More than 500 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the Eastern Algarve boroughs of Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António in the past two weeks.
The situation is “critical,” reports SIC, and started with outbreaks among youngsters in local schools which “took too long to close”.
The widespread transmission of the virus has made it difficult to track contacts and conduct tests, the television station adds.
Local authorities, who are used to handling no more than half a dozen cases at a time, have not been able to handle the skyrocketing number of cases, Castro Marim’s Deputy Mayor Filomena Sintra told SIC.
Added Sintra, authorities simply do not have the “structure” to efficiently deal with the fast spread of the coronavirus in these areas.
The huge leap in the number of tests carried out has also led to delays, which makes tracking contacts and identifying more positive cases even more difficult, explained VRSA Mayor Conceição Cabrita.
The mayor also said she offered to collaborate with the regional health authority but was asked only to cut off access to “leisure areas” such as parks and benches.
Still, Cabrita feels the council could be doing more to help identify positive cases, particularly among elderly residents living alone in the borough’s rural areas.
“We could maybe be part of the solution,” said the mayor, adding that the council has been contacted by residents who live alone and could possibly be infected.