End of isolation for asymptomatic positives ‘under analysis’

Moving albeit at snail’s pace in comparison with other countries, Portugal’s DGS health authority has finally admitted that an end to the enforced isolation of asymptomatic positives for SARS-CoV-2 is in sight, as well as a moratorium on rules over mask wearing.

At some point in “the next few months”, DGS health director Graça Freitas has admitted that masks will only be required in “situations of greatest risk”, and that people who have tested positive but are otherwise perfectly well will be allowed to continue with their lives.

These are developments that even Portuguese experts who have otherwise shown extreme caution through the pandemic have said should start happening (click here).

Graça Freitas however is clearly not in a hurry. She told CNN Portugal yesterday that these questions are “being evaluated by the scientific community”.

She said: “one cannot suddenly drop all the measures to reduce transmissibility” – not really addressing the fact that transmissibility now is at the highest level it has been in the two years of pandemic (over 7100 cases per 100,000 of population) in spite of ‘all the measures in place’.

Ms Freitas also left the door open to ‘reintroducing’ the use of masks next winter.

“If there is a relief in the pandemic, we can reserve, for example, the use of masks for a time when we are again increasing in seasonality”, she told CNN.

Ms Freitas’ slot was also to plug this coming weekend’s child vaccination effort for 5-11 year olds, which has had lacklustre response from parents, in spite of DGS appeals for them to ‘protect’ their children (against a disease almost none of them develop after becoming infected) and constant assurances that “the vaccine is safe”.

In a bid to vaccinate as many young children as possible, vaccination centres will be operating the Open House policy on Saturday and Sunday mornings, ie parents who have not signed up for the jabs, can simply decide on the spur of the moment, for example, to walk in with their children and get them inoculated.

The Open House effort will run on both days until 1pm.

Said SIC television news: The principal objective of this weekend is to complete the vaccination of the first children to have been vaccinated, during the month of December. “The children who are not recovering from (Covid-19) or who are not ill will receive a text message and come and be vaccinated”, said the director general of health”.

What no journalist seems to have asked is what risk there may be if a vaccinated child comes into contact with SARS-CoV-2 directly after vaccination (as appears to have happened in the case of the six-year-old who died recently in Lisbon click here).

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com