COVID-19 | Weekly Update

October 16, 2020

Friday, October 16th | COVID-19 Daily Update



The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) announced that Portugal today registered its worse day since the beginning of the pandemic with 2,608 new cases of infection by COVID-19. 

The epidemiological bulletin shows that over the past 24 hours there were also 21 deaths, which have already totalled 2,149 since the beginning of the pandemic. The number of confirmed cases in the country rose from 93,294 to 95,902. 

The released data also point out that the total number of people recovered from the disease is now 56,066, 985 more than yesterday.

The number of hospitalized patients is now over 1,000, 144 of which in Intensive Care Units.



The worsening scenario of the epidemic intensified during this week and this was recognized by the Government, which in recent days has announced measures and guaranteed that there is still capacity in the NHS. 

The Health Minister said yesterday that INSA’s (National Institute of Health) official estimates point to more than 3,000 daily cases of COVID-19 within a few days. 

A joint document from DGS, Infarmed (medicines authority), and INSA have authorized the use of rapid tests to COVID-19 according to the clinical and epidemiological situation, but these should be used with “reserve”. 

Infarmed has also authorized the use of the Atena ventilator developed in Portugal in the service of the pandemic, but only in cases of emergency, as it still needs certification to be marketed.

The mandatory use of the StayAway Covid mobile app, announced yesterday by the Government, generated criticism among the opposition about the constitutionality of the law, but the President of the Republic has already guaranteed that he is available to send the diploma to the Constitutional Court to dispel “insurmountable doubts”. 

The President of the Assembly of the Republic accepted the project law but admitted to having doubts about some measures suggested by the Government.



EU leaders, meeting at a European summit in Brussels, decided to strengthen cooperation for testing and tracking positive cases of COVID-19 in the community space, because of the sharp increases in new infections. 

The current pandemic has exposed the population’s vulnerability to the increase of some chronic diseases in the last three decades, a situation that in Spain threatens to reduce the average life expectancy, which is higher than in other western countries. 

The Spanish Minister of Health this morning put forward the possibility of having a vaccine against COVID-19 by Christmas, or more likely in January or February.

The UK has recorded about 19,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day and scientists at the University of Cambridge have released new estimates about the speed of the spread, warning that the number of daily deaths could reach 690 within a week. 

In the last 24 hours, Germany registered 7,334 new infections with the new coronavirus, which represents a new high since the beginning of the pandemic.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the USA has added 7,974,502 cases of COVID-19 and 217,745 deaths, and the latest report accounted for another 1,148 deaths and 70,334 new cases of infection. 

Africa recorded another 281 deaths from yesterday to today due to COVID-19, totalling 39,403 deaths and 1,613,011 infected.



The results released yesterday of a candidate vaccine against COVID-19 being developed in China show that it is safe and able to induce an immune response in healthy volunteers in the early stages of the clinical trial.  

The salvation of the elderly may well be in drugs that increase defences, rather than attacking the virus, stress several researchers. One of the classes of anti-ageing treatments works at the level of cell growth, inhibiting a protein, the mTOR gene, which allows extending the life expectancy of animals – almost like a “youth elixir”.

At the University of Nevada, a laboratory is developing a test for rapid detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, in about 30 seconds, which has had successful preliminary results. 

A World Health Organization study concludes that the treatment of critically ill patients with remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine did not have a “substantial impact” on the chances of survival of patients with COVID-19, and treatment with these drugs did not even contribute to reducing the length of hospital stay for patients with the disease. 

The Global Burden of Disease Study concludes that the interaction of COVID-19 with the increase in chronic diseases and associated risk factors, such as obesity and pollution, in the last 30 years, created the perfect storm to feed deaths from the new coronavirus.  

Two other studies suggest that blood type O individuals may have a lower risk of being infected, as well as a lower likelihood that, if they are infected, they will experience severe symptoms.



The Portuguese economy may take about a decade to fully recover from the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister told yesterday in the presentation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan to the European Commission. 

In an interview today in “Público”, António Costa stressed that the Government’s priority “is not to prohibit dismissals, it is to support” employment, and guaranteed that “there is” no taxpayer money to finance the Resolution Fund in 2021.

The Government says that if the 2021 State Budget proposal passes in Parliament, in less than two weeks it will be possible to continue to discuss the design of the new Extraordinary Support for Workers’ Income.  

However, the negotiating partners criticize the absence of changes in the deadlines for the granting of unemployment benefits, pointing out that there will be at least 50,000 unemployed people who will see the granting of benefits end next year.

The increased sanctions for commercial establishments open to the public have already come into force and anyone who fails to guarantee the application of the rules risks paying fines of 10,000 euros.

According to figures revealed by Eurostat, the inflation rate in the Eurozone entered even more negative territory last month, from -0.2% in August to -0.3% in September.



The PSI-20 index took off this Friday to trade higher, increasing 0.92%, to 4,233.48 points, in line with the main European markets. 

Throughout the rest of Europe, the London, Frankfurt, and Paris stock exchanges advanced 1.38%, 1.54%, and 0.51% this morning, as well as those of Madrid and Milan, which rose 0.1% and 0.22 %, respectively.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange closed lower today, with the Nikkei down 0.41% to 23,410.63 points.