which three have recovered and one has died. Fourteen of them are in the Algarve.
There are 4030 suspected cases.
What are the guidelines given by the DGS (the national health care)?
On the 12th of March, the Government has taken various decisions:
-all schools and universities have been closed until the 9th of April, when the situation will be revised;
-all public establishments, museums and other cultural places have been closed down;
-citizens are strongly advised to practice voluntary social isolation, meaning: stay home and only go out for emergencies. Most citizens are asked to work from home.
-all bars, restaurants and similar establishments have restricted access and are to be closed at 21:00.
-supermarkets and shopping malls have restricted access to enable the recommended social distance.
Moreover, all gatherings of bigger groups are no longer allowed.
Is it still possible to get in and out of Portugal?
Since 16th of March, the borders with Spain have been closed. Only Portuguese residents are still allowed back, as are goods and people with an emergency reason.
Many flights have been cancelled (best to check with your own airline) although there still is some air circulation. Only those who have tickets are allowed inside airports. We still have guests coming and going.
What to do if I show Coronavirus symptoms?
If you show mild symptoms (slight fever, cough…), stay away from people and take care of yourself until you are better. If you show more serious symptoms, call the national information line 808 24 24 24 (for English, press 9). It might take a few calls, as the line is very busy. They will advise on what to do next
What will happen when the Emergency State will be declared?
Today, (18 March 2020) the Government plans to declare the State of Emergency which will be valid for fifteen days (after which it can be extended). The difference for the population is that what was advised now becomes obligatory. By doing so, it becomes possible for the security services like the GNR (the police) to operate. From then on, if you do not obey them (by staying home unless you have a valid reason), you can be fined and even risk imprisonment for homicide.
All foreigners who chose to stay in Portugal during this period are strongly advised to strictly follow specific directions of health officials and security forces (GNR, SEF, PSP, Maritime officials).
What if you booked a holiday villa with Algarve Housing?
Please contact me, we will do our utmost to help you. We will try to find another week, later in the year for you. We deal for you with the owner and will try to find the best solution.
Algarve Housing wishes you all to stay safe and be well, and make the most of the situation. Together, we can take care of each other and help to slow down the spreading of Covid-19.
Let’s stay apart, but together!