"We assume that the maximum number of cases is expected for the first week or the second week of January", said the specialist at the Infarmed meeting in Lisbon.

On the other hand, for each infected person there will be three who will need to be in quarantine, missing work or school, pointed out the researcher at the National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA).

The INSA estimates a “very high” number of new infections, between 40,000 and 130,000, at the expected peak for the early January, with a subsequent “very high” increase in the number of people in isolation.

"We can assume that the total number of people who will be isolated in quarantine can range from 4% of the population to about 12% of the population", a figure that can be observed or "in the current week or the second week of January", highlighted Baltazar.

Baltazar Nunes recalled that, in September 2021, at a meeting at Infarmed, the INSA presented three probable scenarios for autumn/winter.

Projections also show that the risk of hospitalisation is lower in Omicron about 0.4 times compared to Delta, said Baltazar Nunes, explaining that for the different scenarios of loss of vaccine protection, there are different levels of incidence.

Portugal is still showing “a growing trend”, but the expectation is that the implemented measures will reduce contacts by around 30% and there will be a reversal of the trend.

Regarding hospitalisations, there are also different scenarios according to the loss of protection from the vaccine, which can vary between 1,300 and around 3,700 admissions to the ward, expected for the last week of January, first of February.

At the level of intensive care, it can range from 180 beds to around 450 beds, expected for the first week or second week of February, but this number is "far below" the maximum observed in hospitalisations in late January and early February 2021.