COVID-19 | Daily Update

May 18, 2020

Wednesday, May 18th | COVID-19 Daily Update



The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) announced today that the number of recoveries increased to 6,430, meaning 1,794 more cases in the last 24 hours (+38,70%), surpassing the highest number of recovered patients in a single day, which was registered yesterday.

Also in the last 24 hours, there were 13 more deaths and 173 new cases of COVID-19 infection in Portugal.

According to that entity’s epidemiological bulletin, the number of fatalities rose from 1,218 to 1,231 (+1.07%), while confirmed cases increased from 29,036 to 29,209 (+0.60%).



The Ministry of Health guarantees that the face masks with an invalid certificate have not been distributed and that the order will only be paid when all clarifications are given. 

Almost half of the doctors who had contact with patients suspected of having COVID-19 or with symptoms compatible with the disease have never been tested, according to the results of a survey carried out by the Portuguese Medical Association.  

The Secretary of State for Health clarified that the DGS guidelines are “strictly complied with”. 

The general director of Health considered that “it is better to be prepared for this virus to become usual in our lives”. DGS will issue two new guidelines on pregnant women and newborns.

The Government decided to extend the ADSE (public servants’ health service) regime until October for descendants who have reached the age limit.



The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet found conclusive evidence that the new coronavirus can spread through contact with an artificial surface, but maintains its recommendation in favour of disinfecting surfaces and objects.

According to AFP (French news agency) data, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 313,000 and infected almost 4.7 million people worldwide. 

Belgium has exceeded 9,000 deaths since the pandemic began. The country registered 291 new cases of infection by COVID-19, in a total of 55,280 confirmed cases. 

The US recorded 820 deaths from COVID-19 and more than 19,000 cases have been identified in the past 24 hours.

Brazil added 485 more deaths and 7,938 new cases of infection by the new coronavirus, totalling 16,118 deaths and 241,080 confirmed cases. In São Paulo, the health system is on the verge of collapse.  

Peru surpassed 92,000 cases yesterday and more than 2,600 deaths, when Lima’s hospitals are at the limit and some are carrying out a selection of patients.

In Africa, there are 2,735 confirmed deaths and more than 82,500 infected in 54 countries, with South Africa reporting the highest number of cases among countries on the continent, followed by Egypt.

Russia recorded, for the first time since May, less than nine thousand new cases of contagion in a single day, with the country’s authorities reporting that the situation is stabilizing.  

China has diagnosed, in the last 24 hours, seven new cases of infection, including three of local infection, which were detected in Jilin, in the northeast of the country, and in the city of Shanghai.



Tom Inglesby, an expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, does not believe there may be a vaccine for the new coronavirus in 2020, but he admits this scenario if all goes well. 

China has developed three vaccines against COVID-19 that are now in the second phase of clinical trials.

Despite the dramatic scenario in many countries, the infection rate is still too low to confer any group immunity within the community, several studies in European countries indicate.

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong have shown that wearing masks in social interactions reduces coronavirus transmission by 50%.

The list of symptoms for SARS-CoV-2 infection grows almost daily. Now, new investigations reveal several gastrointestinal problems in patients with COVID-19, some with deadly consequences.



Another stage in the return to “normality” starts today, with the country moving on to the second phase of deconfinement. 

As of today, there is an easing of restrictions and new rules regarding the reopening of some stores and public services.

The Prime Minister went to have breakfast at a pastry shop, to give a sign of confidence and to appeal to the Portuguese not to let “be overcome by the cure” to the pandemic of COVID-19.

More than 40% of workers in Portugal will have suffered significant loss of income or have even been unemployed, having to resort to Social Security benefits. Since March, around two million people have already been directly affected in their income and the number is expected to grow in the coming months.

The Secretary of State for Communities announced the creation of several programs to help Portuguese communities abroad to overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic and the consequent confinement in various countries.

In an interview, the CCP (Commerce Confederation) leader said that the share of rejected lay-off orders is now 16%, at a time when companies are gradually resuming their activity.

ING (Dutch bank) says that the performance of the Portuguese economy will be better than that of Spain and Italy, countries most affected by the pandemic. It stresses, however, that the expected recovery from the second half of the year will be hampered by the fall in tourism and that the economy will expand by only 2.6% in 2021.

Portuguese exporters and importers confirm that, albeit at a slow pace, roads to China reopened at the end of March and during April, beginning the reestablishment of part of the production, distribution, and consumption chains.

The end of the European single market could cost between 3% and 8.7% of the economy of the EU as a whole, according to the European Parliament’s Research Service, which advocates greater European integration. 

Macron and Merkel present a Franco-German initiative for Europe in the context of the coronavirus crisis. 

The US Central Bank moves away from the Great Depression scenario, but admits a slow recovery, admitting that in the second quarter the unemployment rate may be between 20% and 25%, and the drop in US GDP will be “easily at 20% or 30%”.

Japan’s economy fell 2% in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period of the previous year, thus entering a recession.



The week starts with strong gains on European stock exchanges and Lisbon follows the positive sentiment.

The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 adds 2.26%, while the DAX-30 increases 2.1% and the CAC-40 in France rises 2%. IBEX-35 adds 1.7%, and Stoxx 600 gains 1.5%.

After trading at minimums due to COVID-19 in March, the Stoxx 500 and 600 have already appreciated by more than 30% and 20%, respectively.

The major driver of these valuations was the response from central banks and governments around the world to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic.