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Situation in Algarve “is under control”, but Albufeira young tourists raising concern

80algarve controlledThe epidemiological situation in the Algarve “is under control”. This was the sentiment conveyed at the recent press conference to assess the state of the current pandemic in the region, held this Friday, July 10, where it was admitted, however, that cases like the one of the hundreds of Dutch tourists currently staying in Albufeira are “worrying”. António Pina, president of AMAL – the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve -, stressed that despite this, the pandemic in the region is “under control”.

“After the great effort of the health professionals, of my mayoral colleagues, yes, I say that it is controlled”, he claims. The AMAL leader admitted that, at the moment, what worries him most is “the situation from an economic and social point of view”, due to the fall in tourism, the main sector of activity in the region. Even so, the mayor of Olhão said, referring to the case of Odiáxere (Lagos), that “there may always be a party tomorrow that nobody knows about and that provokes a peak”.

In the last few days, the region has had “a decrease in new cases”, according to Ana Cristina Guerreiro, regional health delegate, although we are already “at the beginning of the bathing season and, at this moment, our population is already higher than normal”.

Currently, according to Paulo Morgado, president of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve, the R value (contagion rate) in the region “is less than 1”.

For Ana Cristina Guerreiro, “it is natural that there is an increase in the number of daily cases”, he considered. Currently, the region has accumulated 693 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, but also 416 recovered, which means that there are only 260 active cases.

Paulo Morgado also said that the current panorama “is characterized by the appearance of outbreaks of greater or lesser dimension”.

“This is the situation from the point of view of the Algarve and the rest of the country. What we are doing is a tight control as soon as we detect a case and, from there, isolation is essential”, he explained.

In the past few days, the presence of hundreds of young Dutch people outside bars on Rua da Oura, in Albufeira, forced GNR personnel to intervene due to the failure to comply with the rules enacted by the Directorate-General for Health. Questioned about the case, Ana Cristina Guerreiro admitted that the situation “is worrying”.

“It is something we already know, summer after summer, with many young people, a lot of alcohol, and that, in the context of Covid-19, is a negative scenario. We are attentive and, together with the decision-makers, trying to find measures that can mitigate these risks”, she said.

“We all live in an abnormal situation and young people have to moderate their interaction, find ways to live with less risk, outdoors, in more open spaces, with the use of a mask while they are not consuming and with some distance, as long as people can hear each other,” she added.

“We are aware that, when we open, we will have more risk and more cases, but it is in this balance that we will find our solution for this summer”, said the regional health delegate.

In this equation, the fate of bars and clubs are still unknown. The spaces are still closed, but it is also known that, for some types of tourists, they are a draw to come and holiday in the Algarve.

The regional health delegate considered that bars and clubs “are spaces with a high risk of transmission, because they are closed, they work with air conditioning, without the possibility of air flow”.

As for the United Kingdom’s decision to leave Portugal off the list of safe countries to holday in, made public a week ago, António Pina didn’t mince words. “Ff the British looked at their numbers and ours, they would all run away and come here”.

For tourists who come, Pina said that the idea is to send a message of “a quality Algarve, with excellent beaches and gastronomy”.