“With regard to children, this population has to be vaccinated”, said Pedro Ramos, stressing that data from the country and region shows that “they are being affected [by covid-19] and also transmitting the disease”.

The regional secretary for Health was speaking at a press conference in Funchal, where he outlined the epidemiological situation in the archipelago in view of the new measures to contain the pandemic, which came into force on Saturday and determine, among others, the obligation to present proof of vaccination and negative antigen tests to access most public and private places.

Pedro Ramos said that the Regional Government (PSD/CDS-PP) is just waiting for the indication of the EMA, to proceed with the vaccination of children.

“If the European Medicines Agency authorises the vaccination of children, we will vaccinate children in the Autonomous Region of Madeira between the ages of 5 and 11, a total of 24,248 citizens,” he said.

Pedro Ramos indicated that, after the announcement of the new restrictions, 2,560 first doses of the vaccine against covid-19 were administered and 20,485 rapid tests were carried out in just three days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“We are very pleased with the immediate response of the population”.

Pedro Ramos underlined that, in relation to the 52 hospitalised patients, 60% are unvaccinated, 40% are vaccinated and with comorbidities.

The official said that the new restrictions result from the increase in the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths in the region, a trend that is also verified in the country and in Europe.

“This increase comes because the simplest barriers to contain the pandemic are being broken – the mask to protect, the test to break the transmission chains and the vaccine to reduce the disease's severity, hospitalisations and deaths”, he warned.

Despite the high rate of vaccination among residents – around 85% – Madeira has registered, in recent weeks, a daily average of over 50 new cases of infection.

The new restrictive measures, which require the presentation of a vaccination certificate and a negative antigen test to access most public and private places, took effect at 00:00 on Saturday, but the regional executive stipulated a one-week adaptation period, until next Saturday (November 27), in which the joint presentation of the certificate and a negative test is required.

Thus, from 00:00 on November 27, the presentation of just one of the proofs (vaccination or rapid test) is maintained for supermarkets and grocery stores, public transport, pharmacies and clinics, churches and other places of worship, and for carrying out urgent acts relating to justice and other essential services.