Wednesday, May 2nd | COVID-19 Daily Update
In the last 24 hours, 203 new cases of COVID-19 infection were registered in Portugal and 16 fatalities, totaling 1,023, as indicated by data from the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) daily epidemiological bulletin.
The number of confirmed cases is now 25,190, a figure lower than the 25,351 cases confirmed yesterday, but justified by the Minister of Health with a correction that was applied to accounting, since 422 cases were not “true new cases”.
The data also reveal that 1,671 people have recovered from the disease in the country, 24 more than yesterday.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa received a call yesterday from his North-American counterpart Donald Trump, who praised Portugal’s performance and offered all the necessary help in combating the pandemic.
In the transition from a state of emergency to a state of calamity, which will remain in effect until May 17, the recommendation to stay at home will now apply to all Portuguese, no longer including a special reference to those over 70 years of age.
The Minister of Health ensured the continuity of measures to control the transmission of the virus and to reduce mortality as well as serious cases of infection while maintaining the “strategic reserve, not only of personal protective equipment but also of infrastructure, human resources and adequate means to respond adequately to an eventual growth of the epidemic outbreak”.
The president of the Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators points out that in this crisis it was demonstrated that Portuguese hospitals had “teams very well prepared” to respond in the first stage of the pandemic.
The actual lethality rate of COVID-19 in Portugal is still uncertain and some experts believe that it will even be overestimated. However, the director-general of Health, Graça Freitas, justified yesterday that “the DGS report is more indicative than deterministic” and added that “what we try to do is the best possible job to communicate the number at a very fine level, in every municipality”.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The Johns Hopkins University count reveals that in the past 24 hours there have been 1,883 deaths in the USA due to COVID-19, the number of infected people has risen to 1,103,115 and 165,000 people have been reported as recovered in the country most affected by the pandemic.
In Spain, there were 276 more victims and a total of 25,100 infected people have died, with 216,582 cases active since the beginning of the pandemic.
Italy recorded 269 deaths from COVID-19 yesterday, a number that continues to decline, as does the number of infected, which is now 207,428, and the government is already preparing to lift the state of emergency.
The China Health Commission reported that there was only one case of infection from yesterday to today, and 577 active cases.
The United States is very active in finding solutions to combat COVID-19.
The US government has approved the use of a novel antiviral to remedy the new coronavirus, even though the company that produced the drug has warned that the efficacy has not yet been proven.
The Agency for Advanced Research is developing a test that allows the presence of the virus to be detected in the body 24 hours after the patient has been infected, that is before it can be transmitted by the carrier.
The most optimistic say that a vaccine may already exist in September, others guarantee that it will only happen in early 2021, and there are still those who point to August 2021.
According to the projections of The New York Times, assuming that the objectives are not met and that vaccine development will take the usual time, we may have a solution available only in May 2036.
European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis estimates a “severe recession” in Europe in 2020, with a drop of around 7.5% in Eurozone GDP and a new peak in unemployment resulting from the pandemic, a scenario similar to the one outlined by the European Central Bank’s chief economist, Philip Lane.
To respond to the crisis, The Portuguese DGS signed this morning an agreement with the Confederation of Commerce and Services of Portugal to “give a sign of confidence not only to consumers but especially to workers in the sector”, stressed the Minister of Economy.
António Costa said that until May 15th “we will be in a position to pay for all the layoff processes” that were filed due to the pandemic.
The Minister of Labor announced that Social Security has already transferred 216 million euros in measures created by the Government for companies. Ana Mendes Godinho added that the Government is going to launch a program of diagnostic tests for the virus that aims to cover 29,000 workers from the 2,000 nurseries that open on May 18.
In an interview, the Minister for Planning reveals figures from PT2020 in support of the economy in a pandemic context and admits that the reopening must be done with caution because nothing is worse for companies than a situation of advance-retreat.
In two weeks, more than 600 families have asked for help from the Food Bank in the Algarve, a scenario of need even more serious than that of the economic crisis of 2008.
Starting next Monday, only street stores up to 200 square meters will be able to reopen.
A decree-law has already been published that gives employers permission to measure workers’ temperature and prevent them from working with a fever.
The expansion of freedom of movement is accompanied by an announcement of an increase in fuel prices.
The Government’s decision to keep gyms closed could lead to the closure of between 60% to 70% of those establishments, says the Association of Gyms and Academies of Portugal.
The British Government is also planning to reopen the economic activity but assumes that offices will still be closed for several months.
Interest rates of ten-year Portuguese bonds have dropped by more than 20 basis points in the last four sessions, moving away from 1%.
The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 gained more than 4% this week, recovering losses of two weeks and closing the podium in Europe.
The German Dax led the gains, with an increase of 5.08%, followed by the Ibex 35, which added 4.66%. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones closed down 2.56% and the Nasdaq sank 3.2%. The S & P500 depreciated 2.8%.
The week was also marked by a recovery of more than 20% in oil prices, which cancelled out last week’s losses but still accumulates a 60% drop this year.
The euro gained ground against the dollar, achieving the strongest appreciation since the last week of March, but is still below $ 1.10 and loses more than 2% in the year.