Virus spike: Portugal ranks as EU country with second highest number of new cases in last 14 days

It’s a ranking the country didn’t need: in the last 14 days Portugal has been declared the EU member state with the second highest number of new cases of Covid-19.

That’s not to be confused with deaths, or even serious cases. In these categories we’re still doing ‘relatively well’.

It’s the fact that situations – like those obvious in Lisbon over the last few weeks – have resulted in a spike in infections, most of which have recovered or are recovering without the need for any medical intervention.

The risk however of virus-spread remains. And that’s one of the reasons why Greece and Austria, for example, still consider Portugal to be a ‘country non-grata’: neither are accepting visitors from Portugal, although they have opened their doors to arrivals from China as well as from almost all other European countries.

Could Portugal’s ‘good press’ through the pandemic be at risk, questions Jornal de Notícias.

Yes, say analysts at online platform Metis, run out of Porto university’s faculty of medicine – particularly since the spike in cases preceded this current long weekend in which thousands of Portuguese, many from ‘trouble spots’ like Lisbon, have travelled south (where cases, up till now, have remained low, and ‘barely increasing’ in the last couple of weeks). 

Says Paulo Santos in charge of Metis: “Right now, the only countries where infection rates are increasing are us (Portugal), Sweden and Poland”.

He says more people have started being admitted to hospital with complications as a result of Covid-19, too.

Similar concerns have been raised by Jorge Buescu, mathematics professor at Lisbon university’s science faculty. “It is crystal clear that Portugal has re-entered an ascendant trajectory of the epidemic”, he wrote over social media on Tuesday – also stressing that hospital admissions have started to increase.

“It’s possible that within a week deaths will start to increase”, Buescu warned.

Has our deconfinement happened too fast? This is the question posed by Paulo Santos – and the answer, for the time being, must wait.

This ‘long weekend’ will be key, and Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo are still the areas where the virus is most active.

Says Buescu: “It’s in Lisbon where the medium-term future of all of us is playing out…”

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