LISBON, Portugal — Portugal has the highest seven-day average rate of new cases per capita and the second-highest rate of new deaths in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The daily new cases per 100,000 population rose from 51 on Jan. 5 to 98 on Tuesday. The average daily deaths per capita rose from 0.75 to 1.63 during the same period.
Portugal is in lockdown, but the government is reluctant to close schools. Authorities have launched a program of rapid coronavirus tests at schools in the hardest-hit areas of the country. They say if schools close, some children won’t get proper meals, have computer access or help with their studies.
Some teachers are unhappy about the policy, pressing for a national school closure.
The surge is pushing the public health system, especially hospitals, to capacity. The Health Ministry expects to open a field hospital Wednesday with 58 beds on the grounds of the Lisbon University campus. Authorities are opening more temporary medical installations at sites outside the health sector, including hotels, university residences and churches, with 2,300 beds.
Portugal reported 10,455 new confirmed cases and 218 deaths in the last 24 hours. That increased the overall totals to 566,958 cases and 9,246 deaths.