Friday, November 20th | COVID-19 Daily Update
Over the last 24 hours, Portugal recorded 61 fatalities and 6,489 new cases of COVID-19, according to the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) epidemiological bulletin.
The data released today show that the number of deaths rose to 3,762, while confirmed cases increased to 249,498.
In the same period, 5,076 people recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of discharges to 163,000.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The National Parliament today approved the state of emergency renewal, a more “muscular” proposal that foresees risk levels, compulsory confinement, and closing of companies.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister, António Costa, informed, after the European Council meeting, that Portugal is prepared to buy about 16 million doses of three vaccines against COVID-19 and said that Brussels is preparing to combat disinformation campaigns related to vaccination.
According to data provided by experts at the session at Infarmed (Portuguese equivalent to the North-American FDA), COVID-19 is spreading among children and young people in the north of the country has become rampant in recent weeks and exceeding the numbers of the elderly.
It also became known that, in the last week, more than 80% of new cases did not have their origin identified.
Meanwhile, the virus is growing across the country at different speeds. The Northern region of Portugal is one of the hardest hit in Europe, with an incidence higher than Milan, Paris, or Madrid.
There are counties where contagion exploded in early October and, meanwhile, has stabilized at an extremely high level of new infections. But the virus is also booming in the Central area of the country.
In turn, ARS-Norte (Northern health authority) has already transferred 53 patients with COVID-19 to private hospitals. The protocol with hospitals in the private and social sectors foresees the transfer of up to 100 patients with COVID-19 from public hospitals, but the number “can be extended”, guaranteed the same entity.
In Lisbon, private individuals say they are available to receive these patients, but the agreements with the ARS are only now being finalized.
Besides, the Portuguese are less confident in the response capacity of health services, both to COVID-19 and to other diseases, and are also increasingly those who consider that the measures implemented by the Government are little or not adequate at all to fight the pandemic, according to a study by the National School of Public Health.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
In Europe, Italy recorded 36,176 contagions due to the new coronavirus and 653 deaths in the last 24 hours, figures that are in line with previous days, at a time when the Italian Government has already warned that Christmas celebrations will have to be “contained”.
Germany, on the other hand, reported 23,648 more cases, increasing the total accumulated number of infected people in the country to 879,564. The number of new infections thus establishes a new maximum of daily infections. Another 260 fatalities have also been reported since yesterday.
In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that the country will be the first in the EU, along with Germany, to have a complete vaccination plan, which will allow the vaccinating of a “substantial part” of the population in the first half of 2021.
The US had a record 2,239 deaths and 200,146 infected, according to the independent count from Johns Hopkins University. The total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic rose to 252,419 and the number of cases to 11,698,661.
Russia recorded 24,318 new cases of infection from yesterday to today, a new daily record, after yesterday the country exceeded two million confirmed cases.
The total number of infected with the new coronavirus in India, since the beginning of the pandemic, has exceeded 9 million, informed the health authorities of the country. In the last 24 hours, there were 45,882 contagions and 584 deaths.
The African continent recorded 273 deaths due to COVID-19, increasing the total number of fatalities from the new coronavirus to 48,681, which has already infected 2,026,841 people. The largest number of cases of infection and deaths are registered in southern Africa.
Now with vaccines already announced to fight the pandemic, Facebook, Twitter and Google are putting in place new plans to remove false content about vaccines, to try to mitigate the spread of false news, conspiracy theories, and misinformation about the COVID-19.
An application for the emergency approval of the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Pfizer and BioNTech shall be submitted today in the United States, announced the American Government. US Health Secretary Alex Azar said he expects Moderna to “make that request soon too”, referring to another US company in the process of developing and distributing a vaccine against the new coronavirus.
Brazil has already received the first batch with 120,000 doses of Coronavac. The Chinese vaccine against COVID-19 is in the third phase of testing in the country, through a partnership between the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and the authorities of the State of São Paulo.
The World Health Organization (WHO) experts decided to advise against using remdesivir for treating COVID-19. This was the first drug approved against the disease and is so far one of the two drugs recommended by health authorities.
In Portugal, as in the rest of the world, the drug has already been used in hundreds or thousands of patients and the Government advanced, in October, with the purchase of 100 thousand bottles, in an estimated investment of 35 million euros between October and March.
With more than 1,500 proposed amendments to debate and vote on, the Members of the Parliament today begin a four-day marathon to vote on the 2021 State Budget in specific terms.
In the meantime, the Ministers’ Council resolution approving new financial supports was published. The money is to be granted to the companies most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, 750 ME of which are non-refundable, and directed to micro and small companies most affected by the pandemic.
The pandemic came to impose sharp declines in economic activity in Portugal, which, since May, has been presenting year-on-year decreases of more than 7%, according to Banco de Portugal (Portuguese banking authority). In October, however, the decline decreased for the third consecutive month, following the trend of recovery in household consumption.
The governor of Banco de Portugal stressed that “banks were part of the solution and were not part of the problem” in this context of a pandemic. Mário Centeno warned, however, that it is necessary to guarantee the resilience of the banking system, “in the face of a probable increase in credit losses”.
At the European level, the “inevitable” increase in non-performing loans leads Brussels to reinforce measures and devise a strategy to combat this default, in which Portugal is one of the worst member-states.
Meanwhile, the economic crisis has accelerated the demand for state savings products. Since the beginning of 2020, and until October, Portuguese families have invested 559 ME in this type of savings instrument.
In Europe, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, confirmed that “some” countries continue to reject the approval of the multiannual Community budget and the Recovery Fund, so they will continue discussions “to find a solution acceptable to all”.
The Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, hopes that the Polish and Hungarian blockade will be solved by the German presidency.
With the second wave of COVID-19, two-thirds of European citizens surveyed in a poll by the European Parliament argue that the EU should have more powers to deal with the pandemic. And 54% want even more financial means to combat the consequences of the crisis.
China today announced the suspension of the debt service of developing countries, for a total amount of US $ 2,100 million, as part of the initiative of the group of G20 countries.
European stock markets remain on the positive ground in today’s session, recovering from yesterday’s heavy losses.
The PSI-20 advances 0.72% to 4,398.99 points. In the rest of Europe, the sentiment is equally optimistic.
The German DAX index rose 0.42%, the British FTSE 100 rose 0.59%, the Spanish IBEX 35 rose 0.62%, the French CAC 40 rose 0.52%, the Dutch AEX rose 0.77% and the Italian FTSE MIB adds 0.91%.
Investors continue to bet on European sovereign debt and Portugal’s interest rates reach a new historic low, with the yield on ten-year Treasury bonds falling 0.4 basis points to 0.029%, after setting the historical minimum of 0.022%.