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Portugal Identifies the First Case of the New Coronavirus Variant

Αssociated Press

A woman puts on a face mask as she enters a subway station in Lisbon, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s medical agency says it has identified the first case in the country of the new coronavirus variant believed to have originated in South Africa.

The agency says the new variant was found in a South African resident of Lisbon. Medical authorities have already suggested a massive surge in infections is from the spread of a variant identified in southeast England.

Portugal’s hospital COVID-19 wards and ICUs are on average around 90% full. Daily deaths reached a new record for a fifth day in a row at 234 on Friday, bringing the total to 9,920 in a country of 10.3 million.

The country also faces the challenge of holding a general election on Sunday.