In Portugal, on the 30th of isolation, in isolation, being able to go out, vote in the polls. Filipe Froes, Pneum and Coordinator of the Crisis Office for Covid-19 of the Ordem dos Médicos, considers that this decision allows confined cases to exercise their right to vote and discard the idea that the electoral act can increase to the increase of .
RFI: In Portugal, on the 30th of isolation, in isolation, being able to go out, vote in the polls. Is this the right decision?
Filipe Froes: We have to understand that this is the third electoral procedure carried out during a pandemic. If you ask me if there were better alternatives, which were anticipated, of course there are. Anyway, at the moment, the situation is irreversible and we are facing the best alternative.
The other alternative was that they could not be elected and this clashed with a constitutional right to participate in elections.
What was done, was done, insofar as it was done, with the character of an exception to vote, a better condition was planned so that the answer, in responsibility, under conditions of individual and collective majority and with the character of an early vote exception could exercise his right during this period, the security conditions.
What would be the best option, in your opinion?
There are other hypotheses that required more timely preparation. Electronic voting would be one of the alternatives. In the Medical Association we can vote by electronic vote, this is already foreseen. Electronic voting is also provided for in other electoral processes. This vote would be a way to ensure greater and thus combat absenteeism, regardless of the vote, regardless of where you are a person.
Is there a risk of infection?
There’s a risk of infection, there’s zero risk in people, if people vote safe by the safety standards that were medicines. But there is no electoral act, as outside the electoral act. What is required of people is a behavior of greater civility and responsibility.
If they are respected and if people are recognized as norms as stipulated in which they are limited in isolation if and exclusively for what is considered a risk under the conditions that have been taken, the risk is this right as a fundamental advantage of people guaranteed in the stipulation of the guaranteed restrictions is exclusively insured.
What are safe to be given to confinements?
As they are very simple. First, people have to realize that as they break isolation, for a short period of time, the virus continues to do its job.
Which means people always have to wear a mask. In the doctors’ order we advise a more effective mask, the P2. People must ensure the safety distance of two meters and must not use public. Ideally, you should go on foot or in your own car.
Hand washing should not be forgotten, voters should bring their equipment to vote. We add that if you have fever and cough you should refrain from devotee.
The polling station should be as large as possible and all people at the polling station wearing protective gear, for example acrylic protection, and hydroalcoholic gel should be easily accessible.
There is an hour not far away.
The Directorate General of Health says that people in confinement should go to the polls preferably between 18:00h and 19:00h. But it’s just a suggestion. Shouldn’t this schedule be mandatory?
There is no possibility of making a mandatory schedule due to constitutional reasons. It’s a possibility, hopefully. people who have to comply
At a time when the country is registering more than 55,000 cases per day, when the sub variant of Ómicron is already mentioned, is there a risk of infection, that is, could the number of cases increase after the election?
If people respect the rules, I don’t see conditions for an increase in cases and I don’t believe that the act can contribute to the increase of the electoral chain of transmission.
Portugal’s epidemic trajectory has been very similar to the United Kingdom and Denmark, countries that are experiencing an increase in Covid cases, also due to the Ómicron sub variant. Could this scenario not happen in Portugal?
In medicine and in a pandemic, all scenarios are possible. In any case, a new Omicron variant of the BA2 lineage does not have different epidemiological characteristics from BA1.
We, in Portugal, already with the height of our 5 million people, about 50% of the population, with our booster vaccine. If we take into account the type of vaccine of other resistance factors that are 5 people at risk as well, with comorbidities and risk factors, the risk is also small.
Nor can we forget that with the complete vaccination schedule, without booster, Portugal maintains a vaccination coverage rate of around 90%, which provides some protection.
Despite the number of cases being around 50/70 thousand per day, about 5 thousand cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days, we continue to see a decrease, or at least a stabilization, in the number of admissions to the ward. and intensive care.
We have to keep vigilance, we have to comply with the electoral rules for the situation to get worse, but at the moment the act does not represent, in my perspective, an increase in gravity.