Patients and staff at two Lisbon hospitals “at elevated risk” due to exposure to degraded asbestos

Non-urgent activity in Lisbon hospitals ‘suspended’ due to virus spike

Non-urgent activity in the hospitals of Lisbon, Amadora, Sintra, Loures and Odivelas has been once again suspended due to the virus spike in these areas over the last few days.

The decision to hold back on surgeries and consultations that were only just re-starting after the long period of confinement was made by the government and will be published in Diário da República next week.

Doctors association Ordem dos Médicos has said it doesn’t agree with the decision. The return to normal business should be gradual, says the association’s president Miguel Guimarães. Calling a new halt will only exacerbate the already huge backlog.

But while there has been an ‘exponential leap’ in the number of positive cases, authorities stress they are largely in younger age groups and only impacting lightly on hospitals.

As much as 30% of cases are asymptomatic.

Concerns nonetheless are that infected people will go on to infect older relatives and/ or people they come into contact with.

Thus health authority messages are being focused on ‘the young’ stressing how vital it is that they play their part and reduce active transmission.

A massive testing initiative is also being rolled out, with all those found positive told to self-isolate for 14 days. 

As President Marcelo explained to reporters mid-morning, we shouldn’t confuse this mass action of testing construction workers in five inner city boroughs “with the dissemination of the illness within society”.

The ‘spike’ after all could be the result of such intense testing.

Friday saw the largest leap in numbers of positive cases for the last month: a total of 377 new cases in the previous 24-hour period.

Today’s numbers however have been ‘delayed’ by technical issues, explained health minister Marta Temida at today’s press briefing.

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