88 Portuguese soldiers in Central African Republic test positive for virus – “they are all fine”

No less than 88 Portuguese soldiers stationed in the Central African Republic on a UN peace-keeping mission have tested positive for Covid-19 – yet every single one of them is ‘fine’.

One of two are showing “slight symptoms” of the virus, but the crushing majority are asymptomatic, says a statement from the general staff of the Armed Forces.

The men represent about half the contingent currently stationed in CAR – the other 92 who have tested negative are equally being kept in ‘quarantine’ at their base in the city of Bangui.

On Monday, in Portugal, DGS health officials explained that even with rising numbers of positive cases, the ‘virulence’ of the virus is not anything like as worrying as it was as those ‘catching it’ are all young and healthy.

DGS health director Graça Freitas stressed that an increased death toll is not expected because the number of people over the age of 70 becoming infected in Portugal is currently very low.

Talking to Diário de Notíciasm virologist Pedro Simas went so far as to say there is no reason, right now, for any kind of alarm.

“It’s absolutely natural that with more people coming to Portugal and moving around over the summer numbers would go up, but it is all under control”, he said.

Positive cases are increasing at the rate of around 600-700 per day but as long as this doesn’t spike Simas seems to think the evolution of the virus is “normal”.

He said the ‘lethality rate’ too is reducing: currently it is at 2.9% when last week it was at 3.1% and the week before 3.2%.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com