Álvaro Ayres Pereira, infectious disease specialist and coordinator of the Local Coordination Group of the Infection Prevention and Control and Antimicrobial Resistance Program (PPCIRA) at Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte (CHULN), which encompasses the two hospitals, told Lusa agency that this measure is part of a prerogative of rule 13 of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), which recommends the use of a mask to interrupt possible transmission chains.

“That’s what we did” to control the increase in the number of cases that resulted from the “summer mobilisation”, aggravated by World Youth Day, music festivals, and the “existence of a new, very contagious variant, which does not appear to be more aggressive, but it avoids the vaccine a little”, said Álvaro Ayres Pereira.

Cases have gone from “one hundred” to close to 500, which, according to the infectious disease specialist, had repercussions at the level of hospitals, particularly at CHULN, where previously there were between six and 12 patients infected with the SARS-CoV virus -2, which causes covid-19, and there are now 47 scattered throughout the hospital.

According to Ayres Pereira, there are currently 22 patients with covid-19 hospitalized in the ward, none of them in intensive care.

Many of the patients are asymptomatic and are hospitalized for other pathologies and some have “mild to moderate illness”, with “no serious cases”.

To better control the situation, it was decided to use masks by healthcare professionals during hospitalization and by people visiting patients, as well as reinforcing other precautions such as respiratory etiquette and hand washing.

“It is a temporary measure, we did not want it to have an alarmist nature, but it is part of adapting to current situations”, said the infectious disease specialist.