LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal recorded on Thursday more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time since April, with the government warning the country must gear up for the battle ahead.
“We have to prepare for what is coming,” State Secretary of Health Antonio Lacerda Sales told reporters during a visit to a hospital in Braga, a city in the country’s northern region.
According to health authority DGS, a total of 1,278 new infections and 10 deaths were reported on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 82,534, much lower than in hard-hit neighbouring Spain.
The last time Portugal posted more than 1,000 daily infections was on April 10 during the country’s six-week lockdown, which shut most non-essential services before being slowly lifted from the beginning of May.
Portugal, a nation of just over 10 million people, initially won praise for its quick response to the pandemic but, like most other European countries, it has seen the number of COVID-19 infections rise again after a summer lull.
The whole country was put under a state of contingency on Sept. 15 and it will remain under it until Oct. 14, meaning gatherings continue to be limited to 10 people and opening hours for commercial establishments are restricted.
The pandemic is set to leave long-lasting scars on the country’s tourism dependent economy, with the central bank expecting the gross domestic product to contract 8.1% this year.
Reporting by Catarina Demony and Patricia Vicente Rua; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alison Williams
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