COVID-19 | Daily Update

May 23, 2020

Wednesday, May 23rd  | COVID-19 Daily Update



The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) daily epidemiological bulletin published today registers another 13 deaths and 271 cases of infection with COVID-19 in Portugal in the last 24 hours. 

The number of deaths rose from 1,289 to 1,302 (+1.01%) and the total number of confirmed cases increased from 30,200 to 30,471 (+0.90%).  

The data reveal that 7,705 (+1.52% in the last 24 hours) people have already recovered in Portugal since the beginning of the pandemic.



Since the beginning of March, the Government has spent more than 257 million euros in fighting the coronavirus. The need to buy face masks, tests, or pivot services for remote working forced public agencies to make thousands of direct procurement. 

In Madeira, the Regional Government will assume the cost of the mandatory testing for COVID-19 starting in July.

The Portuguese Guild of Nurses denounced cases of nurses who were infected at work and who are being faced with an interruption of their salary. 

The Ministry of Health has acknowledged the situation and says she will speed up payment. 

The number of infected people per 10,000 inhabitants continues to increase. However, this increase is happening at an increasingly smaller scale.  

Between May 6 and May 20, another 12% of people were infected. It is also known that the tests done to some footballers had wrong results. 

The director of the Center for Integrated Responsibility for Obesity at Hospital de São João (Porto) says that, due to the stoppage imposed by the pandemic, the waiting time for surgeries increased from half a year to “between nine or ten months”.

CeNTI created a face shield with antiviral and anti-fog properties to prevent COVID-19. This nanotechnology centre has led several initiatives in the development of equipment to combat the virus.

Guidelines for the reopening of pre-school nurseries, which open on June 1, were published yesterday. 

With a hot weekend, the authorities’ concern is to ensure social distance and that the DGS guidelines are followed.



The World Health Organization (WHO) says that South America has become “the new epicentre” of the disease. 

Brazil overtook Russia and is the second country with the highest number of positive cases of COVID-19. There were 1,001 deaths and 20,803 infected by the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours, totalling 21,048 deaths and 330,890 people diagnosed. 

China has not diagnosed, in the last 24 hours, any new confirmed case, something that happens for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. 

In Europe, Germany has 177,850 people diagnosed, an increase of 638 cases, and detected the first infections in a restaurant in the state of Lower Saxony, a few days after the reopening of these spaces in the country. 

The death toll in Africa rose to 3,183, with more than 103,000 infected in 54 countries. South Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ghana account for about half of the infections.

Worldwide, 335,538 people have died and more than 5.1 million people have been infected, according to the AFP (French news agency) balance sheet.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a substantial interruption in vaccination campaigns for children worldwide, which can lead to the spread of other infectious diseases. WHO and other international organizations estimate that about 80 million children under the age of one are at risk. 

The health crisis of the new coronavirus ended up taking WHO to the centre of the political stage of Chinese-American tensions. 

In an interview, Tedros Adhanom reinforces some of the concerns and calls for continued vigilance to prevent a second wave.



In China, the first vaccine to be tested on humans was considered safe, well tolerated by the body, and capable of generating an immune response against SARS-CoV-2. However, the study’s author warns that it is too early to understand whether the vaccine is effective.

A team of rheumatologists at Hospital de Santa Maria (Lisbon) says there is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine is adequate to treat or prevent symptoms of COVID-19, at a time when an American study even indicates that critically ill patients treated with this drug are at greater risk of having cardiac complications and die.

A study in Spain reports the case of a cat infected with the new coronavirus and whose owner also suffers from COVID-19. The animal is healthy and asymptomatic, in what may be the first case detected in Europe.



The Prime Minister welcomed the exemplary way in which the Portuguese political system has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic. António Costa asked for caution in resuming activity, but underlined that it is necessary to avoid a “brutal economic and social crisis”. 

The Government is designing a new instrument to support companies, signalling that the simplified lay-off may evolve into a model adapted to the current phase of the resumption of activity.

The governor of Banco de Portugal sustained that there should be a budgetary separation between expenses associated with the pandemic and other current expenses of the State.

Fitch postponed the revision of Portugal’s rating to November, which remains at BBB with a stable outlook.  

Standard & Poor’s understands that the money of the troika and the European Central Bank is a very important protection for Portugal against a new sovereign debt crisis.

The pandemic practically stopped the country, but it did not stop the construction market. Mário Centeno, the Finance Minister, highlighted the increase in cement sales during the confinement months.  

TAP once again extended the lay-off of workers until the end of June, due to restrictions on mobility and the reduced operation planned for that month. 

From June 15, internal and external borders will be reopened, guaranteed the Minister of Internal Administration.

The French finance minister guaranteed that Renault is working, with the support of the Government, on a plan to save the company, but warns that the car manufacturer “may disappear”. 

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the car rental company Hertz declared bankruptcy in the US and Canada.



The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 returned to positive territory yesterday, with a performance above Europe. 

The Lisbon Stock Exchange closed up 0.62%, on a day of little enthusiasm for Europe.  

Stoxx 600 and Spanish IBEX closed flat, while German DAX and French CAC 40 lost 0.1%. The British FTSE 100 slid 0.3%.

The main Wall Street indexes ended with a mixed trend, pressured by renewed tensions between the US and China, but with the prospect of more economic stimuli to offset pessimism. 

Dow Jones closed down 0.04%, while Standard & Poor’s 500 managed to close on the green, rising 0.24%.  

The Nasdaq Composite ended with a gain of 0.43%.