“Our goal is to maintain a high level of testing. Yesterday more than 30,200 tests were registered. In February, we have had a daily average of 39,000 tests and this daily average was only surpassed in January, and even in months with a high incidence, such as December and November, the daily averages were below this ”, said Marta Temido.

After the maximum of almost 77,000 tests, reached on January 22, the minister acknowledged the decrease in demand in recent weeks and recalled the review of the rules for screening risk contacts by the Directorate-General for Health, which came into force today, as a way to keep pace with the fight against the pandemic.

“We now have a smaller number of tests in terms of what is the demand for tests in the various points of the network. It was for this reason that we opted to request technical guidance that would allow the tests to be extended regardless of the degree of risk of contacts. With the entry into force of these standards, not only high-risk contacts, but all contacts, regardless of the degree of risk, should be tested,”she noted.

Asked about the available capacity of human resources to carry out the most comprehensive and periodic screening strategies in other structures, such as schools, the Minister of Health recognised the need for an “efficient” management of resources.

“We have to make efficient use of their efforts to ensure that priorities are not undermined. Testing in these locations can be done by health professionals or subcontracted entities. We have these two channels on the table, in order to guarantee the best for the professionals”, she noted.

In parallel, Marta Temido admitted that health professionals also have to start resuming non-covid assistance activity, which had been suspended with the third wave in the country.

“The National Health Service needs to be able to respond to those needs. It is totally undesirable to keep up with health service utilisation numbers in response to covid, still the type we have at the moment. As long as we maintain this level of pressure, we will have immense difficulties in guaranteeing other types of care”, she reiterated, calling for continued compliance with precautionary measures.