COVID in Portugal: Dark Days

If last week was one of those weeks I would like to file in a box, firmly shut the lid, lock then hide the key on the top shelf of my bookcase, this week I have wanted to throw the key away.

At the beginning of January I made the conscious decision (NYR): not to listen to the news, read newspapers or Facebook to follow COVID  deaths and new infection rate etc. I was also fed up of people still promoting COVID as a hoax, refusing to wear masks or respect the social distancing rules.

But as with most New Year resolutions, by the third week of January I succumbed to curiosity after a chance conversation on WhatsApp with the family who reported COVID figures here were rocketing.

I had a quick peep at the FB Groups: SafeCommunitiesPortugal and CORONA VIRUS UPDATES – PORTUGAL and was horrified by the number of deaths, new variants and lockdown rules.

We’d already been shielding as much as possible with the help of some kind friends since March 16th 2020 and were looking forward to having the jab, getting back to normal and seeing our family this summer. Nope, I discovered today there are already production/delivery delays across Europe of the vaccine but even that aside, given Portugal’s current roll-out rate of the long-awaited jab we’d be lucky if we’d receive it by Christmas! Okay, that’s probably a hyperbole, but many a truth is said in jest.

Prior to Christmas daily deaths which registered under one hundred cases per day now jumped to well over two hundred with new infections between two and five thousand-ish to an all time high of over fifteen thousand! When you consider there are only (so say) ten million population that figure is astrononimical

COVID is now in control. What did they expect? People socialised at Christmas and New Year: families travelled from North to South Portugal and vice versa, and even jumped on planes to holiday or be with loved ones. WHY? We are in the middle of a deadly pandemic where over two million people have died worldwide. It made me laugh because for most, Christmas is not a religious event so why not put it on hold for a few months?

 And then, the kids went back to school doing what kids do. Socialising – a petri dish of COVID.

While the rest of us are prohibited from leaving home accept when absolutely necessary, bars and restaurants and non-essential shops and businesses closed schools, the super-spreaders, remained opened. Thankfully, after Boris saw the light, Portugal reluctantly followed suit.

Today was the darkest day I’d already watched the English news on TV which made me cry where a woman interviewed in a COVID ward and pleaded people to obey the lockdown, died the following day. And then I read this extract taken from The Corona Virus Updates – Portugal FB Page:

Portugal is in black on the world map. It is the country with the most cases and deaths per million inhabitants and with the highest rate of contagions in the world

It is the only country with more than 1,000 cases per million inhabitants on average over the past seven days. It has the highest incidence of contagions at 14 days. Leads the number of daily cases and deaths worldwide.

The situation here is so bad it is unbelievable.

With all my hobbies and interests I try extremely hard to stay busy, positive and upbeat but as anxiety attacks kick in, I confess, it is getting harder especially as we are so isolated from our family.

I am now off to create another job list and find ways to order online rather than leave the house.

How are you coping with COVID in your country.

Photo credit: Image from Pixabay

28 thoughts on “COVID in Portugal: Dark Days

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  1. I’m really sorry to read this and to hear about it on our news too. The whole situation is frightening and I was glad to hear that you had decided not to go shopping . It’s not always easy to get online deliveries either. Just stay safe, enjoy your garden as we do and keep safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t listen to, read or watch any news or social media; therefore, I had no idea about this. I’m sorry to hear about how bad things have gotten in Portugal. Please continue looking after yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The situation the world over is just awful. I am so sorry to read that it is so bad in Portugal.
    Here in Germany the numbers are rather erratic. We have been in lockdown since the start of November. But schools weren’t closed until the middle of December.
    Basically it took Angela Merkel doing a press conference, almost in tears about the number of sick and dying people before state presidents finally pulled themselves together enough and toughened the lockdown. Her plea was not just to them, it was also to us, the people of course. At least the ones who are not being careful. Her words resonated with me so much, I almost cried through her speech myself.
    All through the first wave our numbers were incredibly low. But our death rate is now extremely high. I don’t understand it. We have good hospitals and enough beds. But our death rate is way above most countries. They keep putting it down to people dying in nursing homes.

    From day to day the numbers seem to vary quite a lot. Often there are around 1000 deaths a day. Which seems to me unfathomable.

    Now the lockdown is fairly strict. At least in our personal lives. However there are still a lot of people going to work etc. The government recently gave out ffp2 masks to all at risk people and we should wear them in public at all times. I am so grateful for that. Recently our dog got suddenly very ill and had to be operated on quite quickly. I’m so glad we had the masks to protect us. (She’s fine again now).

    Like you I am appalled by people still claiming there’s no Covid or it’s just like a cold. And I’m fed up of people not sticking to the rules. Just before Christmas I actually called the police as at the football club, next to our house, a group of young men had let themselves into the club. As I walked past with the dog, I saw not only were they not wearing masks as they sat drinking and smoking, they were actually huddled up to each other! I called the police and told them. I‘m not usually a tell-tale but I believe we all have a social responsibility to beat this virus. As the police arrived, more and more men were turning up at the club, so I think it would have been quite a large gathering.

    I feel like we are fighting a war on two fronts. On one side the virus, on the other arrogance and stupidity.

    Currently the rules are really tight. The health ministry and the government are really worried about the new mutations. So much so that a hospital has now basically closed down because they believe there may be 11 cases of the British mutation there. Over 3000 hospital workers have been put into ‚commuter quarantine’. That is they are only allowed to be at home or at work. But no where else. And they aren’t permitted to use public transport. They and their patients are also been tested and retested.
    I think these kind of actions show that the government are currently pulling out all of the stops to try and stop in getting out of control. They talk about the UK as an example of what not to do.

    On a personal level we were quite affected over the Christmas period. At some point 20 close friends and relatives were sick with the virus. Some of them very sick indeed. A couple didn’t make it. So it was quite a difficult time.
    My feeling was in the UK even friends who had been extremely careful were suddenly picking up the virus. Although they only went to work or the supermarket. Of course, some were through their children who were not allowed to wear a mask at school.
    Whereas I felt those that we knew here in Germany were people who generally took it all a bit less seriously.

    Stay safe and well.

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    1. Hi Sarsm, I am so sorry to read about your close friends and relatives who were sick and the couple who passed away.

      At least your schools closed in mid-December and that’s what should have happened here.

      IT is the new mutations that are really worrying and why are they more contagious.

      The Cov-idiots at the football club sounds typical of behaviour we have witnessed here, especially during the summer when holidaymakers rented villas and then had big parties.

      We are fighting a war on two fronts and it is such a shame people won’t all pull in the same direction. Now this is out of control who knows what 2021 will bring.I just hope it is not too long before we get the vaccine, but with shortages, who knows.

      Stay safe… and well

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you.
        I have seen interviews of people who caught it who had thought it wasn’t real or was nothing to worry about and then ended up in hospital. And what strikes me is they always seem surprised!! I shake my head every time.
        I can understand some people need time to adjust and come to terms with the situation but it is absolutely ridiculous to still be adjusting now.

        I think COVID shows us as we really are. Whether it’s generous or aggressive or self absorbed or anxious or greedy or selfless.

        The new mutations are really worrying as you say. Apparently, really close to where I live (as in a couple of Miles away) there’s now the Danish mutation, which I hadn’t heard much about. It’s the one to do with the minks. I think they don’t really know much about that one.

        Why did people have such a need to go on holiday? I don’t understand that too. It’s like people think they have right to holiday, instead of remembering that a holiday is a luxury and not an entitlement.

        I thought I would get my vaccination in March or April, as I’m in a high risk group. But I think it might take longer. There have been a lot of delays here too.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I read about the minks all being slaughtered, now it makes sense. IF it can be transmitted to/from is the animal chain as well, God only knows where it will end. I was watching a program about London Zoo and apparently, there was a risk the keepers could transmit COVID to the large cats.

          As for holidays, please don’t get me started. It made me smile when people went abroad and then were told to return at a moments notice when the R Rate went up.

          We live in a holiday area and it was awful. We just got out of the first lockdown and then all the tourists descended on us from all over Europe no masks, no social distancing, nada.

          Fingers crossed you get your jab in MArch.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I heard about some big cats getting it in the USA, right at the start. It’s all quite frightening.

            I smiled with you!!! Though I also shook my head a lot when I saw people complaining on TV.

            Social distancing was started here quite early on. It’s crazy your government didn’t at least have some protective measures in place.

            I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed. My friend got hers the other day. I was so happy for her (she’s a community nurse). She only has her first, but she told me that quite a lot of young people are reacting quite strongly to the second jab. Muscle pain, weakness, flu type symptoms, but just the next day. She said a lot of people had to take the day after the jab off work. But elderly people were not so affected.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. We await to be notified. Gnome should have his jab in February. But who knows. We don’t hold our breath. I see germany are sedning some medical help to Portugal and Austria are taking some of the more seriously ill patients. It is good some countries are reaching out to help Portugal.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Yes! And I heard our local hospital is actually taking patients from Portugal now too. This is one of the reasons I truly believe in the EU – working together and helping one another.

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          2. We live in a holiday are too, in Cornwall. The people who made me mad were the second homers who thought it would be safer for them if they travelled from London to Cornwall where the numbers were low! Cornwall’s numbers shot up and are only gradually going down again, still far above what they were before Christmas. We are lucky to be old enough to have had our vaccines but we won’t be changing our behaviour any time soon. Stay safe.

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            1. That’s exactly what is happening here. COVID is rife further north somwhat do they do? Travel down to the algarve to come to their holiday homes… or rent them out to other people. And don’t get me started on the pigging campervans that travel across Europe, then arrive here because at one time the algarve had one one of the lowest infection rates in Europe.
              I remember watching the news back in the summer where people were crowding to the beaches in Cornwall. They were like ants on honey. I was so angry. I felt your pain.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. So very,very sorry! Things are very tough in the U.S., too. Too many people just don’t seem to be willing to make short-term sacrifices for the long-term good. It is hard, I know. Our children live far from us, and we haven’t seen them in over a year. Sigh. Eventually, the virus will recede. I expect the vaccine will speed things along. In the meantime…lots of alone time, especially during the winter in Maine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laurie, you are right: people are not prepared to make short-term sacrifices for the long-term good. We are at war and the sooner some realise this the better. Yes, we find the best way to deal with the ‘alone’ time. I loved your post about the fishing huts on the frozen lakes. 🙂 Getting out in the fresh air is a good way to recharge the batteries.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This is truly disturbing. We have extensive family in Portugal, including little ones.
    Nobody has raised these issues. I must speak to my stepson, who works in a hospital in Porto.

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  6. Dear Piglet, I grieve for you, Portugal and the world. I have gone into my bubble blocking out the stats too. I don’t understand the winter holiday traveling either. I do hope the vaccines arrive soon. Another project for you: the poetry challenge for February is free verse up to 10 lines with the theme of friendship. You have the scoop, I’ll announce it 2 January, due 7 Jan. 😉 R

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ireland is pretty bad these days. As you say, Christmas socialising was a major cause. Thankfully I’ve got my garden, and luckily, family are nearby. Wishing you well, a chara. Hang tight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is good to have the outside space and work in the garden. there are always weeds to pull, Six on Saturday to report and shortly, seeds to sow. We are also lucky we live on the edge of nowhere so I can photograph lots of wildflowers within a short walk of our house.
      Hanging, tight, thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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