Accelerate vaccination, masks, testing, distance and telecommuting

“The pandemic is not over. The time to act is now.” The alert was left by the voice of Raquel Duarte at the meeting of experts, which took place on Friday, at Infarmed’s auditorium, in Lisbon, where the pandemic situation in Portugal was analyzed. The pulmonologist doctor closed the meeting with a series of recommendations to curb the trend of “worsening” of the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

In the end, Portugal is experiencing the “fifth pandemic phase”, although with lower severity and mortality than before, said Pedro Pinto Leite, from the General Directorate of Health (DGS), at the beginning of the meeting. The incidence is at “203 cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the last 14 days per 100,000 population, with an increasing trend”.

The situation is not as serious as that which existed a year ago, thanks to the high rate of vaccination (86.5 percent), experts said, but the increase in the number of infections shows the need to take action.

In this sense, it is necessary to act now, before Christmas, a period in which, according to Raquel Duarte, there is “an increased risk” of “an exponential growth in the number of cases”, which “means doubling or tripling the number of cases in a few weeks “.

For this reason, the pulmonologist recommended the mandatory use of masks in closed environments and public events, teleworking, when possible, and shifting hours in the work context, “in order to facilitate compliance with the measures”.

He also defended the digital certificate with recent testing in public spaces “when appropriate and in accordance with what is defined by the DGS”, testing, focusing on self-tests, risk self-assessment, promotion of activities abroad and the need to accelerate the vaccination process. “What we propose is that the strategy adapted to the current circumstances continues to be based on five fundamental axes: vaccination, indoor air renewal, distance, masks and testing”, he summarized.