Lisbon, Feb 15, 2019 (AFP) - Hospitals cut services to a minimum, schools were closed and rubbish was left uncollected in Portugal on Friday as public workers went on strike over pay. Trade unions are demanding that the Socialist government raise salaries, in the latest strike to hit the government of Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
The government promised in its 2019 budget to increase the salaries of the lowest paid workers but unions say the pay of around 600,000 public sector staff has been frozen for the last 10 years. Striking nurses have already delayed thousands of operations since the start February and ignored a government order last week to get back to work. "We're seeing lots of support in hospitals, schools and in waste collection," Armenio Carlos, secretary general of Portugal's biggest trade union the CGTP, told reporters.
Public transport workers in the capital Lisbon and the north-western city of Porto were not on strike however. Costa's Socialist Party is leading opinion polls eight months ahead of legislative elections, as the country emerges from a period of austerity triggered by the global financial crisis. But it has come under fire from the UGT, Portugal's second biggest and traditionally pro-socialist trade union. "We are witnessing a revolt by the public and the unions" against a government which "gave high expectations but below par results", its secretary general Carlos Silva said.
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2019 19:47:33 +0100 By Thomas CABRAL
Lisbon, Feb 7, 2019 (AFP) - Portugal's government Thursday ordered striking nurses to return to work to maintain minimum health services. "We have no other option," Health Minister Marta Temido said after a cabinet meeting. Temido said the week-long stoppage over pay had been "too harmful" and that legal requirements for a minimum service had not been met with hundreds of operations cancelled.
Around 1,200 operating room nurses in seven Portuguese public hospitals joined the strike, according to organisers who were pressing for higher wages, more overtime pay and the end to a freeze on promotions. The health ministry said Monday that at least 645 operations, or 57 percent in the affected hospitals, had been postponed, leading the government to decide enough was enough. Portugal's national health system employs a total of around 42,000 nurses, a strike organiser said.
A previous strike saw nearly 8,000 operations cancelled or delayed between November 22 and December 31, 2018. The nurses began their latest "surgical strike" at the beginning of the month to highlight their work conditions. Sara Rego from the northeastern Vila Real hospital said they had hoped to hold out until the end of the month with the help of more than 780,000 euros ($890,000) in online donations. Three more hospitals, including the country's biggest in Lisbon, were due to join the strike from Friday as nurses grumble about monthly wages as low as 1,400 euros ($1,600) for those starting out. Prime Minister Antonio Costa had slammed the strike as "totally illegal" before announcing Tuesday that he planned to force nurses back to work via a civil requisition measure.
The stoppage comes as Portugal emerges from a period of austerity triggered by the 2007 financial crisis. Portugal's Communist Party, which generally backs Costa's Socialist government, has denounced the strike's effects on healthcare. Some unions have spoken out against the latest action, with Ana Avoila, spokeswoman for the union federation Common Front of the Public Administration, telling AFP: "We do not recognise this kind of strike." The front instead called for wider industrial action on February 15 to demand higher wages, as Avoila pointed out most of Portugal's public sector workers had endured a decade-long wage freeze.
The Health Administration Institute (IASAUDE) confirmed today [28 Dec 2018] that there are 3 cases of measles in Madeira, Portugal, admitting that it is an outbreak. "[A total of 3] cases of measles were confirmed in the Autonomous Region of Madeira with [an] epidemiological link between them, confirming the existence of an outbreak," IASAUDE said in a statement.
According to this report, the 3 cases are adults -- 2 females and 1 male -- who presented a benign evolution of the disease and were discharged from hospital. "In one of the confirmed cases, the epidemiological link with the outbreaks in the region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo is under investigation," said the agency, noting that "the Regional Health Authority is investigating and monitoring the situation in accordance with the foreseen in the National Measles Elimination Program."
Wednesday 28th November 2018 From: HPSC - Early Warning and Response System alert
Content: Portugal has reported two recent outbreaks of measles in Lisbon-see full details below in italics. Between the two outbreaks, they report 22 confirmed measles cases. Cases range from 7 months to 47 years old . Over one-third (36.4%) of the cases were unvaccinated. Ten of the cases were healthcare workers (8 of whom had 2 doses of MMR, one had one dose and one was unvaccinated). Control measures have been implemented.
We inform about the identification of two outbreaks of measles, occurring simultaneously in Lisbon. A first case was reported to Directorate-General of Health on 8th November on an unvaccinated traveller from Ukraine that arrived in Lisbon on 30/10/2018. A second case was diagnosed on a Portuguese citizen on 15th November, also unvaccinated, that travelled to Czech Republic in the incubation period, and with no known link to the first case. Although immediate contact tracing and active case finding were implemented, both cases generated secondary cases, in two different health zones in Lisbon Region.
Since 8th November up to date, from the total 32 reported cases in the National Surveillance System, 22 measles cases were confirmed by the National Reference Laboratory (INSA); 10 were negative.
From the total of confirmed cases (#22):
- First outbreak: 15 cases (ages between 7 months and 47 y.o); last exanthema onset on 25/11;
- Second outbreak: 5 cases (ages between 19 and 27 y.o); last exanthema onset on 21/11;
- Other 2 cases (23 and 45 y.o), so far with unknown link with any of the outbreaks (one of them working at the airport).
From the confirmed cases: 20 are in adults and 2 are in children (7 months and 13 months, not vaccinated).
The vaccination status of the confirmed cases (#22): - 4,5% are vaccinated with 3 doses; - 40,9% are vaccinated with 2 doses; - 18,2% are vaccinated with 1 dose; - 36,4% are unvaccinated (0 doses).
Ten of the cases are healthcare workers (8 of them with 2 doses of vaccine; 1 with 1 dose and 1 not vaccinated). In Portugal MCV vaccination coverage is high at national level (≥ 95%).
Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2018 17:21:23 +0200
Lisbon, Oct 7, 2018 (AFP) - A forest fire near Lisbon was brought under control Sunday after more than 700 Portuguese firefighters and police officers were mobilised to tackle the latest blaze to ravage the popular tourist area, officials said. Twenty-one people, mostly firefighters, were injured in the fire, which sparked overnight in the mountainous region of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and was fanned by violent winds.
The gusts have since subsided, providing a "favourable" climate to put out the fire, Paulo Santos of the civil protection agency told local media. He said emergency services and six fire-fighting planes would remain in the area on Sunday afternoon to limit the risks of the blaze picking up again. Prime Minister Antonio Costa hailed the operation's success in the face of a "real threat".
Authorities earlier evacuated 47 people as a precaution from a camping ground nearby. Sintra was recognised as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1995 for its cultural landscape, which combines parks and buildings that date from several centuries of Portuguese history. Meteorological authorities had issued a warning in recent days over high temperatures.
Portugal has suffered a series of deadly fires, with massive blazes in 2017 leaving scores dead and prompting the government to introduce a variety of safety measures and launch an ambitious reforestation project. The number of fires in Portugal has significantly reduced this summer, with burned areas down 60 percent compared to the average over the last 10 years, according the Institute of Conservation Nature and Forests.