Friday, July 16th | COVID-19 Daily Update
The Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) announced today that, over the last 24 hours, there were seven more deaths and 3,547 new cases of infection by COVID-19 in Portugal.
According to the epidemiological bulletin, the number of deaths rose to 17,194, while confirmed cases increased to 923,747. Already the number of recovered increased to 857,108, more 2,571 cases than yesterday.
THE PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
Mainland Portugal yesterday reached ten million vaccines against COVID-19 administered, about six million first doses and another four million that completed the vaccination, announced the Ministry of Health.
The Secretary of State for Health, Diogo Serras Lopes, underlined the effort of all entities involved in implementing the vaccination plan.
Nevertheless, the pandemic situation in mainland Portugal “continues to deteriorate”, with the incidence of new cases of infection per 100,000 inhabitants reaching 346.5. According to the Minister of the Presidency, there is currently “in the continent an incidence [of new cases of infection] of 346.5 per 100,000 inhabitants and a transmission rate (Rt) of 1.15”.
Almost 70% of the population of mainland Portugal, which corresponds to approximately 6.6 million Portuguese, is now prohibited from walking on the street between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am, after the number of municipalities in which the safety measure is mandatory has increased to 90 (being Braga one of them), explained Mariana Vieira da Silva, after the meeting of the Council of Ministers.
By the way, doctors and pharmacists manifested in an open letter, released today, against taking “extraordinary measures of confinement” to fight the pandemic, warning that they produce “more serious” effects for society than COVID-19.
In the letter, the 20 signatories made a picture of the current situation in the country, stating that in the last 14 days (until July 8th), the mortality rate for the new coronavirus was 0.03 per 100 thousand inhabitants, against a mortality rate per other diseases and causes of death of 2.7 per 100,000 inhabitants.
At the same time, Infarmed Portugal (equivalent to North-American FDA) decided to revoke the decision that led to the suspension of a batch of Janssen vaccines after about 20 boys passed out at the Mafra vaccination centre. Tests proved the compliance of all batches, so the suspension was revoked.
THE PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control today anticipated that on August 1st new cases of COVID-19 will be nearly five times those registered at this time.
The European health authority says it predicts 420 cases per 100,000 population in the week ending Aug. 1, up from just under 90 in the last week, according to the ECDC weekly report, cited by the AFP news agency.
As the Delta variant multiplies and cases of COVID-19 infection increase, a trend has been observed around the world: new cases and hospitalizations are increasingly from the younger age groups. In the US, health professionals across the country have warned of the increase in cases and hospitalizations among younger people, who in many cases are even admitted to intensive care units.
The Brazilian Ministry of Health has informed a Parliamentary Inquiry Commission that drugs such as chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and ivermectin, widely advocated by President Jair Bolsonaro, should not be used in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Hungary, on the other hand, will give the population the option of being inoculated with the third dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, as of August 1st, and will make the vaccination of all health professionals mandatory. It will be up to the doctors to make the decision about which vaccine will be given to each person in the eventual third dose.
The African continent has registered one million infections in a single month, the World Health Organization (WHO) director for Africa announced today, considering that the third wave continues its destructive path, surpassing another sad historic milestone, with the continent exceeding six million cases,” said Matshidiso Moeti.
A critical review of scientific studies on the origin of SARS-CoV-2 concluded that the virus is far more likely to have arisen in nature than to have escaped from a laboratory. Scientists point out as justification for this, for example, the similarities between this coronavirus and other viral diseases of zoonotic origin (in animals).
On the other hand, a clinical trial, commissioned by the Chilean government, recommends a third dose of anti-COVID-19 vaccine when it found a drop in antibodies after six months of application of the Chinese CoronaVac, which is also widely used in Brazil and Uruguay.
The harmonized index of consumer prices fell from 2% in May to 1.9% in June in the Eurozone, year on year, according to data revealed by Eurostat this Friday. In the European Union, the index dropped from 2.3% in May to 2.2% in June this year, slightly above the European Central Bank’s new inflation target of 2%.
As regards exports of goods from the Eurozone to the rest of the world, these increased to 188.2 billion euros in May. Eurostat data point to a surplus in the international trade in goods of the countries with a single currency of 7.5 billion euros.
At the same time, Goldman Sachs Chief Economist for Europe, Jari Stehn, sees “encouraging” signs in Portugal’s growth prospects and estimates a 5% impact of the Recovery and Resilience Plan on GDP over the next five years. The official argues that fiscal policies in the Eurozone should remain expansionary and says that the current crisis has led to a “significant change in the policy framework”.
Around 10,300 companies have so far received 55.4 million euros from the new incentive to normalize their activity and the simplified support for micro-enterprises, measures adopted after the new confinement due to the pandemic, which took place in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the European Commission decided to proceed with an investigation to assess whether the restructuring aid that the Portuguese State intends to grant to TAP complies with the European Union’s rules on state aid granted to companies in difficulties.
The Portuguese Stock Exchange was trading this morning in positive territory, following the optimism of the main European counterparts, with the PSI-20 rising 0.13%, to 5,117.72 points.
In turn, among the main European markets, the German DAX gained 0.30%, the British FTSE 100 added up to 0.57%, the French CAC 40 advanced 0.45% and the Spanish IBEX 35 gained 0.62%.
On the foreign exchange market, the euro depreciated 0.09% against the dollar, to $1.1801. Concerning the pound, the single currency of the Eurozone appreciated 0.13%, to 0.8552 pounds, and the pound depreciated 0.20% against the dollar, to 1.38 dollars.