Wednesday, April 20th | COVID-19 Daily Update
In the last 24 hours, the new coronavirus caused 21 fatalities in Portugal, increasing the total number of deaths from 714 to 735 (+2.9%), according to the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) data.
In the same period, 657 more people were infected, increasing from 20.206 to 20.863 (+3.25%) the total number of confirmed cases.
The number of people recovered remains at 610 for the third consecutive day.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa says that as of May he no longer wants to extend the state of emergency, but he warned that the containment measures are to be maintained. He also warned that this “is not the time for divisions, but for everyone to stay together”, about the controversy because of the celebrations of the 25th of April (Freedom Day).
More than 850 thousand students from the elementary levels of education, starting today and during the third term, will have remote classes through television, and will learn from distance teachers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hospitals and healthcare centres will begin to reschedule appointments and surgeries that have been postponed in recent weeks. The Minister of Health announced over the weekend that the order that suspended scheduled non-urgent activity on March 16th will be revoked this week and that articulation with regional Health administrations, healthcare centres, and hospitals is underway to resume the activity.
Infarmed (Portuguese equivalent to FDA) will distribute 49 pallets of personal protective equipment that are kept by the Military Laboratory and destined for institutions of the Ministry of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security.
The Serology4Covid consortium, which includes five Portuguese research institutes, launched a project to implement a serological antibody detection test for COVID-19 in the Portuguese population.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed at least 165.000 people and has infected more than 2.4 million worldwide since December, according to the AFP (French news agency) balance sheet.
After the USA, which has already surpassed 759 thousand cases, the countries most affected are Italy, with 23.660 deaths in 178.972 cases, Spain, with 20.852 deaths and 200.210 cases, and France, with 19.718 deaths and 152.894 cases.
Brazil yesterday reached a total of 2.462 deaths caused by the pandemic but, according to the Ministry of Health, the daily number of fatalities has been falling.
Singapore initially managed to contain the spread of the infection but has faced a second wave of the disease since the beginning of this month and today announced a record number of 1.400 new cases.
WHO member David Nabarro argues that humanity will have to learn to live with the constant threat of the new coronavirus in the near future and adapt to new rules, as there is no guarantee that the development of a vaccine will be successful.
This pandemic led national parliaments across Europe to reduce activity and impose limitations on the presence of its members at sessions.
The new coronavirus has led countries to develop solutions to face the COVID-19 pandemic and Portugal is the one that has stood out the most concerning innovative projects. The data are from the OECD and show that of the 148 differentiating responses worldwide, 17 are Portuguese, which corresponds to about 11% of the total. In the Top 3 are also the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The Spanish government is advocating the creation of a European fund worth 1.5 billion euros for the most affected European countries and will take the proposal this week to the summit of European leaders.
European commissioner Elisa Ferreira admits that, although necessary, the relaxation of the rules on State aid can aggravate the asymmetries within the European Union and the single currency.
In Portugal, INE (Portuguese Statistics Bureau) released the economic summary of the March scenario, which shows a “sharp reduction” in the economy.
The Government has decided to make 68 million euros available from the PT2020 program to support Portuguese companies and scientific laboratories that have converted production to meet the challenges of the pandemic.
The European Textile and Clothing Confederation wants Portugal to export 515 million certified masks to all of Europe.
The Portuguese Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises criticizes the Executive’s alleged passivity in the face of the way banks are managing credit for the relaunch of economic activity.
The Energy Services Regulatory Authority has limited the price of bottled gas to a maximum of 22.24 euros. Electricity prices are also falling in the wholesale markets, but António Mexia, CEO of EDP, does not confirm that the same can happen with the energy tariffs charged to its domestic and business customers.
The oil industry has been facing the bleakest prospects since at least the 1990s, with demand sinking to historic levels.
The Lisbon Stock Exchange started the session down, in line with most of the main European markets, with the Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 decreasing 0.28% to 4,160.67 points, alongside Madrid (-0.45%), London (-0.18%) and Paris (-0.11%).
Frankfurt goes the other way and values 0.34%.
In the USA, GDP is forecast to slow down in the first two quarters of this year and the markets have already anticipated it.
Since the historic high of February 19, the S&P 500 has entered a “bear market” level by devaluing 33.9%, having reached a minimum on March 23rd.