Wednesday, May 1st | COVID-19 Daily Update
The COVID-19 pandemic has already caused more than 1,000 deaths in Portugal.
In the last 24 hours, 18 more deaths and 306 new cases of infection were registered in the country, according to the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) daily epidemiological bulletin.
The number of fatalities rose from 989 to 1,007 (+1.8%), while confirmed cases increased from 25,045 to 25,351 (+1.2%).
There are also 128 more people recovered from the disease, which are now 1,647 (+8.4%) in total.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
Distancing. This was the most striking idea conveyed by the Portuguese Prime Minister yesterday in an interview on RTP TV about what needs to be maintained and what changes from Monday onwards with the coming into force of the state of calamity and the end of the state of emergency.
António Costa confirmed fines for those who do not wear a social face mask in public transport and added that the access to the beaches, for now, will only be allowed for playing sports.
Today’s Labor Day is celebrated in a different way than usual, with UGT (General Workers’ Union) limiting itself to online initiatives and CGTP (Workers Confederation) with symbolic actions in 22 locations, respecting safety distance between people.
As it happened at the Easter, travel outside the municipality of residence is prohibited during this holiday and the weekend.
The President of the Republic signed the decree and recalls that the social and economic recovery cannot jeopardize the steps already taken in containing and controlling the pandemic.
Next month, the Government will distribute 90,000 food baskets to families in economic need, in many cases caused by the pandemic, through social institutions under the Operational Program to Support the Neediest.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The USA recorded 2,053 deaths in the last 24 hours due to the pandemic and the number of people infected with the new coronavirus in the country rose to 1,068,696.
In the same period, China registered 12 new cases and now has 599 active infected, with no new fatalities.
Brazil, on the other hand, set another daily record of 7,218 new infections with the coronavirus, now totalling 85,380 confirmed cases.
Across Europe, the latest assessment by Spanish health authorities points out to the existence of 24,824 deaths in total, 281 more than yesterday, and 215,216 cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Germany already has more than 160,000 confirmed cases, with new 1,639 cases appearing in the last 24 hours.
According to an AFP (French news agency) report, the new coronavirus pandemic has already killed 230,309 people and infected 3.2 million worldwide since December.
The University of Oxford announced yesterday that it will join AstraZeneca to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 that is being tested at the institution. The British pharmaceutical company is expected to assist with testing, large-scale manufacture, and distribution of the vaccine if it succeeds.
Experts warn that the chances of having a vaccine in less than a year are very small. And even if the British test goes as planned, researchers still need time to determine how effective the vaccine is at protecting people from COVID-19 and whether it causes side effects when a vaccinated person is subsequently exposed to the virus.
In Portugal, the Portuguese Institute of Blood and Transplantation revealed that clinical trials with blood plasma from recovered patients will start this month in ten health facilities in the country, which have already shown promising results in China and Italy.
The Government yesterday approved in the Ministers’ Council the calendar for the gradual reopening of the economy. The Minister of Economy confirmed that teleworking will remain in May as a mandatory regime for cases where this is possible.
The opening of nurseries from May 18th will not end support for parents who decide not to place their children in daycare centres.
New public-private partnerships in health may exist only in the face of “justified need”.
The Social Security website states that the deadline for self-employed workers to ask for support has been extended until next Monday.
The president of the Order of Accountants says that the Social Security machine “gained rhythm” in requests to join the lay-off after complaints from business owners.
TAP will resume activity with 71 routes from Lisbon and only three departing from Porto.
Spain predicts that its GDP will drop by 9.2% in 2020 and that the unemployment rate will rise to 19% as a result.
To combat the impact of the coronavirus on the euro economy, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced new measures focused on banks’ liquidity, including new loans and better conditions for existing ones. Even so, Christine Lagarde warns that the Eurozone economy may contract 5% to 12% this year.
The main European indexes closed yesterday falling more than 2%, with investors disappointed with the measures announced by the ECB.
The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 lost 0.62% to 4,284.18 points, with ten quoted titles below the waterline.
In Europe, the German DAX-30 fell 2.40%, while the French CAC-40 and the Spanish IBEX-35 lost 2.48% and 1.95%, respectively. The Stoxx 600 fell more than 2%.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Dow Jones closed down 1.17% to 24,345.72 points and Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 0.92% to 2,912.43 points but had the best monthly gains since January 1987.
Nasdaq Composite also retreated 0.28% to settle at 8,889.55 points but gained 15.4% in April, its best monthly performance since June 2000.
Oil prices also gained ground yesterday. The June contract for West Texas Intermediate totalled 21.28% to $ 18.34 a barrel and Brent for June delivery gained 13.62% to $ 25.61.