The expert, who was speaking at the Infarmed meeting, also said that the Delta variant, associated with India, is also dominant in most European countries and that the beta (UK) and gamma (Manaus) variants) have not disappeared, but are residual in Portugal.

As for Delta plus, a Delta variant strain, it is said to represents about 0.6 percent, adding that of a total of more than 3,000 delta variant sequences analyzed, 59 represent Delta plus.

According to the specialist of the National Institute Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), only three cases were detected in July of the Delta plus variant, which "constitute the continuation of chains that have been in existence for weeks", especially on the Alentejo coast, in the Algarve and in the Lisbon region and Tagus Valley.

João Paulo Gomes underlined the reinforcement of surveillance of variants, adding that specialists sequenced 1,500 viruses/month in May and that now they sequence around 600 per week, which results in a monthly total of around 2,400.

In total, he said that 12,625 genomes of the new coronavirus have been sequenced in more than 100 public and private laboratories in more than 300 municipalities.

As for the so-called worry variants, he highlighted the decreasing trend of the Alpha variant (associated with the United Kingdom), which has been replaced over time by the Delta variant, and which currently represents only 1% of cases.

Also with residual expression in Portugal are the Beta (South Africa) variants, with no cases detected in recent weeks, and Gamma (Manaus), which does not exceed 0.4%.

João Paulo Gomes also underlined that the variants "are sharing mutations that previous variants already had" and pointed out the ability of "mutation combination" of this virus, saying that these combinations of mutations do not cause greater concern because of the proven efficacy of vaccines.

Before João Paulo Gomes, Ana Paula Rodrigues, also from INSA, spoke of the evolution of the incidence, pointing to a trend towards stabilisation, with an approximation of the RT to the value 1, which indicates that the country is "close to the peak”.

On the risk of death from covid-19, she said it shows a downward trend in all age groups, particularly older ones, due to vaccination.

However, she warned that in older people, due to their frailty, “the risk is substantial, which justifies the maintenance of specific measures” to control the infection in these groups.