The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, made a speech yesterday following a meeting on COVID-19 between Portuguese experts and policy makers, which took place at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, hammering home that “Portugal is well prepared to face the a phase”.
"Today Portugal is better prepared to face a new phase, we have more resources, more organization, more knowledge. We are facing a complex context" though, she said.
The meeting, open to press, started with an epidemiological analysis made by Pedro Pinto Leite, of the Directorate-General for Health. "It seems to us that it is necessary to reinforce non-pharmacological measures", he said, referring to hygiene and social distancing measures, particularly in the elderly over 80 years old, and young people between 20 and 30 years old, who lead in the incidences of the virus.
Leite ended the presentation by highlighting that the Portuguese lethality rate is stable, standing at 3.1%. The 80+ age group is the most at risk, with a lethality of 19.1%. This was followed by a speech from Ausenda Machado, a specialist at the Ricardo Jorge Institute, who discussed the evolution of the epidemic curve in the country compared to the rest of Europe.
Two indicators are used: the population-adjusted 14-day cumulative incidence and the RT (ratio of transmission per infected person). On July 8, the date of the last meeting at Infarmed, Portugal was below the level of 40 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants and registered an RT below 1.
Currently, both indicators have increased in value at an average countrywide level, meaning that Portugal sits on the list of European countries with the most worrying epidemiological situations, which includes Spain, France, Austria, Croatia and the Czech Republic. Thankfully of these nations, Portugal is the country that has the least “harmful” situation of those on the list, said Ausenda Machado, stressing that the evolution of different countries over the past few months shows constant dynamic activity.
Machado revealed the evolution of RT in the different regions since the last meeting (July).
- In the North, the RT went from 1.08 on 8 July to 1.19 in the last week of August
- In the Centre region, the RT was 0.98 at the beginning of July and is now 1.22
- In Lisbon and Tejo Valley, the RT was 1.1 and is now 1.07
- In Alentejo, it was 0.93 and is now 0.91
- In the Algarve, it was 1.05 and currently stands at 1.08