Portugal records half of its pandemic deaths in January alone

Lisbon, Feb 1 (efe-epa).- Half of all Covid-19 deaths in Portugal took place last month, as patients died at a rate of 180 per day on averag,e culminating with a January death toll of 5,576.

Portugal, a country of 10 million, has asked Austria and Germany to help lessen the burden by taking in some of the most seriously ill patients from Portuguese hospitals, which are struggling to cope with the surge in cases.

The country weathered the first wave of Covid-19 relatively well compared to its neighbor Spain but has now been forced to close its border in a bid to get a handle on cases.

From Sunday, those wishing to enter the country must have proof of a negative PCR is required to enter the country, forcing dozens of airline passengers who arrived in the country without the test to spend the night at the airport while awaiting results. The land border with Spain is also closed to non-residents.

Portugal has started the second phase of its vaccination campaign, marked by the controversial decision to include politicians among priority groups. Health authorities on Monday reported 275 Covid-related deaths in the last 24 hours.EFE-EPA


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