Friday, December 11th | COVID-19 Daily Update
The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) epidemiological bulletin indicates that in the last 24 hours 95 people died in Portugal due to COVID-19, making it the largest number of fatalities ever in a single day, with 5,080 new cases of the infection being registered.
According to data released today, there are now 340,287 confirmed cases and a total of 5,373 accumulated deaths in the country since the start of the pandemic.
On the other hand, further 4,100 patients were considered cured, which brings the total number of recovered patients to 263,648.
At INL, until now we had 11 people infected, six of which are already recovered. We also had 75 people under a quarantine period since the beginning of the pandemic.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The prime minister said today that the start of vaccination in Europe against COVID-19 should happen on January 5th, shortly after the European Medicines Agency approves the Pfizer vaccine, which is likely to happen on December 29th.
António Costa also mentioned that the armed forces will have a crucial role in the distribution of the vaccine in Portugal.
Government studies reveal that only between 6% and 8% of Portuguese people do not want to be vaccinated. However, the Technical Vaccination Commission for COVID-19 predicts that the number of doses available, after the first two phases for priority vaccination groups have been completed, will be sufficient so that no specific criteria are implemented, nor are more priority groups created for in addition to those already planned.
As Christmas approaches, many Portuguese are scheduling tests on COVID-19 for the days before the holiday to be able to meet with their family. For December 22nd alone, Unilabs Portugal already has more than 1,500 appointments scheduled.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
Portugal enters Switzerland’s list of countries at high risk of infection next Monday, but more than 10,000 Portuguese emigrants have already signed a petition to challenge the decision and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also argues that the measure is no longer justified.
The truth is that tighter restrictions appear to be returning to Europe.
Germany is expected to return to mandatory confinement before Christmas, after having recorded the highest number of deaths and daily cases in the country since the start of the pandemic, 598 in 24 hours.
Russia also reached a new high, with 613 deaths from COVID-19. And to prevent it, the Moscow Ministry of Defense has announced that about 100,000 members of the Russian armed forces will be vaccinated before the end of the year against COVID-19, using the national compound Sputnik-V.
At the same time, the United States looks set to launch an anti-COVID-19 vaccine, the numbers have become even bleaker, with 3,202 deaths in a single day, more than on the fateful September 11, 2001.
The African continent recorded 349 deaths from coronavirus and an additional 19,360 new cases of infection in the last 24 hours.
The pandemic has already claimed at least 1,570,398 deaths resulting from more than 68.8 million cases of infection worldwide, according to an assessment by the AFP news agency. On the positive side, it should be noted that the pandemic has reduced carbon emissions by 7% worldwide, according to preliminary data from the Global Carbon Project.
Pharmaceutical groups Sanofi and GSK have announced that they will postpone the vaccine against COVID-19 that they are developing, due to the “insufficient response” that has been observed among the elderly during the intermediate phase I / II studies that are being carried out. The completion of this vaccine should only happen in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The Australian biotechnology company CSL also announced yesterday the suspension of testing of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine developed with the University of Queensland, after an undetermined number of participants in phase 1 gave “false positives” on HIV tests.
AstraZeneca, which is finalizing a vaccine against COVID-19 in partnership with the University of Oxford, announced today that it will collaborate with Russia in the testing of a combined vaccine. The work will be done with the Gamaleya Institute, which developed Sputnik-V, to assess whether their vaccines can be combined.
To calculate the probability of being infected in various situations, the Cooperative Institute for Environmental Science Research at the University of Colorado, USA, created the COVID Airborne Transmission Estimator, which estimates the risk of each location taking into account several factors. The researchers’ objective is to improve conditions to reduce the contagions that day-to-day activities entail.
The President of the European Council announced that European leaders had agreed on the EU’s multi-annual budget, estimated at 1.08 billion euros, and on the Recovery Fund. Hence, Portugal will receive € 13.2 billion in grants through the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism.
The Economy Minister announced today that 22 billion euros have been launched to support companies since the beginning of the pandemic. It was also decided to suspend the executions of the Tax Authority and Social Security in the first three months of 2021. Companies with debts will be able to apply for the Apoiar program, as long as they regularize their situation.
The Minister of Infrastructure, on the other hand, presented TAP’s restructuring plan, which saw its economic situation worsen with the pandemic crisis, and stated that the company should be in a position to start returning money to the State in 2025.
The construction sector continues to reflect the effects of the pandemic, adding up to the eighth consecutive month of crashes.
Concerning consumers, the fifth edition of the Future Consumer Index by the consultancy EY reveals that consumption patterns in Portugal have changed with the pandemic, with the non-face-to-face economy growing significantly. And the European Central Bank estimates that it will take nine more months to ensure a convincing exit from this bad situation, explained Christine Lagarde yesterday.
The Lisbon Stock Exchange opened today in negative territory with the PSI-20 falling 0.30%, to 4,781.05 points. Interest on Portuguese ten-year debt also dropped this morning to -0.043%, a new low, against -0.024% on Thursday, after they first entered negative ground on 8 December.
The main European exchanges, also pending the Brexit negotiations, also opened lower. The EuroStoxx 600 was down 0.48% to 391.26 points at the start of the session, and the London, Paris, and Frankfurt stock exchanges were down 0.46%, 1.08%, and 0.53%, respectively, as well as those in Madrid and Milan, which recorded decreases of 1.28% and 0.35%.
In the first transactions of the day, the Tokyo Stock Exchange followed the trend in Europe, with the Nikkei losing 0.60%, to 26,595.73 points, and Topix falling 0.11%, to 1,774.25.