Wednesday, April 29th | COVID-19 Daily Update
Today’s Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) official data reveal that 1.480 people (+5.8% in the last 24 hours) have already recovered in Portugal since the beginning of the pandemic.
The daily epidemiological bulletin also registers 25 more deaths and 183 new cases of infection with COVID-19 in Portugal in the last 24 hours. The number of deaths rose from 948 to 973 (+2.6%) and the total number of confirmed cases increased from 24.322 to 24.505 (+0.7%)
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The Portuguese President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced yesterday that the state of emergency in Portugal will not be renewed, but reiterated that “the end of the state of emergency does not represent the end of the outbreak”, stressing that a new phase of fighting the pandemic starts now.
The limit for the rupture of the National Health Service, in case of an eventual second wave of COVID-19, was set in 4.000 hospitalizations, a criterion revealed yesterday, at the fifth technical meeting to assess the epidemiological situation in Portugal. With the announced end of the state of emergency, mayors and street traders await the instruction manual to reopen their activities in all municipalities.
An evaluation report on the state of emergency measures, released yesterday by the Government, indicates that the police authorities, PSP and GNR, should have monitored 4.700 infected or suspects of infection, but the incomplete lists available prevented almost half of the surveillance to be carried out.
Today, Infarmed (Portuguese counterpart of FDA) warned that COVID-19 patients should be aware of any adverse effects to the medications they take for their symptoms, remembering that many of the reactions are unknown.
Another alert was launched regarding the sale of masks with false certification and without protection by Citeve, the only textile technology centre with a protocol with Infarmed and DGS to certify these materials.
INSA (National Health Institute) has been working day and night to respond to requests for analysis of suspicious samples from COVID-19 for two months, and there are days when 800 tests can be carried out, for a total of more than 320.000. The INSA also warned of a significant decrease in the number of accesses to the emergency services of the Portuguese NHS, which may be based on fears regarding the new coronavirus.
The seasonal flu sentinel surveillance system will be extended to COVID-19 to “know in detail” what will happen in the Portuguese population with the coexistence of both viruses.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The pandemic has killed 214.451 people and has infected more than 3.2 million worldwide since December, according to AFP’s (French news agency) latest balance sheet, which warns, however, that the number of diagnosed cases reflects only a fraction of the actual number of infections.
In Spain, the daily number of recovered people reached a record level in the last 24 hours: 6.399 people. The country recorded 325 new deaths from COVID-19.
In Germany, more than 6.000 deaths have already been registered and the cases amount to 157.000.
In the USA there have been more deaths in two months of the pandemic than in 20 years of war in Vietnam, with 58.365 deaths.
Brazil, on the other hand, surpassed the 5.000 dead and has 71.886 confirmed cases.
In China, the number of new cases in the last 24 hours was only 22.
The scenario of COVID-19, although tragic, is still preventable, says the report of the International Rescue Committee, but financial and humanitarian aid must arrive at more fragile countries, such as Afghanistan and Syria, under the risk that more than 1 billion people will be infected.
Five months after the start of the pandemic, a much wider and more complex picture of symptoms associated with COVID-19 begins to emerge, which includes heart, kidney and liver problems as well as haemorrhages and clots in the brain.
In Germany, Christian Drosten, the virologist who designed the country’s strategy against the pandemic, warns that the “prevention paradox” could trigger a second outbreak.
Contrary to what happened with SARS, some experts believe that the new coronavirus may return every year like the flu due to the existence of asymptomatic patients, making it difficult to contain the disease.
Six monkeys who were tested with a vaccine developed by the University of Oxford are said to be coronavirus-free 28 days after sustained exposure to the virus. The result is a promising early sign for the vaccine, which is also undergoing human trials. A working human version, however, remains months away even in the best-case scenario.
In several countries, thousands of researchers supported by millions of euros are looking for the formula to guarantee the effectiveness and safety of a vaccine against coronavirus.
According to the World Health Organization, among the various candidates and monitored projects, at least six vaccines are in phases 1 or 2 of the clinical evaluation process.
The vaccine whose process is most advanced is that of CanSino Biologics Inc. of Hong Kong and the Beijing Biotechnology Institute, which is in phase 2.
Sanofi says it can get a vaccine for the new coronavirus until next year.
The Portuguese Government and the social partners will meet again today to assess the impact of support measures related to the crisis caused by COVID-19.
Yesterday, the Portuguese Prime Minister stressed that the resumption of football competitions will have to be sustained “on technical health grounds”, warning that risks cannot be taken that put athletes and fans at risk.
The governor of Banco de Portugal considered that the default on the payment of credits in the context of the COVID-19 crisis should be prolonged to the maximum, to avoid the growth of bad loans.
The pandemic imposed a serious brake on real estate, a sector whose activity may have dropped by up to 40%, with immediate consequences for the banking system. On the investment fund side, 1.5 billion euros have already been lost due to the pandemic.
Consumer confidence in April recorded the biggest monthly reduction ever, reaching the minimum value since September 2014, due to the coronavirus, revealed the INE (Portuguese Statistics Board) today.
In Europe, the economic sentiment experienced the biggest monthly drop in April since there are records (1985), both in the Eurozone and in the European Union, approaching the lows of March 2009, according to the European Commission.
Some indicators have already revealed the first impacts of the new coronavirus pandemic on the economy, but this week the picture is clearer with the publication of the GDP of the USA and the Eurozone for the first quarter, which should have contracted from 3% to 6%.
Fitch lowered Italy’s rating to the BBB- level, just one level above the so-called “financial trash”, a decision that arises in the wake of the serious economic crisis caused by the pandemic in that country.
This morning the Lisbon Stock Exchange was in the “green” for the third consecutive session, with the Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 standing out positively on a day of modest gains for European peers.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 advanced a slight 0.02% at the start of trading.
After the fall of the last session, oil was recovering this morning, with prices moving up on both sides of the Atlantic.