The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, admitted that the immediate closure of all schools will be discussed in the Council of Ministers this Thursday. In an interview with RTP1, after participating in a meeting with a group of epidemiologists and speaking with Prime Minister António Costa, the minister admitted that the data that was revealed to her, namely the prevalence of the British variant of the SARS-CoV coronavirus -2, “will force new reflections on possible measures to be taken”.
Marta Temido said that there were "changes to previous estimates", assuming that 20% of Covid-19 cases are due to the British variant and that this percentage may reach 60%. Therefore, new measures should be taken even before the Infarmed meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, after Marta Temido and the Minister of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, met with António Costa.
"We estimated that the number of cases today we had only at the end of the month," said the Minister of Health, calling attention to the "physical and psychological exhaustion" of health professionals at the forefront of combating the pandemic. "It is very painful to feel that the situation is overtaking us all," he added.
According to Marta Temido, to continue the number of deaths caused by Covid-19, “it seems possible” that 20 deaths are reached by March, with the number of victims of the pandemic at 9.465. This Wednesday the worst values ever reached in Portugal, with 219 deaths and 14.647 new cases.
“Walking on very thin ice” with private health groups
Regarding negotiations with the private sector, he admitted that it is not the civil requisition that solves the problem in itself. "We are walking on very thin ice," he said, adding that he believes in the availability to "deepen the relationship" with private health groups.
In his view, the alternative would be “extreme measures”, with negative consequences for the functioning of the private health units on which the civil requisition would apply, adding that “a good agreement is better than a conflict situation”.
Despite recognizing difficulties in the National Health Service, the governor refused that health professionals are "exactly in the extreme situation of having to choose between who to save". And he also said the situation of catastrophe medicine has not yet arrived, noting that "we are close to that happening".
Marta Temido called for blood donation to improve the reserves of Portuguese hospitals and said that the supply of more oxygen needed due to the influx of hospitalizations caused by the pandemic is being treated with suppliers.