Coronavirus in Lisbon Area, Portugal
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Mar 30, 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 has moved to 'Red Level', the highest level of emergency, and entered Mitigation Phase. This entails severe curtailment of public interaction and the request that people 'self-isolate'. All public events, theatres, restaurants and parks are closed; most beaches are closed; policing activity, called 'Operation Stop', is stopping road traffic to ensure people are on necessary business and not traveling far outside of their own city. Most important to immigrants, however, is that the government is also treating all immigrants as 'citizens' during this time. Temporary residence permits, visas, tourist travel and other documentation will not expire. We have full access to all public health care and testing, can execute rental and purchase contracts, open bank accounts and have all the rights and privileges of full citizens. Businesses are being granted rent-relief and workers have some strong pay guarantees.
How People are Coping
We Asked: How are people handling the situation in your area? She replied...
It is a growing difficulty to keep people 'in place'. Portuguese are highly family-oriented, so missing large Sunday dinners or not going to country homes is extremely counter-cultural. Businesses are enterprising and opening up for take out meals; volunteers are doing shopping for those who need to stay home.
Changing Conditions as coronavirus Spreads
We Asked: How has the situation changed as the Coronavirus has spread? She replied...
Increased restrictions are enacted to keep people close to and inside their homes. Patience and respect for the controls is admirably high.
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...
The US has placed significant restrictions on travel 'home'. Most worrying is that the American Embassy communicated that they will not help Americans who failed to return to the US earlier and is not open to help with passports or other situations.
Supplies and Shortages
We Asked: Is there a shortage of supplies in your location? She replied...
A shortage of protective personal equipment is being met with reconfiguring fabric manufacturers to produce masks, with people across the country producing face masks for the cost of material only, such as about 5 euros. There are no food or 'toilet paper shortages'!
Lockdown & Passing the Time
We Asked: Are you staying home? If so, how are you passing the time?
Staying home with daily workouts on the terrace or walks through our neighborhood. Passing the time learning Portuguese, reading, cleaning the house.
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...
The Public healthcare system is open to all of us who are working in or officially resident in Portugal. Hospitals across the country prepared a month in advance of the first case. It is difficult to have sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment yet Portugal is doing better than Italy or the US. Retired healthcare workers have been processed back into the system to provide more nurses and doctors.
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...
As immigrants, we have private health care at a very high standard for less than 2000 euros/person/ year. The private facilities are equally prepared and being used to supplement the public facilities.
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 in order to make room for the Portuguese who rely fully on the public system. I would go to the nearest hospital, CufCascais, due to proximity and quality.
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...
I would not return to the US in relation to this pandemic. Care in Portugal is better.
Expat Health Insurance in Portugal
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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.
Has anyone actually been to any of the public hospital ER's to see if there really is a lot of people, as reports would have us to believe. I saw some video shot at hospitals in NYC. Ambulances parked. Not much of anything going on. What about in Portugal?