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Portugal’s government announced it would start to gradually ease its strict rules from next week, Reuters reports, nearly two months into a lockdown imposed in mid-January to tackle what was then the world’s worst coronavirus surge.
Hospitals in Brazil’s main cities are reaching capacity, health officials warned, as the country recorded the world’s highest Covid death toll over the past week, triggering tighter restrictions on Thursday in its most populous state, Reuters reports.
Intensive care wards for treating Covid patients have reached critical occupancy levels over 90% in 15 of 27 state capitals, according to biomedical centre Fiocruz.
In Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, the main reference hospital for Covid stopped admitting new cases because all its ICU beds were taken. A Reuters photographer saw patients on respirators crowding emergency rooms.
“This is a warning. We’ve reached capacity and people need to become aware of how bad the situation is,” said Claudio Oliveira, director of the Conceiçao Hospital. It was the first time the hospital has turned away patients since the H1N1 epidemic in 2009.
Oliveira told reporters the hospital closed its doors to avoid the collapse of care for the Covid patients there.
The death toll from Covid for the last 24 hours surpassed 2,000 for the second time, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, with 2,233 dead and new infections rising by 75,412.