Portugal and Covid-19: Fears, Comments, Thoughts

I hesitate to create this topic, for fear it may “open a can of worms,” as we say in English. @Joseph, please feel free to delete this topic if you feel it is not appropriate or will feed fear in any way. The virus, certainly, is causing growing alarm in just about all countries–indeed, the whole world. For those of you living in Portugal, how are things being affected in your daily life? Here in the U.S., there is a rather fast-developing undertone of fear. In North Carolina, where I live, people are even stockpiling supplies, and it is impossible to find things like hand-sanitizer, alcohol, etc. Do you feel that Portugal’s health system is addressing the situation as best as can be expected for this completely unanticipated development? Whatever people care to share, and any mutual encouragement, will probably help all of us feel that we are not alone in this. :neutral_face:

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In some shops, shelves can be empty, while in other shops they’re fully stocked as usual. Alcohol, hand-sanitiser and mask are nowhere to be found, at least in the area where I live. No need to ask to know, because they have signs saying they’re all out!

The healthcare system and others in charge aren’t really doing what they should, in my opinion. Flights coming in from affected countries are not subject to controls and people are free to to home. If anyone is tested, they are told to live as usual until they get the result, which had the effect that a school where I live had to be closed down once the infected teacher got the results.

The companies treat this very differently. My husband still goes to the office every day, while I’ve been told to work from home and avoid going to the office and any colleague of mine who in any way had contact with an affected country is not allowed at the office for a minimum of two weeks.

Meia maratona de Lisboa which was scheduled for March 22 has been postponed to September, while other events are yet not affected. It’s like the country is divided into different parts, one in panic, one not caring at all, one trying to just hide from it all and one planning for the worst.

From what I’ve heard from Sweden, it’s very much the same there. It will be interesting to see what is done if things gets worse, and if the healthcare system can handle it.


@David2019, no worries at all about the topic :slight_smile:

There’s not a unified countrywide approach, as @Linda said, but concern is rising quickly and gradually stricter measures are being implemented on a local level here and there, especially since the start of this week. Public schools, universities and most/all major public events and locations (pools, theatres, museums…) are closed/cancelled until early April in Lisbon and Porto. Major private institutions of public utility, namely Centro Cultural de Belém and the Gulbenkian Foundation, have also followed suit and cancelled all concerts/events scheduled for the same period. Other private events are being cancelled/postponed at the discretion of the organizers. All main TV channels are now broadcasting without any live studio audiences. A couple of small towns/villages have strongly encouraged basically everyone to quarantine. The government has also just suspended all flights to Italy. Media frenzy has been high right from the start of this whole soap opera and it won’t simmer down anytime soon, for sure.

In terms of the health system, preparation at hospitals has obviously picked up pace and our national medicines agency is/has been in discussion with key pharma companies to secure all essential medicines for the national market. Other EU countries have already blocked exports of medicines of potential interest for Covid-19 (e.g. antimalarial drugs), to prioritize the respective national markets. If the worst does happen, I actually think Portugal will be quickly overloaded, just like Italy, but that’s really just an armchair opinion. I’m in the pharma industry, but I’m not in close contact with the reality at hospitals and overall management of healthcare resources.

I do think that airport controls and whatnot are of limited use and personally, I don’t mind their absence. Symptoms are non-specific, easily masked with OTC medication, and many people might just be asymptomatic carriers. So, if medical checks on arrival are limited to looking for the odd fever, we really can put those resources to better use elsewhere. Taking personal responsibility is really a key factor here, in my opinion, for travellers, locals, everyone. Unfortunately, judging by what I see every day, I absolutely don’t count on people (not all of them, of course) to do their job on an individual scale to contain/slow down the spread of the disease :upside_down_face:


There is zero cause for fear, all I feel is despair about how stupid our self-proclaimed “intelligent” species can be so easily persuaded to fear something that isn’t even dangerous - it is just another dose of 'flu and unless you are unhealthy or very old already it won’t affect you more than a bad cold or flu.
So please, be a wee bit grounded in your life and perhaps fight the addiction to media and social blah.
Thank you for reading.

@varzeadagoncala, I think that there’s something that hasn’t been well communicated from the start about this pandemic and why governments are worried about containing it. At first, no one knew what exactly it was, but at this point, I want to believe that no one in their right state of mind expects this to be the new Ebola, with the potential to wipe out a huge percentage of the population. On the contrary; for many people, like you say, it will be a mild to very uncomfortable flu-like disease, but it should pass. However, for the others, it will require specialized medical care because of severe and even lethal disease progression - and current data indicates that this happens with a higher percentage of patients than for the cold/flu.

Many (most?) healthcare systems around the world are already burdened with all other diseases we’re more than familiar with, including the seasonal cold and flu. The appearance of this new player, without any pre-existing immunity, prophylaxis or direct treatment to slow down its transmission, has the potential to bring so many more people to the hospital all at once that it can easily tip the scale towards chaos. At that point, people will not die only because of coronavirus infections; patients with completely unrelated problems will also be put at extra risk due to the lack of means to attend to everyone at once. Of course, this already happens, but it can get orders of magnitude worse. If a good number of healthcare professionals also fall sick, then there’s the perfect storm. Outside of hospital settings, we’ll only see the numbers. But the people experiencing that reality on the frontline will have particularly tragic stories to tell. Italy is a good case study to look at.

I certainly don’t fear for myself. My odds are great. But I struggle with the idea of putting lots of risk groups at even more risk just because I don’t want to be inconvenienced and have to change my daily habits. If out of all the problems we already have out there, we can at least handle this one (again, simply with the mindset of keeping it at a level that our healthcare systems can manage), why wouldn’t we?

This is just my understanding of this whole situation.


A very measured response Joseph but please do not let this forum morph into another facebook.
This is a place where we discuss the language which we are striving to learn and things associated with it…!

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Oh, but this is 100% related to the language. All these worldwide containment measures are the perfect excuse to study Portuguese with a passion :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Joseph. Whilst I agree that we can use the current situation to help us with the language or learn what IS happening in Portugal a very recent post by Varz was nothing more than a misinformed opinion. Nothing at all to do with Portugal, Portuguese or learning.
The other posts in the thread have some relevance and I have no problem with them.


Excellent ideas, @Joseph and @mac.cummings!
For example, here is a small, but perhaps helpful, vocabulary related to the subject!

vírus - virus

coronavírus - coronavirus

sepa - strain

pandémico - pandemic

transmissível - transmissible

tosse - cough

espirro - sneeze

pulmões - lungs

contagioso - contagious

quarentena - quarantine

isolação - isolation

vacina - vaccine

os idosos - the elderly [como eu :sob:]

sistema imunológico fraco - weak immune system

doenças crônicas - chronic diseases

crise de saúde - health crisis

sintomas - symptom

febre - fever

pneumonia - pneumonia

insuficiência respiratória - respiratory insufficiency

There is no shortage, currently, of articles related to this subject, but if, in our study of the Portuguese language, we would like learn more of the vocabulary and expressions connected to this topic, here is a helpful article from Expresso:


Great stuff David. Exactly the sort of appropriate post that we need here.
Sincere thanks.
PS Eu já li o artigo inteiro e achei muito fácil entender talvez porque eu entenda o assunto em geral.
Uma vez mais…obrigado!


European Portuguese preferences coming through :upside_down_face: Also, in Brazilian Portuguese, it should be cepa, not sepa, for strain. Thanks, @David2019.


Olå e bom dia,
yesterday I decided not to return to Portugal Continental, as it was planed before…
Although having an unprecedented feeling of insecurity, I think, that I’m better here on “Flores” no meio do atlântico, where until now no case is confirmed, than in Portugal or in Berlin, my hometown, which is completely shut down since yesterday.
Working in Human Resources, all contracts have been canceled… a really unknown and insecure situation…
Here on Flores slowly life is going on, watching cows and birds and waves of the Atlantic Ocean and again cows, birds, ocean and clouds…
really don’t know, what will be in some weeks,
happy to have WiFi here and endless time to practice portuguese… admito, de vez em quando apetece me chorar.
Okay, força.
e desejo que fiquem todos com saúde
Abraço digital


Bom dia, @ahnin! :slightly_smiling_face: Talvez uma escolha sensata! Onde é Flores, e como é a vida cotidiana em Flores? Por favor, diga-nos algo sobre onde tu moras, porque alguns de nos podem não saber nada sobre Flores. Muito obrigado, e boa sorte!

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Que lugar para ficar abandonado! Perfeito.
Fique seguro


I came here searching for exactly this. Vocabulary that we probably never thought we’d need to learn. But a vocabulary that will probably be with us for some time. Boa saude a todos!


Bom dia, @chod.lang! :slightly_smiling_face: That vocabulary list was just an off-the-cuff rudimentary one, so if you or any other member would like to post additional words related to the issue, that would be welcome and helpful to all of us! It is a vocabulary that we all wish we didn’t need to learn, but it is now a fact of life for the time being. Obrigado e boa sorte!

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Bom dia.
Hoje vivemos em tempos que não são normais. O Coronavírus tem mudado tudo. A gente pode só guarder um espaco pessoal. Um novo frase ‘Social distancing’ nasce. ( Distanciamento social ?) A minha esposa e eu temos mais que setenta anos, por isso somos classificados como vulnerável. Temos de ficar em casa e não podemos ser com outras pessoas. O pior é que não podemos ver ou brincar com os netos.

Ontem o governamento aviso que todos os lugares de entretenimento como bares, restaurentes, cinemás, teatres, clubes e até ginásios devem fechar as portas. Os bares e os restaurantes podem ainda ofertar bebidas e comida ao público mas só para levar. As escolas também está fechada exceto para filhos de pessoas classificadas como trabalhadores essencias. A minha filha é medico, portanto os meus netos podem ir a escola -eles não concordam com isso, haha.

Os supermercados claro estão abertos mas as prateleiras são quase vazios por causa de ‘panic buying’. (Compra de pânico?) O que estam as pessoas vêm fazer com tanto de papel higiênico? Ah, também não tem latas de feijão no molho de tomates. A pergunta é respondida!

Ainda assim, hoje de manhã o sol estå a brilhar e tenho muita cerveja.

Sede cuidadosos.

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Bom dia, @davidcowling949! Muito obrigado pelo seu post detalhado e excelente! Este é muito informativo e também útil, porque isso nos ajuda a aprender a falar sobre esse assunto. Para mim, sua escrita é clara e fácil de entender.

[@joseph, por favor corrija os muitos erros na minha escrita! Obrigado!]

A situação aqui nos EUA é idêntica. Estamos muito conscientes de manter uma distância de quase dois metros das outras. Eu também tenho mais que setenta anos, e eu não saio para lugar nenhum. Porque eu so reformado, não me incomoda tanto quanto incomoda meu cônjuge, cujo tem sessenta anos e tem menos risco. Ele pode fazer compras de comida e outras necessidades.

Aqui no estado de Carolina do Norte, eu não sei se os restaurantes e outros lugares devem fechar. Ginásios, teatros, e clubes—sim, con certeza. A Escola de Odontologia de Universidade de Carolina do Norte, onde meu cônjuge trabalha, está temporariamente aberto só para casos de emergência, mas não para casos de rotina.

A situação em os supermercados está idêntica, como tu descreves! E o que tu dizes sobre o papel higiênico é astuto e divertido—a menos que alguém seja uma cabra, não pode comer papel! :slight_smile:



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Obrigado pelas correções Joseph. Uma lata de feijão no molho de tomate. This is a tin of beans in tomato sauce. These have (laughably) slight laxative properties, hence the joke. Very english I suspect!
I should probably have said feijão com molho de tomate.