In a statement, the SRCOM stressed that the situation "already becomes worrying in the hospitals of Aveiro, Coimbra, Leiria, Guarda, Castelo Branco and Viseu".

According to the statement, the Leiria Hospital Centre and Baixo Vouga Hospital Centre each have close to 100 professionals in this situation, the Tondela-Viseu Hospital Centre 59, and the Figueira da Foz District Hospital 16.

The Coimbra Hospital and University Centre "is also facing the absence of several hundred professionals, which is creating many serious constraints".

"This is a situation that the Ministry of Health cannot ignore at this delicate time," stressed the president of SRCOM, Carlos Cortes.

The seriousness of the current situation in the Central region led the SRCOM President to appeal to the Ministry of Health to allow the flexible contracting of health professionals once again, in order to cover the most urgent needs.

"The Ministry of Health has to intervene, we are once again at risk of collapse of the healthcare response", stressed Carlos Cortes, noting that "specialties such as Surgery, Internal Medicine, Paediatrics, as well as the emergency services are threatening to collapse".

Besides the need to hire professionals, Carlos Cortes also stressed the need to reassess the standards regarding the isolation period for people infected with Covid-19 and who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms of the disease and those related to contact tracing, namely of the more restricted family circle.

The President of SRCOM considers an urgent review of these criteria and a faster and more adequate monitoring by health authorities of the disease situation to be essential.