German military medical experts have arrived in Portugal, as the country’s largest hospital Santa Maria in Lisbon are struggling to cope and only have one intensive care unit (ICU) bed left.
Overnight more than 20 ambulances with Covid patients were queuing outside the Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon, waiting for beds to become available.
A spokesman for the hospital warned that there is only one bed left in ICU and possibly 10 on the ward, as Covid infections are taking a serious grip across Portugal.
The head of Portugal’s Doctor’s Association warned that hospitals in Lisbon are at risk of failing to meet the demand for oxygen as patient numbers are soaring.
The oxygen supply system partly failed at a large hospital near Lisbon from overuse, whilst a hospital in the Amadora municipality were forced to transfer 48 Covid patients as the oxygen pressure was not enough to treat a large amount of patients, they said in a statement on Tuesday evening.
A German Defence Ministry spokesman said, that military medical experts have been sent to Portugal and “will be exploring the situation on the ground and trying to clarify what kind of support is needed and feasible.”
Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa warned that it will be some weeks before things could start to improve with help from abroad.
Portugal’s Interior Ministry said on Wednesday evening, that due to the severe worsening of the the new English mutant variant along with the Brazilian strain all borders are now closed.
Only Humanitarian and repatriation flights will be allowed.
Hospitals across the country are using two thirds of the ICU beds for Covid patients, and military hospitals are converting cafeterias into wards.