This Friday, experts, politicians and social partners will meet again to assess the situation of the pandemic in the country. A review of the risk matrix criteria that determines the pace of the deflation is expected.
The President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the President of the Assembly of the Republic, the Minister of Health and party representatives will again meet with experts on the evolution of the pandemic in Portugal and new rules to be adopted in the summer.
This will be the first meeting between politicians and experts since the state of emergency ended on April 30.
A review of the risk matrix it is a novelty expected at this meeting, after the epidemiological situation has worsened in the last two weeks, especially in the Lisbon region, which will be on the alert in the ongoing deflation plan.
At the press conference at the end of Thursday’s Council of Ministers meeting, the Minister of State and Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, left the warning that the country is approaching the yellow zone in the current risk matrix, asking the reinforcement of prevention.
From the point of view of Health, the red lines should not be changed now; but Prime Minister and President of the Republic argue that it is necessary to accelerate the deflation.
According to Expresso, most sanitary ward, headquartered at the Ministry of Health, has doubts that a new risk matrix should be advanced in early June; While António Costa e Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa consider that the rate of vaccination should be taken into account and not so much the incidence of covid-19.
The political wing understands that, since the groups at higher risk are more protected, it makes sense to change the risk matrix. But the more cautious Ministry of Marta Temido argues that everything must continue to be done to prevent a new wave, even if less serious and without pressure on hospitals.
The weekly advances that, in the group of experts who defined the red lines, there seems to be a consensus to maintain the risk matrix as it is for some time until a higher vaccination rate is reached in the various age groups.
“I think it’s premature and rash already making changes to the matrix, the red lines and the criteria that accompany them. Another two months is enough to be safer, when 70% of the vaccinated population is reached ”, said Manuel Carmo Gomes, one of the members of this group of experts.
“We are really in the middle of the transition between a paradigm of preventing deaths and protecting the NHS, and another where you have a fully protected NHS without risking a new increase in cases. We already have the SNS protected, but there may still be an increase in infections because the active population, the main driver of transmission, is not vaccinated ”, he justified.
Expresso knows that, even with changes in the indicators, the grid philosophy it will be to maintain, since it allows the country to clearly understand how the control of the pandemic is evolving and, in this way, signal the Government, which is responsible, together with the experts, to adopt measures.
There are several hypotheses on the table, such as change the indicators or change the risk levels current criteria (the government defends the latter). Despite this, experts consider it risky to let the incidence of covid-19 rise.
The current risk matrix is composed of two criteria, the transmissibility index (Rt) of the virus and the incidence rate of new cases of covid-19 per hundred thousand inhabitants in 14 days, indicators that have served as a basis for the Government’s assessment on the restriction easing process started on March 15.
This Friday, parties and government officials will again hear the experts at the meeting at Infarmed. After that, António Costa’s Executive will decide what to do next week.
Liliana Malainho, ZAP // Lusa