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News                                    The Portugal News · 24 Oct 2020      3

                            News in Brief              Virus causing 6 times

      Azores volcano could be ‘lab’ for
      Mars exploration                                 less deaths than in April

        The Capelinhos volcano in the Azores is “an open
                                                       The new coronavirus continues to spread, however the good news
      book” with the potential to become a “laboratory” for the
      exploration of the volcanic system on Mars, according to   is that is causing fewer deaths than when the pandemic started in
      a former director of the scientific department of the US
      space agency, NASA. A recent expedition saw scientists   Portugal, when the first death was registered on 16 March.
      from NASA, the UK and Portugal study the volcano
                                                            n April, 4.8 percent of those
      on Faial that was born from the sea in the late 1950s, in
                                                            infected died from Covid-19, and
      conditions very similar to those that are believed to have                        Doctors
                                                            in May, that number increased
      occurred on Mars a billion years ago.                                             believe theat
                                                       I to 5.3 percent. Since then, the   the health
      Dead dwarf whale washes up on                    deadly effect has started to decrease   system
                                                       and in September and October it
      Praia da Rocha beach                             reached 0.8 percent, that is, one   is better
                                                       person in a of 116 didn’t survive the   prepared
         A dwarf whale measuring “between 9 and 10 meters”   disease.                   now to face
      washed up on Praia da Rocha beach on 20 October, near   Despite the encouraging data, the   growing
      the lighthouse pier. It is thought the mammal may already  medical community is not very con-  number of
      have been dead for a number of days when it washed up.   fident, and fears a second wave. “We   coronvirus
      Operatives had to wait for the tide to go out before being   have a high number of new cases,   infections in
      able to remove the corpse to bury at a landfill.  which is causing a huge pressure on   the country
                                                       primary care, but we still don’t have the
      Iberian Festival Awards winners                  effect of mortality”, said epidemiolo-  have more knowledge, we know how   becomes endemic it is normal for it to
                                                                                                                        become less aggressive,” said Baptista
                                                       gist, Gustavo Tato Borges, to Correio
                                                                                        to ventilate better, we have dexameth-
        Two Portuguese festivals have won awards at the Ibe-  da Manhã Newspaper, however he   asone, a pill that can lower mortality   Leite. However, “it is still too early to
      rian Festival Awards. Meo Sudoeste, which takes place in   believes the alert that these numbers   among intensive care patients”.  talk about mitigating the virulence of
      Zambujeira do Mar, and the Sines Music of the World   may be felt in the following weeks.  Finally, the doctor confirms that we are   Covid-19,” he explained, saying that it
      Festival scooped prizes for Best Large Festival and Best   Doctor Ricardo Baptista Leite, said to   better prepared than ever. “We have   is still important to control spread to
      Cultural Programme respectively. The Iberian Festival   the same newspaper: “nowadays, we are   tools and organisation that we didn’t   ensure the sustainable functioning of
      Awards marked their 5th edition, initially scheduled for   able to deal better with the disease. We   have 7 months ago and as the virus   the National Health Service.
      the month of March, took place for the first time in an
      online format, due to the restrictions imposed by the   Record number of SNS24 line calls
      Flu vaccine for more groups                      The (National Health Service) SNS line has received a record number of calls, peaking at 23,272 on 19 October

        The flu vaccine is now available to more popula-
                                                         Last year, on 19 October, the line   calls, with numbers above 381,000   According to the “Balance of
      tion groups with the start of the second phase of the
                                                       received 3,483 calls, which means   and 306,000, the Shared Services of   Activity of the SNS24 Line 2017
      campaign. The National Health Service’s flu vaccina-
                                                       there was an increase of almost   the Ministry of Health expected that   - 2020”, 864,939 calls were an-
      tion campaign kicked off on September 28, with a first   20,000 calls this year at the same   “October will be the month with the   swered in 2017, a number that rose
      phase that included only those considered a priority,   time. The other two biggest peaks   highest volume of answered calls”.   to 1,200,171 the following year and
      such as residents in nursing homes, pregnant women,   were on 15 and 16 October 2020,   Before the pandemic, says the organ-  1,485,808 in 2019. This year, in the
      healthcare professionals and the social sector who   according to data from the Health   isation, “the month with the highest   context of a pandemic, 1.5 million
      provide care. The second phase extended the flu jab to   Ministry.                number of answered calls was January   calls were answered in the first seven
      other groups at risk, such as people aged 65 and over   Although, until now, March and   2019, registering just over 200,000   months - higher than the total for
      and people with chronic diseases.                September are the record months for   calls”.                    2019.
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