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Head of Medical Association suggests alternative measures to confinement

Dr Photo - Head of Medical Association suggests alternative measures to confinement.The President of Portugal’s Medical Association,  Miguel Guimarães,  suggests that there are alternative measures to confinement that should be used to stop the pandemic, such as “stricter rules” for people to comply with, effective supervision and a new risk matrix.

“Maybe we wouldn’t even need to confine Lisbon, we have to start imposing stricter rules through the education of people, so that they comply with the norms of the General Directorate of Health”, suggests the president of the Medical Association.

“The Government, because it was having more cases in Lisbon, took some restrictive measures for Greater Lisbon at the weekend”, such as prohibiting circulation in and out of the region, closing restaurants earlier etc, “but it didn’t serve to contain the infection because “the Delta variant is already spread throughout the country”, stated Miguel Guimarães, in statements to Lusa news agency.

The Delta variant, he underlined, “is widespread because the virus doesn’t do anything in a week, it doesn’t take just a few days, therefore, this short term outlook doesn’t work.”

Miguel Guimarães stressed that the mask is necessary, but there are “too many people” without it, which he considered “a mistake”, just as it is necessary for people to keep their distance and maintain the level of hygiene.

He also advocated “some tight rules” for events with more people, so that they have to take a quick antigen test, which is now subsidised by the state.

“There are a set of tools that we must use for the economy to continue to function, and to protect health and this starts with the matrix [of risk], he argued, adding that “within a short time” the OM (Medical Association) will have an “established matrix working” which takes into account “various parameters” because the situation has changed.

In his view, it is necessary to associate “new measures” with “absolutely essential” measures to the matrix, such as appealing to people to be vaccinated.

“Give help to the `task force` through institutions from completely different areas, from sport, culture, etc., to appear and motivate people to be vaccinated because there is a large number of people who are not being vaccinated” and “it is not only people who refuse vaccination via SMS, they are also those who do not turn  up to their vaccine appointment”, he said.

A “strong message” that also needs to be given is that even those who are vaccinated must wear a mask. “There are many people vaccinated without a mask, which is wrong. We must continue to educate people in this regard,” he reiterated.

Another measure is to “massively use” rapid antigen tests for “a huge range of activities” to be able to control outbreaks in weddings, christenings, cultural activities, sports, he said.

He said that closing schools for holidays could be “a big help” in this difficult fight due to the Delta variant, which is “much more contagious”, which means that, in order to achieve group immunity, the percentage of vaccinated people will have to probably exceed 90%.

Therefore, he argued, it is necessary to have “a different way of acting” than the country had in the other “acute phases” of the epidemic, without having “large containment measures, which at this time may not be properly beneficial in global terms” .

“We have to take these alternative measures and start carrying out effective inspection, which I think has always failed,” he stressed.

There really needs to be “very great mutual help” between those who can contribute in this matter, to educate people to understand that “to continue to be together, to continue doing their things, it is essential to comply with the rules.” .

Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/