Expat Coronavirus Report

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Coronavirus in Lisbon Area, Portugal

By craigandmicki

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Mar 17, 2020 Update

We Asked: What is currently happening with regard to the Coronavirus outbreak in your area? Please provide as much detail as possible. She replied...

Portugal will close its doors, with only cross-border goods and workers allowed to enter and leave. This applies to physical and air borders.

The prime minister made it clear what Portugal will face: "the evolution period [of Covid-19] is not limited to the next two weeks but it will surely extend over the next few months". Hence, Costa admits the possibility of more restrictive measures.. The Portuguese government reassures foreigners and residents that documents that expired on and after 9 March 2020 will remain valid until 30 June, 2020. These documents do not have to be renewed during the COVID-19 crisis period and must be accepted for all legal purposes. This pertains to the following documents:

>Schengen and National Visas

>Citizen Cards

>Driver's license

>Portugal Criminal Record Check

>Birth and Marriage Certificates

>Temporary and Permanent Residence Permits

Government regulations have been implemented to reinforce social distancing, effective March 12 to April 3 and to be reviewed almost daily. This includes closure of nightclubs and bars, 1/3 reduction of seating in restaurants, closure of all schools (replaced by online instruction), museums, galleries, tourism sites, churches and postponement of all sporting events and concerts. Beaches are closed, as are all gyms and pools. Grocery stores and malls have shorter hours and restrict entry to a set number of persons at any time. Stock in grocery stores is being sustained. 1000 retired medical professionals have been returned to the workforce.

How People are Coping

We Asked: How are people handling the situation in your area? She replied...

Amid the anxiety is a flush of support. Young people are posting notes at condo buildings offering services to elderly residents, from cleaning to food prep to shopping. Online courses for exercising, yoga, language and children's activities are growing exponentially as the self-employed turn to online channels to sell or give away their services. Friends check in with friends via Facebook and share their activities, which include walks in the sun.

Changing Conditions as coronavirus Spreads

We Asked: How has the situation changed as the Coronavirus has spread? She replied...

Portugal was prepared a month in advance, before a single case was reported in the country. Last week and again this week, we learn about more closures and restrictions rolling out. Relaxation of regulations regarding those of us living here as expats and immigrants ensures that our permits and documentation remain valid until the government can again process renewals.

Government Response

We Asked: Describe how the government of the country about which you are reporting is handling this situation. She replied...

Prior to a single reported case in Portugal, 2000 isolation beds were prepared and healthcare workers armed with protective gear. 1000 heathcare professionals have returned to the workforce. Regulations are reviewed daily in light of how to contain the contamination while also maintaining all basic services.

Government Response with Regard to Expats

We Asked: Describe how your home country's government has handled the outbreak situation with regards to its expatriate citizens. She replied...

Other than preventing our return to the US, nothing.

Supplies and Shortages

We Asked: Is there a shortage of supplies in your location? She replied...

Yes, at times. Certainly hand sanitizer is out of stock sporadically, as is toilet paper. Grocery shelves are wiped clean as people hoard but replenished every day.

Preparing for the Future

We Asked: What are you doing in terms of preparations in case the situation deteriorates in your location? She replied...

Meal planning to ensure we have basics in the pantry. Setting up a regular routine for exercise outside, away from people, in the fresh air and sunshine.

Lockdown & Passing the Time

We Asked: Are you staying home? If so, how are you passing the time? She replied...

Cooking more involved meals to make it fun and interesting. Cleaning the heck out of every square meter of our home just because we have the time to. Tackling that 'honey-do' list. Reaching out to everyone we know around the world to share optimistic thoughts and greetings.

Public Healthcare & Public Hospitals

We Asked: Are you enrolled in the public healthcare system where you live? Do you feel that the public hospitals are handling or preparing for the Coronavirus outbreak effectively? She replied...

We have access to both public and private care. The public system is still able to handle the outbreak. Tests are available and being given at homes. Public care is available to anyone in the country, regardless of residency status.

Private Health Insurance & Private Hospitals

We Asked: Do you have private health insurance? If you have private insurance, does this give you access to private hospitals? Are private hospitals or clinics better prepared, less prepared, or the same? Please explain. She replied...

We have private care, which seems prepared equally or with slightly more availability than public care.

Hospital of Choice for Coronavirus Treatment

We Asked: Would you choose a public or private hospital if you needed treatment for Coronavirus? Why? If there is a specific hospital that you would go to in the event of severe illness? Which hospital and why? She replied...

I would choose private because I don't want to use services for which the Portuguese citizens have paid and to which they should have primary access. I would go to any private hospital in the Lisbon/Cascais area as they are of the highest quality and standards.

Returning Home

We Asked: Are you considering returning to your home country due to the Coronavirus? Would this be a temporary move or a permanent repatriation? Please explain. She replied...

We feel even more assured about our decision to leave the US for Portugal in view of how the situation has been handled. We would not return to the US because of the virus as the US is less prepared.

Typically teaming with people, Lisbon streets are empty.

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View craigandmicki's Profile

Living in Cascais, Portugal since 2010. Authoring research-based white papers and articles regarding the process for Americans to reside in Portugal; writing copy and website data for tourism and real estate firms who want to guarantee high-quality English text.

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