Algarve hotels available to receive Covid patients and relieve hospitals
Portuguese hotels, which at the moment are mostly closed, are being made available to help hospitals deal with the acute phase that the Covid-19 outbreak is reaching, opening the facilities to receive patients with mild symptoms – in turn relieving health structures and prevent people who are hospitalized from becoming infected, as they are in an environment with a higher viral load.
img decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” src=”http://algarvedailynews.com/images/news2/18773.jpg” alt=”The Pestana Blue Alvor hotel, which the Pestana group has in the Algarve, has been receiving people in quarantine or infected with mild symptoms, in conjunction with the regional health authorities – DR PHOTO” width=”160″ height=”107″ style=”margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 5px; float: left;” />Portuguese hotels, which at the moment are mostly closed, are being made available to help hospitals deal with the acute phase that the Covid-19 outbreak is reaching, opening the facilities to receive patients with mild symptoms – in turn relieving health structures and prevent people who are hospitalized from becoming infected, as they are in an environment with a higher viral load.
There are some examples of hotels, in the Algarve, Madeira or in the north of the country, that are receiving Covid patients with mild symptoms, in direct contact and with express request from the regional health authorities.
But in the critical phase that the pandemic has reached, apart from isolated cases of hotels that on their own initiative and specific agreements with local authorities, there is no integrated plan to take advantage of the available hotel capacity when the hospitals are in a saturation point. The Ministry of Health has been contacted, but so far no answer has been received on this issue.
In the case of the Algarve, “hotels have been available since the beginning of the pandemic to receive medical, civil protection and all health-related people who had to come to the region and had nowhere to stay,” says Elidérico Viegas, president of Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA).
In the current phase, ” hotels in the Algarve will be available to collaborate, and to receive patients with mild symptoms, in partnership with health authorities, if necessary “, guarantees the president of AHETA. “Hotels have the facilities, and have services that can be used in case of need, such as meals, hygiene and cleaning.”
“In the Algarve we have about 500 hotels with 130 thousand beds, more than all hospitals put together, which are suitable places to receive patients with mild symptoms, while the health system saturated. Hotels are available to help, but they need to be contacted for this purpose “, stresses Elidérico Viegas, president of AHETA.
“For people with mild symptoms, and as there is no capacity for hospital structures, hotels seem to be very suitable places for this purpose” , explains Elidérico Viegas, stressing that this process does not go through associations, but through direct agreements between health authorities and hotel companies.
In the initial phase of the outbreak, last year, the Association of Hotels in Portugal (AHP) assumed the role of coordinating the provision of hotel rooms to health professionals who feared to contaminate their families, in a project called “Rooms against covid”. But this year, and with the point of overload that hit the hospitals, the association has not yet signalled that there is a need for hotels to accommodate patients, and to alleviate health structures.
It’s a different case in the United Kingdom, which this year set in motion a plan to prepare the health system and use hotels, discharging patients with Covid-19 who are in the final phase of recovery to hotel rooms that are currently vacant.
The main national hotel groups, Pestana and Vila Galé, are receptive to helping the current critical situation in hospitals, providing hotels that are closed to receive patients with mild symptoms, quarantined people or health professionals, similarly to what happened in March last year. The hotels that are currently doing so are Ilha Dourada, in Porto Santo, Pestana Bay, in Madeira, and Pestana Blue Alvor, in Algarve .
“Not all hotels have conditions for isolation, especially if medical care is needed, but there are others where it is possible to adapt to the needs of mild patients and especially people in prophylactic isolation or medical personnel who cannot return home” , emphasizes the Pestana group, adding that it has been working “in close collaboration with the authorities to adapt to needs, case by case”.
Abroad, the Portuguese hotel group has also provided this type of support to health authorities in the countries where it is present, namely in Cape Verde, São Tomé and Venezuela.