Sunday’s Covid bulletin: cases in north ‘overtake’ Lisbon for first time in five months

Portugal’s Covid bulletin today – aside from showing more new cases in the north than in the Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo region – presents some ‘anomalies’ which may be down to the weekend.

Saturday’s bulletin had the number of new cases in Lisbon at 331; today’s bulletin shows them ‘plummeting’ to just 180.

Madeira too is showing a ‘high’ number of new cases (+133) though the day before was even higher (at +288). The bulletin says this is due to an issue with a laboratory and is being sorted.

New cases in the Algarve (at +32) are also almost double the numbers of the day before.

But with another 966 people ‘recovered’ from positive tests, nationally there were only 682 new cases recorded and 28 deaths. The number of active infections has fallen to 61,987.

Numbers in hospital continue to fall and are now down to just 1,414 – 314 of which are battling for their lives in intensive care.

The understanding is that the country cannot ‘open up’ until Covid patients in intensive care are down to ‘more or less’ 200 – experts obviously would prefer less than 200.

There are no doubts, however, that the moment lockdown ends, Portugal’s Rt (transmission) rate will increase. Hopes are that the controls remaining (wearing of masks, physical distancing, limits on numbers in public interior spaces) will keep the virus ‘at bay’ while vaccinations continue into the summer aiming to have 70% of the population ‘protected’ by August, and so conferring a degree of ‘herd immunity’.

As to the overall picture since the start of the pandemic, Portugal has seen 810,084 people ‘infected’ with Covid-19, of which 16,540 have died. That translates into a percentage of deaths of a little over 2%.