World, Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Portugal sees record daily virus infections, deaths

Country has been in lockdown since Friday

Alyssa McMurtry   | 20.01.2021
Portugal sees record daily virus infections, deaths FILE PHOTO

OVIEDO, Spain

The Portuguese Health Ministry confirmed more new daily COVID-19 deaths and new infections on Wednesday than ever before in the pandemic.

Daily infections surged to 14,647 – shattering the previous record for contagions set on Jan. 16 with 10,947 new cases.

For a country as small as Portugal, with a population of just over 10 million, the figures are enough to cripple the health care system and bring the country to a halt.

Portugal, which was able to avoid mass deaths during the first wave, now has one of the world’s highest infection rates.

Earlier this week, the regulatory body for Portuguese doctors issued a cry for help, saying doctors in some areas are so overwhelmed they have to prioritize who can be treated.

Accordingly, deaths are surging with another 219 fatalities reported on Wednesday. Although the majority of the victims were older than 80, two people in their 20s and 30s also lost their lives to the disease.

Portugal went into lockdown last Friday and even tighter rules came into effect Wednesday, though schools remain open.

Authorities attribute Portugal’s deadly spike to a relaxation of mobility and social distancing measures around Christmas.

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