Portugal now at “opportune stage to think about easing restrictions”

15 Feb 2022

Doctors in Portugal are of the opinion that Portugal is at an “opportune stage” to consider relaxing pandemic-related restrictions. However, the medics added that the easing must be “progressive, proportional and cautious”.

“We are exactly at an opportune stage to think about easing restrictions, because we are in the descending part of the Omicron wave, with the Rt [transmissibility index] below 1 and a decrease in cases”, said Gustavo Tato Borges, president of the National Association of Public Health Doctors.

Borges was speaking to Lusa news agency regarding Wednesday’s upcoming Infarmed meeting, to review the evolution of the Covid situation in Portugal.

The association president went on to say that there remains a “high transmission” of the virus, with over 5,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants recorded over the past two weeks, reports Portugal News. This compares to “the ideal”, according to the European Center for the Control and Prevention of Diseases (ECDC), which is 120 cases per 100,000 population.

“Therefore, the relief of the measures has to be progressive, proportional and cautious”, he added.

Borges said the easing of the restrictions could begin with scrapping the need to show vaccine certificates to enter various spaces, as “the vast majority” of the eligible population has been vaccinated or has recovered from the virus.

Should this come into effect, the vaccination certificate and even the test certificate could be abandoned.

Yet, according to the public health doctor, there are “three fundamental situations” in which the certificates must still be required: access to hospitals, homes and continued care units in the community, as well as the ability to access major events.

In addition, Borges said that capacity limits in commercial spaces could be dropped, as well as the wearing of face coverings outdoors, as people are “starting to enter into good weather, using the environment more outside, where air circulation is favoured”.

These are the “fundamental measures” that can be revised at this point, he said.