Portugal sets records in one of world’s worst virus surges

LISBON, PORTUGAL (AP) — Portugal’s new daily COVID-19 cases jumped to over 14,600 to set a new national record on Wednesday, as the country weathers one of the worst pandemic surges in the world.

Health authorities officially reported 14,647 new infections — about 3,600 more than the previous daily record set four days ago.

The surge shows no sign of easing, with the government and health experts predicting it will peak next week.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and in intensive care also rose to new record highs, with 5,493 and 681.

“The gravity of the situation is clear for everyone to see,” Health Minister Marta Temido told reporters.

A woman buys food at the door of a pastry shop in Lisbon. PHOTO: AP

The public and private health sectors and the military are collaborating to meet needs, she said, but added that “resources are finite”.

The pandemic gained momentum in Portugal since the holidays, when restrictions on gatherings and movement were eased for four days.

Portugal has the highest seven-day average rate in the world of new cases per 100,000 population and the second-highest rate of new deaths, according to data collated through on Tuesday by Johns Hopkins University.

Overall, the country of 10.3 million people has 581,605 confirmed cases, and 9,465 confirmed deaths.

In another worry for Portuguese authorities, a study by the country’s leading disease control agency said a new variant of the virus first identified in southeast England could represent 60 per cent of new COVID-19 cases in Portugal within two weeks.