Covid-19: Portugal extends lockdown and tightens abroad travel due to surge in cases

Portugal witnessed tourist overnight stays exceed pre-pandemic levels in July

Amid a daily surge in deaths and infection cases from COVID-19, the Portuguese president made a resounding appeal to the nation as the state of emergency was renewed for another two weeks.

“If it’s the case that this time the wave started within the west and Portugal is one of the first instead of the last to take on the pandemic we must act quickly and drastically,” stated Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in a televised address to the nation.

The nation on Thursday reports 16,432 additional infections and 303 deaths within the last 24 hours, bringing the total pandemic tally to more than 685,000 cases and over 11,600 demises.

The president added that the nation was living the “worst moment” of the pandemic, with “among the highest numbers in Europe”.

“UK variant of the virus has spread dramatically taking up 50% of the cases already within the Lisbon area. The pressure in hospitals, mostly in Lisbon, is excessive. The number of demises is rising in numbers unthinkable a few months ago,” Rebelo de Sousa stated.

By size of the population, Portugal has been the worst-hit nation in the world for more than per week in terms of every day new cases and deaths, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows.

Portugal is reeling from the dual effects of a Christmas relaxation of restrictions on movement and gatherings that coincided with the appearance of a fast-spreading new variant first identified in the UK.

Following consultations with the president, earlier in the day, the government announced a two-week limitation on overseas travel for its nationals because it tries to contain the worrying spread of coronavirus that’s placing its hospitals beyond their capacity limit.

Flights to and from the UK have been banned only last weekend. Flights to and from Brazil, a country with close ties to Portugal where another worrying variant has been detected, shall be banned only from Saturday.


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