The Secretary of State for Health, António Sales, announced that Portugal is about to enter the most critical phase of the pandemic as the country has recorded 43 fatalities and nearly 3,000 infected.
Mr. Sales revealed that Portugal is about to enter the mitigation phase of the COVID-19 virus.
The Secretary of State for Health revealed at a press conference that he has “confidence” in this stage of the process in fighting the pandemic.
The number of fatalities in the last 24 hours consists of patients over 70 years old, asserting that “lethality is higher in the elderly”.
Graça Freitas, Director-General of Health, says that the country will enter the new stage of their plan starting at midnight, which will move from containment to mitigation.
“There may be turbulence”, says the director-general, but she guarantees at the same time that health authorities will be ready to deal with any sudden changes.
During this phase, “the COVID-19 transmission chains are already established in Portugal, as this is an active epidemic/pandemic situation”.
The containment measures are insufficient and “the response is focused on mitigating the effects of COVID-19 and reducing its spread, in order to minimize mortality – the relationship between the number of deaths caused by the disease, in a given location and period of time – and/or until an effective vaccine or new treatment appears”.
This implies, according to the DGS plan, that all public hospitals and private must be involved in the diagnosis phase and in case management, that patient isolation can be done in home and that the use of a mask can be recommended for people with “increased susceptibility” in contexts of large agglomerations or in health services.
As of midnight this Thursday, hospitals and health centres will have to adapt to new and stricter rules in order to respond to the current phase of the virus in Portugal.