COVID-19 | Weekly Update

August 21, 2020

Friday, August 21st | COVID-19 Daily Update



A further 219 new cases of COVID-19 were registered in Portugal in the last 24 hours, according to the latest epidemiological bulletin from the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS). 

The number of infected people thus increased from 54,992 to 55,211. 

The data also reveal the occurrence of four deaths since yesterday, bringing the total to 1,792 fatalities in the country. 

In the same period, 209 people recovered from the disease, now totalling 40,473.



According to the DGS, Lisbon still concentrates the largest number of new cases, but the North region recorded the biggest increase in three months.  

The ARS of Lisbon and Tagus Valley (Regional Health Authority) reported that more than 9,800 people have already been contacted in seven municipalities in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, between June 30th and August 18th, by the multidisciplinary teams that support the active cases of COVID-19. The fieldwork aims to “raise awareness of preventive measures” regarding the disease. 

Yesterday the Portuguese Prime Minister confirmed that the Government will buy almost seven million vaccines for COVID-19, having guaranteed that vaccination will be free. 

The Minister of Health revealed that the plan dedicated to the infrastructure of the Intensive Care sector will be reinforced by the end of the year by 26 million euros. 

Today, the Portuguese Guild of Medical Doctors sustained that inspection measures and external audits are necessary to combat situations such as the one of Reguengos de Monsaraz nursing home, where 18 people died.



The number of new cases is increasing in Europe at a rate of 26,000 a day, a trend that worries the World Health Organization (WHO). In this regard, the director-general of the organization in Europe yesterday asked for special care in the reopening of schools and stressed the importance of vaccination, especially in the elderly.  

The numbers in Spain continue to increase and, just yesterday, 3,349 new cases of infection were registered. 

In France, this number amounts to almost 4,800, one of the highest after confinement.  

Germany, too, recorded the highest number of new infections since the end of April, 1,797, a figure that the authorities believe is related to the return from vacation and family celebrations.

Even if one of the several vaccines against the new coronavirus is approved in the coming months, Brazil will have another serious problem to immunize the population: the shortage of syringes and needles. Yesterday, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics revealed that between February and July 13.3 million people in Brazil did some testing for the diagnosis of COVID-19, with 20.4% obtaining a positive result. The country registered more than 45,000 cases yesterday.



The creation of a new consortium, the largest in Europe, was dedicated to the discovery and development of treatment options for COVID-19. Bringing together 37 partners from various European countries and also from China and the USA, CARE is the largest public-private partnership in the field of health sciences. 

On the side of vaccines that are in an advanced testing phase, the one developed by Johnson & Johnson will be tested in a record number of volunteers in September. Altogether there will be about 60 thousand volunteers from various countries.

At the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, a group of researchers is finalizing the prototype of a portable biosensor that will allow the detection of COVID-19 in about 20 minutes.



The official unemployment records of the Portuguese Employment Board (IEFP) added, in July, another 637 unemployed, just a slight increase of 0.2% compared to June, in a month in which another 46,800 people enrolled in the employment centres. There are currently more than 12,000 people with Social Insertion Income (minimum guaranteed income), according to the data released today by the Social Security Institute.

Portugal will integrate the air corridors created by the United Kingdom and the quarantine will no longer be mandatory for passengers coming from Portuguese territory, a measure that should come into force tomorrow and which was applauded by the tourism sector. 

In the insurance sector, the supervisor said to be “prepared” for the extension of insurance moratoriums, should the legislators so decide. 

In Lisbon, commerce in the city, shopping centres, will be able to resume normal operating hours from today. However, coffee shops and convenience stores will have to close at 9 pm. 

Also today, the new rules that give stores more time to pay past due rent, in the context of the pandemic, come into force. 

The German government will have to resort again to loans in 2021 to finance the expected budget deficit due to the impact of the pandemic. The announcement was made today by the country’s finance minister. 

The accumulated debt of the United Kingdom also reached 2.2 billion euros for the first time at the end of July, 100.5% of GDP, a debt that is linked to the measures taken by the British Government to deal with confinement.

The World Bank president estimated today that the crisis generated by COVID-19 could lead up to 100 million people to extreme poverty worldwide, calling on creditors to reduce the debt of poor countries.



Contrary to what has happened throughout this week, most European stock exchanges started today’s session on the positive ground and the main Portuguese index was no exception. 

The PSI-20 started negotiations with a 0.26% increase. On the other side of the Atlantic, the markets registered another record yesterday: for the third consecutive session, the Nasdaq technological index set new historical highs, both for closing and intraday.