Covid-19: Epidemic situation has worsened in Portugal since mid-August

The epidemiological situation of covid-19 in Portugal has worsened since mid-August, revealed today by experts from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and the National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA ), returning from meetings between experts 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 Tagus Valley 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 counties, namely Mora, with 215 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, Sernancelhe ( 149), Armamar (121), Arouca (120), Vila Verde (102) and Arraiolos (86).

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

“It seems 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, the aeration of spaces, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and disinfection of sites. All of them must be reinforced, especially in the group of 80 or more years old, whose incidence is above the remaining ages, as in the group of 20-29 years old, who leads these incidences ”, he explained.

As for 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 over 80 concentrated 67% of deaths, the group 70-79 registered 28% and under-70s represented 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 over the number of cases, Pedro Pinto Leite noted that there has been an increase “until the beginning of June, remaining stable or decreasing” since then. “On August 30, the national lethality is estimated at 3.1% and is mainly due to the group aged 80 or over and the group 70-79 years old”, he summarized.

On behalf of INSA, Ausenda Machado started by giving an international contextualization of the pandemic in the last month, highlighting the unfavorable progression in several regions of Spain, as well as in some central and eastern European countries.

Crossing the effective transmissibility index (Rt) – which currently stands at 1.12 in Portugal – with the incidence of cases, the INSA specialist highlighted “a worsening of the situation in Spain, France and Portugal, which is already in the quadrant higher incidence, despite the fact that the epidemic situation is not as harmful as in other countries ”.

At the same time, Portugal has had an average of more than 80 thousand tests per week since June, and in terms of the percentage of positives “there has been growth in recent weeks, in line with the epidemic trend”. On the other hand, Ausenda Machado stressed the positive evolution in the speed of notification since the onset of symptoms, which went from 11 days in March to four in late April, and has remained at that value since then.

The INSA specialist concluded with a look at hospitalizations, which remain stable for now, although she has noticed an increase in the number of consultations in primary health care and emergency rooms due to covid-19. “We are accompanied to see if it is a sustained increase or a usual variation”, he summarized.

Today’s meeting between experts and politicians is the first since July 8 and the first to be broadcast, after ten closed sessions. The Prime Minister, António Costa, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, once again join party leaders and social partners to hear technicians and specialists on the situation of the pandemic in Portugal.


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