Make-or- ‘brake’ week starts with lowest Covid case numbers in fortnight

The week in which prime minister António Costa has guaranteed he will ‘pull the handbrake on Christmas concessions’ if he has to has started with the lowest number of new Covid infections reported in the last fortnight: 2,194.

But there is always a ‘downside’. First the numbers come from a weekend, which traditionally has shown testing and reports ‘conditioned’. Second, hospital admissions (+97) and deaths (+90) remain ‘high’.

As Público suggests today, this week will determine whether or not the government decides to ‘rethink Christmas’ and bring restrictions ‘crashing down’ on the ‘amnesty’ pre-declared for December 23 to 26 (click here).

The DGS health authority report for the last 24-hours can be seen here.

The ‘pattern’ of the virus remains pretty much the same (with the situation worst in the north, followed by the Lisbon area, the centre, the Alentejo, Algarve and autonomous regions of Azores and Madeira).

Deaths too have followed a similar pattern, though the highest numbers have suddenly moved to the capital (32), followed closely by the north (29) and Centre (24) dropping markedly in the south: Alentejo (3), Algarve (2), with none in Madeira or Azores.

Another chink of ‘good news’ can be found in the number of recoveries (2,955) which have exceeded new case numbers and brought down the overall number of active cases nationally in the last 24 hours to 71,012.

In other words, ‘it’s still all up in the air’. As epidemiologist Elisabete Ramos has told Público: there cannot be “a right or wrong answer” to concerns over Christmas. “Obliging part of the population that has already been confined for many months to spend Christmas in isolation is not good for the health” while giving people a few days ‘grace’ and hoping they act responsibly very well may be.