Portugal has confirmed that it has started mass testing for coronavirus (Covid-19) in a bid to lift lockdown restrictions faster and kick start the tourism sector – cited to be country’s key driver of the economy.
THE country’s government hopes to gradually relax restrictions on schools, stores and cultural and open spaces from next month. Last week, in a letter to the government, hundreds of doctors, business and union leaders called on the country’s Prime Minister to carry out mass testing and contact tracing to allow the lockdown to be lifted faster.
The government appears to be listening. To date, 302,000 Covid-19 tests have been carried out, confirmed Portugal’s Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales, at today’s Covid-19 press briefing. “We are talking about testing 27,925 people per million inhabitants, and as of today, this is proportionally higher than countries like Norway, Switzerland, Italy and Germany,” pointed out Sales.
Portugal’s Covid-19 death toll stands at 820. “The overall fatality rate is 3.3 per cent and the death rate for those over the age of 70 years is 13.3 per cent,” stated Sales.
The country has also registered 22,353 confirmed cases of the disease to date, which pales in comparison to Spain’s 212,024 diagnosed coronavirus cases and 22,157 fatalities. It’s probably the main reason that many holidaymakers are eyeing up Portugal as a more viable holiday destination for this year. Also, unlike Spain, it’s preparing to open up for tourism this summer, and not at the end of the year, as reported.