Speaking to Lusa News Agency, the chairman of the board of directors of CHUA said that patients admitted to hospitals in Faro and Portimão are aged between 23 and 67 years old, "a younger age group than was verified in previous admissions".

“It is really a younger population that we have hospitalized and that does not have vaccination”, pointed out Ana Varges Gomes, stressing that there are "a greater number of young hospitalized patients who are ill, who do not know if they will fully recover or if they will be left with aftereffects”.

She attributes the increase in cases to non-compliance with the recommended health rules, due to the fact that people still think that the disease “only affects the elderly”, contrary to what is happening.

According to Ana Varges Gomes, the total number of admissions (49) in the two hospitals in the Algarve represents about 60 percent of the limit of 80 beds defined for the region, with no forecast for opening more beds.

“Right now we are in phase 2 of the contingency plan, which has four phases, and we do not plan to open more beds, because we still have 21 vacancies. However, we are monitoring the phases and we will open beds as needed”, he referred.

"At this moment, there is still no plans of opening more beds, as we have maintained normal activity, but the situation deserves our vigilance due to the increase in cases of infections and for us to make decisions on a daily basis", she stressed.

Ana Varges Gomes admitted that if the situation in the Algarve significantly worsens, the vacation of health professionals may be affected, a possibility already taken up by the secretary of State coordinating the response to covid-19 in the region.

“If the cases increase and we have to open more spaces and more covid beds, and with the foreseeable increase of the population in the summer, we will naturally have the professional vacations affected”, she said.

According to the official, health professionals are apprehensive about the evolution of the pandemic situation, "since people are not complying with what they should, that is, in compliance with the recommendations" of the health authorities.

“Now we have 450,000 inhabitants [in the Algarve] to help and, by the time of summer, we have around two million with some ease. If people start to get sick with covid, there is no structure with the capacity for this type of population increase”, she pointed out.