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Portugal's president self-isolating after contact with COVID-19 case

Portugal's president self-isolating after contact with COVID-19 case

FILE PHOTO: Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa addresses the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

LISBON: Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said on Wednesday (Jan 6) he would self-isolate after being in contact with someone who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The 72-year-old is campaigning to win a second term as the country's president in an election on Jan 24. He has several presidential debates scheduled before then.

In a statement shared on his official website, Rebelo de Sousa's office said the contact was with a member of Casa Civil, a body of specialists who provide consultation services to the president.

Rebelo de Sousa is waiting for the health authority to decide if the exposure was high risk and for how long he will have to stay at home, the statement said.

COVID-19 cases in Portugal reached a record high of 10,027 on Wednesday.

Portugal, which has so far registered 446,606 cases and 7,377 deaths from the virus, eased restrictions around Christmas but cracked down again on New Year's Eve with a ban on travel between municipalities and public gatherings.

To tackle the outbreak, lawmakers will vote later on Wednesday to extend the state of emergency, which ends on Thursday, for an additional week until Jan 15. It is likely to be approved.

"There's again immense pressure on the national health service and we are trying to respond." Health Minister Marta Temido told reporters at a time over 500 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care units. "We need everyone's help."

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Source: Reuters

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