COVID pushes Portugal's hospitals to the brink

COVID-19 patient Joao Cordeiro is one of the lucky ones.

He’s beaten the virus and is about to go home.

His children also made quick recoveries from the disease, but his family's battle with an epidemic that is raging across Portugal is far from over.

He has to leave his wife behind.

"Right now the worst thing is my wife, who is down there in the emergency room with pneumonia and everything."

The Cordeiros are among the nearly 250,000 people infected with the coronavirus in Portugal so far this month.

The country has the world's highest seven-day average of daily cases and deaths per million.

The country’s prime minister admitting Portugal has entered a terrible phase.

The surge in cases is leaving hospitals on the brink of collapse. Some are running out of beds. Others' oxygen supplies are dwindling.

With doctors and nurses also over-stretched, military medics have been drafted in from Germany to offer help.

At the Cascais Hospital outside Lisbon the clinical chief, Nuno Corte-Real says staff are struggling.

"At the moment psychological well-being is the big challenge now because everyone can handle an adverse situation if they know it will end. I usually say people can take any pain if they know it will be over in a few seconds. Not knowing when this will end is very stressful."

When a bed in intensive care becomes available it's quickly filled. This hospital, like many others, is nearly full.