PHOTO: MÁRIO CRUZ/LUSA

“Pandemic is continuing to grow” says health minister: over 3,770 new cases in 24-hours

Shortly after warning parliament bad news was coming, Marta Temido’s heads-up has been roundly confirmed by today’s DGS Covid bulletin: new cases have indeed broken through the barrier of 3,000, registering a total number of new virus infections in the last 24-hours of 3,773.

Numbers in hospital are up too, as are deaths (17).

Indeed, ICU numbers have broken the 100 barrier: an extra 12 patients since the last bulletin, taking the number of people gravely ill with Covid-19 to 105.

The last time Portugal had over 100 patients in intensive care units was September 16.

With renewed focus now on these daily bulletins, reports are concentrating on results per region. 

Once again the urban areas of the north and Lisbon are the ones with the highest numbers (over 1,000 new infections in each);  followed by the central region (912), Algarve (284), Alentejo (186), Madeira (105) and Azores (70).

The majority of deaths were registered in the central region (7), followed by Lisbon and Vale do Tejo (six), the north (2) and Madeira (2).

Health minister Marta Temido told parliament earlier today: “The pandemic is continuing to grow”, which is why so much has been written about the need for new measures.

While these are due to be announced by the government tomorrow (and are thought to be likely to be fairly straight-forward click here), levels of anxiety in the press – both here and elsewhere – are nonetheless increasing.

The ECDC (Europe’s centre for disease prevention and control) has sounded the alert over “very elevated risk”  throughout Europe during the months of December and January.

The most recent report explains: “With no change in contact rates from current levels, we estimate that countries with the highest levels of vaccine coverage (more than 80%) are at increased risk, while those with immunisation coverage of less than 80% are at high risk”.

Reacting to the report, European Commissioner Ursula Von der Leyen has tweeted that the ECDC’s risk assessment “is clear: we must step up vaccination to control the pandemic… Boosters should be made available for adults, with priority for people over 40 and vulnerable people”.

According to vaccination percentages per country, respected Our World in Data site shows Portugal has an immunisation coverage currently of 87.78%, with 89.04% of the population ‘partially vaccinated’.

In other words, this is a country that according to the ECDC is facing “increased risk”, not “high risk”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com