Virologist Pedro Simas said this Sunday that Portugal is experiencing an abrupt reduction in the number of new contagions, resulting from confinement, which could put the country among one of the best in the world to control the third wave of the pandemic.
“We were one of the best in the world in the first confinement, the worst at the origin of the third wave and we will be one of the countries in the world that soon manages to control the third wave because, in fact, there was a fantastic adhesion to the confinement and the result is in sight “, he said in statements to the Lusa agency.
The viruses, he said, are transmitted by droplets and if movements with confinement, wearing masks and social distance are inhibited, the transmission chains are abruptly interrupted.
“This was perfectly predictable and depended on good behaviour and adherence to total confinement and what I see is that there was fantastic adherence and the result is in sight because biology is factual. If there are no contacts and people adhere to the rules, the viruses cannot be transmitted. It is in our hands. That’s why the decrease curve is so steep “, stressed the virologist at the Molecular Institute of the University of Lisbon
Pedro Simas said that from January 28 to February 6 Portugal went from an average of 12,890 cases to 7,270 cases.
“It is fantastic. It is being performed so well that after two weeks there has been a significant decrease in the number of deaths. On January 31, we had an average of 288 deaths in the last seven days and now we have 253. There are also here, a trend and this means that we have good health services and that, despite the difficulties, the National Health Service is performing well. We only have reason to be proud”, he said.
The closure of schools was, for Pedro Simas, decisive for this inflection of the growth curve. “The closure of schools was decisive because it is a clear message for Portuguese society. When schools are closed it is because the matter is serious,” he said, adding that having schools open implied a lot of adult movement.
The virologist warns that it is now very important to learn from the past and realize that it is necessary to follow the rules so that Portugal does not run a greater risk of the appearance of a fourth wave, remembering that it was the relaxation of the measures before, during and after Christmas that led to the third wave of the virus.
“We have already understood the dynamics of the virus. How can we control it? At the level of society by adhering to the rules of physical distance, the use of the mask and inhibiting unnecessary contacts as much as possible”, he stressed. The combination of these factors, he argued, will make a difference in order to gain freedom, keeping the level of infections at acceptable levels.
Pedro Simas reinforces the need for caution in the lack of definition, arguing that it should only be considered when the country reaches between 700 and 1400 new cases per day. “It would be great and we would be at a great security level where, following the rules, we were able to control and avoid a fourth wave,” he said, noting that it is possible that within two to three weeks Portugal will achieve these ideal security values for making decision about the deflation.
“(The lack of definition) is when the numbers allow because they are a direct effect of our behaviour and directly reflect whether we are in control or not,” he said. Pedro Simas also pointed out that an exponential decrease in the number of infections is happening in the world.
“From February until now it has been going up all over the world until the 23rd of December. Between 23 and 28 it went down a little, going up again until January 11th. From January 11th to February 6th it has always been going down. There has never been such a big decrease worldwide “, he said, pointing this out as a positive note, but stressing that there is concern about a possible fourth wave, which is why it is necessary and decisive to be careful in the post confinement.