Covid-19: Algarve health professionals may have to sacrifice vacations

Jorge Botelho confessed that he was surprised by the decision to close schools in five municipalities

Health professionals at the University Hospital Center of the Algarve (CHUA) may have to sacrifice their holidays “as a result of a timely response to control the pandemic”, revealed Jorge Botelho, regional coordinator of the fight against Covid-19, in an interview with Público newspaper and Rádio Renascença, in which he also confessed to having been surprised by the closing of schools in five municipalities. 

According to Jorge Botelho, this limitation to the enjoyment of vacations was admitted in a conversation he had with Ana Castro, chairman of the Board of Directors of CHUA, based on the growth of Covid-19 cases in the region (only yesterday, there were 254).

"Today the chairman of the Board of Directors told me that they were planning things and doing everything to try to avoid jeopardizing their normal activity and she was already saying that, perhaps, health professionals will have to sacrifice the vacation they have fully. right based on a timely response to control the pandemic”, said the secretary of State, who is the coordinator of the pandemic in the Algarve, in this interview published today.

Asked about the closing of 1st and 2nd cycle schools in Albufeira, Loulé, Faro, Olhão and São Brás de Alportel, which started this Monday, June 28, Jorge Botelho confessed that he was surprised by the decision.

“It caught the regional coordinator by surprise. And it took the mayors by surprise and we know that it was a decision of the regional public health, which was certainly articulated with the national public health – because we know the degree of autonomy and independence that the DGS has, and thankfully. The information I have and confirm, from the meeting I had with them yesterday, is that the mayors involved did not know in advance of the measure, they knew at the end of Sunday afternoon as I did at the end of Sunday afternoon, so, let's say it was a some surprise. I perfectly understand the discomfort and I think it is even justified," he said.

As for vaccination, Jorge Botelho admits that «we have had some problems and the delay in the Algarve is not by chance».

“In the vaccination centers, we are vaccinating less than capacity. This depends on the organization of work and the existing vaccines. The organization of work is primarily in the morning and we are having many missed vaccinations. We spoke with the task force, we reinforced the central scheduling. Right now, although we are not at full capacity, we are vaccinating more», he considered.

“Vaccination centers have the necessary health professionals. We have to have a superior central schedule, a Overbooking to fill one or another gap in the vaccination because there are people who are missing the vaccination. The opening for those over 18 is good news because we have to increase the number of people notified to be vaccinated. We also have many cases of people who go to the first vaccine and miss the second one either because they think they are already well or because they ask to be reprogrammed," he added.

Finally, the Secretary of State explained that he is not a "partisan" of measures such as limiting entry and exit from regions, as has already happened in Lisbon.

“I am not an advocate of such measures. I think this is more for the supervision of the authorities, I think that we do not have a situation of disaster in the region, we have a worrying situation, but not one of disaster», he considered.

This Thursday, 1st of July, is the day of the Council of Ministers, from which news will come out, namely due to the county to county incidences.