COVID-19 | Daily Update

April 23, 2020

Wednesday, April 23rd | COVID-19 Daily Update


Portugal has now 1.201 recovered patients (+5%).

In the last 24 hours, the country registered an additional 371 infected people and 35 fatalities with COVID-19, according to the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) daily epidemiological bulletin. 

The number of deaths rose from 785 to 820 (+4.5%) and the total number of confirmed cases increased from 21.982 to 22.353 (+1.7%).

From the total number of deaths, 327 occurred in nursing homes (40%).



Prime Minister António Costa assured yesterday in the biweekly debate that the Government will reduce VAT on protective equipment such as masks and disinfectant gel from 23% to 6% and wants all nursing home professionals tested by May. 

The confinement lifting continues to be considered, but it is not consensual.

The Director-General of Health, Graça Freitas, said that she intends to improve the National Epidemiological Surveillance System, after complaints from several medical doctors. 

To mitigate differences in society, the Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales, said that deaf citizens now have a video call platform on the SNS 24 Line.

The Centro Hospitalar de São João, in Porto, has already started carrying out rapid molecular tests to diagnose, in less than an hour, for cases of infection with the new coronavirus.

About 300 nursing homes in Portugal have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the users’ relatives complain about the lack of information. 

Former health minister Adalberto Campos Fernandes defends the establishment of “maximum capacity” for services and called for a greater union around the NHS in this pandemic phase, calling for more investment and fewer budget restrictions.



The latest US balance, which officially records the largest number of deaths in the world, brings the total number of fatalities to 46.583 since the outbreak began.

In Europe, Spain has passed 22.000 fatalities in the last 24 hours, and in Germany, 5.094 lives have already been lost, counting the 215 victims of yesterday.

In Belgium, the number of new cases fell for the third consecutive day, with 908 new infections totalling 42.797 cases.

Iceland, with the epidemic under control, is already considered a case study.

In China, the official number of confirmed cases is now approaching 80.000, but a study in Hong Kong shows that the actual number of infected people maybe four times higher.  

There are reports in China, South Korea, Singapore, and Italy of patients who were reported to have recovered after two negative tests that tested positive again, but several experts say they can be false negatives because the first tests were not as effective as current ones.

American medical doctors are reporting cases of blood clotting in patients in very serious and strange conditions, but Álvaro Beleza, director of the Immuno-Hematology Service at Hospital de Santa Maria, considers it normal and says that the same is happening in Portugal.

Several experts in Spain have also begun to warn of vomiting, diarrhoea, or hives as “invisible symptoms” associated with the disease.



Germany yesterday approved the first clinical tests of a vaccine under the responsibility of BioNTech to combat COVID-19, which will soon start in 200 healthy people with ages between 18 and 55 years old. 

In the United Kingdom, tests for a vaccine created by researchers at the University of Oxford are starting today. They believe it may be ready by next summer.

In Portugal, specialists from the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto and the Centro Hospitalar Universitário de São João will evaluate the potential of Montelucaste, used in asthma therapy, in COVID-19 patients hospitalized with moderate to severe pneumonia.

Researchers in France admit that nicotine may have a protective effect against infection with the new coronavirus and will run tests with nicotine patches.



European Union leaders will meet today to try to agree on a plan for the recovery of the European economy in light of the crisis caused by the pandemic. A bold response can help Europe’s economies to become more sustainable, competitive and cohesive, says S&P Global Ratings. Angela Merkel has already reported that Germany is available to contribute more to the EU budget to help other partners in post-pandemic recovery.

As a result of the containment measures, the PMI data, which measures the “health” of industry and services, show that business activity and employment in the Eurozone suffered the sharpest falls ever in April. 

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa clarified yesterday that the co-payment for the payment of salaries to companies in lay-off will be made depending on the date of the application, that is, it will not always be on the 28th of each month.  

The president of CIP (Industry Confederation), António Saraiva, warns that companies have been “without oxygen for more than a month” and blames the Government and the banks for the delay in providing support. 

Ryanair is against physical distance onboard its planes and announced it will not resume flights if the measure is made mandatory.



European stock markets are on a recovery path again and the Portuguese market is following the trend.

Volatility in the oil market is showing signs of stabilization and raw material prices are even rising, on a day when Brent futures gain 5% and are trading at $ 21.37 a barrel. 

While the European Stoxx 600 increased by 0.43%, the German DAX rose 0.25% and the French CAC-40 recovered 0.84%, the Portuguese PSI-20 stood out with an increase of 0.76%, to 4,131, 71 points.