Portugal's high levels of immunity, both through vaccinations and people catching the virus naturally, are believed to be the secret behind current 'positive situation'. Image: A vaccination centre in full throttle / Lusa

Portugal bucks Europe’s Covid trend

Cases and deaths reduce in all regions: “we are on different path to other countries”

For all the talk of a ‘sixth wave’, Portugal (so far) seems to be bucking the current upward Covid swing in the rest of Europe.

The latest figures (now given weekly, on Fridays) “confirm that we are not living through another wave, or even a small epidemic ripple”, Carlos Antunes, of Lisbon University’s Faculty of Sciences has admitted.

Cases, deaths, hospital admissions, incidence and Rt are all falling – albeit slightly.

But – and there is always a but – what is being flagged is a “growing tendency of level of incidence in people aged 50 or over”.

Considering it is the older age groups that have been most vaccinated (even boosted) against Covid-19, this is potentially ‘worrying’, but as victims are not suffering serious consequences, specialists are not sounding any alarms (yet).

According to today’s report in Correio da Manhã, the “crushing majority of deaths due to Covid-19 (111 in 123) registered in the last week (between March 8-14) were in people over the age of 70”.

As ever, the reports may give ages, but they never give any indication of victims’ previous states of health/ underlying conditions/ lifestyles/ even vaccine status – so it is never easy to draw real conclusions.

Nonetheless, the last week has seen deaths reduce to just over 17 per 100,000 of population, which means Portugal is fast approaching that magic number that will allow for remaining restrictions to be lifted on or around April 3.

Portugal is on a safe route, Antunes assures. People are clearly aware of risks – and yes, the over-65s particularly will need to continue heeding them, he said.

But the rest of society, in his opinion, is more than well prepared.

He told Diário de Notícias, it is not simply that vaccine cover in this country is vastly superior to that of so many other Member States, but that the wave Portugal experienced in January “immunised the large part of the young population, where, normally the virus propagates most”.

All this should mean, we are heading to ‘better days’ even if countries further afield don’t seem to be out of the woods quite yet.

For the latest DGS data, click here.

natasha.[email protected]