Portugal publishes more than 4,000 new COVID cases as hopes of a solid recovery fade

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Restaurant staff carry chairs, on the day the Portuguese government imposed stricter rules in an attempt to bring a wave of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases under control, in Porto, Portugal on July 10, 2021. REUTERS / Violeta Santos Moura

LISBON, July 14 (Reuters) – Portugal on Wednesday reported more than 4,000 daily cases of the coronavirus for the first time since February, official data showed, as hopes of a robust economic recovery led by tourism fade in the midst of an outbreak of infections.

The number of cases has risen steadily in recent weeks, returning to levels last seen when the country was under strict lockdown.

The 4,153 infections on Wednesday bring the total to 916,559 cases since the start of the pandemic. Daily deaths remain well below February levels, with new cases mostly reported in younger and unvaccinated people.

To deal with the outbreak, authorities are gradually imposing stricter measures, such as a nighttime curfew. The roll-out of vaccination has also been accelerated. Read more

Most of the new cases are of the more contagious Delta variant, accounting for 100% of infections in the Lisbon region and in the sunny southern Algarve region, which is quieter than usual due to the lack of tourists.

The tourism sector contributed around 15% of GDP before the pandemic hit, but it almost completely collapsed last year. Now, with the rapid spread of the Delta variant and new restrictions, companies are struggling to save the summer season.

People must present a negative test, vaccination certificate or proof of recovery to stay at hotels. The same rule applies to restaurants in risk areas on Friday evenings and on weekends.

The measures have been criticized by hoteliers and restaurateurs in difficulty. Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira admitted that the rules had led to “a new suffocation” of the sector.

Vieira said he would rather “bear the political costs of these negative reactions” than not allow restaurants and other businesses to operate.

The Portuguese economy shrank 7.6% in 2020, its biggest annual decline since 1936. In the first quarter of 2021, it contracted by 3.3% but the government hoped it would resume growth in the third quarter. trimester.

But earlier Wednesday Siza Vieira told a parliamentary committee that although the government has “strong prospects for the third quarter”, the recovery would now be “more moderate”.

Reporting by Sergio Gonçalves and Catarina Demony; Editing by Catarina Demony and Nick Macfie

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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