This information has been circulating on blogspots through the internet claiming that from January 2020 to April 2021 only 152 people really died of Covid-19 - instead of the 17,000 people, which are the numbers confirmed by the Directorate General of Health (DGS). This would mean that the other cases would be from people who, although tested positive for Covid-19, could have died from any other reason.

However, this is completely out of context. After reading all the Lisbon court ruling (, and analysing it very carefully, we found out that there are missing points that make all the difference.

The number of 152 deaths of Covid-19, presented in the judgment, is not fake, but it is based on a wrong premise – that all death certificates are issued by doctors who work for the Prosecutor’s office (MP), because it’s about these death certificates issued by doctors working in the MP that the judgment writes about. However, these doctors are not the only ones who are allowed to issue death certificates.

On the contrary, normally, in case of death, the patient usually was already being followed by a doctor and it is this same professional that issues the death certificate. The MP is only called when there is something indicating a death caused by a criminal act.

If the person dies at home, the doctor, who was following the patient, is called to go to that house and issue the death certificate at the location. On the other hand, if someone dies in the hospital, the hospital’s doctors themselves issued that certificate. In both cases, normal doctors don’t need the public prosecutor’s doctors to fulfill their mission.

In most cases, death has a natural cause and is a result of a diagnosed disease that evolves or worsens, of identified pathological antecedents. In these cases, the intervention of the MP is very rare, which explains the low number of death certificates issued by the MP related to Covid-19.

Therefore, it does not seem strange that in a universe of 17,000 deaths by Covid-19, only 152 were certified by the doctors of the MP, as apparently people were already being followed and nothing pointed to the possibility of death due to a crime that justifies the intervention of the MP.

The rule of the Administrative Court of Lisbon, in which this information comes from, began from a dispute due to the right to access to administrative information.


Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252

Paula Martins