Dengue fever outbreak decline: Madeira, Portugal
Official sources have reported that the locally acquired (autochthonous) dengue fever outbreak in Madeira, first confirmed by the Portuguese Ministry of Health in October 2012, is in decline. As of 3 February 2013, a significant decline in case numbers in late January and early February 2013 has been reported. The total number of cases is 2164, with no fatalities.
All travellers to regions where dengue is known or thought to occur should continue to follow mosquito bite avoidance advice. Aedes mosquitoes bite in the day, particularly around dawn and dusk. It is recommended to take the usual precautionary measures against mosquito bites.
Any travellers with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, severe headache, muscle pain and a rash, within 21 days of visiting a dengue risk region should seek urgent medical advice, mentioning their travel history.
Monthly updates from the Portuguese Health Authority can be found under
General information on Dengue Fever:
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Portugal. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
You should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) free of charge which entitles you to emergency medical treatment. This card is NOT a substitute for travel insurance. See www.ehic.ie for further details. The EHIC replaces the Form E111, which is no longer valid.
Irish citizens do not require a visa to enter Portugal.
It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
Portugal’s beautiful beaches are a major attraction but visitors should be extremely careful, in particular along the Atlantic coast where there can be sudden large waves and dangerous undercurrents. Tourists should always heed local advice and respect the regulations which are generally posted at the entrance to the beach. Some beaches have lifeguards in the summer season. In recent years a number of tourists have been tragically drowned by unexpected large waves.
Most visitors find Portugal relatively trouble free.
Portugal has a relatively low crime rate but visitors to Portugal should be alert to the risks of lesser crimes such as pick-pocketing, handbag snatching and theft from cars which are becoming more prevalent in the main tourist areas such as Lisbon and the Algarve. It is strongly advisable to carry essential items such as passports, credit cards, travel tickets and money in separate handbags or pockets. Leave additional documents which can be used for identification, spare cash and valuables in a safe place, such as a hotel safe. Be aware, however, that there appears to be a pattern of safe boxes in apart hotels in particular being targeted by thieves.
Do not leave any items of value in an unattended car because
frequent thefts from vehicles take place. Therefore doors should be
locked and windows rolled up.
The Portuguese authorities advise that car windows and doors be closed and locked while driving at night in urban centres. Pedestrians are recommended not to wear valuable jewellery or watches in public areas.
APAV Helpline: 7007202277. For more information check: http://www.apav.pt/portal_eng/
LOCAL LAWS & CUSTOMS
Portuguese regulations require that foreigners should be in a position to show some form of personal identification immediately if requested, for example, by the police. You are advised to carry your passport and keep a photocopy of the data page in a safe place.
Irish citizens visiting Portugal should be aware that, under Portuguese drug legislation, if they are caught consuming or in possession of drugs for personal use they may be subject to a fine or other sanction (including the seizure of personal belongings). Selling or trafficking of drugs is a criminal offence and subject to severe penalties, such as imprisonment.
Buying Property In Portugal
Irish citizens intending to purchase property in Portugal are strongly advised to consult an independent legal advisor from the beginning of the process.
The Department of Foreign Affairs encourages caution and vigilance when driving in Portugal. Traffic is faster than in Ireland, driving regulations and customs are also different from those in Ireland and the accident rate is much higher. Traffic will be coming from the opposite direction to traffic in Ireland. Under recently enacted Portuguese road traffic legislation, fines were increased considerably for several infringements, such as speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol.
If driving, it is obligatory to have a red warning triangle in the
vehicle to place behind it in case of accident or breakdown and a
reflective vest. The wearing of seatbelts is compulsory in
the front and rear of vehicles. Children under 12 must not
travel in the front passenger seat. You must not carry spare
petrol cans in the vehicle.
Portugal operates a toll system on its motorways. Heavy fines are imposed for those who do not or cannot pay toll fees. Do not use the green lanes at the tolls which are reserved for motorists who subscribe to the automatic pay system (Via Verde).
Drivers and pedestrians should take extra care when crossing busy roads, especially late at night. This even includes crossing at designated crossing places which are often poorly marked and in busy commercial and entertainment districts in major cities, such as Lisbon and Porto.