Covid-19: Situation worsened in Portugal since mid-August

The epidemiological situation of Covid-19 in Portugal has worsened since mid-August, experts from the General Directorate of Health revealed today […]

The epidemiological situation of Covid-19 in Portugal has worsened since mid-August, revealed today the experts of the General Directorate of Health (DGS) and National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA), on the return of meetings between specialists and politicians.

In the auditorium of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, Pedro Pinto Leite, from DGS, explained that in the period analyzed between 17 and 30 August, 3.909 new infections were registered. In terms of transmission, 49% of those who reported having had contact with the virus did so in a family context, with only 16% indicating the work context.

Despite the weight of the Lisbon and Vale do Tejo region and the North region in the current epidemic situation, the cumulative incidence of cases for 14 days showed the weight of some outbreaks in other municipalities, namely Mora, with 215 cases per 100 inhabitants, Sernancelhe ( 149), Armamar (121), Arouca (120), Vila Verde (102) and Arraiolos (86).

However, Pedro Pinto Leite referred that the “increasing trajectory” of the epidemic situation from mid-August is based on the “main contribution of the municipalities of Odivelas, Amadora, Sintra and Lisbon”. Indeed, the cumulative incidence of cases in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo is still above the national incidence in the period observed in the analysis.

"It seems to us to be necessary to reinforce the non-pharmacological measures known to everyone - from physical distance, hand hygiene, the use of masks or other personal protective equipment, airing spaces, avoiding touching your eyes with your eyes, nose and mouth, and disinfection of places. All should be reinforced, especially in the group aged 80 and over, whose incidence is above the other ages, as in the group aged 20-29, which leads these incidences», he explained.

Regarding deaths, the DGS specialist highlighted the existence of 43 deaths between 17 and 30 August, for a total of 1822. As for the age distribution, the age group above 80 years concentrated 67% of deaths, the group 70-79 years accounted for 28% and age groups under 70 years accounted for only 5%; at the demographic level, Lisbon and Vale do Tejo concentrated 74% of deaths and the North had 26%.

Regarding the national lethality rate, which reflects the weight of deaths on the number of cases, Pedro Pinto Leite noted that there was an increase “until the beginning of June, remaining stable or decreasing” since then.

“On 30 August, the national lethality is estimated at 3,1% and it is mainly due to the group aged 80 and over and to the group 70-79 years old”, he summarized.

Representing INSA, Ausenda Machado began by providing an international context for the pandemic last month, highlighting the unfavorable progression in several regions of Spain, as well as in some countries in central and eastern Europe.

Crossing the effective transmissibility index (Rt) – which in Portugal is currently at 1,12 – with the incidence of cases, the INSA specialist highlighted “a worsening situation in Spain, France and Portugal, which is already in the quadrant of higher incidence, although the epidemic situation is not as harmful as in other countries».

At the same time, Portugal has an average of more than 80 tests per week since June, and in terms of the percentage of positive tests «there has been an increase in recent weeks, in line with the epidemic trend».

On the other hand, Ausenda Machado highlighted the positive evolution of the speed of notification since the onset of symptoms, which went from 11 days in March to four at the end of April, remaining at this value since then.

The INSA specialist concluded with a look at hospitalizations, which for now remain stable, although she noted an increase in the number of consultations in primary care and in emergencies due to Covid-19.

"We are going together to see if it is a sustained increase or a usual variation," he summed up.

Today's meeting between experts and politicians is the first since 8 July and the first to be broadcast after ten closed sessions.

Prime Minister António Costa, President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and President of the Assembly of the Republic Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues are once again joining party leaders and social partners to hear technicians and specialists on the situation of the pandemic in Portugal.