Sunday, February 28, 2021

Lacerda Sales: “Mass testing will start in a short time”

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The Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales

The Secretary of State for Health said, this Monday, that the massive testing will “begin in a short time”, with some processes that are still being improved.

In an interview with RTP3, the Assistant Secretary of State and Health, António Lacerda Sales, stated that, starting today, the SNS 24 will start to prescribe tests to low-risk contacts.

However, the massive testing plan, announced last week, is not yet ready and there are rough edges to file, so it will “Get started in no time”, said the government official.

“There are some processes that we need to improve here,” admitted Lacerda Sales, explaining that the strategy for schools and companies is “still being worked out”, giving as an example of how long the tests should be carried out.

Asked whether companies or the State will bear the costs of the tests, Lacerda Sales said that “this is still a situation that we are considering and that we will have to decide”.

“The Ministry of Health has been very overwhelmed from a budget and cost point of view. Although there was never any lack of resources in terms of budget for the Ministry, ”he said.

On the same day that political leaders met with experts at Infarmed, the Secretary of State adopted the same stance as Minister of Health, Marta Temido. There was good news and Lacerda Sales considers that “this confinement is producing results, it’s a confinement with hope“, However, he underlined that“ it is still premature to be talking about lack of definition ”.

In the same interview, the Secretary of State also said that the Government is studying the possibility of removing doses of the vaccine against covid-19, in order to be able to cover a larger percentage of the population and face the shortage of vaccines.

The experts “are doing the weighting of this matter, because between the removal that allows more people to be vaccinated with the first dose, knowing that it can produce an effectiveness between 60% and 70%, therefore it already provides some protection, namely to the most vulnerable strata, or to have more people with both doses vaccinated, it is a cost-benefit ratio that has to be carefully considered ”, he explained.

“We are considering this matter well and then making the best decision, depending on the needs”, he concluded.

According to Público newspaper, the positivity rate of covid-19 in Portugal has been decreasing and now around 6%.

“It is a good sign. We are on the way to 5%, which is what is recommended internationally, ”says mathematician Carlos Antunes. The researcher at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon points out that specialists are “now considering 7% as the maximum threshold that we cannot exceed”.

Mass testing could further drive this decline. “If the strategy is changed, then we will be able to push positivity much lower, “he said, adding:” There has to be a paradigm shift and the rules have to start producing results. “

This Monday, Portugal registered 549 new cases and 61 deaths from covid-19. It was the lowest number of new infections since October last year.

Filipa Mesquita Filipa Mesquita, ZAP //

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Lacerda Sales: "Mass testing will start in a short time"