Lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in Portugal now unlikely to happen in April

Written By Lara Silva

While Portugal was set to lift all Covid-19 restrictions on April 3, this is likely to be postponed as cases continue to rise. Researcher Miguel Castanho told CNN Portugal on Friday that the government should postpone lifting Covid-19 restrictions in order to avoid a sixth wave in the winter.

He says that not only is this postponement “inevitable” but a worsening of the situation could lead to reinstating older measures that the country has now abandoned. The researcher states that controlling the pandemic and making sure the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths is very low during the spring and summer is necessary so that the virus is circulating at a low level during autumn.

The Covid-19 pandemic is worsening due to the new BA.2 variant of Omicron that is dominant in Portugal. Researcher Miguel Castanho has said that Omicron BA.2 is not necessarily more severe than Omicron BA.1 but that it can lead to the inefficiency of antibodies, even for those vaccinated or who have tested positive previously.

The transmissibility index (Rt) reached 1,09, as of the end of last week. The Rt indicates how many people an individual can infect in a given time, which is rising under the new variant and could potentially result in a sixth wave, according to the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST).

The Directorate-General of Health of Portugal has decided to no longer publish daily COVID-19 cases and deaths. Rather, they will be publishing the data on a weekly basis. An “open house” strategy for vaccination has also been established. 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.

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