Portugal’s COVID-19 Situation now Requires Germany’s Assistance
High numbers of infections, only a few free intensive care beds left: The British virus variant is particularly rampant in Portugal. Germany now deploys its Bundeswehr to help. Portugal is currently particularly hard hit by the corona pandemic. The number of new infections is severe, and hospitals’ situation is getting dramatic.
Germany’s Bundeswehr has pledged its support: “We will help with medical personnel and material,” said a spokesman for the Defense Ministry in Berlin. Details are expected to be announced early next week. The government in Portugal had asked Germany for help.
Moreover, a team of 27 doctors and paramedics is to be sent from Germany, and relief flights are also to be sent with field sick beds and ventilators. Austria is supporting Portugal as well. It has taken over seriously ill corona patients from Portugal.
According to Prime Minister António Costa, Portugal’s corona situation is “extremely serious”. There are only seven vacant beds for intensive care. Of 850 such beds on the mainland that are available for COVID-19 patients, 843 are occupied. There are also 420 intensive care beds for the ten million inhabitants, but these are reserved for other cases.
A total of 12,435 new infections and 293 other deaths related to the virus were recorded within 24 hours on Saturday. So far, over 711,000 infections and 12,179 deaths have been registered.
Portugal had initially been able to manage the pandemic. However, since Autumn, the situation has deteriorated continuously. Since January 15, the country has been under strict lockdown. Today, Sunday, entry, and exit have been prohibited in the country without a valid reason.
As in spring 2020, controls were reintroduced at the land border with neighboring Spain. In addition, controls at ports and airports were tightened following the government decree. Exceptions apply to people who drive to work, return to their primary residence, or are on the road for work, for the transport of goods, as well as for medical emergencies or humanitarian aid.
The 1214-kilometer land border between Portugal and Spain was closed for the first time on March 17 because of the pandemic. It was only reopened on July 1 in the wake of the sharp decline in numbers at the time.
(Image by Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0)