Into the Unknown and Back Home follows the lives of two doctors and two nurses, inside and outside Portugal’s two major hospitals (Lisbon and Porto), in an attempt to document the challenges they faced as health professionals during one year period of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also fragments of their personal life as they return back home.

During the first and second wave it was in the northern region of the country that the number of infected people rose the most (representing 50% of the country’s total cases) and it was in São João Hospital that the first positive case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Portugal.

However, in the third wave of the pandemic, the most affected region was Lisbon e Vale do Tejo, with a significant increase in hospitalizations in units in this region. At a global level and leaving aside low-populated microstates, Portugal was the country that was hardest hit by the coronavirus in January in terms of the death rate – a country of 10 million inhabitants – recorded 20 deaths a day per 100,000 inhabitants.


“Portugal is now the worst country in the world, but we are already seeing positive signs”

Pedro Simas, virologist of Lisbon’s Institute of Molecular Medicine. 02.02.2021

Patrícia Cardoso

Patrícia Cardoso is 38 years old. She is the head nurse of the Intensive Care Unit of the Centro Hospitalar de São João, in what is the last line in the fight against COVID-19.

António Madureira

António Madureira, 51, has been a radiologist for 27 years and is director of the radiology service at Centro Hospitalar de São João. He tested positive for the new coronavirus a week after taking the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Maria Sousa Uva

Maria Sousa Uva is 30 years old. During the pandemic, she worked in two COVID-19 units, a non-COVID-19 unit and at INEM (National Institute of Medical Emergency), where she is part of the VMER (Medical Emergency and Reanimation Vehicle) team at Hospital de Santa Maria.

Isabel Pires

Isabel Pires, 46, has been a nurse for 25 years and works in the Intensive Care of Centro Hospitalar de São João.

Her mother, Hélia, 82, is in a nursing home in a hospital in Gondomar and was one of the positive cases of COVID-19 in that unit.