Portugal extends its virus lockdown as firefighters get jabs
A doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a patient in a COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at the Curry Cabral hospital in Lisbon, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. A January surge of cases in Portugal has ebbed amid a lockdown, but deaths and pressure on hospitals remain high. The seven-day average of daily deaths in Portugal is the highest in the world, at 2.05 per 100,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University. Also Thursday, Portugal started inoculating firefighters against COVID-19, as the January surge of cases ebbed but deaths and pressure on hospitals remained high. Portuguese firefighters, who number about 15,000, commonly operate ambulances, and they are to be vaccinated over a two-week period.
Deadliest virus month piles strain on Portugal's government
In January, Portugal recorded more than 5,000 death — close to half of its official pandemic total so far. Over the month, hospitalizations grew by 136% and patients in intenstive care units by 78%, pushing the public health system close to collapse. The intense pressure on Portuguese hospitals is unlikely to ease soon, however, because of a time-lag between new cases and hospitalizations. But the Portuguese public found out about that from a detailed statement by German authorities. Health Minister Marta Temido says Portugal ranks seventh in the European Union for the number of people vaccinated in relation to population.
The Latest: India vaccinates 2 million health workers
India’s total positive cases since the start of the epidemic have reached 10.6 million, the second highest after the United States with 25.43 million cases. India started inoculating health workers on Jan. 16 in what is likely the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The FDA said Tuesday there have been reports of hospitalizations and death linked to the sanitizers reported to U.S. poison control centers and state health departments. The state’s health agency on Tuesday said third-party administrators would take over ordering and distributing vaccine doses with a new state secretary in charge of logistics. On Tuesday, the CDC reported just over half of the 41 million doses distributed to states have been put in people’s arms.
Center-right incumbent wins Portugal's presidential election
Incumbent Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa delivers a speech following the results of Portugal's presidential election, in Lisbon, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who had been widely expected to win, captured 61% of the vote. Rebelo de Sousa, a center-right moderate and former leader of Portugal’s Social Democratic Party, will serve a 5-year term that will be his last due to term limits. “Everything starts with the battle against the pandemic," Rebelo de Sousa said. Every Portuguese president since 1976, when universal suffrage was introduced following the departure of a dictatorship, has been returned for a second term.
EXPLAINER: A look at Portugal's presidential election
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announces that he will be running for reelection in the Jan. 24 presidential election, in Lisbon, Portugal, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. Portugal holds a presidential election on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 and the moderate incumbent candidate is widely seen as the sure winner. (Manuel de Almeida/Pool via AP)LISBON – Portugal will hold a presidential election Sunday, choosing a head of state to serve a five-year term as the country suffers through a national lockdown and a worsening coronavirus outbreak. The incumbent, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is widely expected to be returned for a second and final term. Charming and affable, the 72-year-old Rebelo de Sousa’s willingness to pose for selfies spawned a Portuguese Facebook page called “Selfies com Marcelo” (Selfies with Marcelo).
Portugal's president awaits virus advice in self-isolation
FILE - In this file photo dated Wednesday June 17, 2020, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa after addressing the media at the Belem presidential palace in Lisbon. The office of the Portuguese president said Tuesday Jan. 12, 2021, that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has tested positive for coronavirus although the veteran politician has no symptoms for the COVID-19 disease. (AP Photo/Armando Franca, FILE)LISBON – Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has tested negative for the coronavirus in results of two consecutive tests disclosed Tuesday, a day after a single positive result. The president then took two more PCR tests, one on Monday evening and another one on Tuesday, and both of them were negative. False positive results in PCR tests, although rare, can occur.
Virus spiking in eastern Europe; Hungary drafts 'war plan'
Two women hold hands and carry face masks in downtown Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. The Czech Republic is returning to mandatory mask wearing in interior spaces amid a steep rise in new coronavirus cases. Starting Thursday, people across the country need to cover their face in all public places, including stores, shopping malls, post offices and others but also in private companies where employees cannot keep a distance of 2 meters from one another. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Virus spiking in eastern Europe; Hungary drafts 'war plan'
(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)BUDAPEST – The number of new confirmed coronavirus cases spiked Friday in parts of eastern Europe, with Hungary and the Czech Republic registering all-time daily highs. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his government was drafting a “war plan” to defend against the second wave of the pandemic. Wearing masks or other face coverings is mandatory on public transportation, in stores and in many public institutions. Hungary reported 718 virus cases on Friday, 142 more than the country's previous 24-hour record. One possible reason for Poland’s overall decline in reported cases since last month is that the government has implemented a new strategy which focuses primarily on testing symptomatic patients.
The Latest: England, Wales set to launch virus tracing app
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2020, file photo, students wear protective masks as they arrive for classes at the Immaculate Conception School while observing COVID-19 prevention protocols, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Spain, Portugal leaders mark border reopening with pomp
From left to right: Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Spain's King Felipe VI during a ceremony to mark the reopening of the Portugal/Spain border in Badajoz, Spain, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The border was closed for three and a half months due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Hypocrisy gone viral? Officials set bad COVID-19 examples
From U.S. President Donald Trump to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, global decision-makers have frequently set bad examples, whether it's refusing to wear masks or breaking confinement rules aimed at protecting their citizens from COVID-19. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said normally she would fire Clark but that the country couldn’t afford massive disruption in its health sector while it was fighting the virus. He and others didn’t wear masks during those meetings, and Putin also didn’t cover his face for events marking Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War II. “The prime minister has respected all guidelines,” according to a statement read by a spokesman. And as such the prime minister was with her during her last night."
‘Call me Boris’: Nurse's father glad UK leader got good care
In this photo provided by Luis Pitarma and taken in 2018, Nurse Luis Pitarma poses for a photo with his father Luis, left, mother Edite and sister Sonia Pitarma, right, in London. Luis Pitarma landed in the United Kingdom in 2014 after failing to find work in his native country, Portugal. Six years later, he has become Portugal's most famous nurse, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked him for his care while treated for COVID-19 in hospital. It turned that Luis Pitarma must have done most things right. The medical team guiding Johnson's treatment wanted Pitarma to be on the team directly caring for the severely ill prime minister, the nurse's father said.
Portugal's president self-isolates amid virus outbreak
The office of Portugal's 71-year-old president said Sunday that he has canceled all public activities and will stay at home amid the coronavirus outbreak. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa recently received a group of students from a school which has since been closed following the detection of a student with COVID-19. His office said that the president had no symptoms. Rebelo de Sousa is known as being an effusive and affectionate president who is extremely popular in Portugal. ___Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak___The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education.
Amid protests, Portugal lawmakers vote to allow euthanasia
LISBON – Portugal’s parliament voted Thursday in favor of allowing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill people. The landmark vote left Portugal poised to become one of the few countries in the world permitting the procedures. The 230-seat Republican Assembly, Portugal's parliament, approved five right-to-die bills, each by a comfortable margin. Most parties allowed their lawmakers to vote their conscience, with some diverging from their party line. The Socialist-led coalition government in Portugal's neighbor Spain has also set in motion the legislative steps needed to allow euthanasia.