Portugal is expected to reach 37 cases of Covid-19 in the first week of January

Forecasts are from the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA)

Marta Temido, Minister of Health

Portugal should reach 37 thousand new cases of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the first week of January, more than double the maximum of 17.172 registered yesterday, 28 January, Health Minister Marta Temido told Lusa.

According to the Feared Marta, the number of new infections registered yesterday, the highest since the start of the pandemic, already corresponded to the forecasts of the Dr. Ricardo Jorge National Health Institute (INSA) for today.

"We are, therefore, with a slight acceleration compared to these forecasts", said the Minister of Health in statements to the Lusa agency in the Ministry of Health.

Forecasts also indicate that on January 7 more than 37 thousand new cases will be reached, said Marta Temido, stressing that the risk of effective transmission is at 1,3, which is "very high", with an estimated time of eight-day doubling.

"As we unfortunately anticipated, we are facing a very intense growth in the number of cases and this rate of growth will probably continue in the coming days", warned the minister.

"If we manage to responsibly comply with the measures that we have in place, our expectation is that we will be able to reduce this rate of transmission and gain time for more vaccination, for more protection," he added.

Marta Temido recalled that the containment period, which was brought forward by a week, began on Saturday and that «we need time to happen» to be able to see «some results».

"In the meantime, it is very important that each of us strictly adhere to teleworking, isolation guidelines when they are applied, avoiding unprotected contacts and, if eligible, vaccination," he insisted.

Asked if there will be a reinforcement of measures until the end of the year in view of the evolution of the pandemic, Marta Temido said that "very little time" had still passed on the measures taken last Tuesday so that they could enter into force on 26 and 27 of December.

"We know that this virus needs some time for non-pharmacological, containment measures, such as avoiding contacts, canceling some activities, to produce their results and we have to be able to adapt to this reality and wait for some time to see the effects of what we've decided», he stressed.

In the meantime, added Marta Temido, there were a number of aspects "in recent days that may have led to more contacts and even a greater number of positive test results".

"People tested themselves a lot, and well, before the Christmas events, but they were also more exposed," he said, reiterating that time is needed to assess the effect of this period.

Marta Temido said that the assessment that the INSA had mentioned that two assessments should be carried out, one today (29 December) and one on 4 January, of the models for predicting the evolution of the Ómicron variant will be maintained .

"We are also monitoring the weight of the Ómicron variant in our country, we know that it continues to grow, we already estimated it and we therefore have to resist with those measures that we had planned", he defended.

He pointed out, among other measures, vaccination, the reinforcement of public health responses in terms of Health Line 24, epidemiological surveys and then "each one to do their part".