Covid-19: No new restrictions, but Autumn booster on the horizon
According to Portuguese newspaper, Público, regarding the recent peak in cases of Covid-19, the government has decided not to tighten any new pandemic restrictions, saying the peak has pretty much already passed.
Minister of State for the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, said that an expert analysis of the latest numbers showed cases had begun falling in some regions and age groups.
She reiterated that although the use of masks is now not obligatory on most occasions, they should still be used in high-risk situations.
These comments came after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, and following cases in Portugal surging to a daily average of 2290 cases per million inhabitants last week and 3.17 deaths, both figures the second highest in the world and the most in the European Union, according to Público.
Regarding the ongoing vaccination schedule in Portugal, presently, anyone over 80 and nursing home residents are all now eligible for a second booster (fourth jab overall, usually).
Other age groups are still being analysed, with the vaccination calendar for Autumn planned to be revealed by June 9th.
Experts are expecting a new surge in cases in October and November, even without new subvariants emerging.
Epidemiologist Manuel Carmo Gomes appealed to those under 50 who still hadn’t received a booster to do so, saying it would increase antibodies as well as cellular immunity.
The BA.5 Omicron subvariant, considered more transmissible, is said to be responsible for four out of five new infections in Portugal. Around 1500 pharmacies are still doing free COVID-19 tests, but only with a prescription from the National Health System (SNS).