Graça Freitas defends mask mandate in schools

Written By Lara Silva

The General Director of Health, Graça Freitas, has defended the decision to keep face masks indoors and in schools mandatory due to the covid-19 pandemic in Portugal. Freitas said that there is still a large population in these areas that are susceptible to contracting and spreading covid-19, reports RTP news. 

“We have alleviated all the measures in schools so that students and staff can have an academic experience that is the closest to normality at the moment”, she said. The only rule that remains in school is having to wear a mask. However, kids under 5 are not recommended to wear a mask at school and for kids between the age of 6 and 9, the measure is optional.

The General Director of Health also acknowledged that children and young people have a high immunity at the moment, either because they have contracted covid-19 (around 51% of those between 6 and 17 years old) or because they are vaccinated. However, she argues that “there is still a large number of susceptibles in schools” and although their symptoms might be milder, they can transmit covid-19 to others, particularly family and friends.

She also said that even when the use of a face mask is no longer mandatory, the recommendation that one is used when visiting “a grandmother, a mother, an aunt, or someone sick or in an institution” will remain.

Regarding the fourth dose of the vaccine, Freitas said that they are still finding out which populations will benefit from this dose and when it will be administered.

The state of alert has been extended until April 22 by the Portuguese government due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that the current COVID restrictions remain in place until at least the end of the state of alert in Portugal.

This includes mandatory use of face masks in interior spaces, health service locations, and public transport. Those without a booster shot for the Covid-19 vaccine must test negative to visit nursing homes, hospitals, and health centers.

The “open house” strategy for vaccination is still in place in Portugal. Those over 18 without a COVID-19 booster, those over 12 without the first COVID-19 dose, and those over 50 without a booster against the flu can get vaccinated without an appointment.

Entering Portugal: Covid Restrictions & Current Measures

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