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Covid Delta variant makes up 100% of cases in Portugal’s tourist hotspot Algarve and capital Lisbon, health officials say

Covid Delta variant makes up 100% of cases in Portugal’s tourist hotspot Algarve and capital Lisbon, health officials say
Portugal’s National Health Institute has released new data showing the Delta coronavirus variant now accounts for all Covid cases in the Algarve and Lisbon, with the strain’s prevalence standing at 88.6% across the country.

In new findings released on Tuesday, the institute analyzed nearly 11,500 samples from across Portugal’s 18 districts, as well as Madeira and the Azores, to compare the prevalence of different Covid strains from the end of May until July 4.

From May 31 to July 4, the Delta variant’s prevalence doubled across all regions, to 88.6%, the agency said. The variant has also completely overtaken the once-dominant Alpha strain, first found in Southeast England, and is now responsible for 100% of all cases in Lisbon and the neighboring Tejo region, as well as the Algarve.

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The institute’s data highlights just how quickly the Delta variant has gained traction as the dominant strain in Portugal. Just over a month ago, it held a 48% prevalence on the Algarve coast and 68.2% in Lisbon and Tejo.

Portugal recently implemented stricter measures to curb a rise in cases. On Saturday, the government made proof of vaccination, a negative test result, or evidence of antibodies a requirement in high-risk areas for people who want to dine in at restaurants. A curfew of 11pm to 5am has also been imposed across 45 municipalities deemed high-risk.

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The Delta variant has posed a threat to many European countries’ plans to unlock and return to normality, due to it being 60% more transmissible than previous variants, according to Public Health England.

Portugal has recorded over 910,000 Covid-19 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic and more than 17,100 deaths, according to government figures. As of July 8, almost 60% of its population of 10 million had received one dose, and close to 40% were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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