COVID-19 rules extended again // Inflation to hit poorest Portuguese hardest
Portuguese news in English on Monday, April 18, 2022.
By the numbers
All the numbers are basically the same again, with cases and deaths both down slightly and the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital up slightly. COVID-19 patients are taking up 23.5% of what’s been set as the critical number of intensive care beds, 255.
COVID-19 rules extended again
The indoor mask mandate has been renewed for another few days and will remain in place until at least April 22, Público reports. The pandemic measures are expected to be reviewed again next week. Director-General of Health Graça Freitas pointed out case numbers — powered by the more transmissible but apparently less severe Omicron variant — were higher than in any previous peak except this winter, Público reported. The government is obviously most worried about the number of people dying from the disease. That figure sits at a “stable, very slightly decreasing” level of 28.5 per million people per fortnight, stubbornly above the figure of 20 recommended by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Dr Freitas said Portugal was still a long way from having a safe and relaxed summer.
Inflation to hit poorest Portuguese hardest
Inflation is hitting Portugal’s poorer residents and assistance measures in the newly presented national budget aren’t enough to cushion the blow, Público reports. The government would have to spend €400 million to compensate the poorest 20% of the country for a 6% rise in inflation, according to a study by three economists from the Nova School of Business and Economics. Inflation jumped 5.3% in March but the figure was 7.4% for food, which makes up a greater part of spending for people who earn less. The budget's attempts to ease cost of living pressures caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are mostly limited to temporary measures, Público reports. Finance Minister Fernando Medina said he was not pushing for wage rises out of fear they would further increase inflation. But partially due to increased revenue from inflation, the reductions in debt and deficit are only slightly smaller than those proposed in last year’s failed budget, which triggered the election.
‘Indications’ some priests suspected of abuse are still working
There are “indications” some Portuguese priests suspected of having abused minors in the Catholic Church are still active, Público reports. Expresso, which first broke the news, went even further in its reporting, quoting a judicial source saying some of the suspects were still active and had been protected by members of the religious hierarchy. Ana Nunes de Almeida, a member of the Independent Commission for the Study of Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church, said there were only “indications” such situations had occurred. She says the commission is carrying out a study and doesn’t make criminal complaints or accusations. But if the priests were still active and the cases were sent to public prosecutors, it would be up to them to look into. She stressed there was no proof and it wasn’t up to the commission to find proof.
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Army pays €1.2 million to private company to take armoured vehicles and soldiers to Romania. The Armed Forces said it didn’t have vehicles capable of transporting the equipment for the NATO mission. (Diário de Notícias)
Whale believed to have collided with large boat dies at Fonte da Telha. The injured sperm whale died despite water police efforts to stop it beaching. (Lusa)
Volodymyr Zelensky to address Portuguese Parliament this week. The Ukrainian President will speak to the Assembly of the Republic on April 21. (Público)
Lisbon's new speed cameras are still turned off. The Portuguese car club says they’re still having a “deterrent effect”. (Lusa)
On a lighter note
First of all, here’s the link to Daniela’s blog about pastéis de nata I promised you last week. Secondly: yes, I’m an idiot, sorry. And lastly, Portugal is home to Europe’s best beach for 2022, according to the prolific prize givers at European Best Destinations. The organisation highlights Porto Santo Beach, on the Madeiran island of, you guessed it, Porto Santo, for its golden sands. In third place is another Madeiran beach, with black sand, Seixal. It also points out that Madeira and Porto Santo are much quieter than the Canary Islands.
Please keep sharing on social media, in real life or anywhere else you see people a bit confused by the latest news.