The idea was to appease criticisms from the North of the country by giving them a larger number of ventilators, but this removal of equipment from the south of the country has had the effect of causing just as much criticism, and in large numbers, from the Algarve, namely from the PSD party.
The Government released on Saturday a map showing the medical equipment distributed by the Ministry of Health, by region, where it was clear that the Algarve would be the only region that would not receive ventilators – despite being promised four new ones.
On the same day that the Government announced that it had distributed 300 fans across the country’s different health regions, including four for the Algarve, the Government published on its Facebook page a map showing that the North region, the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, had received 160 ventilators. For the other regions, much less of this equipment was reserved: Lisbon and Vale do Tejo would receive 37 fans, 16 for the Centre Region 16, 4 for the Alentejo, and for the Algarve… none.
Also in terms of surgical masks, another indicator on the map, the Algarve was the region that would receive the least units, a total of 144,000 masks, well below the North region (6 million masks).
Meanwhile, the Government map in which the Algarve was shown to not be receiving any new ventilators led Cristóvão Norte, Rui Cristina and Ofélia Ramos, PSD MPs elected by the Algarve’s citizens, to announce that they are going to address a request for clarification to the Minister of Health on the map and the reasoning behind the Algarve receiving a relatively low amount of medical equipment.
According to the PSD parliamentarians, “this situation must be fully clarified by the Government, particularly with regard to the criteria that governed the distribution of materials, such as protective masks and ventilators”.
“We do not question that all regions of the country have different equipment needs, nor do we want to make this any regional rivalry, but it is imperative that the award criteria are transparent and that citizens are given clear information about them. Otherwise, distrust is installed and the social alarm is born. Citizens have difficulty in understanding that before COVID-19 it was assumed that the region was the one with the greatest gaps in healthcare and that, now, the reinforcement of equipment does not cover it”, defend the MPs.
“Due to the specificity of its economy, dedicated to activities related to Tourism, the Algarve will be one of the regions most penalized by the necessary quarantine measures. In addition, there are structural deficiencies in the public health system that already exist in the region, so it is important to ensure the means of combating the COVID-19 disease, as well as to create trust in citizens ”, conclude Cristóvão Norte, Rui Cristina and Ofélia Ramos in a joint statement.