New COVID-19 Cases in Portugal at Their Lowest in 5 Months

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Portugal on Monday was among the lowest in months — but experts warn that we’re not at the finish line yet.

An additional 549 people tested positive for the coronavirus as of Feb. 22,  according to Direção-Geral da Saúde. That’s lower than  the lowest it’s been in five months, according to Público, and marks a significant drop from the peak of more than 15,000 cases reported several days in January.

An additional 61 people have died after contracting the virus, meanwhile, but that’s also substantially lower from the 300 or more dying daily last month. So far, 16,023 people who caught the virus have died in Portugal.

Most promising, perhaps, is that the number of people hospitalized — 3322 is now about half what it was a few weeks ago, although there are still 627 in intensive care.

While the numbers are certainly better news than we’ve heard since the country went into lockdown on Jan. 18, they’re still not quite at the level that will allow the lifting of restriction, however, mathematician Carlos Antunes of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon tells Público. 

And that’s partly because not everyone is following the lockdown measures: around 35% of the population in Portugal is still “mobile” — and spreading the virus, he says, according to Público.

Related: Portugal’s state of emergency extended to March 1

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