Portugal’s hospital system was under severe pressure on Saturday (January 30) as the country faces one of the world’s worst surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita.
The Health Ministry reported 13,200 infections and 278 deaths on Friday (January 29), down from Thursday’s (January 28) record levels. But it registered a new peak of 806 people in intensive care – leaving just 44 beds vacant in the mainland’s public health system.
At Lisbon’s largest hospital, Santa Maria, triage testing was taking place on Saturday outside the facility while ambulances were diverted to other hospitals. It contrasted with the dozens of ambulances that had queued for hours over the past few days.
The government has extended a nationwide lockdown until mid-February, banned non-essential travel for its nationals and imposed checks on the border with Spain.
Lisbon’s streets were largely empty on Saturday morning, with all but essential workers confined to their homes.