Portugal lives today a fundamental day to demonstrate if its confinement, which will be toughened in the next few hours, responds to the civic effort that Prime Minister António Costa requested this Monday, and the citizens comply strictly with it to save hospitals, already at the limit , of the collapse.
Some 14 modifications were announced on Monday, included in a decree that must first be approved by the president of the country to come into force, such as not staying in parks and gardens – where you can walk – or that the restaurant does not sell products in your door – although it keeps the ready to go.
The changes, which are expected to be effective as of tomorrow, are actually adjustments to the confinement that began in the country on Friday and that, in its first weekend, has raised doubts about its success, after seeing much more mobility of the desired in the streets.
This Tuesday will be a lucky test to see if the calls of the Government, which has underlined the seriousness of the situation, impact on the behavior of society even before those adjustments come into force.
The Executive calls for a change of attitude that ends with the scenes of large groups of people in the street seen at the weekend, but also on Monday.
Some calculations suggest that in this confinement, mobility has barely been reduced by 30%, much lower than the almost 70% that fell the first time the Portuguese had to stay at home, in March 2020, to stop the first wave, much milder than the third hitting the country now and which has pushed hospitals to the limit.
Portugal has eleven consecutive days above 100 deaths – which had never been reached in the first two waves – with a new daily record this Monday, 167 deaths, while infections have been around 10,000 per day.
Figures that have increased the hospital pressure of the country, with ten million inhabitants and where in just 18 days the number of admitted patients has increased more than 80%.
In total, there are already 5,165 people admitted for coronavirus, (increased by 276 in the last day), of which 664 are in intensive care units.
The Minister of Health, Marta Temido, already warned this Sunday after visiting a hospital that public health is “in an extreme situation, in overstrain”: “There is a limit and we are almost reaching that limit,” he said.
So much so that field hospitals will now return to some cities – in Lisbon two are scheduled to open this week – and voices are increasing in Portugal calling for the private sector to be used, something that the Executive does not rule out.