Wednesday, April 7th | COVID-19 Daily Update
The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) announced today, in its epidemiological bulletin, the registration of 345 deaths and 12,442 cases of confirmed infection by COVID-19 in Portugal.
The number of people deceased rose from 311 to 345, plus 34 during the last 24 hours, while the number of infected people increased from 11,370 to 12,442, plus 712 (growth rate of 5.7%).
The number of recovered cases rose from 140 to 184.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The Portuguese President of the Republic stated, in an interview with Antena 1 Radio, that he believes that before the end of April there will be no changes in the containment measures. Yesterday, on RTP TV, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that the impact of the pandemic on the economy and society “can last for a few years”, and defended that “it is necessary to think in the long term”.
The Portuguese Prime Minister appointed five secretaries of state as regional authorities to coordinate the execution of the state of emergency.
Infarmed (Portuguese Authority for Medicines and Health Products) is purchasing more drugs for HIV and malaria, the use of which has been extended to COVID-19 patients.
DGS warned that “there is no scientific evidence” that the Microbe Shield Z-71 disinfectant, which has been used by public transport companies to disinfect buses, trains, and other vehicles, “is effective”.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The United States recorded more than 1,150 deaths in the last 24 hours and about 30,000 new confirmed infected with COVID-19, continuing to be the country with the most cases, Johns Hopkins University said.
In Spain, another 743 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, the worst since Thursday, after four days with consecutive declines in the number of fatalities. New cases of infections and deaths have also increased again in Germany. There are now 99,225 infected and 1,607 fatalities in this country.
According to an AFP (French news agency) balance sheet, since last December the new coronavirus has killed 73,139 people and infected more than 1.3 million worldwide.
The Portuguese Government will support, with 3.5 million euros, the training of virologists to fight the new coronavirus, through a dedicated Ph.D. scholarship program called “DOCTORATES4COVID-19”, which is launched today by FCT.
Eurozone finance ministers are meeting today, by videoconference, to try to reach a commitment and a common response that minimizes the effects of COVID-19 on the economy. The presidents of the European Council, Eurogroup, European Commission, and European Central Bank asked ministers to be “resourceful and constructive” in responding to the crisis.
In Portugal, the Government will extend, from tomorrow on, the credit lines to more companies, increasing the amounts available. Yesterday, the Government sent, for promulgation by the President of the Republic, a decree with changes to the regime of extraordinary support for self-employed workers.
CIP (Industry Trade Association) today announced the creation of an office that will provide support and clarify doubts from companies in accessing Government measures. The CIP president warned, on TVI TV, that if support is not given to companies that allow them to preserve their jobs, the State will later have to subsidize unemployment.
Yesterday, the Portuguese President of the Republic was optimistic about the role that banks will play in helping the economy after the impact caused by the coronavirus. The banks jointly assumed the “unequivocal commitment to support the Portuguese economy”.
In an interview with the “ECO” online economic newspaper, the vice president of the European Investment Bank says that Portugal could be an “important beneficiary” of the new economic support program during the health crisis and in the post-pandemic.
The Portuguese stock exchange was on the positive ground at the beginning of today’s session, for the second day in a row, with the PSI-20 growing 1.86%. European peers have also shown more robust gains, as countries go against the strength of the coronavirus. CAC-40 was up 3.20%, FTSE-MIB was up 4.00%, DAX-30 also gained almost 4.00% and IBEX-35 added 2.2%.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The United States has suspended sending funds to WHO, with Donald Trump accusing the institution of not knowing how to deal with the spread of the new coronavirus. The UN secretary-general said that this “is not the time to reduce funding for operations” from WHO.
The European Commission today proposed a set of measures, in an action plan for lifting restrictive measures to combat the new coronavirus. The model presented advocates a balance between economic and social consequences.
The US counted, in the last 24 hours, more than 2.200 dead due to the new coronavirus, the largest daily balance recorded by a country to date, said Johns Hopkins University.
Belgium announced yesterday that it has crossed the barrier of the 4.000 deaths caused by the pandemic. This country already surpassed China, the country where the outbreak was identified in the first place.
In Germany, the mark of 3.000 deaths was exceeded, with 127.583 cases registered. Chancellor Angela Merkel is going to propose this afternoon the extension of the containment measures, until at least the 3rd of May.
In Spain, 523 deaths were registered in the last 24 hours, which represents a slight decrease compared to the previous day. Currently, there are 18.579 deceased and 177.633 positive cases.
In Italy, experts say the country is still in the so-called stage 1 of contagion from coronavirus. According to the authorities, phase 2 should start in early May.
There are currently more than two million people infected worldwide. The number of fatalities on the planet already exceeds 126 thousand, with more than 484 thousand people recovered.
A study by researchers at Harvard University, in the US, assumes that the new coronavirus will become seasonal, indicating that physical distance may be necessary until 2022.
Pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi announced yesterday that they will collaborate in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19. Clinical trials are expected to start in the second half of this year.
Experts are investigating a new symptom associated with coronavirus. Apparently, in addition to complications in the respiratory system associated with COVID-19, this virus can also cause foot problems, especially in children and adolescents.
The International Monetary Fund predicts, in the World Economic Outlook released yesterday, that the Portuguese economy will sink 8% this year – the biggest recession ever in a single year, recovering 5% in 2021. The unemployment rate will more than double, going from 6,5% in 2019 to 13.9% in 2020.
For the world economy, IMF forecasts a 3% contraction this year, due to the effects of the pandemic, which is expected to recover in 2021, with global growth 5.8%.
In an interview with “Corriere Della Sera”, Portuguese Finance Minister and Eurogroup leader Mário Centeno do not rule out the possibility of issuing Eurobonds to face the crisis. And he adds that EU GDP will take at least two years to reach 2019 levels.
Yesterday, the Portuguese Government met with economists, revealing that the population needs to feel safe in the return to normality for reopening the economy. At the end of this meeting, the Minister of Economy revealed that 66 thousand companies have already joined the simplified lay-off regime, “less than a quarter of the population”.
The Portuguese Minister of Labor said today that around 931 thousand workers have already seen their job contract suspended or the workload reduced under the new lay-off regime. Ana Mendes Godinho added that more than 145 thousand independent workers have already accessed the extraordinary support provided by the Government.
The Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs admits that workers in the sectors most affected by the crisis, such as tourism, can be assigned to activities that “recover faster” and require more workforce.
To minimize the economic impact, several companies are opening doors, with reduced teams, but also with tight containment measures.
Shortly after the opening of today’s session, the Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 continued to negotiate on the negative ground, in line with the main European markets.
Investors were pessimistic, despite the expressive gains of yesterday from their counterparts on Wall Street.