After the 22nd session on the evolution of the pandemic in Portugal, at Infarmed, on 28 July, the prime minister, António Costa, said that the Government is preparing the next steps in the process of opening up the country, seeking to get as much scientific information as possible about the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic before deciding.

“We prepared the next steps gathering as much information as possible for the decision-making process”, he wrote on Twitter.

The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, said at the end of the meeting at Infarmed: “It has been essential to get more vaccines so that we can now prepare for this next Council of Ministers with some hope, we are still experiencing a pandemic, but we can see how the return to our lives becomes ever closer”.

The experts consulted by the Government suggested at the meeting lockdown measures should movealong with the vaccination rate and insisted on the importance of border control and the ventilation of spaces to avoid new outbreaks in the autumn/winter.

At the meeting, it was revealed that the incidence of new Covid-19 cases in Portugal is on a “slightly increasing to stable” trend, with the rate of increase “decreasing”, according to the Director of Information and Analysis Services of the Directorate-General of Health (DGS).

According to André Peralta Santos, stabilization in the number of new cases has already been seen, although there is still an “increasing trend in hospitalisations and mortality” for Covid-19.

At the meeting where she highlighted that the Delta variant represents 98.6 percent of cases in Portugal, researcher Andreia Leite, from the National School of Public Health (ENSP) of Universidade Nova de Lisboa, proposed updating the incidence threshold in risk assessment from Covid-19 to 480 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (currently it is 240 per 100,000), as well as the definition of an occupancy limit in intensive care units (ICU) of 255 beds.

The issue of vaccination of young people under 18 will be addressed by the Council of Ministers, as revealed by the Minister of Health, also after the meeting at Infarmed, considering that the matter is clarified, although the final position of the DGS is not known yet.