Wednesday, April 25th | COVID-19 Daily Update
As revealed by the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) today, in its daily epidemiological bulletin, Portugal registered in the last 24 hours another 26 deaths and 595 new cases of confirmed infection with COVID-19.
The number of deaths increased from 854 to 880 (+3%), while the number of confirmed cases rose from 22.797 to 23.392 (+2,6).
Recovery cases increased from 1.228 to 1.277, plus 49 than yesterday (+4%).
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The Portuguese Government is planning to decree the situation of public calamity (an alert level lower than the state of emergency now in force) due to the COVID-19 pandemic as of May 3rd when the current period of the state of emergency ends. Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that travelling outside the municipalities of residence will be banned again next weekend (1st to 3rd of May).
The Government also announced that more than 300.000 tests have been carried out since March, stressing that the increase in testing has not translated into a proportional increase in the number of declared patients.
In Coimbra, 15.000 tests will be carried out to determine the population’s immunity, announced the Minister of Territorial Cohesion.
There are 2.000 Portuguese who will participate in a national test of the population’s immunity. The first population-based serological survey is due to start in May.
In the Azores, the Regional Government defines “probable” the differentiated lifting “from island to island or from groups of islands to groups of islands” of the restriction measures.
DGS cancelled a purchase of 15 million surgical masks and two million ventilators, worth 19.7 million euros, due to the “impossibility of having access to the goods in question”.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The World Health Organization warned today of the risks associated with the idea of “immunity passports”, noting that there is currently no evidence that people who recovered from COVID-19 are protected against reinfection.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations called for global sharing of treatments and vaccines. A position shared by the President of the European Commission, who, after a WHO meeting, advanced the objective of “raising 7.5 billion euros to accelerate the work of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment”.
German virologists warned about the danger of a second wave of the pandemic, with probably more serious consequences, asking not to let the guard down.
In the past 24 hours, the US has reported 1.258 deaths due to COVID-19, the lowest daily record in almost three weeks. In total, the country already has more than 51 thousand deaths.
In the last 24 hours, Spain has again registered a daily increase in the number of deaths. The country accounted for 378 new fatalities.
Belgium recorded 241 deaths, bringing the total to 6.917 fatalities.
In the UK, 684 more deaths were recorded yesterday, which increased the number of deaths to more than 19.500.
In France, 389 people died, and now more than 22 thousand people have already lost their lives in that country.
In Italy, the lowest number of daily deaths in more than a month was recorded: 20 people lost their lives, bringing the total number of deaths to almost 26.000.
In Brazil, the numbers continue to rise. The country recorded 357 deaths and 3.503 new ones infected with the new coronavirus in 24 hours.
Concerning the treatment of the disease, doctors at a British hospital achieved a much faster recovery rate for COVID-19 patients with the use of an innovative technique that eliminates the need for ventilators.
Yesterday, the Government of Canada announced that about a million masks imported from China did not meet the standards set by health authorities, determining that they cannot be distributed to healthcare professionals.
WHO has presented a coalition of countries, organizations, and companies committed to making vaccines and diagnostic tests for COVID-19 accessible quickly and worldwide.
In China, a laboratory announced that an experimental vaccine in monkeys “largely protected” them for the first time against the coronavirus. The vaccine uses inert pathogens from the virus at the source of the disease.
In Portugal, the University of Beira Interior developing software and an artificial intelligence project that aims to determine the results of tests to COVID-19 in less than a minute.
Standard & Poor’s cut the debt outlook for Portugal from “positive” to “stable”. The rating remains two levels above “junk”, with the rating agency highlighting the role played by Portugal in controlling the pandemic.
Yesterday, the Portuguese Prime Minister said that the rules on release from confinement will come into effect every two weeks, but will not yet cover all sectors of the economic activity.
The Government announces next Thursday which companies and establishments may open its doors again. The Secretary of State for Commerce clarified that the Executive will not be hasty in resuming economic activity.
In an interview with Bloomberg news agency, the Minister of Economy was convinced that Portugal will have a “sharp” recovery with the return of investment and tourists.
In agriculture, the Government considers that the exceptional support measures proposed by the European Commission are positive, but do not respond “fully” to some sectors with more difficulties.
With one million workers covered by the simplified lay-off, the Minister of Labor, Solidarity, and Social Security explained that the support is dependent on the date the regime started, which explains the differences in values and dates.
Still regarding the lay-off, entrepreneurs and accountants point out flaws to Social Security in the approval of the processes and complain about the excess of bureaucracy as well as the lack of clarifications.
The number of collective dismissal proceedings initiated this month is already double the number of proceedings initiated in March. The evolution is explained by the impact of the pandemic on the lives of companies.
Concerned about safety and health in the workplace, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work recommended that companies reorganize spaces and that teleworking should be maintained. The Portuguese National Data Protection Commission warned that companies cannot collect temperature records from their employees.
The National Innovation Agency will finance three projects with 2.7 million euros aiming to make Portugal’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak autonomous. These funds will be used for the production of personal protective equipment, the development of ventilators, and simpler and cheaper diagnostic tests.
The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 fell 0.88% in the last session of the week, with 15 listed companies below the waterline.
The main European markets also ended the day on a low note. The Stoxx 600 fell 1.07%, while the German DAX-30 and the Paris and Madrid stock exchanges depreciated 1.60%, 1.30%, and 1.27%, respectively.
In the USA, the main stock market indexes ended with gains above 1%, at a time when some states are beginning to ease the confinement imposed by the new coronavirus.