Asked whether the low literacy levels of part the Portuguese population should mean advising against "self-management", the head of State considered that, on the contrary, the Portuguese have shown "high literacy in responding to health appeals" in the bid to contain the spread of Covid-19 in Portugal.

"One thing is literacy in terms of education, which has been on the rise, fortunately, in Portuguese society. Another thing is in terms of civic culture, of experience, in which the Portuguese, regardless of their level of education, have responded in the affirmative, showing what I would say is a capacity for high literacy in the field of protecting their health and the health of others," he said.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa highlighted the current "levels of testing" in the country, "five times higher than what happened a year ago".

"This represents an effort on the part of the Portuguese and their ability to take up the call for self-management of the pandemic", he defended.

According to the President of the Republic, at the meeting between experts and politicians regarding the rise in cases in Portugal of Covid-19, there was "total convergence between the various experts regarding the analysis of the situation".

"Although Portugal, after Sweden, is the most open European society in terms of restrictions, this has not meant a pressure on hospitalisations, intensive care and the number of deaths comparable to what happened a year ago or corresponding to the growth in contagions or in the number of cases in recent weeks and days," he highlighted.

Praise for the people

The head of state praised the Portuguese, saying that "they have been exemplary, in self-testing, in testing themselves in other ways, in respecting the rules of protection, distancing, and wearing a mask whenever this is considered appropriate", adopting "preventive behaviours so that this variant [Omicron], which is very contagious, is not as serious as the previous variants".

"It is impossible not to thank the Portuguese for understanding the messages that the public authorities have been directing. They always understood and acted accordingly", he said.

With regard to vaccination against Covid-19, the President of the Republic highlighted its importance to prevent serious illness: "Looking at the values ​​of inpatients and inpatients in vaccinated and unvaccinated intensive care, the effect of vaccination in preventing severity, hospitalisations and deaths."