Portugal has today registered 10,027 new cases of Covid infections. It’s the highest number of detected in a 24-hour period since the start of the pandemic.
Numbers have been ‘creeping up’ but not by this amount in a single day, which represents a doubling of totals declared only yesterday.
Everything suggests this is proof of the rampant transmission of the ‘new variant’ identified in UK just before Christmas.
Today’s figures can be seen in full here.
Deaths came in at 91; active cases are up to over 87,000 (when over Christmas they were running at roughly 20,000 less this amount) and the worst areas in terms of new infections remain the north and Lisbon and Vale do Tejo.
Bearing in mind areas of Lisbon and the north are the parts of the country most ‘confined’, with the strictest containment measures in place, today’s numbers may leave authorities wondering ‘what else can be done to make any kind of difference’.
Health minister Marta Temido has already stressed ‘everyone is needed for this latest round in the battle’. Without active support from the population, hospitals will simply start to become inundated with people requiring emergency treatment.
The Algarve too is in a sudden dilemma. Up till now almost all boroughs have escaped the kind of weekend confinements suffered further north. Now things are looking a great deal worse: the number of new infections in the last 24-hours has been pegged at 307.
The Alentejo is also registering its highest numbers in terms of new infections (+439), adding weight to rumours over social media that the mortuary in Évora is full of dead bodies to the extent that a refrigerated truck has had to be parked outside to take the overspill.
Tomorrow sees the Council of Ministers meeting to discuss any changes to the measures of combat already in place in various parts of the country.
Parliament is due today to approve renewal of a State of Emergency until January 15 – the idea behind this slightly shorter period is to give President Marcelo sufficient time to analyse the latest data and re-consider whether the State of Emergency will require further renewals.
President Marcelo meantime has had to go into prophylactic isolation after having close contact with an infected aide (see story to come).