A toxic cloud of sulphur dioxide – released during a fire earlier this week (click here) – is still causing havoc over Setúbal, with at least 20 people, 10 of them firemen, requiring hospital treatment, and schools shut for the third consecutive day.
In the latest press conference given this morning, health chiefs have declared the fire officially ‘extinct’ after over 48-hours of constant vigilance at the Sapec plant in Mitrena.
But the cloud is still very much in evidence – with the latest ‘victim’, a 10-year-old child, admitted to hospital with what are described as “eye lesions” earlier this morning.
The child is the fourth to have needed hospital treatment, with the youngest – now back home – being just two.
INEM boss Luís Meira stresses however that the victims’ problems – essentially “little burns” – are not expected to be permanent.
As newspapers have been explaining, the concentration of sulphur dioxide in the air puts children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems most at risk, as eyes and air passages are particularly vulnerable.
DGS health chief Francisco George has said this is why children and the frail and elderly need to remain indoors with the windows shut.
He also advised against any kind of outdoor exercise that would cause rapid breathing.
The health warning stays in place until tomorrow morning, writes Diário de Notícias, adding that the origin of the fire that began in the early hours of Tuesday morning is still unknown.