Reopening after COVID-19 in Portugal: things to avoid in the initial stages of de-confinement

Care is to be taken when making plans with friends and family in the return to the "new normal" , according to authorities and health experts.

Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash
Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash
19 May 2020, Redaction

After almost two months of confinement due to the pandemic, the desire to leave home and make plans with friends and family is surely growing. But beware: at this stage, and although the Portuguese Government has authorised greater freedom of movement, with the lifting of the national state of emergency and the transitition to a period of public calamity, there are behaviours and habits to avoid. Extra care must be taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, since the incubation period of COVID-19 can last up to 14 days.

Let's have a look at some advice from the Portuguese health authorities regarding carrying out social activities, based on an article in the newspaper, Público. 

Is it ok have dinner with friends and family?

Although this type of activity is permitted by law in Portugal, Rita Sá Machado, head of the Epidemiology and Statistics Division of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), explained to the newspaper that from the public health point of view, for now, dinners with friends and/or family members should be avoided whenever possible.

"We're at a very early stage in which we need to remain cautious," the expert argues, asking the Portuguese to start behaving from the point of view of what is "strictly necessary". The doctor says "we should avoid dinners with friends and family as much as possible. From the point of view of mental health, it's good to be with the people we like, and with whom we have an affinity, but it's better to continue to promote contact through telecommunications for the time being, at least in the first phase".

It is ok to go and visit parents, grandparents or other relatives?

For Rita Sá Machado, this behaviour depends on how exactly each individual goes to their relatives' homes. In other words, if public transport is used for these visits, the care you take will already have to be doubled. On the other hand, it depends a lot if the parents, grandparents, or other relatives are considered to be at risk or if they are included in the age group of the population that should be most protected.

Covid-19: What care should be taken when leaving home?

Finally, no matter what activity you are doing, proper precautions should be taken, especially if you plan to make these kinds of visits, from correct hand washing to wearing face masks if necessary. In addition, Machado also stresses that it is advisable not to go to the home of relatives after being in a public space.

Article seen at: Devemos ir jantar a casa de amigos? E visitar pais e avós? O que fazer no retorno à nova normalidade social (Público)

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