Portugal creeps into ‘yellow zone’: hospital numbers increase

Portugal is creeping into the yellow zone of the risk matrix when it comes to transmissibility and case numbers.

With admissions into hospital increasing, the news from authorities today is that testing (particularly in Lisbon) is going to be reinforced.

Hinting that the Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo area may well end up being ‘sent backwards’ in the deconfinement process, Secretary of State for health Diogo Serra Lopes has also suggested vaccination of younger age groups could be ‘brought forwards’.

For now vaccinations generally are forging ahead, with the cohorts of 50s, 40s and 30s all due to run simultaneously through June.

Today’s bulletin shows Lisbon and the north remaining the areas where case numbers are rising at a higher rate than elsewhere.

Case numbers on their own are not necessarily a bad thing, unless they translate into serious disease – but hospital admissions are rising. They were ‘so close’ to the 200-mark only a few days ago, but are now up to 239 (an increase of 19 in just the last 24-hours).

Intensive care however remains ‘low’ – with just 57 people in treatment throughout national territory.

In the last 24-hours one person has died with Covid-19, 287 have recovered and new cases numbered 241. (This will almost certainly be ‘lower than it should be’ as the total corresponds to a weekend when a lot of laboratories are closed.)

Incidence on mainland Portugal remains ‘in a good place’: just 52.5 cases per 100,000 (55.6 if the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores are taken into account). Rt (transmission) however is up to 1.06 nationally (higher in Lisbon, lower in areas like the Algarve and Alentejo).

Fernando Almeida, in charge of the country’s task force for testing has told Público that efforts now are underway to ‘test the young population’ (aged between 20-40) as this is the age-grouping that is least responsive to test campaigns.

Operations will be focussing on hostels and Lisbon ‘nightlife areas’.