“We have some cases that are not linked to the current chains. In any case, they are few, but the truth is that they do exist. Therefore, it is not worth it for us to postpone announcing a case of community transmission, not least because it is interesting to implement measures in line with this situation, In order to try to identify new cases faster,” said Lusa, Azores Regional Director of Health, Berto Cabral, head of the regional health authority.
The measures approved by the cabinet, which will be in place from 00:00 on Saturday, should only be known on Thursday, but Terceira Island, whose community transmission is no longer determined in March and has been very low for several months. The risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection, should rise to a high risk level, according to the official.
“In the case of Terceira, the situation is shifting from a low-risk situation to a high-risk situation. We will of course have to take different measures than we have had so far,” said the regional director of health.
According to Berto Cabral, with the relocation of the community in Terceira, it is now mandatory to take screening tests on inter-island flights “from Terceira or upon arrival at the destination island, similar to what has been happening for a few months with travelers of São Miguel origin”.
There will also be an obligation to conduct tests for participation in weddings and christenings, as is already the case on the island of São Miguel, “to allow events to take place, but with greater security”.
In the past 24 hours, the Azores recorded 72 new cases of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, including 38 in Terceira Island and 34 in São Miguel, with a total of 436 active infections.
The numbers released in the regional health authority’s daily bulletin only approximate those issued on April 10, when the archipelago recorded 76 new cases (75 in São Miguel and one in Terceira, recording a total of 264 active cases of COVID-19). .
Despite there being a “significant vaccination rate”, with half the population of the Azores already fully vaccinated, and the vast majority of new cases in “young men”, the regional director of health said the situation was worth “concern”.
The head of the regional health authority admitted that the increase in the number of new cases was “already expected”, given that there is a greater movement of people and an increase in inbound and outbound tourism in the Azores.
“If we also look at the region as a whole, we’re starting to see more cases, even if not very large, on other islands. It’s also clear that the increased spread of people has contributed to that,” he said.
He added, “We have more tourism from outside the region, we have more domestic tourism, and we are on vacation par excellence, which is also a factor that is currently contributing to the largest number of cases.”
Puerto Cabral said that the greater relaxation of people on the islands where the epidemiological situation was stable, and the predominance of the delta variant also contributed to this increase in cases.
“In scenarios with a higher number of contacts and the delta strain being the one in 100% of the new cases in the Azores Autonomous Region, it would naturally also contribute to a faster increase in the number of cases,” he noted.
On July 8, the regional health minister, Cleo Meneses, said at a press conference that public cultural and sporting events in the archipelago could take place in all Azores as of the 10th, and at weddings and christenings, SARS testing would begin to be required.
Until then, in the Azores, the holding of “public events promoted by the regional administration, including public institutes and subsidiaries of the regional public business sector” in municipalities with medium, medium and high risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which provokes the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which raises the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, has been suspended. COVID-19, with the recommendation that self-employment and private sector entities follow the same procedure
“In very low-risk municipalities, there is capacity limitation of half the capacity involved. In low-risk municipalities, this is a third of their capacity, and in municipalities with medium or higher risk, a quarter of their capacity and are subject to a contingency plan,” Clelio Menese revealed.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, 7,113 cases of SARS-CoV-2 have been diagnosed in the Azores, with 6,497 recoveries and 35 deaths. 85 people left the archipelago without treatment and 60 provided evidence of previous treatment.
As of July 8, 250,705 doses of vaccines against COVID-19 have been administered in the district, with 129,190 people receiving at least one dose (53.21% of the population) and 121,515 people receiving the full vaccination (50.05%).
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