The Lisbon City Council today approved a proposal to test teachers, students and assistants in the city, using rapid screening tests for covid-19, after positive validation by Infarmed.
The document, considered in a private meeting of the executive and to which the Lusa agency had access, foresees “asking Infarmed to quickly clarify the validity and effectiveness of the most appropriate rapid test to be used in the school community to ensure a correct application of the testing process, in conjunction with the Directorate-General for Health “, a point that was unanimously approved.
After “positive information” by Infarmed, the municipality, chaired by Fernando Medina (PS), should “develop a general program for the provision of rapid tests to covid-19 by the CML [Câmara Municipal de Lisboa], to the professionals of the educational communities and to the students of the municipality of Lisbon “.
This second deliberative point of the BE proposal, with which the PS has an agreement of governance of the municipality, had the favorable votes of the PS, BE, CDS-PP, PSD and the abstention of the PCP.
“The reopening of the school increases social contacts and consequently increases the risk of contagion. Ensuring the continuity of learning, we need to find a way to give confidence to the school community. The identification of possible positive cases is a preventive measure that must be applied in a generalized way “, said the councilor of Education, Manuel Grilo (BE) to Lusa, when he announced this proposal two weeks ago.
The mayor argues in the document that “the early identification of pre-symptomatic positive cases is a preventive measure that allows action on possible transmission chains before they become outbreaks, inside and outside schools”.
On the other hand, it is added, a significant part of the professionals working in schools in the city belong to groups at risk and the absence of symptoms in a large part of the young population makes potential infections by covid-19 go unnoticed and become potential contagion factors, since the defined testing criterion is associated with the appearance of symptoms.
The proposal also recalls that two types of rapid tests have already been submitted for the validation of Infarmed, one of which is the sensitivity – detection of an antigen from an infected person – is 96.52% and the specificity – detection of the specific SARS antigen -CoV-2 – 99.68%.
“In another, 93.3% and 99.4%, respectively, in people with suspected exposure to the virus or symptoms in the last seven days. The high sensitivity results in a reduced number of false negatives and few false positives, thus guaranteeing the necessary testing reliability “is read in the document.
Despite the main destination of these rapid tests being the health units, “their use is recommended for schoolchildren and homes, among other equipment, with the advantage of having a significantly lower cost than the tests used so far”, points out the text.
It is necessary to find “a balance between the awareness of this real risk and the confidence of the school community in returning to face-to-face classes, so that they take place as smoothly as possible, as long as possible”, considers the chamber.
The CDS-PP, for its part, presented a proposal to “test, on a monthly basis, using rapid tests for antigen detection, teachers and operational assistants of schools under management in the municipality of Lisbon”, but the document was rejected.
The covid-19 pandemic has already caused more than one million and ninety-three thousand deaths and more than 38.5 million cases of infection worldwide, according to a report made by the French agency AFP.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has recorded 2,128 deaths and 93,294 cases of infection, with 36,085 cases being active, 1,502 more than on Wednesday.