First day since March with ‘no Covid deaths’: “reason for great satisfaction” says health secretary

There have been no deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24-hour period (between Sunday and Monday). This is the first day since March that Portugal hasn’t registered a virus-related death.

The news, which came at today’s virus press briefing, saw health secretary António Lacerda Sales say it was “reason for great satisfaction” given that “things have been very difficult lately”.

“We’re happy this has happened”, he told reporters.

Numbers however “continue to be analysed with great care”… “without excessive euphoria when the situation seems more controlled, or exaggerated negativity when things don’t go as we would like.”

Lacerda Sales was also at pains to explain that the reduction in the number of infections (just 106 new cases, again the majority in the Lisbon area) has nothing to do with a reduction in health authority testing.

Despite a reported ‘change’ in testing policy guidelines, the health secretary affirmed that Portugal is performing an average of more than 13,000 tests per day, and this is set to continue.

Today however also marks the first full week in August, and as such will see many more families ‘on holiday’. To ensure the country enjoys more days with zero deaths from Covid-19, Lacerda Sales said: “We cannot forget that rules of respiratory etiquette and social distancing must prevail. Our collective success continues to depend on the individual actions of each one of us – in the family, at work, on the beach and in other public places”.

Numbers in hospital have been holding steady around the 400 mark (Monday’s total: 390), and the latest INE report on excess mortality in Portugal actually shows that deaths for the first week in July were down on numbers recorded during the same period in 2018 and 2019.