“I would say that the norm, in general, is on the right track” by transforming Covid-19 into a usual seasonal disease, the president of ANMSP told Lusa.

According to Gustavo Tato Borges, the rule by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) on approaching people with suspected or confirmed Covid-19, published on Monday revoked 11 previous rules, “transfers to paper the decisions taken by the Government”, as part of the end of the state of alert on 1 October.

The doctor stressed that the rule is based, however, “on an assumption that is not very prudent”, claiming that this will be the first transitional winter to understand how “covid-19 behaves”, at a time more conducive to the spread of respiratory viruses.

“It would have been a little more prudent to have maintained some measures, such as the isolation of positive people for five days and free tests”, defended the president of ANMSP.

“At this stage of still some uncertainty”, the Government took the risk of lifting these measures, said Tato Borges, recognising that, so far, there have been no negative consequences, because hospitalisations and deaths are within expectations for this time of year.

The doctor also pointed out that a “failure” of the DGS standard is “there is no recommendation on the ventilation of indoor spaces” for the general population, claiming the need to “increasingly fight for a reference line of air quality inside”.

New rules

The new DGS rule indicates, among other points, that tests for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are no longer recommended for people without symptoms of infection, and patients hospitalised with Covid-19 are now able to receive visits.

The health authority justified the norm with the high vaccination coverage of the population and the favourable epidemiological evolution, which allows “progress towards a response model focused on the prevention and treatment of serious illness, attentive to the circulation pattern and the appearance of new variants of SARS-CoV-2”.

The health authority also added that, given the high vaccination rates in Portugal, most cases of Covid-19 are mild in severity, have a self-limited duration, and only require symptomatic treatment.