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Portugal reports record daily increase in COVID-19 cases, deaths

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal reported record increases in the number of COVID-19 infections and the death toll on Friday, a day after the prime minister warned the country may need to go into a new lockdown next week if contagion continues to surge.

Data from the DGS health authority showed 10,176 new cases and 118 deaths compared to the previous day, bringing the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic to 466,709 and 7,590 respectively.

After health experts and politicians including President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa blamed the surge in cases on the government’s decision to ease restrictions around Christmas, premier Antonio Costa said on Thursday new measures were likely needed and could resemble March’s lockdown.

The final decision will be taken after meeting health experts on Tuesday, Costa said.

In March, the lockdown forced all non-essential businesses to close and most people to stay at home for six weeks. Costa has said schools would remain open this time.

(Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Ingrid Melander)

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