Patients being treated at the ICU department at Porto’s Hospital de São João on October 26. Photo: ESTELA SILVA/LUSA

Three more doctors die of Covid in Portugal says General Medical Council

On another terrible day for Covid fatalities in Portugal, the General Medical Council (Ordem dos Médicos) has announced the deaths of three more doctors from the virus.

President Miguel Guimarães has told reporters that this brings the number of deaths among doctors to six that the council knows about. He said there may well be others.

The three died in the last few days, he said. Days in which records on all levels have been consistently broken.

Today’s situation is that another 275 Covid deaths have been reported, along with another 11,721 new infections.

Hospitals have seen another 195 patients requiring treatment for complications associated with Covid-19, and ICUs have the highest number of patients yet: 742 – an increase of 22 in the last 24-hours.

The Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo region continues to show a high number of new cases (it is in this region that the British variant has been prevalent) and the most deaths – 125 in the last 24 hours.

The north however is also showing high numbers of new infections (4,188), but roughly half the number of Lisbon’s deaths (57).

Proportionately, the central region is showing less in the number of new cases (2,219) but even so 54 people died in the last 24-hours.

The Alentejo has seen a huge surge in the daily number of deaths: 30 since Saturday’s bulletin, with 623 new cases registered.

The Algarve has seen 424 new cases and eight deaths.

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Tabloid Correio da Manhã today claims that 96% of all the deaths so far have been in people over the ages of 60.

But back to the issue of doctors’ lives at risk; the General Medical Council’s message to the government is “improve working conditions to reduce the risk of infections”.

Says Miguel Guimarães, ‘thousands of doctors have yet to be included in the first phase of the country’s vaccination programme’.

Indeed, the exact number of doctors either working outside the SNS national health service, or for agencies that supply hospitals is 6,562. Yet of these “less than 100 have received the vaccine”.

Miguel Guimarães also stressed that DGS Covid bulletins should also start being transparent about the toll the virus is taking on the country’s health professionals.

“As we have been saying from the outset, it is very important for the health ministry to announce much more regularly the numbers relating to the impact of the pandemic on health professionals, as much in terms of infections, as in deaths and recoveries”, he said.

Today’s bulletin has seen the country’s total number of deaths rise to 10,469 on only the second day since the 10,000 ‘barrier’ was broken.