Wednesday, May 5th | COVID-19 Daily Update
The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) announced today that in the last 24 hours there were 11 more deaths and 178 new cases of COVID-19 infection in Portugal.
According to its daily bulletin, the number of fatalities went from 1,063 to 1,074 (+1.04%), while confirmed cases increased from 25,524 to 25,702 (+0.70%).
Portugal has now 1,743 recovered patients since the beginning of the pandemic, representing an increase of 1.81% since yesterday.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The first signs of optimism appear to be associated with a gradual reopening of the economy, but the balance between both will not be easy and specialists from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control assume the possibility of a return to confinement in Portugal.
The Minister of Health reinforces this idea, and says that until COVID-19 “is eradicated and we find a cure or a vaccine, we cannot imagine a return to normality”.
In total, according to the Secretary of State for Health, since March 1st, 450 thousand tests have been carried out, 16,200 of them on April 30 only.
Alexandre Lourenço, President of the Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators, suggested returning to the concept of referral hospital units for the treatment of the new coronavirus, always guarding against the possibility of other outbreaks.
The Portuguese Guild of Medical Doctors today went public to demand the “urgent change of legislation that recommends face masks or face shields” because it considers that the use of face shields as an alternative to the face masks is insufficient to ensure sanitary safety.
Portuguese President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has already enacted the reduction of VAT in the purchase of face masks and disinfectant gel from 23% to 6%.
The Ministry of Health is under fire in the media. Since mid-March, it has made at least 17 acquisitions of more than 1 million euros to seven companies by direct agreement, for a total amount of 79.8 million euros.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The new coronavirus pandemic has killed 249,372 people and has infected more than 3.5 million worldwide since December, according to the latest AFP (French news agency) report. After the USA, with 68,285 deaths and a total of 1,171,041 cases, the countries most affected are Italy, with 29,079 deaths and 211,938 cases, the United Kingdom, with 28,734 deaths and 190,584 cases, Spain, with 25,5613 deaths and 218,011 cases, and France, with 25,201 dead for 169,462 cases.
An internal US administration document, released in the media, predicts that the daily death toll from COVID-19 could almost double by June 1st.
China has officially registered a total of 82,880 cases (three new since last Sunday), with no new deaths for three consecutive weeks.
In Brazil, the Government announced 4,075 new infected and 263 decreased in the last 24 hours, but the numbers were eventually updated and are now much higher: 296 dead and 6,633 new cases.
In response to the request made by the United States, the World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated that there is no scientific evidence that the virus came out of Wuhan’s laboratory.
Yesterday the Organization also denied ignoring warnings from the Taiwan disease control centre about the transmissibility of the new coronavirus among humans in December last year.
Two Portuguese researchers are going to help WHO to fight misinformation in the Health area, with an award-winning study whose guidelines have already been accepted by the Organization as strategic.
The European Commission yesterday announced a € 1 billion contribution to vaccine research and treatments for COVID-19, as part of a global fundraising campaign co-organized by Brussels.
There are already more than 100 vaccine projects worldwide, ten of which are already in clinical trials, and researchers are turning to approaches never used before in the development of a vaccine.
Today, the Israel Institute for Biotechnological Research announced that it has developed an antibody for the coronavirus, and is preparing the patent to contact pharmaceutical companies for production on a commercial scale.
In the Netherlands, a group of researchers has also identified a human monoclonal antibody capable of preventing the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting cells, which could mean the first step towards an effective treatment against COVID-19.
According to a new study by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the answer to treating COVID-19 may lie in the immune system, not the virus itself.
Pharma company Roche yesterday presented a new serological test with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity for the detection of antibodies in people who may have been infected with the new coronavirus.
A clinical trial will start in Portugal to conclude if the plasma of recovered patients is safe for the treatment of COVID-19.
The medical community is faced with yet another mystery of the disease: patients with low levels of oxygenation in the blood but not showing any symptoms. The phenomenon is known as “happy hypoxia”.
The national public debt fell in the month that the coronavirus arrived in Portugal. The drop of 596 million euros is compared to February, bringing the total stock to 254,776 million in March, according to data released yesterday by Banco de Portugal.
ASF (Portuguese Insurance and Pension Funds Authority) warned of increased volatility in financial markets and an abrupt reduction in global economic activity as the main factors that aggravate macroeconomic, credit and market risks due to the pandemic.
The Government has postponed the approval and posting of the vacation map and, in the absence of an agreement, employers can decide the matter, but there are conditions to meet.
Industry bosses are calling for a “simplex-COVID” to speed up companies’ loan applications, which will already exceed 9.3 billion euros, but which, according to a CIP (Industry Confederation) survey, are not getting to the ones who need the most.
The German Constitutional Court considers that some points of the program approved by the European Central Bank to respond to the effects of the pandemic violate the European Union’s treaties and gives the institution three months to change the asset purchase package.
The annual inflation rate in the OECD decelerated significantly to 1.7% in March in what is the biggest drop since the financial crisis.
Also in March, industrial production prices fell 1.5% in the Eurozone and 1.4% in the EU, according to Eurostat estimates, released today.
The number of unemployed enrolled in Spanish employment centres increased by 282,891 people in April, a sharp increase that has not occurred since May 2016, reaching a total of 3.83 million people. In total, the pandemic has destroyed nearly a million jobs.
In the UK, the number of lay-off workers is approaching 6.3 million, the country’s finance minister said yesterday.
The US Department of the Treasury has revealed that it will need to borrow $ 2.99 billion because of the record costs of combating the pandemic.
Hong Kong’s GDP registered a record 8.9% contraction in the first quarter, due to the impact that the pandemic had on its economy, already weakened by a political crisis.
The pandemic led Moody’s to revise downward estimates of the value of green bond issues from $ 300 billion to $ 175 to $ 225 billion.
After a session with strong devaluations, the Lisbon Stock Exchange continued to rise this morning, in line with the trend of other European markets.
The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 appreciated 1.50% to 4,249,950 points, with only four of the 18 listed on the negative ground.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 gained 1.63%, the German DAX appreciated 1.67% and the French CAC 40 added 2.44%.
Regarding oil, the price of Brent’s barrel appreciated 6.62% to $ 28.98, while the price of crude WTI increased by 9.71%, to $ 22.37 per barrel.