Second COVID-19 booster available for all adults // Push to block foreign-based property purchases
Portuguese news in English on Monday, January 23, 2023.
Second booster available for all adults
All residents aged between 18 and 50 can now get a second booster dose in Portugal, Público reports. The jab, likely the fourth for most people, is available in the “open house” model that means you can turn up without an appointment. The technical commission advising the Directorate-General of Health stopped short of recommending all younger people get another booster. In very simplified terms, it didn’t see major potential for reducing serious illness in healthy people in this age group, who have been much less badly affected by COVID-19. It instead left the call up to “individual choice”, noting there could be benefits in fewer infections, fewer sick days and overall wellbeing. About 3.5 million Portuguese have received the second booster, including about four in every five people over 70, Público reports. Those figures have been lower in the younger eligible age groups, about 10% below last year for those in their 50s.
Left Bloc wants to block foreign property purchases
There’s a push for Portugal to follow Canada by banning the purchase of housing by people or businesses with a permanent base overseas, Lusa reports. In the face of a growing housing crisis, the Left Bloc (BE) announced this week it would introduce a draft bill to parliament. The rules wouldn’t affect Portuguese citizens living overseas nor asylum seekers or immigrants with permanent residency authorisation. The Housing Minister is studying the proposal but is yet to accept or reject it, Público reports. Portugal has handed out about 200 “digital nomad visas” since they were introduced at the end of October, mostly to Americans, Brits and Brazilians, Público reports.
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Parents hit by teacher strike
The teacher strike is impacting some parents hard, Público reports, highlighting the plight of a cleaner who’s losing work due to the the uncertainty. Three days in a row, Tânia had to do four journeys back and forth between her daughter’s school and the places she was working, due to teaching absences. She ended up only taking her daughter to school after 10am because she was missing clients and spending so much money on fuel. In the latest proposal put forward by the Ministry of Education on Wednesday, certain teachers without many teaching hours may be placed in more than school district, Público reports
Week-long TAP strike puts 1316 flights at risk, Portuguese airline says. Management and the union were in last-minute meetings this week to try to avoid a stop-work that could affect 156,000 passengers. (Público)
President piles pressure on weakened government. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has given the Socialist Party (PS) a year to sort out its government. He wants the new ministerial questionnaire designed to prevent more controversies in the government to apply to all functionaires, not just the new ones. (Público)
Germany to join green hydrogen pipeline project. The pipeline will now run from Portugal to Germany, which will become an infrastructure partner in its construction. (Lusa)
Sixteen tonnes of cocaine seized as authorities fear 'white storm'. The record annual haul comes as the most dangerous organised crime group in Brazil looks to extend into Portugal and authorities in other European countries warn of an increase in drug-related violence. (Diário de Notícias)
On a lighter note
This is only a lighter note in that it’s a bright spot in what is often a pretty dark tale of exploitation of migrant workers in the Alentejo region. A decades-old bar in, which hosted a couple of Portugal’s most famous musical names in the ‘80s, has turned into a refuge of sorts for immigrants in the city of Beja, Público reports. Tired and sweaty from long hours of hard work, they run up the stairs of Os Infantes and drop their bags on the ground to begin their Portuguese lessons. It’s also turned into a sort of assistance network and community for people from many different countries.