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Madeira Will ‘Not Close’

The President of the Government of Madeira, Miguel Albuquerque, issued a statement today, the 5th of November, confirming that the region will not close itself off from the outside world, as this would cause further damage the economy of the archipelago.

During a debate at the Legislative Assembly, he said, “It is not our idea to close Madeira to the outside because the economy depends on the island being open,  and our airport testing is proving to be effective.”

The government official rejected the opposition’s criticisms, namely from the PS, regarding the increase in waiting lists for surgeries and other medical acts, stressing that “the services continue to operate at full capacity” and that “consistent and timely investments are being made in response to the situation.” Furthermore, the president clarified that the government is investing three million euros towards a dedicated Covid-19 hospital.

The Secretary for Health, Pedro Ramos, added that  during the lockdown there were fewer admissions to A & E,  and that non-urgent operations were postponed.

Following on, Vice President of the Regional Government, Pedro Calado, stressed that effective measures are in place to protect the regions economy, saying that so far 160 million euros has been injected into the business sector, 137 million euros in social areas and 50 million euros for health.

The vice-president further added that the Government of Madeira has allocated 70 million euros of the 2021 Regional Budget for Covid-19 situations.  However, he went on to say that the lack of support from the mainland government has been noted, and that they have tried to undermine many of the Madeiran governments measures to combat the pandemic, which have been proved “right,” such as the introduction of mandatory mask wearing in all public spaces.

As for the Secretary of Economy, the centrist Rui Barreto, indicated that up to now 3,100 companies have been supported, safeguarding 26,000 jobs in the archipelago. He went on to say that the regional government could have done more if the Government of the Republic had provided the guarantee for the 458 million euro loan that Madeira has undertaken to cover the losses due to the pandemic.

The Madeiran Secretary of Education stated that the small outbreaks of Covid-19 cases that have emerged in the islands schools were easily identifiable and effectively controlled due to the individual school’s contingency plans that prevented the virus from spreading.

Samantha Gannon

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