What are the current measures in place regarding isolation, antigen testing and the use of masks?

There are currently no measures in force, either for those who have Covid-19 or those who have been in contact with an infected individual. Therefore, a person infected with the virus is not obliged to be isolated, nor do they need to report their situation to the National Health Service (SNS), just as anyone who has been in contact with an infected person does not need to take any test.

Although there are no measures in place, recommendations remain. If you are suffering from a respiratory infection, whether flu or Covid-19, taking into account the symptoms you present, try to reduce the risk of transmission by using a mask, hand disinfection and physical distancing. In the case of stronger symptoms, it is important to contact your family doctor.

As for children, the measurements are the same. They are not required to be isolated, but it is recommended to wear a mask in school to avoid the risk of contagion.

Can infected people go to work?

They can, but following the recommendations of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). At this moment, absences justified by virus contamination no longer exist. People who are off work due to Covid-19 are now paid in the same way as sick leave for other illnesses.

Are rapid antigen tests and PCR tests still subsidized by the State?

No. The supply of these types of equipment is no longer subsidised by the State, so the population has to buy rapid antigen tests in their own establishments, for example in pharmacies. It is worth remembering that the SNS24 line no longer passes requests for screening tests.

What was the most recent rule imposed by the DGS on Covid care?

Among the latest standards established by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), the seasonal vaccination campaign that will take place from the 29th of September simultaneously with the flu vaccination campaign stands out, both of which are free for all people with over 60 years old and other priority groups that the DGS will define. According to DGS recommendations, the administration of the vaccine against covid-19 must be carried out at least three months after infection or the last vaccination.

How are Covid-19 cases currently?

At the time when antigen tests were mandatory, it was possible to have concrete knowledge of the number of cases. However, since they are no longer mandatory, we only understand the 'tip of the iceberg', particularly the people who end up hospitalised or those who go to the emergency room.

Regarding deaths, Portugal has a daily average of ten deaths from Covid-19. Which is not considered to be extremely worrying, as the number was already much higher than it is now.

What precautions should we take?

It is necessary to pay attention to the most vulnerable people, particularly the elderly, pregnant women, children under two years of age and unvaccinated individuals. The fact that winter and the cold are approaching means that people tend to stay in closed spaces more, which can increase the risk of transmission, hence the need for better natural ventilation of spaces.

Are the new variants a concern?

There are two new variants that are the most contagious to date, one of which is in the same lineage as the latest variants and the other is part of a different lineage. Case numbers continue to point to a low severity profile, like the Ómicron variant, but it is still necessary to be on alert as they are more transmissible. Covid-19 infection increased in August, driven by new variants that are more contagious.