Also present in the press conference, the secretary of Health, António Lacerda Sales announced the arrival to Portugal of “4.6 million surgical masks”, as well as other protective equipment for health professionals. He also announced the reinforcement of the testing to health professionals, nursing homes, security forces and prison inmates.

Graça Freitas, general director of Health, stated in this Friday’s press conference that the peak of the epidemic curve “will never be reached before the month of May”. “As we slow down the acceleration of the curve, and that’s what’s been happening, the peak will differ over time”, he explained.

Graça Freitas also clarified that the COVID-19’s all age fatality rate is of 1.8% and that “more than 80% of deaths are of people over 70 years old”. When asked, specifically, about the number of old people that were in nursing homes and, in the meantime, have passed away, Graça Freitas claimed to be “a small number”, but only “because the outbreak in nursing homes only recently started”. “A small number” is also of the ones that have recovered, she admitted, explaining that recovery is a very long process, hence this number not being quite significant yet.


About the discrepancy between the number of cases of hospitalised people locally and nationally, she explained that that is due to the source of information collected so far. “We were calculating the number of hospitalized people according to the information of the regional health administrations but yesterday we started collecting the information with the hospitals.”


Also present at the press conference, the secretary of Health, António Lacerda Sales, announced the arrival to Portugal of “4.6 million surgical masks”, as well as other protective equipment for all health professionals. Also welcomed the reinforcement of the National Health System with “4500 doctors, that answered the appeal from the Portuguese Medical Association” in this regard


The secretary of state was, in fact, the first one speaking in the conference and his first words were for the more vulnerable populations. “We can’t forget the most vulnerable, like the homeless, the prison inmates, the chronically ill and the victims of domestic violence and we are working with civil society associations to cater to these people”, he stated. “Unfortunately, Covid-19 doesn’t protect the victims of domestic violence, on the contrary, it makes them more exposed”, he added, explaining that “measures are being taken so that victims of domestic violence are tested before they go to house-shelters”.

According to the secretary of Health, António Lacerda Sales, “tests to health professionals, nursing homes professionals, security forces and prison inmates are going to be intensified”.  “We're already reinforcing the number of tests and we're going to continue to do it. We have to guarantee that whoever takes care of people has the security conditions to do so.” According to him, on Thursday only, were tested, “2500 people, for a testing capacity of around 5600”. And soon there will be introduced in Portugal “new kinds of testing”, not the so-called fast tests, but others, that will allow accelerating this type of procedure.

What are the Government’s plans regarding mental health? It’s still not clear. When asked about it, António Lacerda Sales merely reiterated that the plans have been activated in the northern regions and Alentejo and they will be extended to the other regions of the country. However, he didn’t bring forward any information regarding these plans. According to the secretary of state, it's “predictable an increase in anxiety, depression, stress and fears in this phase”, and the SNS24 phone line will also be used for that, “that it has a psychological and social support component, albeit limited”, he admitted.


You can find the original information in Portuguese - here.