ANTÓNIO PEDRO SANTOS/LUSA

Portugal’s ‘extreme risk boroughs ‘double’ in less than two weeks

Portugal currently has 57 council areas at ‘extreme risk’ of Covid transmission. This translates into populations within them having more than 960 cases of infection per 100,000 inhabitants.

As the country braces for a looming national lockdown – and the prime minister battles for schools to remain open – media outlets are tracking the development of Portugal’s epidemic.

Says TSF radio, the number of boroughs at extreme risk has doubled since the last assessment made on January 4.

On the basis of data from December 14 to 27, there were then only 25 boroughs in the extreme risk category.

Público puts the picture as one where “the number of positive cases is duplicating every nine days”.

The situation this afternoon is that no-one knows yet what form the lockdown will take: there has been talk of dentists and even hairdressers being allowed to stay open this time. The PM is pushing for schools; the health minister is said to be against this.

But the latest figures are ‘dire’. In the last 24-hour period there have been 122 deaths (a new record) and another 213 people have been admitted to hospital suffering with complications from the virus. Nine more patients have been admitted to ICUs.

Case numbers, in terms of new infections are ‘down’ in comparison to the last few days – but then this is Monday, and testing that goes ahead on Sundays is known to be reduced.

For now, everything is focused on the meeting between the government, president (plus presidential candidates) and Infarmed (medical authority) tomorrow, after which parliament will debate the presidential decree for a renewed State of Emergency, and the Council of Ministers will decide on all the measures that will have to go with it.

For today’s numbers in full click here. The bulletin today carries a list of the nation’s boroughs, colour-coded to show levels of transmission.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com