Portugal’s government acknowledged Wednesday that hospitals were under “enormous pressure” from the coronavirus, as health authorities reported a record 10,000 new cases in 24 hours in the country of 10 million people.
Meanwhile, the country’s conservative President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa entered isolation less than three weeks ahead of his re-election bid on January 24, his office said, after he had come into contact with a member of his team who had tested positive.
His office said in a statement that he was isolating as a precaution “until the health authorities decide what measures to take following a risk assessment”.
The official election campaign begins on Sunday, but Rebelo de Sousa has already taken part in a series of head-to-head television debates with rival candidates.
His scheduled debate with populist candidate Andre Ventura will go ahead as scheduled on Wednesday “either live or virtually”, according to the TV broadcaster hosting it.
In late December, Prime Minister Antonio Costa self-quarantined for 14 days after having coming into contact with French President Emmanuel Macron who had tested positive to the novel coronavirus.
After loosening restrictions over the Christmas weekend, Portugal is currently seeing a rise in infections, with a record 10,027 recorded over the past 24 hours and 513 people taken into intensive care.
Nearly 7,400 people have died so far in the country from COVID-19.
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