An 80-year-old man with underlying health issues has become Portugal’s first fatality in the spiralling coronavirus pandemic.
The initially unnamed patient (see below) – who was admitted some days ago – died this afternoon in Lisbon’s Santa Maria hospital.
His death has already been mentioned on the official site of the presidency, in which Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa sent condolences to the elderly man’s family.
Announcing the news at yet another press briefing, health minister Marta Temido stressed the ‘enormous effort every day’ of health professionals to ensure the system ‘continues to work’.
It was a moment of sadness, but one also for reflection, she said. “More than ever, we have to concentrate on what there is to do”.
Taking only a few questions, the minister said: “We have to keep going”.
As of today, the worst affected region is that of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo (142 cases). The north follows (138), then the centre (31).
The Algarve now has 13 confirmed cases. One has been flagged in the Azores.
The Alentejo and Madeira, up till now, are the only areas that remain ‘virus free’.
Over the weekend an ‘expert’ talking on a television chat show caused a social media frenzy after suggesting the only reason the Alentejo had dodged the pandemic was because “people lived on hilltops” and rarely saw tourists.
There are said to be 18 current chains of transmission active in Portugal, which is four more than were registered yesterday (Sunday).
Within hours of the announcement of Portugal’s first death, the victim’s identity was revealed to be Mário Veríssimo, a former sports masseur at football club Estrela da Amadora, and good friend of football coach Jorge Jesus.
Jesus himself has proved positive for Covid-19 (see separate story)