Portugal ‘celebrates’ another (almost) exemplary Covid bulletin

Friday has seen another (almost) exemplary Covid bulletin: only five deaths, 488 new cases – only eight of them in the Algarve – and another dip in numbers in hospital. The only ‘niggle’ remains the Rt number (indicating transmission), which is slowly inching upwards.

There are those who say the Rt is being made far too much of. Just because transmission is increasing, ‘doesn’t necessarily mean these new cases will end up in hospital’.

On the basis that only a tiny fraction of cases do ever end up in hospital, this is perfectly true.

Add to that the fact that hospitals are getting better at dealing with the more serious cases – and are now not overrun – and this might explain why the government has stressed that it is confident in moving forwards to phase two of the deconfinement process after Easter.

For a brief low-down on today, active case count is down to 31,540. Another 891 people have been deemed ‘recovered’ in the past 24-hours; the incidence rate on the mainland is 66.8 cases per 100,000 (which is well on the way to the government’s ‘ideal’ of 50, and a long stretch from the ‘red line’ of 120). With the archipelogos included, incidence is up slightly to 75.7 cases in 100,000.

One new case has entered intensive care in the last 24-hours – but levels in intensive care are below experts’ predictions for the end of March of ‘around 200’. There are just 155.

By far the ‘worst’ area remains Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo, with +210 new cases in the last 24-hours. Madeira and Azores also seem to have ‘higher’ numbers of new cases suddenly (Madeira yesterday registered +8, today it’s +34).

Considering the country is now hugely compromised with new limits on mobility (click here), the positive picture of today’s bulletin has every chance of being continued into next week.

As reports stress, deaths were the lowest since last October: two in Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo, two in the centre and one in the Alentejo.

The Rt which was 0.91 on Wednesday, is now 0.92 for the mainland, 0.93 if one takes the archipelagos into account. The country is 0.08 from the ‘red line’ of 1, thus the Easter week will be ‘pivotal’ in the drive to keep transmission down.

UPDATE:

Since the bulletin was released, further information came from minister of the presidency Mariana Vieira da Silva who said the Rt in Algarve, Azores and Madeira is now ‘above 1’. PM Costa then sounded the alert that ‘if the vector everything is watching on the government’s colour chart approaches yellow (from its current position in the ‘green’ corner), certain parts of the deconfinement strategy could be delayed (in this instance he mentioned delaying the opening of secondary schools…)

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com