New rules for COVID-19 isolation, entering the country // Premature airport announcement plunges government into crisis
Portuguese news in English on Saturday, July 2, 2022.
By the numbers
New rules for COVID-19 isolation, entering the country
In something of a throwback to the old days, there are actually a couple of pandemic rules to update you on. The isolation period when you get sick with COVID-19 will shrink from seven to five days, Público reports. That’s from the onset of symptoms, or from the date of the test if you don’t have symptoms (More info on the current rules here, in Portuguese). It will also no longer be necessary to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter the country, Público reports, a move the government justified thanks to the relatively stable state of the pandemic and high vaccine coverage locally. These measures are expected to come into force “in the coming days” but there hasn’t been a date announced.
But all is not well on the health front, where a crisis has caused multiple emergency departments, particularly obstetrics, to close temporarily in recent weeks due to lack of staff, Público reports. There are more problems predicted for summer, when annual holidays will further complicate staffing. Prime Minister António Costa last week admitted the failures were not “acceptable” but refused calls from the opposition to sack Health Minister Marta Temido.
Premature airport announcement plunges government into crisis
Infrastructure Minister Pedro Nuno Santos is also under pressure after publishing plans for a new Lisbon airport, apparently without informing the prime minister, Público reports. The dispatch, which Costa ordered revoked as he publicly reprimanded this minister, poked serious holes in existing potential plans to extend the city’s air capacity and suggested a fourth option. The plan, which Costa said the main opposition party needed to be consulted on, would essentially see a second airport ready to receive planes on the south side of the river in Montijo by 2026 before a larger project in nearby Alcochete replaces both the new facility and existing one by 2035. Costa said the publication was a serious error but insisted he retained confidence in his minister after what Diário de Notícias described as a governmental crisis “without equal” in his time as prime minister.
Alojamento Local court decision affects about 60% of market
About 60% of Portugal’s Alojamento Local (Local Accommodation/Lodging) market is made up of apartments that could be affected by the Supreme Court of Justice’s decision not to allow the practice in residential buildings, Público reports. Those in the building management and AL sector said the jurisprudence guidance made in April had given force to complaints already underway but there hadn’t been a significant increase in the number of protests, whether in courts or smaller tribunals. An “avalanche” of new complaints had been expected after the ruling. So far only the Liberal Initiative on the far-right and Left Bloc on the far left have proposed legislative solutions to the issue. The governing Socialist Party and main opposition Social Democratic Party both say they’re studying the issue but haven’t taken a position on the matter.
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Three suspects remanded in custody over death of three-year-old girl in Setúbal. The exact charges aren’t known but include alleged crimes of kidnapping, extortion and maltreatment. A source said the girl’s mother had paid a woman for “witchcraft” services before the girl was allegedly kidnapped. (Público)
Bank of Portugal warns of potential for ‘significant correction’ in residential housing market. The bank partially blamed financing conditions for the risk, as interest rates rise after years of record lows. (Público)
Major Alqueva dam at second lowest level in 15 years. The situation is described as comfortable for the next three years but has provoked warnings for the future. (Público)
Lisbon's nightlife sector wants to make historic neighbourhoods pedestrian-only. The association representing the industry called for a ban on cars and more esplanadas for a “higher quality tourism”. (Público)
On a lighter note
There’s something special about the older women, the mothers and grandmothers, of Portugal’s many villages. These strong, hard-working, protective, caring women, who oftentimes don’t realise how extraordinary their lives have been, deserve to be valorised. That’s the thinking behind the As Bravas (The Brave), a photography exhibition dedicated to the many Marias, Anas, Fátimas and more Marias living in several remote villages of the Amarante region. The exposition is on show at the Amarante International Photography Festival until tomorrow but you can also see some of the highlights in the gallery at the bottom of this Público article.