Marta Temido announced in an interview to SIC that the country has already achieved this goal, which was associated with moving to the second of the three phases of deconfinement of the government's plan for managing the pandemic. The deadline foreseen by the government to reach the level of 70 percent of vaccinated citizens was 5 September and the prime minister, António Costa, advanced on the 29 July with the possibility of bringing forward the lifting of restrictive measures if vaccination managed to reach its predicted goals more quickly.
The issue is the end of the mandatory use of masks in outdoor public spaces, the use of public services without the need for prior appointment, the increase in capacity in the catering sector to eight people per group inside and 15 per group on terraces, as well as in cultural shows and weddings or baptisms, which can now have up to 75 percent of space occupation. However, the ruler made a distinction between the measures.
“They are different things. What is the commitment to alleviate measures associated with this positive verification of results has to do with staffing rules and this depends on an appreciation of the Council of Ministers. A change in circumstances of this type may lead to an extraordinary meeting tomorrow (20 August), after the report of the Directorate-General for Health and the National Health Institute is known Dr. Ricardo Jorge; something different is the theme of the masks”, said Marta Temido.
“The rule that is in force was issued by the Assembly of the Republic and it is the responsibility of the Assembly of the Republic to carry out this assessment. But it is worth mentioning that the use of masks, as the examples from other countries show, will always have to be reconciled with the circumstances”, she said. According to Marta Temido, the path defined by the government “is not an automatic process”, since it “also involves the assessment of epidemiological indicators”.
Without failing to stress that "the pandemic is not over", the Minister of Health indicated that 85 percent of the population with full vaccination is the "next step" and did not rule out a new anticipation of surveying measures associated with this goal, if it were to be reached before October, as predicted by the executive. “We had set a target of 85 percent vaccination for the end of September. Naturally, we are seeing that it is possible to reach targets earlier than expected and, if that is the case and the situation develops favourably, we will look at reality. The restrictions have always been proportionate to the situation we were facing and therefore, if we can move towards relief, we will do so”, she concluded.