Leap in hospital admissions; further restrictions in Madeira – and yes, new variant in Portugal already…

Sunday January 3 has seen another leap in hospital admissions for patients battling the new coronavirus, while authorities have finally confirmed that ‘yes’, the ‘much more transmissible variant’ that saw Europe slam its doors on the UK before Christmas is already here, and spreading…

Says Público, at least 16 cases have been identified on the mainland, after the 18 cases that were flagged by airport officials in Madeira last weekend (click here).

As for the latest data, another 186 people have entered hospital in the last 24-hours, taking numbers in ICU back up to the 500-mark. Another 73 people have died.

New infections are not as high as they have been in the recent past (the last 24 hours saw +3,384) but the number of active infections – which only last week was below 70,000 – is now back up to over 77,000.

The relaxation of restrictions over Christmas is being seen as the driver of this latest tendency which will only become ‘clearer’ in terms of what is developing by the middle of the coming week.

Looking at the various areas where new infections have been identified in the last 24-hours, the Algarve and Alentejo are showing consistently ‘high’ numbers: (+133 and +155 respectively).

For the full picture click here.

Meantime Madeira has approved further restrictions in the face of its own increasing number of new infections.

The archipelago has been operating a strict entry policy for airline passengers for months now. A nighttime curfew like that on the mainland (no circulation between 11pm and 5am the following day) will start Tuesday from January 5, as the return of schools from the Christmas holidays (starting from tomorrow) will be staggered with a mass-tsting programme put in place. The policing of communities will also be ‘reinforced’ to ensure populations keep to the rules., 

Back on the mainland, health authorities have warned that it will take another few days yet to confirm whether or not Portugal is facing a ‘third wave’ of the virus.

This is the traditional ‘flu season’ when hospitals are expected to see admissions surge. But this year is simply ‘even more complicated’ as similar stress is being reported in other countries throughout Europe.

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