Portuguese finance minister tests positive for COVID-19

Portuguese Minister of State for Finance João Leão tested positive for COVID-19, his ministry announced on Saturday.

The minister “is in isolation at home, has so far not shown any symptoms and is working,” read the statement.

As of Saturday, Portugal recorded 166 deaths related to COVID-19 in 24 hours, and 10,947 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, two new daily records, according to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

The DGS epidemiological bulletin also indicates that 4,653 people are hospitalized, 93 more than on Friday. A total of 638 patients are in intensive care, 16 more than on Friday. Both figures are also new highs.

Since the pandemic broke out in the country in March 2020, Portugal has already registered 8,709 deaths and 539,416 infections, with 128,165 cases now active, 2,304 more than on Friday.

Portugal has entered a new two-week nationwide lockdown since Friday in a bid to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 236 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 63 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by WHO on Jan. 12.