Sunday, May 9, 2021

Confinement worries Costa. Risk advice is a headache

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Hugo Delgado / Lusa

With the third phase of mismatch at the door, the Government still has doubts about what to do, keeping some loose ends. The greatest concern is with councils where there are more cases.

During the Infarmed meeting, which took place this Tuesday morning, António Costa he asked the experts for advice on what to do at the local level and asked them if they could “better” adjust the municipality indicator.

The question of what to do locally, in cases where the councils are at risk level in the red, has been one of the prime minister’s concerns, especially after meeting with some mayors last week.

According to Expresso, Costa asked if it was possible to adjust the risk reading at the local and regional level, because there are cases, in some municipalities, that are linked to concrete contexts of outbreaks.

Oscar Felgueiras, from the Regional Health Administration of the North and Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, which drew up the plan on which the Government based itself on the lack of definition, said only that it is necessary to look at municipal indicators as “flags” and cross them with what the local authorities decide.

According to the Observer, in the Government’s plans there may be local confinements whenever the situation requires it – which may cover a single municipality or several neighboring municipalities -, also imposing movement limitations between municipalities.

The plan presented by the Government foresees that from April 19, all stores and shopping centers will open, as well as all restaurants, cafes and pastry shops until 10 pm (and 1 pm at the weekend), cinemas, theaters, auditoriums and show rooms and even if they open the remaining schools: secondary and higher education.

However, caution is needed at the opening. Experts warn that the country may reach risk levels (the red in the matrix that serves as a compass) in April (in the next 15 days to a month).

Now, eyes are on the youngest, but that should not prevent the reopening of secondary schools and higher education as planned.

António Costa left the meeting with comfort and with the green light to continue the opening of educational establishments.

DGS prepares plan for home visits

At the meeting it was also clear that the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) will soon define new guidelines for home visits.

Although a large part of this group is already vaccinated, home visits continue to be strongly conditioned and with many restrictions.

Elderly people who leave their homes for more than a day are obliged to complete two weeks’ isolation, and as there are households who say they are unable to guarantee that isolation, many elderly people are being prevented from leaving the facilities.

The restrictions are motivating criticism, which has alerted to the risks of measures of this nature for the mental health of the elderly.

However, the Government assured that new guidelines will soon be defined to allow less restrictions on home visits.

Ana Isabel Moura Ana Isabel Moura, ZAP //

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