In the letter, released by some media outlets, the 20 signatories take a snapshot of the current situation in the country stating that in the last 14 days (up to 8 July), the Covid-19 mortality rate was 0.03 per 100,000 inhabitants, against a mortality rate from other diseases and causes of death of 2.7 per 100,000.

"The average number of patients hospitalised for Covid-19 was 528.7, in a total of around 21,000 NHS beds, in which 17,700 were dedicated to Covid-19," stress the signatories, among whom are the President of the Portuguese Pharmacists' Association, Ana Paula Martins, pathologist Germano de Sousa, public health physician Jorge Torgal.

They also note that the incidence of positive tests was 254.8/100,000, "but the true incidence of Covid-19 is unknown", and that the "incidence" of infection among those who completed the vaccination plan is 0.01 percent.

Given this picture, the signatories state that "it is not reasonable to combat the current situation - no longer pandemic, but endemic - using 'sanitary' measures, whose effectiveness has been questioned by several prestigious researchers".

They also consider that these measures produce "more serious effects for society and the common good than the disease itself" and that some of them "may have contributed to the increased circulation of the virus".

"The risk of dying from a disease other than Covid-19 is, yes, increasing in Portugal," they say.

In this sense, they appeal to health authorities and the Government, before taking decisions with "enormous deleterious potential", to consider the scientifically based opinions of scientists and health professionals who, without denying the importance of Covid-19, whose response should be "a priority", propose strategies for its approach different from those that have been followed.

For the signatories, it is possible to outline a strategy avoiding the use of the "wrong measures of general lockdown".

They suggest measures such as "speeding up vaccination", simplifying the process, "excessively consuming of human resources, which are lacking in health centres for the normal care of patients", and involving civil society agents in the process, such as pharmacies, to "rapidly increase vaccination coverage".

They also advocate the improvement of epidemiological surveillance, which they consider "has been a failure in Portugal", the end of "weekend measures" and others of the same kind, "which have already shown to have no impact on the number of new cases".

"We are in an endemic phase and only ignorance about what is really happening on the ground can lead to postponing once again the need to install a real-time, computerised and centralised monitoring system of hospital beds, a factor that, during the last year, has led to a closure of healthcare provision to 'non Covid-19' patients", they criticise.

In their view, this situation is having and will have in the future, "disastrous consequences in terms of morbidity and mortality.

This is a "determining aspect" to take into account in the "risk matrix", because, they say, "the risk of dying from a disease other than Covid-19 is indeed increasing in Portugal".