Wednesday, April 15th | COVID-19 Daily Update
The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) announced today 599 deaths and 18.091 confirmed infections with COVID-19 in Portugal.
In the last 24 hours, the number of deaths went from 567 to 599 (+32, a growth rate of 5.6%), while the number of infected has increased from 17,448 to 18,091 (+643, a growth rate of 3.7%).
The number of recovered cases went from 347 to 383 (+10.4%).
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
Some Portuguese mayors reiterated that the DGS is omitting cases of COVID-19. Director-General of Health Graça Freitas acknowledged that the “data may not be the same, depending on how the observation is made”. DGS makes a distinction between what it calls “macro” and “micro” data.
Today, Infarmed (Portuguese equivalent to North-American FDA) warned about the existence of counterfeit packages of chloroquine, a medicine validated for malaria that has been used to treat some patients with COVID-19.
And, as announced by the Secretary of State for Health, more than 200 companies have already expressed their willingness to the health authorities to start producing protective masks for the population.
The Minister of Labor and Social Security revealed that 170.000 parents have already asked for exceptional support to stay at home to accompany their children because of the closure of schools.
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 does 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.