Virus update, Christmas plans: new meeting with medicines authority Infarmed scheduled for Thursday

PM António Costa has invited political parties and social partners for a new meeting with medicines authority Infarmed designed to report on Portugal’s latest ‘epidemiological situation’ in terms of the Covid-19 virus.

The meeting is almost certain to be a precursor to decisions coming on Friday on how the Portuguese are to approach Christmas.

With so much in the pandemic now being announced before it even happens, media reports have already emerged suggesting family gatherings will be reduced to six people (or if more live in the same house, to just the number of that family unit) as the holiday period will probably see populations confined again to their boroughs of residence.

The understanding is that the current State of Emergency will be renewed, to run from December 9 to 23 – but as president Marcelo has already stressed, it makes no sense to leave citizens waiting until the day before Christmas Eve to plan what is arguably the biggest family gathering of the year.

Meantime, the latest numbers point to case numbers reducing as predicted. There have been just 3,262 cases in the last 24-hours – the lowest number registered in almost a month.

There is positive news too with ‘recoveries’: 3,408 more people are deemed to have recovered, bringing the national count of active cases down to 80.614.

Deaths however are still on the high side: 78 in the last 24 hours – and the number of people in ICUs is also ‘very high’ (511) though 11 less than numbers the day before.

Numbers in Covid wards have also increased across the country by 97 in the last 24 hours – the majority in the north and Lisbon areas, where capacity is running close to its limit.

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