The general director of Health, Graça Freitas, guaranteed today that Portugal has “a robust public health device” activated for the new coronavirus and said that “second-line hospitals” are already being identified, including one in Madeira.
At a press conference in Lisbon, Graça Freitas said that the autonomous regions are a high priority now, in the sense of preparing to carry out tests and analyzes on the new coronavirus, designated by the WHO as Covid-19, locally.
Currently, the reference hospitals are in Lisbon and Porto (Curry Cabral in Lisbon and São João in Porto) but the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) is “identifying second-line hospitals” for containment, which will be in the Azores, Madeira , in Coimbra and in the south of the country (not guaranteed to be in Faro).
“With the regional health administrations, we are identifying which hospitals to send patients to. They will be of second containment line. Then in this other phase all hospitals will serve patients, already with other requirements ”, explained Graça Freitas, referring to a hypothesis of a worldwide spread of the virus, which for the time being the most in mainland China.
Second-line hospitals, he explained, will be hospitals prepared with rooms, equipment, technical teams and laboratories, in case it is necessary. If necessary, patients are admitted there, they are prepared, and the virus contained.
Today, said Graça Freitas, the Emergency Coordinating Committee met, which brings together DGS and partners such as INEM, the Ricardo Jorge Institute, Infarmed and the Regional Health Administrations, to prepare a response to the virus, if necessary.
“Within this preparation, we are in a containment phase. The system of detecting suspicious cases early has worked to date, ”said the official, recalling that six people have already been admitted to referral hospitals for suspected Covid-19 infection and that all have been negative.
Graça Freiras stressed that Portugal has the capacity to safely detect and transport a suspected case to a referral hospital and that if one day needed, it does have the capacity to isolate and treat the patient.
The new coronavirus detected in China has already caused more than 43,000 infected and more than a thousand deaths, with only one of the fatalities occurring outside China, in the Philippines.