Portugal probes party that may have spread virus

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Portuguese prosecutors said Saturday they had launched an investigation into a birthday party attended by scores of people which could have led to many new coronavirus infections.

Prosecutors in the southern Faro region said they were probing a late-night June 7 party "gathering scores of people" in the town of Lagos, which took place despite a ban on gatherings of more than 20.

There have been a little over 1,500 COVID-19 deaths in Portugal and 38,841 cases out of a population of some 10 million.

The party "could be the origin of an outbreak of COVID-19 infections", they said.

Local media cited as saying that the party could have caused about 100 new coronavirus cases.

"Those who think they can resume a normal life are gravely mistaken," Health Minister Marta Temido said on Friday.

Most of the cases have surfaced in the capital Lisbon and surrounding areas.

According to an AFP tally, on Thursday Portugal had the highest daily rate of infections in the European Union after Sweden in terms of population.

"We are finding it hard to break the transmission chains," Temido said.

There has been an outcry in Portugal over quarantine measures or coronavirus tests imposed on nationals travelling to other countries in the EU's visa-free Schengen zone.

© 2020 AFP

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