Portugal’s Covid hospital numbers fall below 400 for first time in months

Good news today: Portugal’s Rt is suddenly back below 1 (at 0.98 nationally); hospital numbers are the lowest they have been for months (only 397 people) and only one person has died as a result of complications due to Covid-19 in the last 24-hours.

The number of new cases, however, is higher than yesterday’s total (+610 cases, as opposed to Tuesday’s +424). But higher totals on Wednesday are often seen as the weekend ‘testing lull’ catches up.

Whatever the reason, the overall picture is good. The active case count remains under 25,000 (and people have to bear in mind that over 24,500 of these ‘active cases’ are not causing their sufferers any great inconvenience. Most people have to be ‘informed’ that they are ‘positive’ for what boils down to ‘fragments of a genome that COULD be SARS-CoV-2 but equally could be the genome of any other coronavirus…)

Thus, in spite of all the warnings fanned by the media of boroughs at risk of ‘going backwards’, the country’s ‘risk matrix’ today sees the overall picture back in the ‘green box’ (click here and scroll down), albeit with incidence levels slightly higher than they were at the previous health authority evaluation. Incidence on the mainland is at 68.9 cases per 100,000; taken with data for Madeira and Azores it is at 72.7 cases per 100,000 (both figures are well within the government’s ‘red line’ of 120 cases per 100,000).

What today’s bulletin does not give us is the incidence numbers for each borough – something that will be crucial for hundreds of thousands of citizens’ peace of mind.

For now this means that the four boroughs forced backwards on Monday; the six put into ‘suspension’ (ie not moving forwards) and the 13 put on ‘warning of new restrictions’ (click here), actually have no idea what may have changed – either in their favour or against.

Meantime, tabloid reports this morning suggest six million citizens left their homes over the weekend (roughly 60% of the population) which takes mobility in Portugal to levels of between 5%-6% above “what was normal before the pandemic”.

According to a report commissioned to analyse mobility, “not since Christmas have so many people been observed in the streets”.