Almost half of Portugal's COVID-19 deaths reported in January alone

Almost half of Portugal's COVID-19 deaths reported in January alone
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Portugal recorded nearly half of all of its coronavirus deaths in the month of July, Reuters reported, prompting other European nations to offer help.

Reuters reported 5,576 people died in January, accounting for about 45 percent of the 12,482 who have died in the country due to the virus so far. 

Austria has offered to take on intensive care patients, Germany is planning to send medical staff and equipment while Portugal's neighboring country Spain has also offered to help. However, Spanish foreign ministry sources told Reuters that Portugal has yet to accept their offer.

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Portuguese officials are blaming the more infectious U.K. variant for the worsening pandemic in their country, Reuters reported. However, officials also acknowledged that loosening coronavirus restrictions over the holidays may also be partially to blame.

Citing data from Portugal's Directorate-General of Health, Reuters reported that more than 711,000 people have contracted the virus in Portugal and 43 percent of those cases were recorded last month. There are 865 coronavirus patients in intensive care and 6,869 people in hospital wards, Reuters reported.

An association that represents funeral homes told Reuters that public hospitals were running out of cold storage to preserve the bodies of deceased coronavirus patients, causing some hospitals to install extra cold storage units. Apart from cold storage shortages, Portugal is running low on doctors and nurses, Reuters noted.

According to the news outlet only about 70,000 people have received a vaccine in Portugal, which has a population of 10 million.

The European Union, which Portugal is a member of, approved AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for use last week, providing another vaccine for EU countries on top the vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna.