According to this risk assessment of the pandemic prepared by Henrique Oliveira, Pedro Amaral, José Rui Figueira and Ana Serro, who make up this working group coordinated by the president of IST, Rogério Colaço, “the current situation is one of increased pandemic danger compared to the previous report” of 19 April.

Mask use

The document states that the elimination of the use of masks “appears to have had a very pronounced effect on the current rise in cases”, a measure that IST experts consider to have been “right” in schools, but which is causing an “excess of contagions” in the work environment.

“It’s elimination in the work context and the non-recommendation of teleworking when it is possible, has caused an excess of contagions that, according to our models, is contributing strongly to the present rise” of infections, underlines the IST report.

The widespread use of masks has no longer been mandatory as of April 22, with the exception of health establishments, including community pharmacies, as well as in nursing homes, home support services, long-term care units and in public transport.

New strains

The Técnico working group also considers that the existing data indicate that the new strains of the Ómicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus may be contributing to the increase in the number of cases.

In view of the “significant worsening trend” of the pandemic in Portugal, experts admit that the recent rise in positive cases of SARS-CoV-2 “will likely contribute” to an increase in mortality in the next 30 days.

Danger not over yet

“We advise strengthening monitoring and conveying the message that the pandemic danger is not over yet”, the report also highlights, which adds that “monitoring of the pandemic numbers must be done in a rigorous and transparent way until the end of the pandemic is declared.” by the World Health Organization.