The Association of Public Health Physicians today defended the continued use of masks to prevent Covid-19 and the flu, and to be able to spend a “more controlled” winter, allowing the national health service to resume a normal service.
The Socialist Party (PS) however told the Lusa news agency that it will not propose the renewal of the mandatory use of masks in outdoor public space, a regulation that expires on September 12th, a position that coincides directly with that of the General Directorate of Health.
The president of the PSD Parliamentary Group, Adão Silva, stated that only a sudden worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic in the coming days would prevent the Social Democrats from defending the end of street masks.
“The National Association of Public Health Physicians continues to suggest that especially in this winter phase that we are about to enter, the mask continues to be personal protective equipment used by everyone or almost everyone so that we can protect ourselves not only from the Covid- 19, but also from the flu”, defended Gustavo Tato Borges, president of the National Association of Public Health Physicians (ANMSP).
According to the expert, this measure will make it possible to spend "a much more controlled winter" and will also allow the National Health Service to resume the delay it has with regard to surgeries, consultations and monitoring of other patients.
For Gustavo Tato Borges, it is essential that people understand that the decision to end the mandatory use of masks in public spaces is “a political decision”.
"It is the politicians who must assume whether or not it continues [the use of masks in public spaces] and, although this obligation is likely to drop [on Sunday], it is our duty to continue to take measures to protect our health and the use of masks it is clearly one of them”, he stressed.
In his opinion, it makes perfect sense that, at least, during the winter, one should continue to wear a mask, especially the frail and chronically ill, the elderly, the immunocompromised and all those who have a family member or a carer with whom they come in contact with, in order to be more protected.
The issue of whether or not to renew the mandatory use of masks in outdoor public spaces is one of the issues that may be analysed next Wednesday, during the meeting of the conference of parliamentary leaders, which will set the first schedules for the new legislative session.
Asked if the use of masks in the workplace for eight hours could cause any problems, Gustavo Tato Borges stated that everything depends on the workplace and the type of work being carried out.
“If it's a very physical job, it might be more complicated to wear the mask for so long, but if it's not so physical, it's probably easier to do it,” he commented.
The specialist gave the example of health professionals who, during the pandemic, have been wearing masks uninterruptedly during their service.
“Therefore, it is possible to use [mask], but of course I understand that for some jobs it may be more difficult,” he said, pointing out that in places where workers have a physical distance of two metres it may be possible to remove the mask."