The cases, which come a day after a new lockdown was put in place, bring the total number of cases in a country of just over 10 million people to 539,416 [AFP]
Portugal’s public health system close to being overwhelmed as hospitals in the worst-affected areas are running out of intensive care beds.
Portuguese hospitals under pressure
Portugal’s public health system is on the verge of collapsing as hospitals in the areas worst-affected by a worrying surge in coronavirus cases are quickly running out of intensive care beds to treat COVID-19 patients.
“Our health system is under a situation of extreme pressure,” Health Minister Marta Temido told reporters on Sunday afternoon after a visit to a struggling hospital. “There is a limit and we are very close to it.”
The health system, which prior to the pandemic had the lowest number of critical care beds per 100,000 inhabitants in Europe, can accommodate a maximum of 672 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, or ICUs, according to health ministry data.
The number of people in ICUs with COVID-19 reached 647, according to health authority DGS. The Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators said the number of coronavirus patients needing hospitalization was likely to dramatically increase over the next week.