The cases of coronavirus increased by 58% in a week in Portugal, which is once again at the head of Europe in infections, while the voices of experts who propose recovering the mask and reinforcing security measures in massive events grow.

The latest situation report from the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS), with data between May 10 and 16, includes 157,502 cases in that week, 58% more than in the previous one, with an incidence seven days after 1,529 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The daily average is 22,500 cases, but the DGS expects that in two weeks it will reach 60,000, figures that were only seen in the country last January, with the arrival of omicron.

The sixth wave, as this phase is already defined in Portugal, is also having an effect on the number of deaths, which went from 144 to 191 in a week, with an increase of 33% in mortality, although it remains at moderate levels. compared to the worst moments of the pandemic.

The increase in infections is being felt especially in the north of the country, where the largest hospital in the region, São João de Porto, warned this week that the pressure on the emergency room could lead to the postponement of surgeries and scheduled consultations.

The celebrations of the League conquered by Porto and the university celebrations could be two of the engines of this growth in the north, according to the emergency director of that hospital, Nelson Pereira, this week.

Added to this is the fact that the Government of Portugal abolished the mandatory use of a mask indoors a month ago, which is now only reserved for hospitals, residences and public transport.

But voices are beginning to emerge in the country that appeal for the return of this protection factor, such as that of the General Director of Health, Graça Freitas, who recommended that the Portuguese wear a mask again.

In "closed environments and crowds"including work, the mask "is recommended, like all other measures"Freitas said in an interview with the Portuguese network TVI.

The DGS has already begun to update the rules on the use of a mask and from this Friday they must be used in thermal establishments and in dentists’ offices -except during treatment-.

For his part, the Portuguese president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, highlighted increasing vaccination, which is "more important and with longer lasting effects than just applying restrictions".

Portugal has begun to inject this week the fourth dose of the vaccine to those over 80 years of age and to elderly people who live in residences as they are still considered people at risk from the virus.

Despite misgivings about the increase in infections, the capital, which will celebrate the Lisbon Festivities in the coming weeks, is preparing for crowds of people as a way to return to normality, although it asks the population to "protect yourself".

The mayor, Carlos Moedas, explained to the Portuguese media that the covid is going to return "endemic" and it will no longer have the impact it has had in previous waves, which is why he defended that "Lisbon has to be open" Y "back to normal".

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