Portugal to vaccinate 1.7 million in two weeks as COVID infections rise

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Lisbon: Portugal said on Saturday it hoped to vaccinate a further 1.7 million people against COVID-19 over the next two weeks as authorities scramble to contain a surge in infections caused by the more contagious Delta variant.

Cases in Portugal, a nation of just over 10 million, jumped by 2,605 on Saturday, the biggest increase since February 13., taking the total cases since the pandemic began to 887,047.

New cases are being reported mostly among unvaccinated younger people so daily coronavirus deaths, currently in single digits, remain well below levels in February, when the country was still under lockdown after January’s second wave.

Portugal has fully vaccinated around 35% of its population, and those aged 18 to 29 can start booking vaccination appointments on Sunday.

In a statement, the vaccination taskforce said it would use all installed capacity to vaccinate 850,000 people a week over the next 14 days to “protect the population as fast as possible” due to the “rapid spread” of the Delta variant.

Around 70% of cases in Portugal are of the Delta variant, which was first identified in India but has led to a wave of new infections worldwide. The variant is sweeping across the country, with the Lisbon region and tourist magnet Algarve being the most affected.

Reuters

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