COVID-19: Portugal could become the EU country with highest incidence

Delta variant takes hold on mainland.

COVID-19 poster on a Portuguese bus stop

On the mainland, JM reports online that Portugal recorded, in the last 24 hours, six more deaths associated with COVID-19 and 1,350 infected by the new virus, reported this Wednesday by the General Directorate of Health (DGS). Of the latest contagions identified, 928 are from the Lisbon/Vale do Tejo region, as well as all reported deaths.

Earlier today a number of readers sent links to the Portugal News, reporting that Portugal may be “on its way” to being one of the countries in the European Union “with the highest incidence” of COVID-19 cases due to the rise of the Delta/Indian variant.

The newspaper ran a story that, according to mathematician Óscar Felgueiras, who specialises in epidemiology: “Portugal is on its way to being one of the countries with the highest incidence in the European Union”. “However, the “hospital impact” of the growth in the number of cases will be moderated by vaccination” – a very similar scenario to the one being seen in the UK.

“Not only are we going to exceed the European average, but we are also going to surpass most countries in the European Union. It will be quick, another week or two, as we are ahead of almost all countries”, stressed the expert, noting that Portugal is “very exposed” to the Delta variant. “We have here some forces in conflict”, he said, referring to the vaccination process, the lack of lockdown, the mobility of the population, and the new variant, which “is rapidly gaining prevalence and which has a very large impact on incidence”, contrary to the countries of central and eastern Europe.

COVID now more of a political issue

Asked if the increase in the COVID-19 incidence rate would justify a setback in the measures of easing of lockdown, Óscar Felgueiras stated that “it is more a political issue than a properly public health one”. “From the point of view of public health, we are in a situation that is clearly worsening, but we also know that with the effect of vaccines, the hospital impact is probably smaller than in the past, namely, in terms of deaths and hospitalisations”, he justified.

For the specialist, the issue involves “combining” the increase in incidence with the economic impact and mental health of the Portuguese, considering that this also depends “a little on the interests of the councils”. As for the Delta variant, Óscar Felgueiras said that the “super transmission” moment that occurred on May 12 in the Lisbon/Vale do Tejo region “may have favoured” its propagation – a clear reference to the celebrations on the evening of Sporting Lisbon winning the domestic football league.

According to the expert, the new variant will have a “tendency to spread” based on the behaviour of the population that has been “incompatible” with the control of new infections. There was initially a focus that still exists in the municipality of Lisbon, which stands out within the Lisbon and Vale do Tejo region, but is spreading to neighbouring areas such as Cascais, Sintra and Setúbal”, he said.

Replication is an even more sincere form of flattery

A new tab has been added to the top of each page with a link to resources dealing with COVID-19 in Madeira – this covers the latest government regulations on travel to the island, how to get a PCR test, and many other links that will be useful to people wanting to travel to and from Madeira

COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found in an earlier post

Vaccinations in Madeira: updates can be found in an earlier post


4 thoughts on “COVID-19: Portugal could become the EU country with highest incidence”

  1. Worrying. As from July 1st the EU can travel anywhere. Hope Madeira doesn’t get the variant as it could rampage Madeira. Saying that I am hoping I can still travel to the island on 11th July.

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  2. This could lead to Portugal staying on the Amber list or even in a worst case scenario being moved to Red. Let’s hope that whoever makes these decisions takes into account the physical distance between Madeira and the mainland and moves Madeira to Green.

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