Fewer Covid-19 cases not due to lack of testing


in News ·
07-08-2020 01:00:00 · 1 Comments

The Secretary of State for Health has assured that the decrease in new cases of infection by the new coronavirus, registered in recent days, is not due to a drop in the number of tests being performed.

“In the last week Portugal carried out on average, more than 13,300 tests per day, there is no sign of less testing”, guaranteed António Lacerda Sales, during a press conference on Covid-19 in Portugal.

The Secretary of State referred to a rule published by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) on the screening of contacts by Covid-19, which provides that it is no longer mandatory to carry out tests on high-risk contacts with infected people.

On 1 August, Expresso reported that “high-risk contacts are no longer being tested” with this standard, a situation that DGS denied on the same day in a statement, ensuring that “it is not true” that “Portugal will reduce the number of tests” and that the standard “excludes or restricts the universe of people subject to testing”.

António Lacerda Sales mentioned the topic during his initial intervention, stating that the new norm does nothing more than formalise and standardise what were already the usual procedures.

“Testing contacts on confirmed cases of Covid-19 has always depended and continues to depend on the risk stratification carried out by health authorities,” he said.

And he also considered that, despite being a determining tool, the effectiveness of testing is limited if, at the same time, there is no work to identify transmission chains, through epidemiological surveys that allow the identification and isolation of contacts.

In this sense, the Secretary of State rejected the testing policy as a possible explanation for the decrease in the number of new cases of Covid-19 registered daily, adding, on the other hand, that the apparently positive evolution should be interpreted with caution.

“We have always analysed the figures with the greatest caution, without excessive euphoria when the situation appears to be more controlled, or exaggerated negativism when things do not go as we would like,” he stressed.

Looking at the most recent data, which on 3 August point to the absence of deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, for the first time since 16 March, António Lacerda Sales considered that Portugal’s response to the pandemic has been positive.

“We know that we continue to make the best decisions based on the best scientific evidence available at all times and managing the resources we have in proportion, dynamically and always looking for the best efficiency,” he said.

The government official also took advantage of the press conference to appeal again for the responsible behaviour of the Portuguese people, in particular, those who are currently on holiday, stressing that “collective success continues to depend on the individual actions of every person”.

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