Wednesday, April 10th | COVID-19 Daily Update
The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) announced today the registration of 435 deaths and 15.472 cases of infection with COVID-19 in Portugal. Over the last 24 hours, the number of deaths rose from 409 to 435, plus 26 (growth rate of 6.4%), while the number of infected people increased from 13,956 to 15,472, plus 1,516 (growth rate of 10.9%, the largest this week).
The number of recovered cases rose from 205 to 233.
There are 1179 persons hospitalized, 226 of them in intensive care units (less 15 than yesterday).
The North region still has the largest number of confirmed cases (8.897).
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
According to the European Center for Disease Control, despite the progressive decrease in new patients, Portugal was, in the last two weeks, the sixth country in Europe with more cases of COVID-19 per capita.
The maintenance of the state of emergency until May 15, at least, is a reality that is being considered by the Portuguese Prime Minister. The Government has several scenarios on the table about the moment when the exception measures can be raised.
Yesterday, at the end of the Ministers’ Council, António Costa announced that, until the 10th grade, the entire third school period will continue with distance learning. For this reason, the Government decided to extend, until the end of the school year, as well as the payment of support to parents who stay with their children under 12 years old.
11th and 12th graders will attend classes at their schools and have exams: The Ministry of Education will provide them with face masks to prevent the contagion.
In another move to deal with the pandemic, the Ministry of Health created an exceptional regime that eases the issuing of medical prescriptions electronically.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The United States has recorded 1,783 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University stated. According to data compiled until 8:30 pm local time, the total number of deaths since the outbreak began is now 16,478 in this country.
Also in the last 24 hours, Spain has registered 605 deaths, a number that is falling again, with a total of 15,843 deaths. The number of newly infected persons is 5,756, also a reduction if compared to Wednesday, with 157,022 being infected. Yesterday, the Spanish Parliament approved a two-week extension of the state of emergency.
In Germany, over the past 24 hours, there were an additional 5,323 positive cases of COVID-19 and an additional 266 deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The pandemic has already infected 113,525 people and caused 2,373 deaths in the country.
A balance sheet released yesterday by the scientific journal “Nature” counts 115 vaccine candidates against COVID-19, of which 78 are active and five are in the clinical trial phase. The information is based on data collected by the Coalition for Innovation in Epidemic Preparedness.
Portugal will join other European countries and evaluate an experimental therapy that consists of using blood from patients who are cured to treat infected patients. According to the president of the Portuguese Institute of Blood and Transplantation, clinical trials to evaluate treatments should start soon.
The Eurogroup reached an agreement yesterday and the conditions for the access to credit lines under the European Stability Mechanism will be relaxed, but only to fund expenses related to “health, cure, and prevention” regarding COVID-19. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa considered that, once the negotiating stall was overcome, it is important for the European Council to meet. The European Commission, on the other hand, proposed a new change in the Community rules on state aid, so that recapitalizations of “seriously affected” companies are temporarily allowed.
Also yesterday, the Portuguese Ministers’ Council decided to request authorization from the Parliament so that it does not have to present the Stability Program until next Wednesday, as required by the current Budgetary Framework Law.
The Portuguese Government has decided to extend the 1.3 billion euro line initially dedicated only to industry to all sectors, including individual entrepreneurs. The State will also be able to offer partial debt relief to companies that use credit lines created to reduce the effects of the pandemic on the national economy.
On the other hand, the Government has approved a decree-law that allows lay-off workers to exercise paid activity, but only in five sectors, namely in food production, social support, health, logistics, and distribution.
Next Tuesday, the Prime Minister will meet with economists and representatives of organizations that provide economic forecasts to understand “the weaknesses that the economy still has”. The meeting should serve as a starting point for the Government to work on a plan to reopen trade.
The Portuguese Stock Index PSI-20 ended yesterday’s session valuing 3.07%, following the trend of its European counterparts. DAX, FTSE 100, CAC 40, AEX, IBEX35 and FTSE MIB grew by 2.730%, 3.93%, 1.44%, 1.46%, 1.73% and 1.51%, respectively.
In the USA, the S&P 500 experienced the best week since 1974, rising 1.45%, thanks to the positive outlook by investors regarding the new Federal Reserve measures to support the North American economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.22%, while the Nasdaq grew 0.77%.