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Infarmed meeting to determine ‘next steps in pandemic’ scheduled for Thursday

A new meeting between government policy makers and specialists has been set to take place at medicines authority Infarmed on Thursday afternoon.

Following the usual pattern of these meetings, the government listens to medical specialists on how they see the epidemiological situation in Portugal developing, before formulating new measures.

No decisions will emerge instantly – but the information will be key to decisions likely to shape the autumn, if not winter.

The 85% target for ‘fully-vaccinated people’ is on track to have been achieved by the end of this month – and already the rule imposing the use of masks in public open spaces when physical distancing is impossible has ‘fallen’. This does not mean that it won’t be reinstated: many reports describe specialists “still divided over the wearing of masks in outdoor spaces” – some believing it should continue, others that it should have been scrapped weeks ago.

The meeting comes as all over Europe different governments are adopting different policies.

In UK, for example, the decision has come this week to vaccinate 12-15 years olds (but only with one dose of Covid vaccine, not two), and to start giving booster shots to everyone over the age of 50.

Portugal is still balking at this prospect, with specialists saying booster shots are only necessary for those who are immunosuppressed.

Meantime, the ‘numbers’ coming out of Portugal point to a stabilising and decline in SARS-CoV-2 infections – with less people in hospital than have been for weeks; ditto regarding deaths as well as a reduction in new cases.

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