Corona wave in Portugal and rising incidence in Germany

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Omicron subvariants have the potential to spoil the summer before it has even started.

In Portugal, the number of Corona infections is rising sharply again, and the first warnings are already coming from Germany. The German Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports 61,889 new conditions within 24 hours, so the incidence rises slightly again for the first time. The head of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, is concerned about the spread of the omicron sub-variant BA.5, probably also because the figures from Portugal are disturbing.

More than 30,000 infections are currently registered every 24 hours. The hotspot is mainly the greater Lisbon area. The incidence could rise from just under 2,000 to 4,000 in the coming days, warn virologists.

And this is at the beginning of the summer travel season. Already, the sidewalk cafés in Lisbon are once again well filled. The capital is predominantly popular with European weekend tourists. Due to the increased travel activity, the omicron variant BA.5 could soon spread throughout Europe. Most recently, all corona measures were abolished in Portugal, and now the introduction of mandatory masks is being considered again.

Rising numbers in Germany
According to the EU Center for Disease Control (ECDC) statistics, Portugal currently has the highest incidence in the entire European continent. In Germany, for example, the comparative figure is presently just over 200, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

The subtype BA.5 of the Omicron virus variant is responsible for the severe Corona outbreak in Portugal. The national health ministry explains that this mutation has displaced the previously predominant BA.2 subtype in Portugal and is now responsible for 80 percent of all new infections.

The Robert Koch Institute recently reported an increase in low-level omicron subtypes BA.4 and BA.5. Currently, BA.2 would still be dominant with 96.4 percent. However, the proportion of BA.5 doubled from 1.2 to 2.5 percent. However, experts believe the incidence could already be higher, as the RKI records not all cases. On the one hand, because of overburdened health offices and, on the other hand, because not all infected persons have a PCR test done.

Portugal relies on personal responsibility
The BA.5 sub-variant is probably more contagious than other virus types, says Portuguese epidemiologist João Paulo Gomes. “But BA.5 does not cause more severe disease than other variants.”

Because of this, Health Minister Marta Temido rules out the return of corona restrictions. She relies on the Portuguese to take personal responsibility and booster vaccination for seniors.

The next relaxation in Austria on June 1 could be short-lived in the shadow of news from Portugal and Germany. The proportion of new infections with the latest variant of coronavirus BA.4/BA.5 is also rising in this country. While the share in calendar week 20 was still around three percent, it was already eight percent last week. However, there is still no increase in the total number of cases, as was said on Tuesday by the Ministry of Health.

  • source: kurier.at/picture: pixabay.com
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