Friday, December 3rd | COVID-19 Weekly Update
So far, the DGS has not yet communicated the most recent number of cases, so the known numbers remain at 1,154,817 cases of infection and 18,471 deaths associated with COVID-19 in Portugal. The number of people recovered remains at 1,078,708.
THE PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The group of pediatric advisers from the DGS does not recommend universal vaccination of children aged five to 11 years old but prioritizes the vaccination of children with diseases at risk. The entity led by Graça Freitas received the opinion yesterday, but the evaluation process is still ongoing.
According to the DGS, this week, a total of 564 active outbreaks were registered in Portugal, most of them in schools. It is a value representing little more than half of the maximum reached in February when there were 921 active outbreaks in the country.
The same organization also announced that more than two million people were vaccinated against the flu until yesterday, while more than 1.4 million received the booster dose of the vaccine against COVID-19.
Another piece of information advanced by the DGS is that self-tests will also be used for visits to senior homes, hospitals and access to cultural or sports events, as long as they were carried out under the supervision of a health professional. However, 35% of municipalities in mainland Portugal do not have pharmacies carrying out rapid tests for COVID-19 with reimbursement by the State.
In the Azores, since 00:00 today, passengers from abroad are obliged to submit a negative test to COVID-19. Passengers coming from the mainland or Madeira must present a digital vaccination certificate or recovery or a negative test.
THE PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The World Health Organization issued a warning to all manufacturers of vaccines against COVID-19 to adjust their prescriptions to the new Omicron variant, which, according to preliminary data, could compromise the effectiveness of vaccines on the market.
Yesterday, the German government announced an increase in restrictions for people not vaccinated against COVID-19, imposing partial confinement and denying access to non-essential shops, restaurants, cultural or leisure venues. The German Executive also confirmed that a bill on mandatory vaccination would be submitted to Parliament.
However, authorities in various regions of Italy have decided to make masks in city centres mandatory again to try to contain the infections before Christmas.
In Spain, the situation is getting worse, and, according to data from the Ministry of Health, the accumulated incidence rose 17 points, now standing at 234 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. An even worse scenario is seen in the United Kingdom, where 53,945 new cases of infection were registered yesterday, the highest number since 17 July.
Across the Atlantic, epidemiologist Anthony Fauci warned Americans to be prepared to receive a COVID-19 vaccination every year to protect themselves against the infection.
In South Africa, health authorities registered a spike in infections among children, which it is not yet known whether it is related to the new Omicron variant.
The European Medicines Agency concluded today that the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis is “very rare” after taking antiCOVID-19 vaccines based on messenger RNA technology from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, has confirmed the benefits of the drugs.
However, a new study involving nearly three thousand people concluded that booster doses with six different types of vaccine allowed to increase the immune response in inoculated people, although with wide variations depending on the brand.
Another study by South African scientists suggests that the Omicron variant is three times more likely to cause reinfections than Delta or Beta, which is the first epidemiological evidence of its ability to escape immunity from infections. Also, in South Africa, a team of doctors found that Omicron causes symptoms considered mild and a little different from the signs commonly associated with the disease.
In India, research findings released by Sir Ganga Ram Hospital suggest that people with blood groups A, B and Rh+ are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection, while those with types O, AB and Rh- have a lower risk of infection.
The president of the European Central Bank said today that she is confident that inflation is “temporary” and that it will come down next year. If this expectation does not materialize, Christine Lagarde guaranteed that the institution will not hesitate to “act”, although it has excluded an increase in interest rates in 2022. It highlighted the uncertainty regarding the pandemic.
In Portugal, the minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security gave an interview to “Diário de Notícias”. She defended the appreciation of salaries and the importance of raising the minimum wage. Ana Mendes Godinho also highlighted the importance of the extraordinary support created to respond to the pandemic crisis.
This morning, the National Institute of Statistics said that national airports saw traffic grow 92.7% compared to the same period of 2020, which totals ten million passengers in the third quarter of this year. Even so, numbers remain far from the pre-pandemic period, registering a decrease of 45%.
For its part, Eurostat reported that retail trade sales accelerated in October in the Eurozone and the European Union, with Portugal recording the second biggest monthly increase (2.3%),
In the tourism sector, the Algarve Hotels and Touristic Enterprises Association president stated that the Algarve hotel industry is “optimistic” about the prospects for occupancy for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which could surpass the levels of 2019 before the pandemic.
The Portuguese stock exchange opened today’s session in positive territory, and at that time, the PSI-20 continued to rise by 0.66%. A similar trend was seen among the main European counterparts, with the Euro Stoxx growing by 0.75%.
In the oil market, the Brent barrel gained 2.24% to $71.28, while WTI gained 2.48% to $68.15. A rise that comes after Russia proposed an increase in production by 400,000 barrels a day and OPEC+ maintained an increase in production in January. In the foreign exchange market, the euro lost 0.04% against its North American counterpart, to 1.1294 dollars, while the pound sterling retreated 0.21%, to 1.3279 dollars.