Wednesday, April 121st | COVID-19 Daily Update
For the first time since the beginning of the outbreak in Portugal, the country has more recovered than deceased people due to COVID-19.
The number of patients considered as recovered is now 917 (a jump of 50.3% from the previous number).
The data presented today by the Portuguese Directorate of Health (DGS) show that in the last 24 hours more 27 people lost their lives due to the new coronavirus, a number that increased from 735 to 762 the total number of fatalities in Portugal (+3.67%).
As for the expansion of infection in the country, 516 more cases were registered in the same period, rising from 20.683 to 21.379 the total number of confirmed cases (+2.47%).
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The World Health Organization considers that the figures indicate that Portugal is reacting correctly to COVID-19, but warns of the dangers of lifting the confinement too quickly.
To reinforce protection in homes across the country, the Minister of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, announced that today around 700.000 individual protective equipment has been distributed by the Military Laboratory.
The North of Lisbon Hospital Center has performed more than eight thousand tests in less than a month and will start with the serological tests today.
The Higher School of Nursing at the University of Minho has a new support service for the population – Online Nursing – to help answer questions about the outbreak and relieve health services.
A study by the Research Center for Health Technologies and Services shows that COVID-19 affected nurses’ mental health.
The president of the Portuguese Guild of Pharmaceuticals, Ana Paula Martins, is calling for the reduction of the VAT on the sale of masks and alcohol.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The 193 member countries of the UN General Assembly passed a resolution by consensus to guarantee “equal access” to “future vaccines” for COVID-19.
Since last December, the new coronavirus has killed 167.594 people and infected more than 2.4 million worldwide, according to an AFP (French news agency) balance sheet updated yesterday at 7 pm.
The United States has recorded 1.433 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, a drop from yesterday, but it is still the most affected country of all.
Brazil accounts for 2.575 deaths associated with the new coronavirus and has reached 40,581 cases of the infection since the beginning of the pandemic.
Across Europe, Spain recorded 430 deaths in the last 24 hours and now has 204.178 people who contracted the disease.
Italy is one of the cases where the fight against the coronavirus was mostly ineffective in the first phase, so the scientific study “What other countries can learn from Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic” analyzed the errors and suggested recommendations for them not to repeat.
In Asia, Hong Kong decided to extend the measures to control the spread of the disease for another two weeks.
China has recorded seven new cases of local contagion and four imported but has had no fatalities in the past 24 hours.
The European Commission yesterday launched a platform for the rapid exchange of information on COVID-19, intending to find an “emergency response” for the pandemic.
A vaccine against the new coronavirus may be ready for use in Switzerland in October, and in Austria 155 potential and 79 possible drugs have already been identified.
In May, clinical trials on recovered patients’ plasma will start in Portugal and the Covidetect research project will allow the creation of an early warning system for the presence of the new coronavirus “to improve the response to possible new outbreaks of the disease”.
The Institute of Molecular Medicine, from the University of Lisbon, is also working on several fronts to help find solutions to the health crisis. In addition to conducting a daily average of 200 COVID-19 diagnostic tests and proceeding with serological tests to assess the population’s immunity, it will also investigate the outlines of the pandemic in the country through a collection of biological samples from Portuguese patients.
Once the emergency plan has been defined, the recovery plan is missing, a topic that Mário Centeno addresses in an exclusive interview with “Público” newspaper. The Portuguese Finance Minister and Eurogroup President warned that this is a figure in the billions, at a time when Angela Merkel says that Germany supports “solidarity” among countries, but not through the so-called “coronabonds”.
The Prime Minister, António Costa, today receives the hotel and restaurant sectors to prepare for the relaunch of activities, and the Government and the social partners return to social consultation.
According to the Minister of Economy, the companies have already requested the deferral of 445 million euros from the payment of taxes or social security contributions. Also according to Pedro Siza Vieira, of the nearly five billion euros of credit requested by companies, 558 million have already been approved.
In Social Security, 64.785 applications for unemployment benefits have been registered since 16 March. Currently, there are more than 5900 Portuguese families where none of the household members has a job.
On European territory, Poland and Denmark will ban offshore companies from receiving state support.
Fitch said yesterday that if the confinement associated with the pandemic continues beyond the first half of 2020, it could lower the ratings of European banks even further.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the President of the United States has announced that he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration. U.S. oil price remains below zero after a historic downturn, and Donald Trump has announced that the U.S. will take advantage of the historic price drop to acquire 75 million barrels for its strategic reserve, designed to respond to emergencies.
The Portuguese market opened today’s session in negative territory, with the Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 devaluing 0.98% to 4,088.88 points, following the scenario experienced in the rest of the European stock exchanges.
The London, Paris, and Frankfurt stock exchanges fell 1.81%, 2.34% and 2.17%, respectively, as well as those in Madrid and Milan, which depreciated 1.89% and 1.86%, dragged by a new oil price collapse.
The sharp 305% drop in WTI, the benchmark oil index in the United States, caused losses of more than 2.4% on Wall Street on Monday, and of 1.97% today, on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.