March 19th, 2020
As you might imagine, we have been following the news from up close here in Portugal, especially as Porto is the most impacted region by Covid-19. In fact the town is the epidemic center of Portugal so far.
First and foremost, It goes without saying that our solidarity in this movement is our priority in order to try to return to a normal situation as quickly as possible.
All the informations displayed on this article are taken from official communications made by the Portuguese government and/or the Municipality of Porto. However, we believe it’s part of our job to relay it to you.
While the world is slowly shutting down in order to stop the pandemic Covid-19, since the 2nd of March 2020, Porto and the whole country doesn’t escape this dramatic situation.
A very strange and very atypical atmosphere has taken over the inhabitants of Porto.
Up to last week, everything seemed to be normal, although the first decisions taken by the government. People still seemed to just live as normal, while still being aware of the pandemic.
But things are taking a total different turn since a couple of days.
A point on the situation
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the Portuguese President announces the State of Emergency in Portugal in order to stop the expansion of the Coronavirus in Porto for 15 days, starting on the 19th of March 2020 at midnight. All the measures were announced by the Prime Minister, Antonio Costa on the 19th of March 2020 following a Council of State meeting. CONTAINMENT AT HOME IS REQUIRED #FICAEMCASA #STAYHOME
The government and the municipality of Porto have taken very strong measures which were necessary. But it all changed right after the last intervention of Porto’s Mayor which automatically created a wave of panic among the people, causing a rush of the population towards the supermarkets. However the government confirms once again in its last allocution that there is no stock shortage in Portugal and it is not necessary to buy food in bulk.
Measures Already applying to the country
- Most of the public events are cancelled:
- Outside> for events of more than 5000 people
- Inside for events of more than 1000 people
- In the townships exposed to the virus for events and religious services of more than 150 people
- Sport competitions are suspended, including the professional football championship. UPDATED on 19/03/20
- Visits in hospitals, retirement homes, jails are suspended all across Portugal.
- Nurseries, primary schools, high-schools, colleges, and universities are closed starting Monday 16th of March 2020 and so far until the 9th of April 2020.
- In supermarkets and shopping malls, a certain quota has been set up to limit big amounts of people in confined spaces. In that way, people can keep a safety distance in between them.
- Bars and restaurant can accept a third of their usual capacity. Nightclubs and similar businesses are closed. Bars must close at 9pm. UPDATED on 19/03/20
- Theaters, museums, swimming-pools, public libraries, public monuments are closed already since the 10th of March when the government already took their first safety measures and this will go on until 3rd of April, unless extended by further notice.
Measures applying in Porto
- The City Hall will only offer their services throughout a digital platform “Balcão Virtual” or by phone at 222 090 400
- The maintenance of social support to the most vulnerable populations, namely by the Social Network coordination and the NPISA Porto (Planning and intervening Programme to the Homeless); the Temporary Reception Centre, Solidarity Restaurants and the Food Service in elementary schools and kindergartens to any students that requires it.
- Fairs and non-food markets under the responsibility of the Porto’s City Hall are suspended.
- Public parks such a S. Lazaro Park, S. Roque Park, Quinta do Covelo Park, Bonjoia Park, Gardens of Palacio de Cristal, Pasteleira Park and Virtudes Park.
- The temporary closure and until a new reassessment of all outdoor and indoor terraces and similar spaces installed and operating in the Municipality of Porto
- Closure of municipal parking lots, except for holders of a subscription
- Closures of municipal playgrounds
- Access to beaches is prohibited, unless with an authorization of the maritime authorities.
- Remote working to civil servants, if possible; except for those whose action is vital to the municipality’s network, for example, waste collection
- In activities considered essential and the home office system can’t be offered, its execution is guaranteed through the implementation of staff turnover and/or staggered timetabling, observing all prophylactic stipulated by the General Directorate for Health
- The closure of all municipal cafeterias, and ensuring the provision of meals to civil workers on duty by an external company
- Safeguarding the right of employees to their full salary
"This is a Real War" says the President
Unfortunately and as expected, the situation is getting more and more difficult and 16 days after the arrival of the Coronavirus in Porto, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, announced on the 18th of March, the State of Emergency in the country for the 15 following days with a possibility of extension. All the new measures were announced on 19th of March by the Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa declares State of Emergency in Portugal – 18/03/2020
The meanings of the words are strong: “An exceptional decision in an exceptional period”, “This pandemic will be a test never lived”, “This is a real war” says the President Rebelo de Souso. Words already pronounced in France in the last allocution of the President Macron who claimed: “We are in war“. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa says as well that it goes from each and every one of us responsability to respect those measures very strictly.
Extra Measures taken with the state of emergency
All day on the 19th of March 2020, all the ministers were reunited to debat on the measures needed to be taken in order to stop the contamination of the country with the Coronavirus.
Antonio Costa, the Prime Minister gave an overview of all the measures in place during the State of Emergency:
The population has been “divided” in 3 groups:
- Group of people tested positive to the Coronavirus
- Group of people at risks of being infected by the Coronavirus
- Group of people not presenting symptoms to the Cornavirus
First, the group of people tested positive to the Coronavirus includes all the people tested positive to Cornavirus or any citizen under active surveillance by the Health Authorities. If you are part of this group, you are:
- NOT ALLOWED to get out of your containment location, wether this is at the hospital or at their house. Not following this rule puts you at risk of being guilty of disobedience.
Second, the group of people at risks includes all the elderly people of more than 70 years old. If you are part of this group you must
- Be responsible and auto-protect yourself from any risk.
- Avoid at ALL COSTS any unnecessary travel outside of your house for your own good.
Third and last group, the group of people not presenting any symptoms of the Coronavirus. If you are part of this group, CONTAINMENT AT HOME IS REQUIRED, however you can:
- Go to the supermarket, pharmacies, banks…
- Go to work if you cannot work from home.
- Go out to buy suppliances in order to work from home.
- Go out for health or medical reasons.
- Go out to assist any elderly family members, or dependent person
- Go out for a short-term physical activity
- Practicing sport in groups is NOT ALLOWED (more than 2 people).
- Go out to accompany under age children
- Go out to walk your pet.
- Use your vehicle to do one the trips mentioned above. However, you must respect all the rules determinated by the Health Authorities
- Public Services with face-to-face services are suspended. This services are maintained via digital media (website, email etc…) and contact centers by phone.
- Public and Private employers should promote, whenever possible, the work from home to their employees, and provide the resources needed to the employee.
- Most of the commercial activities are closed, that includes:
- Restaurants, Cafes, Clubs, Bars, Cinemas, Theaters, Auditoriums, Museums, Art galleries, Concert halls, Congress centers, Football fields, Stadiums, Pavilions, Gyms, Places for leisure sports, among others
- Catering businesses can propose exclusively a “Home Delivery” service or to take away service.
- Commercial activities required to remain open are:
- Supermarkets and Hypermarkets, Pharmacies, Grocery stores, Butchers, Fishmongers, Bakeries, Fruit shops, Retail trade of food products, Kiosks, Gas stations, among others. The closure is only authorized if the Health Authorities decide it.
- The access to the facilities mentioned above are ONLY for elderly people of more than 65 years old for the two first hours of services of the day.
- The access to the facilities mentioned above are NOT ALLOWED for elderly people of more than 65 years old for the rest of the day
- Canteens and cafeterias serving the community, e-commerce activities or service provision activities that are provided remotely are not suspended.
- In the physical space of active commercial establishments, service should preferably be at the door or through a wicket. Alternatively, “a minimum distance of two meters between people must be ensured”, personal protection materials for workers and constant cleaning of spaces must be achieved, as well as priority should be given to assisting pregnant women, people with disabilities, people accompanied by children, health professionals or other people who are in a particularly vulnerable situation due to COVID-19.
- Religious celebrations and other worship events are prohibited.
- Funerals “are subject to the adoption of organizational measures that ensure the absence of crowds and the control of safety distances”
Porto Launches an Awareness campaign #ficaemcasa aka #stayhome
Video – So we can be this porto again #FICAEMCASA
Porto launched an awareness campaign to sensibilize people on why we have to stay home. A recent video has been published to raise awareness on the importance of staying at home. This way, Porto can be the welcoming town that it usually is. Furthermore, police cars are driving across town with a clear message on it: “We can’t, but you can! Help us fight the Coronavirus. #stayhome”. This message shows in different languages such as French, English, Portuguese and Spanish to reach as many people as possible.
Another phenomenon took place a couple days back when all the citizens of Porto came out to their windows to have a round of applause in support to all the medical teams who are involved in the Coronavirus pandemic. We could not be prouder to see the reaction and attention from people. Since the first measures taken by the Portuguese government and Porto’s Mayor Rui Moreira, the Portuenses have shown an exceptional sense of civism by respecting the restrictions of the authorities as much as possible as you can see in the video “Never So Quiet” published the 19th of March 2020 by Porto’s Municipality.
Video – Never so Quiet #STAYHOME
"F.c. Porto" proposes help to build a field hospital
With all these surges of solidarity in this health crisis, FC Porto, the very famous football club announced making their stadium available as a field hospital. On their website they say:
“F. C. Porto contacted the director of Hospital de São João, in Porto, to make Dragão Arena available for a field hospital and/or rest area for hospital staff.
From next Monday, in collaboration with Prozis, the club’s sponsor, FC Porto will also provide meals for hospital staff “
Advices from the Civil Protection
Those measures have been adopted in many countries but we would like to remind it to you one more time.
Better be safe than sorry…
- Frequently and properly wash your hands with soap and water or any alcohol-based solutions.
- Sneeze or cough in your elbow or cover your mouth and nose. You can use a disposable tissue and throw it away straight after. Clean your hands after.
- Avoid touching your face with your hands.
- Avoid people with breathing deficiency or any other people who have any other disease. Their immunity system being weaker than a person being in good health conditions.
- Avoid sharing personal items and food.
- Avoid face-to-face services, use alternative possibilities by internet or by phone.
- Keep a good distance when interacting face-to-face with another person.
- Stay at home whenever you can.
- Stay informed about the situation via official website such as the DGS, www.porto.pt
- If you present any symptoms of cough, fever or breathing difficulties, call the “SNS Line 24” at the following number 808 24 24 24.
- If you present symptoms, do NOT go to the hospital, call the 808 24 24 24 first.
The government launches a new information platform
Fake news, rumors and more are making the situation only worse but unfortunately are very present on social media. Sorry to confirm you that drinking water or tea will not cover you from getting the virus, neither the toilet paper by the way 😉 , if only… Therefore, we HIGHLY recommend you to stay updated throughout official website. The Portuguese government just launched an amazing new website “Não Paramos Estamos On” with litturally ALL the informations concerning the Coronavirus and its status in the country.
Regarding any question over public services that citizens might have, you can go to their portal “Eportugal.gov.pt” which gives you most of the answers you are looking for.
You can also find a map and graphics about the virus in Portugal on the website of the “Direção Geral da Saúde” (DGS) Furthermore, the website of Porto’s town “Porto.pt” give as well all the latest informations on the situation.
Although in Portuguese, Google Translate can help you to have it in your language.
A "drive-Thru" to test people opens in POrto
In order to prevent contact in people in the hospitals, Unilabs Portugal came up with an idea which is already in place since the 18th of March 2020 and was initiated by Porto’s City Hall, Unilabs Portugal and ARS-Norte.
The Mobile Tracking Center, a drive-thru for people suspicious to be infected by the Coronavirus, where people are tested directly in their cars. The people tested are ONLY people that were asked to go there by the Health Authorities the SNS. Do NOT go there without being asked to as you will not be tested. However, the persons directed to this Mobile Tracking Center stay in their cars and proceed to the test directly in it. The results are given within 24 hours after the test has been done. This ingenious system allows to test up to 400 people (in the first phase of contamination) per day and cities like Lisbon are already on the list to adopt this method.
Porto disinfects its metro
Last Monday, Porto (as well as Lisbon and Coimbra) got the priority on other cities to start disinfecting its metro by using a product (Microbe shield Z-71 from the company Zoono) which proved to kill the Coronavirus at 99,9%. This product is sprayed in the metro stations and the vehicles where people are most likely to put their hands on. Good point of this product, it could have effect up to 30 days after being sprayed.
Parking spaces are Free, The Metro and buses Does not require a ticket
To keep people moving as litlle as possible, the parking spots under Porto’s Municipality are free. All the payment machines have been deactivated.
On the 14th of March, the bus company of Porto SCTP, stopped requesting a valid title to travel through their network. This in order to minimize the contact in between people. This measure have been followed a couple of days after by Metro do Porto on the 18th of March. If you are going to use this transportation methods in the next days, all the check-in machines have been deactivated.
Each of them ensures that the disinfection of the vehicles is done very often and this rule applies as long as necessary and in accordance with the different directives coming from the government of Porto’s municipality.
As far as we know, you can still use taxis and Ubers to get somewhere.
Seeing the Positive in the Negative
In this difficult period it’s always interesting to see the different possibilities and more important to see the people coming together as one.
Some initiatives that we could never imagine before are today possible and will probably show us that even through the hard times, when sticking together we can reach what we never believed possible still 2 weeks ago.
The first initiative answering perfectly to the situation of being confined at home is a music festival happening on Instagram. The music festival “#EuFicoEmCasa Festival” is a genuine idea which proposes concerts by famous Portugese artists from the 17th until the 22nd of March 2020. 77 artists are on the line up and each of them performs for 30 minutes, giving the audience about 40 hours of music! Every day for 6 days in a row, you will enjoy the different talents of Portugal from 5.00pm to 11.00pm.
Since the event started 700 000 people have been watching the live festival on Instagram. Without any doubts, the most popular concert so far has been the one from Diogo Piçarra gathering more than 60 000 views during the event and more than 180.000 views in total.
Each concert is played on the instagram of each artist or on the festival’s one @FestivalEuFicoEmCasa.
Below we gathered for you the line up of each day and the link to see their concert on your device (the links must be open from a smartphone)
#EUFICOEMCASA Festival's Line Up
5.00pm – Bárbara Tinoco (Watch here).
5.30pm – André Henriques (Watch here)
6.00pm – Elisa Rodrigues (Watch here)
6.30pm – Buba Espinho (Watch here)
7.00pm – Filipe Gonçalves (Watch here)
7.30pm – João Pedro Pais (Watch here)
8.00pm – DOMI (Watch here)
8.30pm – Cristina Branco (Watch here)
9.00pm – Boss AC (Watch here)
9.30pm – Diogo Piçarra (Watch here)
10.00pm – David Fonseca (Watch here)
10.30pm – Samuel Úria (Watch here)
11.00pm – BRANKO (Watch here)
5.00pm – Tiago Nacarato (Watch here)
5.30pm – Lince (Watch here)
6.00pm – Irma (Watch here)
6.30pm – Filho da Mãe (Watch here)
7.00pm – André Sardet (Watch here)
7.30pm – Tomás Adrião (Watch here)
8.00pm – Chico da Tina (Watch here)
8.30pm – April Ivy (Watch here)
9.00pm – Murta (Watch here)
9.30pm – Fernando Daniel (Watch here)
10.00pm – Márcia (Watch here)
10.30pm – Noiserv (Watch here)
11.00pm – Supa Squad (Watch here)
5.00pm – Paulo Sousa (Watch here)
5.30pm – Afonso Cabral (Watch here)
6.00pm – Joana Espadinha & Cassete Pirata (Watch here or here)
6.30pm – Tainá (Watch here)
7.00pm – Fábia Rebordão (Watch here)
7.30pm – Bispo (Watch here)
8.00pm – Mirai (Watch here)
8.30pm – Marta Carvalho (Watch here)
9.00pm – António Zambujo (Watch here)
9.30pm – Mafalda Veiga (Watch here)
10.00pm – Matias Damásio (Watch here)
10.30pm – Prodígio (Watch here)
11.00pm – DJ RIDE (Watch here)
5.00pm – Tomás Wallenstein (Watch here)
5.30pm – Sean Riley (Watch here)
6.00pm – Frankie Chavez (Watch here)
6.30pm – Catarina Munhá (Watch here)
7.00pm – Kalú (Watch here)
19h30 – Cláudia Pascoal (Watch here)
8.00pm – Nelson Freitas (Watch here)
8.30pm – Marco Rodrigues (Watch here)
9.00pm – AGIR (Watch here)
9.30pm – Pedro Abrunhosa (Watch here)
10.00pm – Capicua (Watch here)
10.30pm – Pedro Mafama (Watch here)
11.00pm – Stereossauro (Watch here)
5.00pm – Valas (Watch here)
5.30pm – O Gajo (Watch here)
6.00pm – Joana Almeida (Watch here)
6.30pm – Luís Severo (Watch here)
7.00pm – Benjamim (Watch here)
7.30pm – Jorge Benvinda (Watch here)
8.00pm – Cálculo (Watch here)
8.30pm – Rui Massena (Watch here)
9.00pm – Héber Marques (Watch here)
9.30pm – Carolina Deslandes (Watch here)
10.00pm – The Legendary Tigerman (Watch here)
10.30pm – Ana Bacalhau (Watch here)
11.00pm – Moullinex (Watch here)
5.00pm – Fausto Bordalo Dias (Watch here)
5.30pm – João Só (Watch here)
6.00pm – Sara Correia (Watch here)
6.30pm – Júlio Resende (Watch here)
7.00pm – Selma Uamusse (Watch here)
7.30pm – Ricardo Ribeiro (Watch here)
8.00pm – Best Youth (Watch here)
8.30pm – Nuno Ribeiro (Watch here)
9.00pm – Ana Moura (Watch here)
9.30pm – David Carreira (Watch here)
10.00pm – Luísa Sobral (Watch here)
10.30pm – Tiago Bettencourt (Watch here)
11.00pm – Xinobi (Watch here)
"Porta do Impacto" an initiative to help elderly people
In a total different field, here is one of the most important initiatives during this hard times: “Porta do Impacto” from the student association “Impac’tu” a project gathering volunteers in Porto who will be delievring groceries to seniors citizens or other vulnerable people. If any person of your network needs help, please contact the association via email at email@example.com
What about Portours?
Obviously, we cannot propose our services at the moment:
- Because most of the places we go to are forbidden or closed
- Because we really think that confinment is the best solution at the moment to protect ourselves but also other from the Coronavirus.
Therefore and since a couple of days already, it’s impossible to book a tour happening in between now and the 9th of April (might be extended depending how the situation evolves). We cancelled everything. Bookings are still open for all dates apart from the ones mentioned above. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us by clicking here.
We want to believe that this pandemic will be over soon and we stay positive on the fact that all together we can make a difference by staying at home and focusing on what will be “the day after”. We live in a strange period of time, don’t forget your loved ones that are self-isolated or alone, call them, send them a text, gather together in a video call. Don’t forget your friends, and start making plans for the next months. Enjoy this time to self-reflect on yourself, do things you never had time for, go back to basics, live simply but efficiently.
We keep in our mind and prayers all the people impacted by the loss of a dear friend or family member.
We keep praying for the ones in intensive care.
And for all of you out there, please be responsible and take care of yourself.
Let’s be in this together, there is always a way out!
We are already looking forward to see you soon in Porto!