Covid-19: Portugal powerless in the face of the rapid spread of the English variant

Covid-19: Portugal powerless in the face of the rapid spread of the English variant
Covid-19: Portugal powerless in the face of the rapid spread of the English variant

The country is even suffering the full brunt of the arrival of this new strain.

2021-01-25T21: 39: 42.257 + 01: 00 – TF1

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The English variant of the coronavirus first appeared last September and has spread since December in nearly 20 European countries. Among the countries most affected by this new strain, apart from the United Kingdom: Portugal. Yet spared by the first wave of the virus last year, the southern European country is hit hard by the new strain, which is more contagious.

Thus, after the first cases detected in December, the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge detected the English variant on January 3 in Lisbon in 16 samples analyzed out of 22. After more than a month, nearly 30,000 cases of variant were recorded in Portugal, with an increase in new contaminations of around 70% per week until January 20. In a few days, Portugal has become the country with the fastest growing epidemic in the world.

As the queues lengthen in front of the testing centers, Portuguese experts estimate that the British variant already represents 30% of contaminations and could climb to 60% within just a few weeks.

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The arrival of this variant had the direct consequence of overloading Portuguese hospitals, which in particular opened urgently in Lisbon two field hospitals to receive patients, so as not to refuse certain patients.

Another direct consequence of the arrival of this variant, the Portuguese crematoriums are overwhelmed, with a number of ceremonies which has doubled in a week, causing a wait for the burials, like that of the mother of Paulo Pereira, deceased of Covid-19: “Now, in Lisbon, you have to wait 13 days (note: against 3 usually). It’s impossible to do that sooner. They tell me it’s linked to the large number of deaths from Covid-19.”

To cope with this rebound in the epidemic, strict containment has been in place since January 22, notably closing schools. For Adalberto Campos Fernandes, former Minister of Health and professor at the National School of Public Health, Portugal has undoubtedly “underestimated the real risk” variants. “Maybe we felt safe when we weren’t. Portugal has a lot of international interactions, due to its diaspora, its relations with Brazil and with some countries neighboring its former African colonies. “

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