Wednesday, April 17th | COVID-19 Daily Update
In the last 24 hours, the number of recovered cases in Portugal went from 493 to 519 (+5.2%).
The number of deaths caused by the new coronavirus increased from 629 to 657 (+28, a growth rate of 4.45%), according to data released today by the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS).
The number of infected people rose from 18.841 to 19.022 (+181 cases, a growth rate of 0.96%, the lowest ever in Portugal since the beginning of the outbreak in the country).
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The President of the Republic announced yesterday the renewal of the state of emergency in Portugal, due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus, until next 2nd. of May. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that the remainder of April will be decisive and that May may become an opening month for the economy. The decree was approved again by Parliament, although this time with more votes against.
Meanwhile, and taking into account that the epidemiological situation has been getting worse in several countries, the Government decided to extend the suspension of some flights for an additional month.
According to the Director-General of Health, Portugal currently has a basic reproduction number close to 1, which suggests that it is close to reaching a value below the transmission threshold. These data are in line with the predictions of the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the statistical website “Worldometers”, Portugal became, in just one month, one of the countries in the world that performs more diagnostic tests of the new coronavirus per million inhabitants, being already the 19th country in this table.
Next week, the Champalimaud Foundation will initiate serological tests on COVID-19 to 667 nurses and operational assistants from Santa Maria and Santo António hospitals, in a pilot project in collaboration with the Portuguese Guild of Nurses.
Today, “Público” newspaper reports that only 65 of the 508 ventilators paid for by the Government in March, were delivered to the Portuguese embassy in Beijing. They should arrive in Portugal at the beginning of next week, on a flight chartered by the Government to TAP.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The French President stood by the role of WHO in the COVID-19 crisis during a meeting of G7 leaders, held yesterday by videoconference. Meanwhile, WHO left a new alert: before leaving the state of emergency, European countries must ensure that the transmission of the new coronavirus is controlled and that workplaces are capable of keeping physical distance among workers.
The United States recorded 4.491 deaths in 24 hours due to COVID-19 (a new maximum), bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to about 33.000, said Johns Hopkins University.
In Spain, the Ministry of Health announced that there were 5.252 new people infected, an increase of 2.9% over the previous day, with 188.068 now being the total number of people who contracted the disease. The number of deceased and recovered was not released. Spanish authorities have stated that it is “difficult” to know the actual number of coronavirus deaths in the country.
In Germany, the rate of contagion by COVID-19 fell for the first time below 1 (to 0.7), announced the Robert Koch Institute.
In Wuhan, the Chinese city where the pandemic began, it was revealed that the death toll is 50% higher than initially reported. After a review of the accounting criteria, the total rose from 2.579 to 3.869.
According to an AFP (French news agency) balance sheet, released at 8 pm yesterday, the new coronavirus has killed 141.127 people and has infected more than 2.1 million worldwide since last December.
The University of Oxford is recruiting volunteers to test a vaccine against COVID-19 that it is developing. The goal is to test 500 people next May.
The Portuguese Prime Minister announced in the Parliament that he wants to reopen daycare centres, kindergartens, small businesses and hairdressers in May.
The Minister of Finance defended that the budgetary response to the crisis caused by the pandemic is “robust”, but “we cannot spend everything now”. Mário Centeno confirmed that the supplementary budget may be accurate and warned that the need for Government to intervene “will not be exhausted in the coming weeks”.
In the meantime, the European Commission said that it expects that, despite the context of “high uncertainty”, member states will deliver their stability and convergence programs by the end of April. However, it admits simplified documents focusing on fiscal policies adopted in response to the pandemic.
IAPMEI (Portuguese Agency for support to SME’s) revealed today that it has already paid 75 million euros, an amount distributed by 805 companies, within the scope of the measures to speed up the payment of PT2020 incentives, because of the pandemic.
As of April 14th, 69.581 companies have notified the Government that they are applying for a simplified layoff, representing 938.000 workers and a total of 951 million euros in monthly remuneration.
According to data from the Strategy and Planning Office of the Ministry of Labor, Lisbon and Porto concentrate the largest number of requests for layoffs and support for independent workers. The same organism said that the Government is paying the wages to 26.343 workers who are in isolation due to the coronavirus and that, since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 52 thousand applications for Social Security unemployment benefits.
In terms of consumer protection, the Portuguese Government announced that it will impose a maximum value to profit margins on the sale of protective equipment, such as face masks, alcohol, disinfectant gel, and disposable gloves.
In the US, President Donald Trump announced the reopening of the economy.
China, on the other hand, suffered the worst economic contraction since 1970, in the first quarter, after paralyzing for almost two months due to measures to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts estimate.
The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 was growing 1.38% at the start of today’s session, a rise that comes after two consecutive falls in the main national stock index. Still, even if it closes with the current appreciation, this will be a negative week, after three weeks of recovery.