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INEGI works with public health experts and reinforces the need to ventilate interior spaces against COVID-19

29 July 2021
A team from INEGI specialized in indoor air quality has been working with a group of public health specialists, led by Raquel Duarte, from the North Regional Health Administration (ARS Norte) and Public Health Institute of the University of Porto (ISPUP), in order to contribute to the definition of effective recommendations for reducing the risk of indoor transmission of COVID-19.

Properly ventilating indoor spaces and monitoring their air quality, namely the CO2 ventilation indicator, are key measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, says the INEGI’s team.

Last Tuesday, at the meeting on the epidemiological situation in Portugal, held at INFARMED's headquarters in Lisbon, the proposal for the Reduction Plan for Restrictive Measures for Control of COVID-19 continuity, presented by Raquel Duarte, included these recommendations, which reinforce indoor air quality as a tool to combat COVID-19.

"There is evidence to show that the risk of COVID-19 transmission will be substantially increased indoors. Airing spaces well to encourage air renewal is crucial to prevent the virus exhaled from an infected person from tending to accumulate, be transported through indoor air, and infect other people who share the same indoor environment, even if they do not have direct contact with the infected people”, explains Marta Gabriel, a specialist in the indoor air quality at INEGI.

According to the INEGI’s team, measures to ensure adequate ventilation conditions inside buildings involve ensuring the correct functioning and maintenance of mechanical ventilation systems and opening doors and windows. The ventilation needs of each indoor environment depend on multiple factors, namely the space occupancy rate, the characteristics of the building or room, the weather outside, among others.

Therefore, the most objective way to ensure adequate ventilation levels is to monitor CO2 levels, which should, in the pandemic context, remain below 800 parts per million (ppm).

The Council of Ministers meets today to decide the next steps for Portugal, based on the scientific data presented at the last INFARMED meeting.
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