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Portimão mayor unveils new plan as Covid-19 cases in Algarve rise to 5

portimao planIsilda Gomes, Mayor of Portimão today confirmed to journalists that there are now five cases of Covid-19 that have been diagnosed in the city, thus taking the region’s total number up to 5, as all cases have been within this single municipality.

The mayor believes that this now justifies the launch of a new campaign that calls for “courageous” measures to stop the pandemic by the summer so as not to put at risk the county’s economy. Under the motto “Be Responsible! Do your part. Follow the recommendations”, the Municipality of Portimão today launched the new set of measures that appeals to the individual and collective responsibility of the population.

At a press conference this morning, in the City Hall, Mayor Gomes explained the urgency of reinforcing preventive measures. “This is necessary because it is instrumental to raise awareness among citizens, appealing to the need for those who do not need to leave home to remain at home. We are going through a difficult period and that is why it is time to join forces to contain the spread of the virus in Portimão.”

“At the moment we have five cases, two of which are secondary transfers. If we are not responsible, we cannot stop this pandemic. When we have two schools closed and we see the shopping centres full of young people, we see the beaches full of people, of course the Council has an obligation to raise awareness among its fellow citizens. That is what we are doing. It means telling every citizen that you are responsible for your health, and the health of others”, she warned.

In addition to a teenage student at Manuel Teixeira Gomes Secondary School, who the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the city, one more student at the school was infected. The mother of the Algarve’s patient zero, a teacher at EB 2.3 José Buisel School was also diagnosed, as well as “the teacher’s husband, and there is now a colleague of the teacher” who is also infected.

In other words, there are now five confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Portimão. “We only have two options. Either we make responsible and courageous decisions over a period of time, even if limited, or we are subject to our economy falling, and it is very difficult to recover it. This is because if, for a month or two, we are unable to stop the transmission of the virus in Portimão, obviously this will drag on in the summer and then yes, the economy will fall dramatically”, she warned.

Moreover, despite being questioned by journalists over the Minister of Health’s decision to keep schools in the country open, and about a possible extension of this campaign to other regions of the Algarve, Ms. Gomes declined to express an opinion. “It could be misunderstood. I shouldn’t, I can’t and I don’t want to give my opinion”.

The mayor stressed that all the measures adopted in the municipality until today “were all sanctioned and supported by the Local Public Health Authority. We have to be proactive. I am very calm, I know that I am working for the good of our municipality. After Covid-19 itself, the worst virus is the social alarm.”

“We will tackle this problem with tranquillity, determination and responsibility. Only in this way can we succeed in this fight against an invisible enemy” underlined Ms. Gomes.

For now, the recommendations that have been implemented in the City Council and Parish Councils of Portimão are as follows: “We recommend that the school community whose educational establishments are closed, remain at home. And that citizens take the basic measures of social modesty, avoiding unnecessary travel outside the municipality”.

Catering establishments, on the other hand, must provide liquid soap and disinfectant gel and implement the maximum safety distance between tables, which is at least one to two meters. Gyms must either shut down or reduce the number of practitioners to 10 people per space or room, intensifying hygiene and ventilation.

Regarding traditional commerce, depending on the size of the spaces, the municipality recommends only the simultaneous presence of 10 people in small shops in order to guarantee the recommended safety margin. Citizens are also recommended to avoid crowds of people to guarantee the recommended safety distance. The population must also avoid trips and large crowds on the beach, playgrounds, shopping centres, cinemas, among others. Also, bars and clubs must close at 11 pm.

Information leaflets will be distributed in throughout the municipality for those who don’t access the internet or television. This is an “extensive campaign to disseminate this message in order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19″, concluded the mayor.