In a risk assessment report released today, ECDC states that during the week of February 1st to 7th, European Union (EU) member states including Portugal, the Netherlands and Spain had a “substantial excess of mortality, while in other countries the mortality levels were normal ”.

Based on the statistics of the EuroMOMO collaboration network, which is monitoring and measuring covid-19-related mortality in the EU, ECDC notes in the report that this increase in excess mortality has “affected mainly those aged 45 or over".

In a chapter devoted to trends in case reporting, testing, hospitalisation and mortality, the European public health agency nonetheless notes that the number of new cases of covid-19 "has been decreasing for three weeks" in the EU / EEA.

On 7 February, Portugal was not included in the group of countries with the highest increase in the 14-day case notification rate (which was previously composed of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Slovakia) or the group of countries with increasing test positivity rates (consisting of Bulgaria, Estonia, and Poland).

The group of countries with increasing mortality rates, on that date, was only formed by Slovakia and Spain.

Despite improvements over the previous risk assessment, ECDC warns in the report that “pressure on health systems remains high”, advising that restrictions be maintained in Europe.

In an explanatory table in the report on the measures that, on the 9 February, were in force related to international travel and the closure of educational institutions, Portugal was one of the EU / EEA countries with the most limitations, this was based on data collected by ECDC together with the European Commission's scientific service.

With regard to international travel and similarly to almost all other European countries, Portugal required the presentation of a negative test to the covid-19 when entering the country, being able to apply other measures, such as mandatory quarantine.

Regarding the closure of school institutions, Portugal was the only EU / EEA country that, in this explanatory framework, had all establishments closed, regardless of the level of education (daycare centers, primary schools, secondary schools and universities).

Even so, the ECDC notes that some countries have opted for hybrid systems (in-person and ‘online’), while others have closed schools partially or regionally.

In this report, the European center also alludes to the vaccination campaign in progress in the EU since last December, warning that “any delays in the acquisition, distribution and administration of vaccines may also delay the option of alleviating non-pharmaceutical interventions [restrictive measures] ”.

"Rapid distribution of vaccines among priority groups is necessary to reduce hospitalizations, admissions to intensive care units and deaths due to covid-19", concludes ECDC in the document.