COVID-19 | Weekly Update

February 26, 2021

Friday, February 26th | COVID-19 Daily Update



The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) epidemiological bulletin reports that, over the last 24 hours, 1,027 new cases of COVID-19 infection and 58 fatal victims of the disease were registered in Portugal.  

The total number of confirmed cases in the country is now 802,773, at a time when there are already 16,243 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Over the same period, 2,780 people were discharged, bringing the total number of people recovered from the new coronavirus to 714,493.



Parliament approved yet another renewal of the state of emergency for two more weeks, until the 16th of March. After that, the President of the Republic addressed a message to the country, where he warned that the general confinement will last at least for another month. 

Data from the Central Administration of the Health System show that the year started with 194,239 fewer medical appointments in public hospitals and 21,493 fewer surgeries, which represents a reduction of 17% and 30.6 % respectively if compared to the same period in 2020.

“30,500 scheduling SMS were sent calling people to be vaccinated and 16,799 responses were obtained, that is, 55.08%”, reveals the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health. 

For a month there has been no record of a single case of contagion, among doctors or nurses at Hospital de São João, Porto, who were immunized against COVID-19. The next step is to perform serological tests to see if asymptomatic cases of infection will arise.

A study made by Ricardo Jorge Health Institute revealed that despite the first cases of COVID-19 notified in Portugal reporting on March 2, the new coronavirus was already circulating in the country in February 2020.



Ursula von der Leyen considers the current health situation to be still “serious”, due to the new variants of the coronavirus. Speaking on the sidelines of the European summit, the President of the European Commission recognized the “difficulties” over the past year but defended persistence. 

The Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, revealed that he sustained, during a new videoconference of EU leaders, the acceleration of vaccination and the sharing of vaccines, “especially with Africa”.

The United States is “several weeks ahead of schedule” concerning vaccination against SARS-CoV-2, said the US President, who promised 100 million vaccines administered in the first 100 days of his term. 

This, on the same day that 3,269 deaths were recorded in 24 hours, and 81,040 cases, indicated the independent count by the American University Johns Hopkins.

In Brazil, the Ministry of Health announced that it has signed a contract with the Bharat Biotech and Precis Medicamentos laboratories for the purchase of 20 million doses of the Covaxin vaccine, produced in India. 

In Mexico, it is known that a new variant of the coronavirus caused 87.23% of the cases of COVID-19 studied in the country in February, said the director of Molecular Investigation at the Institute of Diagnosis and Epidemiological Reference.



Moderna announced that a modified version of its vaccine, developed specifically against the South African variant, is ready to be tested on humans in clinical trials. 

The CureVac vaccine was shown to be effective against both the British and South African variants of the coronavirus, according to the results of preliminary animal tests. The drugmaker expects the vaccine to be approved by the EU in June.

The Chinese National Medical Products Administration granted Sinopharm authorization to administer to the general population a new vaccine developed by its pharmaceutical institute in Wuhan, while the CanSino vaccine was authorized for military personnel.



GDP fell 7.6% in 2020, which is the “most intense” contraction in the current series of National Accounts at INE (PT statistics bureau), and fell 6.1% in the fourth quarter, the statistical institute reported. 

In January, Social Security expenses with unemployment benefits were 33% above the amounts spent in the same month of 2020, with an additional 35 million euros paid. Even so, the amount was below the expense made in December, with the amounts paid to beneficiaries decreasing. 

However, about 60,000 families are at risk of losing their homes with the end of the mortgage loan default, scheduled for September. The European Banking Authority estimates that the risk of default may reach 20%.

In a year marked by the measures imposed by the Government in the context of the pandemic, four of the largest banks in Portugal profited more than 1,100 million euros (ME), meaning a drop of 813 ME if compared to the results achieved in 2019.

Abroad, the US economy grew at an annual rate of 4.1% in the last quarter of 2020, more than previously anticipated, but in the year as a whole, it fell by 3.5%, according to official data.



The Portuguese stock exchange opened this morning in decline, with the PSI-20 down 1.83% to 4,699.32 points. Contributing to the negative performance were 16 listed in red, against only one in green and one unchanged. 

The main European stock exchanges opened lower, fearful of the effects caused by the continued and rapid rise in interest rates on sovereign debt in recent days. 

EuroStoxx 600 was down 0.83% to 408.44 points and the London, Paris, and Frankfurt stock exchanges were down 0.39%, 0.55%, and 0.43%, respectively, as well as those of Milan and Madrid, that depreciated 0.38% and 0.81%.