Sun. May 28th, 2023

The first difference I noticed, straight away, was that nearly every person I saw in our region of Leira was wearing a mask.

By: Adriana Daconceicao

Before Covid-19 reached Canada, my family booked plane tickets for Portugal. Our house was about to undergo some maintenance, so we decided to take the opportunity and travel together as a family. Due to the rapidly growing worldwide pandemic, and up until the day we left, my family was still unsure if travelling outside of Canada was safe. In the end, while still unsure, we decided to go on our vacation.

I was truly worried about how Portugal was handling the pandemic, and if they were doing better or worse than we were here in Canada. It took us two flights: the first to Germany, and after a brief layover, a second to Portugal. On both planes, a mask was required the entire trip – save when eating and drinking – and there were one or even two seats in between passengers. 

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima

After landing in Portugal, I found the rules were nearly identical. Unlike here (and Germany) a two-week quarantine wasn’t required but we still stayed relatively isolated, trying our best to social distance from others. 

Once we arrived in Germany and went through the process of getting to our gate, the social distancing policies were made very clear: one-way paths, everyone wearing a mask, seats blocked off, and more. About every ten minutes, an announcement would be shared over the speakers in German and English reminding everyone of the social distancing requirements. 

The first difference I noticed, straight away, was that nearly every person I saw in our region of Leira was wearing a mask. The second was that no matter where we were, a mask was required to enter any and every establishment. Moreover, every restaurant, and several stores, had what appeared to be government-issued hand sanitization stands. At the beach, there were even one-way paths marked off on the sand. It was 35-40 degrees celsius, and no one was complaining about wearing a mask. Every hour on the hour a message addressing COVID was played at the beach – loud enough that it could be heard even over the splashing coming from the ocean.

       Serra da Estrela Natural Park

While connecting with family throughout our trip, we were informed that in some circumstances, a fine could be issued if an individual was caught out in public without a mask. Throughout the duration of our trip, we avoided heavily populated areas and consistently wore masks when not at home.

Travelling back home there were the same procedures in place. We had to wear our masks for 14+ hours, only removing them to drink and eat, for short periods of time.

When arriving back home, and going through customs, it was explained to us that we needed to go through a two week quarantine period; we were warned by airport officials that if we were caught outside our premises, or socializing with anyone outside our family, during this period that extremely high fines could be imposed. 

Leira, Portugal

Since our trip abroad, a lot has changed, COVID-wise, in B.C. There has been an increase in house parties and large get-togethers since the beginning of July. The statistics show that for the month of August (as of the 27th), the highest number of new cases in a day for Canada is 761. The cases have started to climb instead of remaining steady or decrease, unlike the number of new cases in Portugal, where the high for new cases has been ~397 for most of August. Given the current circumstances of B.C., I felt significantly safer in Portugal than I do here.

9 thoughts on “Comparing Canada’s Response to Covid-19”
  1. I fully agree with you Adriana, we should have protocols like Portugal. It is devastating how many cases there are in BC alone and how some people don’t take COVID seriously. Thank you for sharing your experiences and comparing them for us to be aware of.

  2. i feel like if B.C had the same protocols and discipline as portugal, people will obey the rules more and the covid 19 cases will be decreased.

  3. Thank you Adriana for the article, I agree with you that in this time canada should take precautions more seriously in order to stop the pandemic, it is very informative and well written.

  4. I definitely agree with you Adriana and i feel like if we have protocols like Portugal did than our cases would be down too. Thankyou for sharing your experiences and opinion with us.

  5. Portugal did a very great job at keeping the pandemic at hand. Better than Canada, however, there were also certain countries that did a great job like Portugal. We need to follow and learn how those countries kept the virus at hand.

  6. Thank you to everyone who has read and left a comment. It was enjoyable to read your feedback and see what others’ take is on the matter as well.

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