The first week of December, Portugal’s Prime Minister gave an early Christmas present to his pandemic-weary citizens, restricting the number of visits and travelling activities due COVID-19 from 23 to 26 December to allow them to stay with family and friends in the holiday season.
The pandemic quickly got out of control shortly after those visits.
By January 6, for the first time in Portugal, there were 10,000 cases of the latest daily COVID 19 cases. In mid-January the government ordered lock-ups for at least a month and the schools of the nation were suspended a week later. With an alarm ringing, as new illness and death reports were released every day.
It’s been too small, too late, though. According to figures obtained by John Hopkins University, Portugal has seen the most cases and deaths per 100,000 people every day for nearly a week.
Now long emergency queues wait hours to deliver COVID-19’s patients outside of overloaded hospitals of the world.
The problems in Portugal are symbolic of the possibility of pandemic guards slipping off when a modern, quickly expanding version is invisible.
A highly infectious virus mutation first observed in Southeast England last year is accelerating the pandemic across Europe. Health experts say. The hazard leads to harsh new blockades and curfews being imposed by governments.
The latest variant is a game changer said Viggo Andreasen, assistant mathematical epidemiology professor at Roskilde university, west of Copenhagen.
“There may be good things on the surface, but the (new) variant underneath the surface is coming up,” the Associated Press reported. “All in the company know that a new game is under way.”
In Denmark, despite comparatively early progress in managing the virus outbreak, the strain threatens to turn the pandemic out of balance. Prime Minister Friedrichssen this month said “it’s a race against time” to vaccinate citizens and to delay the development of the variant, since it’s now too popular to postpone.
Last week, the Netherlands National Institute for Health and the Environment reported growing cases of this variant and cautioned that the number of admissions and deaths in hospitals will rise.
“The epidemic is essentially two COVID-19 epidemics: the ‘old’ epidemic where infections are decreasing, and the (new) epidemic with increasing infection,” she said.
In mid-December, the Netherlands began a rough lockout lasting five weeks and shut down schools and non-essential industries as new pathogens escalated. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, citing reservations about the current variant, prolonged his lock-down for another three weeks on January 12.
The government of the Netherlands took one step further last week and introduced a 9 p.m.-4:30 a.m. both curfew and restricting visitor numbers to one a day at home.
Other EU countries have noticed the latest variant that has contributed to tightened down lock-up initiatives. Belgium has prohibited all movement for inhabitants until March and, if its 12-hour maximum restraint does not delay the spread of new diseases, France could soon be laying off its third lock-down.
In Brazil and South Africa, other mutant forms of the virus existed.
By March, analysts say, the British strain will possibly become the leading infection vector in the United States. It has been registered in over 20 countries so far.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. top infectious disease expert, said scientists are working to update vaccine COVID-19 in the UK and South Africa.
Moderna, one of the two US vaccines, claims that a potential booster dose of the South African formulation is now being studied — a form named Fauci is “more ominous” than the British. The vaccine was used in the United States.
In Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the shot seems to be successful against Britain’s strain but there remain concerns regarding South Africa.
In the face of these concerns, the USA reinstates COVID-19 visa limits on non-US travel. United Kingdom tourists, 26 other European countries and Brazil and South Africa added to the list.
For Portugal it was a steep study curve.
The Portuguese government should have improved arrangements for January before we relax the constraints at Christmas, Ricardo Mexia, president of Portugal’s National Association of Doctors of Public Health said, but not.
He told the AP, “The problem was not just that it was reacting promptly, but also that it was not proactive.” “Better assertive” officials.
A study by the National Institute of Health, Dr. Ricardo Jorge, on January 3, which studies the virus in Portugal, said that studies detected 16 different variants in continental Portugal, ten of them in Lisbon Airport travellers. It didn’t say where it came from.
Portugal’s governments tried to make up for lost time and just three days after the lock-down was declared, adding even stricter controls. However, there have been recent incidents and fatalities.
Just over two weeks later, the VICA estimated in early December that the latest version had been detected in Portugal and warned that the proportion of COVID-19 cases had been due to the United Kingdom. By the beginning of February the pressure could hit 60%.
Only on Saturday did the Government suspend flights to and from the United Kingdom and blame the now crippling COVID-19 wave.
The Chief Emergency Officer of the World Health Organisation said earlier this month that the Body tests the effects of emerging versions, but warns that they are also seen as scapegoats.
“To blame a variant is just to easy and say ‘this was the virus’,” Dr. Michael Ryan told the Geneva-based reporters. “It’s also, unfortunately, what we haven’t done.”