Porto Youth Hostel is already working as of 11th November, as a district hosting facility for people that are not infected with the new coronavirus, and the first beneficiaries are due to arrive within the coming days. The equipment is supplied with 35 beds, but its installed capacity can be doubled. In addition, the elderly who cannot rely on caretakers that have been infected by Covid-19 can be hosted at the Youth Hostel. The infrastructure is fully supported by Porto City Hall, which provides 300 thousand euros and the hosting facility is prepared to be operational till 31st March 2021. By the end of January, its maintainability is reassessed.
Facing the river Douro, Porto Youth Hostel takes on the mission to serve as a back-up structure to host citizens that test negative for the new coronavirus, but have no suitable place to stay. Furthermore, at district level, the Seminar of Bom Pastor is already running and hosts people who test positive for Covid-19, taking on the role of a field hospital. The space provides 50 beds in a first phase and it can scale up until 80 beds.
The authorities involved in the activation of this support equipment, Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira and Marco Martins, president of the District Commission of Porto Civil Protection visited the place. Councillor for Civil Protection, Cristina Pimentel and councillor for Housing and Social Cohesion, Fernando Paulo, also visited the place.
Permanent monitoring of a vast team of caretakers, nurses and other health technicians is ensured, such as nutrition, cleaning and laundry care. As of next week, there will be a piano to provide entertainment activities, together with adapted gymnastics, to help soothe the beneficiaries’ time in the Youth Hostel.
This is a collaborative work that involves several institutions and entities; the Youth Hostel was provided by the Youth State Secretariat, and Porto City Hall provides operations and financing, , at an estimated cost of 50 thousand euros per month, as it had been announced by Rui Moreira in October. The Municipality o Porto made contract arrangements with SAOM - Serviços de Assistência Organizações de Maria, a renowned charitable organisation of the city.
“The important thing is to separate people that are infected of those who are not infect in retirement homes. It is absolutely vital that these people are separated”, Rui Moreira enhanced and furthered that the Seminar of Bom Pastor, in Ermesinde, is already running and hosts people who test positive for Covid-19, taking on the role of a field hospital.
“We also have the Joaquim Urbano Temporary Host Centre for the homeless, besides the support we are providing to the ACeS Porto Ocidental (Health Centres Cluster) as regards equipment.
Rui Moreira also stated that, in fact, “the situation is uncontrolled, not only in the country but all over Europe. However, the Mayor declined to comment government measures to fight Covid-19. “I am not a commentator. As a mayor, what I will do, as afar as it is possible, is that all issued measures will be complied with and we will not argue them. Regarding other measures, within our competences, I will make the necessary decisions”, he declared.
However, Mayor Rui Moreira stated that this second wave of the pandemic could have been better prepared by the Health Authorities, the government and the DGS. “We had spring and summer to strengthen responses. As I see it, this moment could have been anticipated and solved differently, but truth of the matter, it hasn’t been”.
The Mayor assured that despite the criticism, municipal collaboration is total, but the Mayor also pinpoints that “there is an enormous shortage of human resources. In turn, as far as material resources are concerned, of Porto City Hall and, I’m certain, of other municipalities, the collaboration is in place”.
Assistant Secretary of State and of Health, António Sales, and Stated Secretary of Mobility, Covid-19 Coordinator for the Northern region, Eduardo Pinheiro, were received by Mayor Rui Moreira, at the City Hall, on Wednesday, 11th November.