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Thursday, February 25, 2021

With world’s highest COVID-19 rate, Portugal has just seven free ICU beds

Portugal — currently the world’s worst coronavirus hot spot — has just seven empty intensive care beds on its mainland that are set up to treat COVID-19 patients.

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According to Reuters, mainland Portugal has 850 ICU beds set up to treat those suffering severe symptoms of the coronavirus. On Saturday, government data showed a record 843 were occupied. (There are 420 additional ICU beds set up for non-coronavirus patients.)

During the past week, Portugal has had the world’s highest death rate and new cases per capita, according to the Our World in Data website. On Thursday it reached a record number of new cases: 12,890.

Three people were airlifted from Lisbon to the Portuguese island of Madeira on Friday where there are free beds, Reuters reported, adding that the justice ministry and funeral home associations were running out of space to keep the dead.

In an effort to contain the spread in and out of Portugal, the government on Thursday imposed a travel ban on its citizens, preventing them from leaving the country for at least 15 days.

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Health Care. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharma and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the health care policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a complimentary trial.

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Karl Mathiesen

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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