Friday, January 29th | COVID-19 Daily Update
In 24 hours, Portugal registered 278 fatalities and 13,200 new people infected with the new coronavirus, according to the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) epidemiological bulletin.
The data released today show that the number of deaths increased to 11,886, while confirmed cases are now 698,583.
It should also be noted that the number of people recovered also increased by 11,187 to 504,886.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
In a statement to the country, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that what we do until March will determine what will happen until autumn and again asked the Portuguese to stay at home.
Yesterday, the Ministers’ Council decided to keep in force all restrictions imposed in the last 15 days.
Meanwhile, Portugal and Spain are in contact to discuss concrete measures to limit the movement of people on the border between both countries. Since the beginning of the year alone, more than 4,700 people have died in Portugal.
Starting today, Hospital de Santa Maria, in Lisbon will pre-screen patients to minimize the number of ambulances outside the hospital.
This morning, there were about 30 ambulances at the door of the Emergency.
The Regional Governments of Azores and Madeira informed that they are available to receive patients in hospitals of both autonomous regions.
Regarding the problems in nursing homes, Minister Ana Mendes Godinho underlined that the lethality rate in Portuguese ones (28%) is lower than that registered in Spain (47%) or France (43%), and there are currently 364 active outbreaks in this kind of facility for the elderly.
Regarding the vaccination process, the vaccination plan task force coordinator regrets “disturbing confidence in the process” cases and stresses that Health Inspection will monitor compliance with the vaccination plan.
Although it has not yet been discussed, the Director of the Portuguese Society of Virology considers that surgical face masks should be worn, but underlines that there are some community-based ones (social face masks) with an identical level of protection. Meanwhile, demand for FFP2 face masks has increased, which has led to a stockout in some suppliers, but the situation is expected to return to normal soon.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The European Commission (EC) has approved a mechanism for notification and authorization of vaccine exports, which makes it possible to stop shipments to non-European countries until contracts with the EU are fulfilled.
The EC and AstraZeneca have agreed to make a truce, however, the EU is going to publish today the contract signed with the pharmaceutical company, since the latter is not complying with the stipulations.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to approve the distribution of the vaccine today. For now, the pharmaceutical company has already shown itself available to supply another eight million doses in the first quarter of the year.
The UN Secretary-General said yesterday, after being vaccinated, that “everyone, anywhere”, must have access to vaccination.
Across Europe, Dutch authorities detained at least 24 more people in the past 24 hours yesterday for involvement in the confinement riots.
Germany, on the other hand, recorded 839 deaths and 14,022 new infections in the last 24 hours.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Brazil passed the barrier of nine million infections yesterday and now totals 221,547 deaths, being the third country in the world to reach this mark, after the USA and India. Despite extensive experience in vaccination campaigns, the lack of doses, coordination, and a clear message is hampering the process.
The USA registered 3,949 deaths and 155,794 new cases of infection.
In Israel, data collected on the Pfizer vaccine show 92% effectiveness after administration of the two doses.
The EMA said today that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is not linked to any reported post-inoculation death and is not particularly at risk for the elderly.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson announced today that its single-dose vaccine has a 72% effectiveness, but it drops to 66% in a trial conducted on three continents and with other variants.
In turn, clinical trials of the Novavax vaccine have shown 89.3% effectiveness. However, the results have shown that it is much less effective against the recently discovered South African strain.
A group of scientists in Brazil detected cases of simultaneous infection with two different variants in the same person. For now, there is no evidence that this phenomenon represents an increase in danger.
According to a recent study, COVID-19 may alter the quality of sperm in men who have contracted the disease. Another study reports that the list of risk factors continues to grow and the most recent is schizophrenia.
Yesterday, Vítor Gaspar, the director of the International Monetary Fund, showed that in 2020, the effort of the Portuguese Government in terms of budgetary measures to respond to the pandemic directed at the Health sector was one of the highest in the group of large and developed countries.
Today’s BdP (PT banking regulatory authority) data shows that the total amount of loans to households closed the year at a peak of more than five years, exceeding 120.7 billion euros and that loans to companies grew by almost 10% at the end of the year.
INE (PT statistics bureau) also published data on the unemployment rate, which in December was 6.5%.
In the neighbouring country, the Spanish economy fell by 11% in 2020, as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on economic activity, after six consecutive years of growth.
The French economy also fell by 8.3%, in a year marked by restrictions to curb the disease.
The PSI-20 started the session negotiating in the red. The Portuguese index was down 1.49%, in line with the main European markets.
Among the main European indexes, the German DAX lost 1.66%, the British FTSE yielded 1.48%, the French CAC 40 fell 1.59% and the Spanish IBEX 35 devalued 1.35%.
On the other side of the Atlantic, GameStop shares were again shooting 150% before the official opening of the stock exchanges on Wall Street, after Robinhood, one of the most famous online trading platforms, lifted the restrictions imposed on amateur investors.