Wednesday, May 16th | COVID-19 Daily Update
The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) announced today that in the last 24 hours there have been another 13 deaths and 227 new cases of COVID-19 infection.
According to the entity’s daily epidemiological bulletin, the number of fatalities rose to 1,203 (+1.09%), while confirmed cases increased from 28,583 to 28,810 (+0.79%).
There are now 3,822 patients recovered since the beginning of the pandemic, with a 14.8% increase from yesterday’s number.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
More optimistic, more confident, and even more flexible. That was how António Costa confirmed the start of the second phase of deconfinement from the beginning of next week.
Among the measures announced, the use of face masks or face shields by children in schools and on public transport becomes mandatory from the age of 10.
In yesterday’s daily report, Graça Freitas informed that the Portuguese child who was hospitalized due to an inflammatory syndrome, with symptoms similar to Kawasaki’s Disease, has already been discharged, and the Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales, revealed that more than 600,000 tests were carried out in Portugal.
According to the National School of Public Health barometer, the European countries that started the deconfinement earlier have lower average growth rates in the number of new cases, meaning this is encouraging data for Portugal.
The Portuguese seem less optimistic. According to a study by ICS and ISCTE (higher education schools), most consider that the worst is yet to come.
The National Association of Public Health Physicians demands that the ARS (Regional Health Authorities) pay for the overtime that specialists in the field have been doing to ensure epidemiological surveillance.
In this dispute, ARS North claims that professionals already receive a supplement for permanent availability.
While the temporary field hospitals for COVID-19 are empty, the NHS hospitals will take months to recover from the side effects of the pandemic. Waiting lists in public hospitals already reached 250,000 patients.
In this sense, the PCP (left-wing political party) proposed a 25% reinforcement in 2020 to the NHS budget to respond to COVID-19, catch up with other health services, and invest.
In partnership with i3S – Institute for Research and Innovation in Health, Porto City Council will carry out, starting next Monday, serological tests on more than 1,500 workers in the municipality and municipal companies who “were at the forefront in the current pandemic context ”.
Also in Porto, a group of researchers from the Faculty of Medicine announced yesterday that it is implementing a protocol that aims to make non-invasive ventilation in patients with COVID-19 safer and more efficient, through its real-time and continuous monitoring.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that European countries must prepare for a second lethal wave of pandemic infections. The regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, recommended that countries that are beginning to lift restrictions on circulation and economic activity pay attention to the examples of Singapore and Japan.
The European Center for Disease Control has also launched an alert for the rare inflammatory reaction that may be associated with COVID-19, which has already been detected in 230 children in Europe.
Italy will open its borders with the European Union, without the need for quarantine, from the 3rd. of June.
Greece, too, decided to anticipate the reopening of restaurants, coffee shops and large department stores due to the favourable evolution of the infection curve in the country.
In the last 24 hours, Spain recorded the lowest number of deaths since March 16th: 102.
On the American continent, the USA, where the biggest focus remains, New York recorded 1,680 deaths in the last 24 hours, which brought the total number of deaths to 87,493.
Brazil, on the other hand, registered 824 deaths and 15,305 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus, on the day that the Minister of Health asked the Government to resign.
The country’s Indigenous Peoples Articulation reported today that 38 indigenous peoples have already been affected by the new coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.
The death toll of COVID-19 in Africa soared to 2,630 this Saturday, with more than 78,000 infected in 54 countries, according to the latest pandemic statistics on that continent.
The number of infected people in India has exceeded those in China, with the Indian Ministry of Health announcing that it has registered 85,940 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
In China, a man recovered from the disease but needed a lung transplant because he developed irreversible pulmonary fibrosis.
China is testing five experimental vaccines for COVID-19 on people, and the number of vaccines is expected to rise soon, the Chinese deputy health minister said yesterday.
One of the most anticipated is being developed at the University of Oxford and the news is promising: 14 days after receiving the vaccine, the infected monkeys gained antibodies against the virus.
In addition, the vaccine appears to prevent lung damage and prevent the virus from replicating.
Scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital have concluded that more than 99% of 624 confirmed cases with COVID-19 in New York state have developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, but do not yet know whether they confer immunity.
Countries that experienced heat in March had no fewer cases despite the higher temperature. The first study outside China on the topic concluded that “summer is not going to make the virus disappear”.
In a study published in the journal “PLOS Pathogens”, a team of researchers from China and the USA suggests that the new coronavirus will not have emerged from pangolins.
In Portugal, starting next week, Hospital de São João, in Porto, will be the only one in the country to use an Artificial Intelligence system capable of quickly analyzing the CT scans of patients suspected of being infected with COVID-19.
The drops in GDP in Portugal are clear: the pandemic caused the economy to contract at a level that was not seen since 2013 when the international “troika” was in the country.
From January to March, the index that measures the national wealth had an annual drop of 2.4%.
Yesterday, António Costa announced that the Government will start, from the end of next week, the process to launch an economic and social emergency program, to provide a structured response to the crisis.
According to the Prime Minister, all submitted and valid lay-off orders, until the end of April, have already been paid.
Today, the Minister of Agriculture will announce 140 million euros in support to the sector.
The adoption of worker turnover schedules and the definition of differentiated entry and exit times will become mandatory, starting on Monday, in cases where it is not possible to apply the remote work regime.
As of June 1st, remote work is no longer mandatory and normal labour rules will be resumed, with the possibility for workers and companies to agree among themselves to maintain the work-from-home regime.
Tenants of commercial spaces that have been forced to close or suspend activity will have until June 2021 to pay the due rents.
In a short video released on his Twitter account, Finance Minister Mário Centeno launched yesterday’s meeting of the Eurogroup, stating that those who criticize the work of European finance ministers in the governing body “are wrong”.
In Europe, Germany, France, and Italy entered a technical recession in the first quarter of 2020. The three largest economies in the Eurozone and the EU have accumulated two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.
Fitch rating agency maintained France’s rating yesterday, worsening the outlook for sovereign debt quality from stable to negative due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US House of Representatives yesterday approved a new plan of around 2.8 billion euros to combat the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. The Federal Reserve highlighted a strong tension to which the financial system was subjected during March, following the paralysis of the economic activity imposed by the virus.
The Portuguese stock exchange closed yesterday’s session on positive ground, following the trend of the main markets in Europe.
The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 ended the week with a gain of 0.94%, to 3,995.72 points.
Most European stock exchanges closed on the positive: DAX rose 1.24%, FTSE 100 advanced 1.01%, CAC 40 grew 0.11%, and AEX added 0.26%. IBEX 35 fell 1.08% and FTSE MIB slid 0.09%. Euro Stoxx 50 was marked by a 0.38% appreciation.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the New York Stock Exchange ended Friday’s session on positive ground, after a bearish start.
Yesterday, IGCP (Portuguese Authority that manages public debt) said it will return to the market on Wednesday for two auctions of Treasury Bill lines.