A Portuguese court hasn’t said there have only been 152 Covid deaths

13 July 2021
What was claimed

A Lisbon court found only 152 deaths have been caused by Covid in Portugal.

Our verdict

False. A Lisbon court found doctors from the Ministry of Justice recorded 152 deaths have been caused by Covid in Portugal. Most deaths are recorded by doctors from the Ministry of Health. In total over 17,000 people have died of Covid-19 in Portugal.

It’s been widely claimed that a court in Lisbon has found only 0.9% of reported deaths from Covid-19 in Portugal were actually as a result of the disease.This is not true. 

On 19 May, the Administrative Court of the Lisbon Circuit responded to a request for information on a number of questions related to Covid-19 that had been submitted by a group of citizens.

One question asked how many Covid-19 deaths had been determined by autopsy. The court said that, on searching the Portuguese death certificate information system, it found that doctors employed by the Ministry of Justice had registered 152 deaths as caused by Covid-19, of which four had autopsies. 

But most deaths are not registered by doctors employed by the Ministry of Justice. 

The Portuguese Ministry of Health told local fact checking organisation Poligrafo that its doctors are responsible for recording most deaths, as you might expect, rather than doctors from the Ministry of Justice.  

Poligrafo reports that the justice ministry only typically gets involved in death certification where there is a suspicion of foul play. The Portugal News reports that this kind of intervention is very rare.

The Ministry of Health reports over 17,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Portugal since the start of the pandemic.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the data provided by the court only covers deaths registered by doctors from the Ministry of Justice.

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