Medical teams of doctors and nurses will be arriving in Portugal over the weekend from Luxembourg and France.
The plan is to give extra support in the hospitals of Espírito Santo, in Évora, and Garcia de Orta, in Almada (near Lisbon).
Says a note from the health ministry, one team will be made up of two doctors and two nurses, the other of two doctors and three nurses. All of them are specialised in intensive care medicine.
Their arrival “constitutes an important support to both hospitals that have experienced elevated pressure at intensive care level”, the note explains.
The teams are due to start working during the week beginning February 15 and stay “for at least two weeks”, adds Público.
Last week, the capital received a medical team of 26 German military personnel (six of them doctors) which is working out of the private Hospital da Luz, and which arrived equipped with 40 mobile ventilators, 10 stationary ventilators and 150 oxygen pumps, as well as a number of hospital beds.
The team is due to stay for another six weeks, Germany’s defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced as this article went up online.
In an interview with Lusa last week, Germany’s ambassador to Portugal, Martin Ney, said the team’s presence in Portugal “is in Germany’s own interest”, as only together can the pandemic be overcome.
Replying to questions, he said it was “impossible” to predict when borders would be reopened in Europe in general, or when travel would once again be possible between Germany and Portugal.
“I would like to come forward with a forecast which takes account of reality,” he said. “The truth is that nobody can predict it. Nobody wants to close borders, it is a measure of last resort.
“Germany believes that as soon as Portugal is ready to resume flights, the flow of tourists and people will resume,” he said. “But no one can predict now when this might happen.”
Intriguingly, Mr Ney cast some light on how the pandemic is unfolding in his own country. He said: “we never thought we would be so heavily-affected with a second wave, and this is partly due to the mutations of the virus, not only in the UK, but also in South Africa and Brazil, which made it uncertain how we could deal with the situation.
“Another element of uncertainty,” he said, has been the cooperation of Germany’s own population, “which is already getting tired of constraints”.