It took me a while to write about the coronavirus in Porto. After all, as a city blogger and owner of a private tour company I have a lot at stake.
But above all I have the most sincere commitment to give my readers useful information about Porto, and I believe I can help you, my dear reader and fellow traveler, during these troubled times. So I am putting my feelings aside in order to be on your side.
I won’t waste your time telling about the disease itself because I am sure you already read that a gazzilion of times, and above all I want this article to be useful to you.
I will update this article every daAT 1pm (GMT time), so that you can read the latest informations on the Coronavirus in Portugal.
This is what you can expect from this article:
- 1 Current situation of Corona Virus in Portugal
- 2 What does the state of emergency mean?
- 3 What are the current measures in place to fight the Coronavirus in Porto?
- 4 How are people handling the Coronavirus in Porto?
- 5 When will it be safe to travel to Porto again?
- 6 Services that can help you during the Corona Virus in Porto
Current situation of Corona Virus in Portugal
According to Direcção Geral de Saúde (our national health board), this are the most recent numbers:
Confirmed cases: in blue
Recovered: in green
Deaths: in orange
Suspected cases: in orange
As you can see on the graphic above, most of the cases are split between the Center (around Lisbon and Tejo) and the North (around Porto), which makes sense because these are the most densely populated districts.
The situation in Portugal isn’t nearly as bad and ours neighbors in Europe, namely Spain, Italy, France and Germany.
However, our number are growing quite fastly so the Government declared the “national state of emergency” on March 18th .
What does the state of emergency mean?
Several things my dear, none of them really pleasant.
Limitation on the right to move around
- Patients with Covid 19 and citizens under surveillance (for fear of being infected): compulsory isolation, under penalty of the crime of disobedience.
- People over 70 years of age and from groups at risk have a special duty of self-protection and must “avoid at all costs any unnecessary travel outside the residence”.
- Other citizens: general duty of home collection, avoiding trips beyond those that are necessary.
People can get out of the house to:
- Buy goods and services (trips to supermarkets, pharmacies, bank offices)
- Work, when teleworking is not possible
- To assist family members or dependents
- Do short-term physical activity, never in group
- Walking kids and pets.
Vehicles can only circulate in public life when carrying out one of these trips.
Closing of commercial activities
Most commercial activities are closed:
- Restaurants, cafes, clubs, bars
- Cinemas, theaters, auditoriums, museums, art galleries, concert halls.
- Congress centers
- Soccer fields, stadiums, pavilions, gyms, places for leisure sports.
On the other hand, there are commercial establishments that must keep their doors open. These are supermarkets, pharmacies, grocery stores, butchers, fishmongers, bakeries, fruit shops, kiosks, gas stations, among others. In these cases, the closure is only authorized if the health authorities determine it.
Access to these establishments is, during the first two hours of daily operation, is exclusive to people over 65, who are prohibited from visiting these facilities outside these hours.
In the physical space of commercial establishments in operation, 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 provided, and priority is be given to pregnant women, people with disabilities, people with kids, health professionals or other people who are in a particularly vulnerable situation.
Religious celebrations and other worship events are prohibited, and funerals “are subject to the adoption of organizational measures that guarantee the absence of crowds and the control of safety distances”. In other words, I hope no burials or marriages are allowed as both are high risk situations.
Our Mayor has been doing a remarkable job in fighting the Coronavirus in Porto.
Besides following all the measures mentioned above, it was the first municipality in the country to implement tougher measures in order to contain the virus.
Therefore, and since 13th March 2020, these are the extra measures implemented to fight the Coronavirus in Porto:
– The suspension of fairs and non-food markets under the responsibility of the Municipality.
– Closure of municipal car parks and the Suspension of the payment of parking meters in areas directly explored by Porto’s City Hall.
– Closure of municipal playgrounds.
– Closure of all terraces.
– The ban on access to the beaches of Porto.
These measures are in place at least until April 3rd. After that date, the situation will be reevaluated.
Besides that, the City Hall of Porto is in direct contact with Shenzhen and Macau, in order to import critical equipment to treat Coronavirus patients in Porto, such as ventilators.
More importantly, our Mayor Rui Moreira has been doing a remarkable job to put pressure on the government to declare the national state of emergency at the national level, to implement extraordinary measures that will certainly flat the growth curve of the disease. That finally happened on March 18th.
Honestly, I have never been prouder of being from Porto.
Yes, we are all as scared and anxious as you probably are, but at the same time, we are very determined to protect our country and our beloved ones.
Since the Mayor of Porto made his public statement, local businesses such as restaurants and bars took the initiative of closing its doors immediately without waiting for the Portuguese government to issue a direct order.
Last Friday and Saturday nights there was ABSOLUTELY NO ONE on the streets. Maybe you see the pictures below and you see sadness and emptiness, but I see a city that is determined to survive.
Several hotels and AirBnB apartments in Porto offered their spaces to health professionals, so that they don’t have to go home and risk infecting their loved ones.
Local groceries are already coordinating the effort with local charities and parish councils to provide to the isolated, elder population.
Every night at 10pm, people come to their windows and clap their hands as a sign of appreciation for health professionals, or we sing our national anthem. True story. You can watch some amateur videos of this:
Today, my local grocery man (is this even a term in English?) gave me his personal number so that I can call his over the next few weeks to place my orders, even if his store temporarily closes.
So yes, we are frightened. But above all we are hopeful and determined.
When will it be safe to travel to Porto again?
Honestly, I don’t know and whomever gives you a different answer is just playing bluff.
The situation is rapidly escalating around the world, not just in Portugal or in Europe, and there has never been anything quite like this in modern ages.
What I can promise you is that I will keep you updated and share only valuable and verified information with you, as always.
Services that can help you during the Corona Virus in Porto
As you can imagine we are all quarantined at home.
Most people already made their grocery shoppings over the past few days and they are ready for self isolation.
However, if you are at home and have no food, you can use a take away service.
Take away food in Porto
To be honest I am 100% against take away in general (because it has a big carbon footprint and plastic usage).
But at the same time, these take aways are probably the only way that restaurants can make some money during this period of time, so I am backing off my plastic concerns for a while.
To order take away food, you have three ways:
- Order directly from the restaurant that you have in mind.
- Call Uber Eats – it eliminated the delivery fee.
This is all I have for now, but if you have any questions please let me know in the comment section!