Saturday, June 27th | COVID-19 Daily Update
The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) daily epidemiological bulletin published today records 6 more deaths and 323 new cases of COVID-19 infection in Portugal over the last 24 hours.
The active cases increased for the 6th consecutive day in Portugal.
The number of deaths rose from 1,555 to 1,561 (0.39%) and the total number of confirmed cases increased from 40,866 to 41,189 (+0.79%).
The number of people recovered increased to 26,864, 231 more (+0.87%).
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
Portugal did not register, as of May 8, as many new cases of infection as yesterday.
In light of this escalation, starting today, the authorities will impose fines to those who do not meet the standards to contain the pandemic, with penalties ranging between 100 and 500 euros per person.
The country expects the European Commission (EC) to authorize the use of Remdesivir in cases of COVID-19 next week, the Minister of Health said yesterday, indicating that there is already a program for access to the drug in NHS hospitals.
There are 560 ventilators purchased by the Ministry of Health from China that has not yet been evaluated so that they can be distributed among NHS hospitals.
Marta Temido again recognized the difficulty in breaking the transmission chains, which led to the reinforcement of additional measures.
Also yesterday, the Portuguese Parliament approved an amendment to the Government decree-law that again allows diabetics and hypertensive persons unable to perform remote work duties to have the right to justify absences due to the pandemic.
The president of the Portuguese Guild of Medical Doctors says that health professionals are no longer heard in decisions about fighting the pandemic, referring to an “excess of optimism” from the Government, after the good initial results.
Miguel Guimarães also speaks of the “inability to anticipate” the worsening of the pandemic in the Greater Lisbon area.
According to experts, the lack of technicians to track the contacts of those infected will have allowed the virus to spread more quickly and without the necessary control in that region in recent weeks.
The National Federation of Doctors also warns that the NHS can face the abandonment of professionals if urgent measures are not taken and the health sector is not valued.
The President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa warned yesterday that no one is sure about the evolution of the pandemic, noting that Europe has no common criteria for opening borders.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed 490,771 people and has infected 9.6 million worldwide since December, according to the latest AFP news agency balance sheet.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about the possibility of a second wave of the new coronavirus after the increase in cases in Europe, where 11 countries have again registered worrying rates.
Ranieri Guerra, the organization’s deputy director, likens COVID-19 to the 1918 Spanish flu, warning of a potential second lethal wave in the fall.
Sweden has already come to criticize WHO for the “total mistake” of including the country on the list where new outbreaks can overburden health systems.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the USA recorded 574 more deaths in the last 24 hours and a worrying record number of new confirmed infections in a single day: 45,330.
At this time, the spread of the disease is increasing at a fast pace in states like California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona.
With the speed of contagion increasing, Argentina has already extended its quarantine, with Buenos Aires again in total confinement.
In Brazil, the 55,000 deaths by COVID-19 were overcome, with 990 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Latin America is now the confirmed epicenter of the pandemic.
The death toll in Africa has risen to 9,283, more than 185 in the past 24 hours, in more than 359,000 cases, according to the most recent data on the continent’s pandemic.
China has diagnosed 21 new cases in the past 24 hours and India has broken the daily record of infections, exceeding a total of 500,000 cases.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, believes that, although the WHO may have made some mistakes at the beginning of the pandemic, it did not try to help China “hide the reality”.
The Head of the UN also warned that “in the most optimistic scenario, the world will get back to normality in two or three years”.
A total of 27.9 billion euros will be needed to produce tests, vaccines, and medicines against COVID-19 and distribute them equitably worldwide, the WHO estimated yesterday.
Groups at the forefront of efforts to develop vaccines against the disease have outlined an 18 billion US dollars plan to make doses available and end the worst phase of the pandemic only by the end of next year.
Still, in the field of vaccines, Sanofi is testing two types and accelerating the process. The company will move into the testing phase as early as September, four months ahead of schedule.
Scientists are now beginning to realize the variety of problems the new coronavirus can cause, some of which can affect patients for years. In addition to respiratory problems, COVID-19 attacks several organs, causing catastrophic damages in some cases.
Data from the Portuguese General Budget Directorate, released yesterday, indicate that the pandemic cost the State 1,820.5 million euros until May, with a drop of 868.7 million in revenue and an increase of 951.8 million in expenditure.
Tax revenue for the State sub-sector had a “marginal” increase of 0.4% until May compared to the same period last year, to 15,468 million euros, reflecting the effects of COVID-19 and the deferral of tax payments.
According to the current Minister of Finance, João Leão, the State Budget for 2020 forecasts an increase of 40% in the so-called treasury cash balance at the end of the year. At the end of 2020, the Government wants to prepare for the worst and has a target of collecting 9.5 billion euros in the state vaults.
The Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, considers that “there is no reason” for the application of quarantine on the return of tourists to the United Kingdom, but he did not want to anticipate the British Government’s announcement about the air corridor with Portugal.
In an interview with TSF, the Minister of Foreign Affairs considers that COVID-19 has become involved in politics, using restrictions on air travel as an argument for tourist and political competition, and not even leading newspapers have escaped.
Hotels are experiencing a new wave of cancellations, with reservations for July and August pending decisions on the reopening of air routes. Local accommodation also plans to stay in the summer 20% or 40% below normal for the season.
The US Federal Reserve has announced that it will limit large dividend payments by banks and stop repurchasing their shares until at least November, after testing the system’s defences against a potentially serious economic downturn as a result of the pandemic.
Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), believes that the worst of the economic crisis may be over. However, it shows caution, since there is still no agreement on the Recovery Fund.
Adopting a similar tone, Angela Merkel said yesterday that her country can take on debt to help finance the EU’s recovery fund because its prosperity is in Germany’s interest.
The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 ended yesterday devaluing 0.33%, following the sentiment of other European markets, with the main European indexes reversing the trend towards red: only the British FTSE 100 rose 0.27%.
DAX fell 0.73%, CAC 40 slid 0.18%, AEX fell 0.11%, IBEX 35 depreciated 1.26% and FTSE MIB lost 1.57%. Euro Stoxx 50 was marked by a 0.46% devaluation.
US stock markets fell with pressure from the banking sector after the Fed imposed a limit on dividend payments by these companies. The top three indexes fell by around 2.5%, tossing Wall Street into a week of losses.
The Dow Jones ended up falling 2.84% and the Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 2.42%. The technological Nasdaq Composite fell by 2.59%.