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Portugal’s daily COVID-19 cases hit new record but deaths drop – Metro US

Portugal’s daily COVID-19 cases hit new record but deaths drop

Portugal to announce new COVID-19 curbs before Christmas
Portugal to announce new COVID-19 curbs before Christmas

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal reported a new record of 26,867 coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours on Wednesday, up sharply from 17,172 the previous day, although daily deaths dropped to a fraction of early 2021 peaks.

Health authority DGS registered 12 fatalities, down from Tuesday’s 19, while the number of patients in intensive care units was steady at 151.

In late January, the number of daily deaths exceeded 300 and there were more than 900 patients in intensive care.

Portugal has one of the world’s highest COVID-19 vaccination rates with around 87% of its 10-million population fully inoculated, but the fast-spreading Omicron variant has caused the recent surge in cases, amplified by an increase in mass testing.

The 14-day infection rate jumped to 923 cases per 100,000 people from 804 reported on Tuesday.

Health Minister Marta Temido warned on Tuesday that the country could reach as many as 37,000 daily cases in the first week of January, although recently imposed restrictions should have a dampening effect.

Before Christmas, the government ordered nightclubs and bars to close and told people to work from home for at least two weeks.

(Reporting by Patrícia Vicente Rua; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Giles Elgood)

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