Wednesday, April 16 | COVID-19 Daily Update
In its epidemiological bulletin, The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) announced today that the number of recovered cases has grown from 383 to 493 (+28.7%).
There is now a total of 629 (+5%) persons deceased and 18.841 (+4.2%) infected with COVID-19 in Portugal.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The Portuguese President of the Republic has already sent to Parliament the draft of the decree for the renewal of the state of emergency, which will continue until the end of this month.
Yesterday, at the end of a meeting between representatives of the sovereign bodies, political parties leaders and public health entities, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa confirmed that “everything is on the way to renewal”.
The Prime Minister argued that it is essential to reach “as soon as possible” a pandemic level where we can start easing containment measures. And he added that on April 28th there will be a new meeting with epidemiologists. António Costa also stated that the reopening of economic activity must be prudent and according to the trust within society.
Yesterday, DGS stated that new peaks of COVID-19 can appear, so it admitted to withdrawing and introducing restrictive measures when necessary, according to the specific situation of each region and sector of economic activity.
In terms of population protection, the President of the Portuguese Textile and Clothing Association said that the production of non-surgical masks has already started and that the first shipments will be available at the beginning of next week.
The United Nations has announced that the conference on the oceans, which was scheduled for Lisbon next June, will be postponed due to COVID-19.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, considered yesterday that “a safe and effective vaccine may be the only tool that allows the world to return to a feeling of normality”.
Today, the European Parliament is debating the European Union’s responses to the pandemic, having in mind to reach a consensus on a coordinated action for post-crisis economic recovery and the progressive lifting of containment measures.
In the USA, more than 2.500 people died in the last 24-hours from COVID-19. It is the highest record counted so far by any country. In the United Kingdom, 4.603 new cases and 761 more deaths were confirmed yesterday.
Germany has a further 315 fatalities, bringing the country’s death toll to 3.569, a number already higher than the one declared by China.
Spain recorded 551 deaths due to the new coronavirus, an increase from the previous day, and 5.183 new confirmed infections.
In Brazil, the Federal Supreme Court has decided that states and municipalities can adopt the measures they consider necessary to combat the new coronavirus, in opposition to President Jair Bolsonaro’s opinion. The country had a daily record of 3.058 infected and 204 deceased yesterday.
According to an AFP (French news agency) balance sheet, released at 8 pm yesterday, the pandemic has killed 131.639 people and has infected more than 2 million worldwide since last December. In Europe, there are already more than one million cases of infection by the new coronavirus.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that it will invest an additional US$150 million to combat the pandemic, with new grants to create vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics.
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German company BioNTech announced that they are working together to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus. Human clinical trials are expected to begin in the US and Europe shortly.
In Lisbon, at the Champalimaud Foundation, the antibodies of those who have already had contact with COVID-19 are being studied to find answers to the big questions arising in terms of immunity.
The International Monetary Fund forecasts in its Fiscal Monitor, released yesterday, that the combined effect of the 8% drop in GDP and the rise in the deficit to 7.1% in 2020 will trigger the Portuguese public debt to new highs. According to the institution, most countries will register the largest deficits in recent decades.
Today, European Union finance ministers are meeting again by videoconference, having among the items on the agenda a discussion on the “simplified approach” of the presentation of stability programs, given the current situation arising from the pandemic.
Moody’s revisited the rating of European banking systems and decided to put the outlook of five of them in “negative”, due to the effects of the pandemic crisis. Portugal is one of the targets of these assessment cuts.
The Portuguese Minister of Economy advanced, in a web conference, that 430 million euros have already been approved in credit lines, and the support for the recovery will have to be designed “according to the evolution trends” of the economy. After a meeting with the employers’ and trade union confederations, Pedro Siza Vieira stressed that the Government’s major concern, in interaction with the banking sector, is to make sure that the support funds reach companies by the end of April.
The CIP (Industrial Confederation) president criticized the Government for having announced support for companies, but so far they have received “zero”.
In an online event that brought together Chinese and Portuguese companies, the Deputy Secretary of State and for Economy emphasized that the impact of the pandemic on the global economy will be profound, with a long, hard and demanding recovery.
The Minister of Labor said, at a hearing at the Parliamentary Commission for Labor and Social Security, that 2.3 million Portuguese are currently living on state support.
Concerning tourism, the president of CTP (Tourism Confederation) announced that the sector is preparing to gradually open from May, “very calmly and safely”.
Despite a brief recovery at the start of the session, the Lisbon Stock Exchange returned to the red zone this morning, extending the losses of more than 2% recorded yesterday.
The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20, which continued to devalue around 0.5%, did not follow the recovery seen among European pairs. At that time, the European index Stoxx 600 amounted to 0.9%.