LISBON, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Thursday that the second wave of COVID-19 has caused a situation "more serious and more critical than that experienced in the first wave of the pandemic" in the country.
"We have an evolution of new cases that is higher than that in the first wave, and we have a higher number of hospitalized, more people in intensive care units and a higher number of new deaths per day than the first wave," he said after the meeting of the Council of Ministers.
Speaking at a press conference, Costa announced new measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, including the closure of commercial establishments and restaurants between 1 p.m. and 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The government also excluded seven municipalities and includes 77 more municipalities in the list of places with "high risk of contagion", bringing the total to 191 municipalities covered by the State of Emergency, using the criteria of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Costa justified this "additional sacrifice" for "the good of everyone's health" and the need to contain the "growth of the pandemic and protect the National Health Service (SNS)."
As the world is struggling to control the pandemic, countries across the globe -- among them Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- are racing to find a vaccine.
According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Oct. 2, there were 193 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 42 of them were in clinical trials.