18 February 2022

Most outlets report on the government’s decision to follow the scientific advice it received and to relax a number of Covid restrictions. Many media sources look at the effect the lifting of restrictions may have. The Directorate-General of Health has recommended severely immunosuppressed people be offered a fourth dose of the vaccine, in line with guidance from the European Medicines Agency.

RTP, Expresso, Público, CNN PT and DN focus on the government’s decision to follow advice from the National Authority of Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed) to ease Covid restrictions from 8 March. These include removing the need for close contacts to self-isolate and present a digital vaccination certificate and negative test result to enter bars, cultural events and sports venues and the abolition of occupancy limits in commercial establishments. The need for a negative test to enter care homes and hospitals remains, while masks will still need to be worn in enclosed spaces and a digital vaccination certificate will still be demanded at border crossings. Expresso, Público  and DN quote the Minister of State Mariana Vieira da Silva warning the continued high mortality rate, ongoing risk of new variants and uncertainty about the duration of the vaccination’s efficacy mean that  “it is not yet time to say the pandemic is over”, adding this is “a very important moment and one more step on the return to normal life”.

RTP notes that associations representing the cultural and entertainment sectors have welcomed the end of compulsory testing. Público says some parents are confused about the continued requirement for pupils to wear masks in class, with the School Headteachers and Parents’ Association leaders claiming masks are a barrier to communication between teachers and pupils. CNN PT picks up a report from Lusa, in which Gustavo Tato Borges, president of the National Association of Public Health Physicians calls on the government not to remove the requirement for high-risk close contacts to self-isolate.

RTP and DN both report on the Directorate-General of Health’s recommendation that transplant patients, people with HIV, cancer patients and those with other autoimmune diseases who have already been triple vaccinated should be offered a second booster, adding that this recommendation is in line with European Medicines Agency guidance

In relation to the annulment of the European Circuit election, Lusa reports that the PSD has requested the presence of IM Francisca Van Dunem at the next meeting of the Standing Committee, the body that functions in place of parliament between sessions, to explain her ministry’s role in the conduct of these elections.

Dinheiro Vivo reports the National Statistics Institute’s announcement that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose to 3.3% over the 12 months to the end of January, the highest level since February 2012. The manufacturing output price and industrial production price indices were also up to 14.3% and 6.3%, respectively. Excluding energy, the manufacturing output price index stood at 11.3% over the same period.

Visão cites EDP’s CEO Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade who said EDP “will continue to invest in renewable projects in Portugal” and that it is bidding for a total of 262MW of energy production in seven dams in the floating solar energy auction that kicked off at the end of November just as the company has participated in all such auctions in Portugal in recent years and will continue to do so because he believes “Portugal offers good conditions for investment in wind and solar resources”. Visão further reports Stilwell d’Andrade announcing that EDP Renováveis has reached an agreement to buy the Sunseap Group, which is one of the largest solar power generation companies in Southeast Asia.

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