“What we are seeing is a predominance of the variant (Delta, initially detected in India) in the Lisbon region and we are trying to prevent it at this stage from moving into other regions until more people are vaccinated. The objective right now is to buy time for more people to be vaccinated”, said Marta Temido.

“We are on a path and we need to buy time so that new variants can be more controlled”, said Marta Temido, acknowledging the context of a “countercycle” between Portugal and the rest of Europe in terms of the incidence of new cases of covid- 19 and the risk of transmissibility (Rt), justifying it with the time that has elapsed since the start of easing of lockdown, in March, and the “very high prevalence” of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.

“It is important to mention that we now have vaccines, testing capacity and knowledge about the form of transmission that we did not have a year ago. However, non-pharmacological measures in this transitional phase may still be necessary”, she indicated, appealing to the “patience” of the Portuguese for “a battle that will still be long”.

Marta Temido also recalled the impact that the resurgence of the pandemic at this stage has on the image of Portugal at European level.

“It's a problem that we still don't know all the effects that the disease has in the medium and long term – and we have to prevent infections – and it's also a problem of the country's image, which has economic repercussions and on our way of life, in a context in which most European countries are with decreasing numbers of infections. Evidently, this situation of counter-cycle in which the country is in is unfavourable to us”, said the minister.