Faro Hospital is “ready to set an example in treating Coronavirus”, but PSD MP says otherwise
Faro Hospital is prepared and can become a reference unit for coping with the Coronavirus (Covid-19) “as soon as necessary”, Paulo Morgado, president of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve, has claimed.
He said that spaces for isolation of patients are being set up in hospitals and health centres throughout the region, and specific training is being provided to health professionals, among other measures to prepare for the eventual arrival of the virus which Mr. Morgado didn’t set out.
According to Morgado, the Algarve “has conditions” to respond to the Coronavirus, “either in our hospitals, with our laboratories, or in the Health Centres”. “As soon as the General Health Directorate (DGS) permits it, the Algarve will be able to enter the national network with a referral hospital, which, in the first instance, will be Faro Hospital” he assured.
Even so, he admits that there is a problem, “not only in the Algarve, but in almost all countries”, which is the long wait for more diagnostic kits, due to difficulties in the pharmaceutical industry as “at this moment there is a great demand in the market, and it is not very easy for them to supply us with a large quantity”.
“The flu contingency plans are activated” and the national and regional plans for reaction to the Coronavirus will be presented “soon”, he added. Also in the coming days, “the DGS will reveal a set of norms and specific guidelines for the tourism sector, corresponding to the concern that exists in the Algarve and beyond.”
The awareness of this reality and that tourists and other potential vectors of infection can arrive “by all means, not just by plane”, has led ARS Algarve to contact the entities that manage the different ports of entry in the region. “Our teams have already established the necessary contacts with the authorities, both with the airport and with the Portimão cruise port, in order to provide them with guidance,” he said.
“In operational terms, we have everything prepared”, he guaranteed.
However, at the same time Algarvian PSD MP has criticized the claims of being ready to confront Covid-19 if necessary, saying that there is no real contingency plan that allows the most touristic region of the Algarve to respond in a timely manner to possible cases of infection by the virus.
The parliamentarian stated that it is “a worrying situation, which leaves residents and tourists without support, especially when the great deficiencies existing in the hospital units in the Algarve are already known”.
For the MP, who is the current deputy coordinator of the Health Commission of the Assembly of the Republic, “it is irresponsible on the part of the government not to have a contingency plan that defines preventive and support measures in case of infections, in the most touristic region of the country, the gateway for millions of tourists, many of them from countries, both European and Asian, where cases of infection and death by Covid-19 have already been reported”.
Rui Cristina exemplified his claims with a specific situation in municipality of Olhão, explaining that it hosts “one of the largest Italian communities of permanent residents in Portugal, as well as countless Italian tourists who spend long periods in the Algarve. Even after knowing that Italy is the European country with the most cases of people infected with the coronavirus, unfortunately many of them fatal, no measures were taken. And at Easter, there will be thousands of Spanish tourists who have a tendency to travel to the Algarve during this period, and cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Madrid and Seville,” he warns.
“We are very used to there being no answers when it comes to the health of the Algarve and only promises are made that are then not kept. But this level of irresponsibility goes beyond everything” he added.
How does Mr. Morgado respond to these claims of being the region’s hindered healthcare system being unprepared? Well as for the well-known shortages of health professionals in the region, Paulo the ARS presidfent says that they will not be a problem since “in these cases, people always react with a spirit of mutual help, and we have excellent quality professionals”.
In order to demand answers from the government regarding the implementation of a contingency plan in the health area for the Algarve that would bolster confidence in the public, PSD deputies Rui Cristina, Cristóvão Norte and Ofélia Ramos, elected by in district of Faro, have requested that the Minister of Health, Marta Temido, provide further clarification on this matter.
“It is important to know who to ask for responsibility for this situation of contempt for the health of the Algarve and the thousands of visitors who arrive in the region every day, as well as for the consequences on the economic fabric”, concluded Mr. Cristina.