Friday, June 25th | COVID-19 Daily Update
Data advanced today by the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS) indicate that, in 24 hours, 1,604 new cases of infection and two deaths associated with COVID-19 were registered in Portugal.
The country has now 30,442 active cases, and the national incidence rose to 137,5 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants over the last two weeks. The Rt rose to 1.14. In Braga county, the incidence seems to have stabilized at 170 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.
According to the epidemiological bulletin, there are currently 871,483 confirmed cases and 17,081 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. As for the recovered patients, 857 more were counted, which makes the total number grow to 823,960.
There are currently 431 patients hospitalized, 108 of them in intensive care units.
THE PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
The Portuguese capital is going to back in its deconfinement plan, with restaurants having to close at 3:30 pm and supermarkets at 7:00 pm on weekends, in line with Sesimbra and Albufeira, the other two counties presenting a very high risk.
There are another 25 municipalities in the orange and 19 in the alert situation (Braga is one of them). The decision was taken at the Ministers’ Council, in which the Government decided to put the deconfinement plan on stand by and apply new restrictions to more municipalities.
One of the novelties is the use, this weekend, of the digital certificate that will allow one to enter or leave the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon. As of July 1st, this certificate will apply to events and trips within the European Union. Since June 16th, Portuguese health services have issued more than 400,000 COVID-19 digital certificates.
However, Duarte Cordeiro considers it difficult for Portugal to return to the State of Emergency, given the evolution of the vaccination plan. In an interview, the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs also mentions that the Government admits that the risk matrix will be reshaped when “certain objectives” are achieved.
For now, the National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge will reinforce the surveillance of the variants in circulation in Portugal, through its continuous monitoring.
Regarding the vaccination process, Portugal should receive, by the end of June, 1.5 million vaccines. This will be a new record, at a time when the volume of doses has effectively accelerated, with the pharmaceutical companies intending to avoid any complaints from the State for breach of contracts.
This morning, the vaccination task force sent an official complaint to the Judiciary Police after reports that 18-year-olds were vaccinated in Porto, at a time when self-scheduling is only open for people over 35 years old. The director of the Porto Oriental Health Centers Group has already been suspended.
THE PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
About 60% of the adult population of the European Union – 220 million people – have already received at least one dose of the vaccine. Ursula von der Leyen called for “further acceleration” given the spread of the variants. The EU Heads of State and Government also discussed coordination in managing the pandemic, namely in terms of free movement in light of the new variants.
In recent days, pressure has been put on countries that have opened Europe’s borders to the entry of tourists from areas where there is a predominance of more serious variants, namely the United Kingdom.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel calls for a more coordinated approach, and had the support of Emmanuel Macron who called for “coordinated decisions in terms of opening borders”.
Yesterday, the French President warned that the French should remain cautious against the virus, as the Delta variant already represents 70% of cases in the Landes region. Prime Minister Jean Castex and Health Minister Olivier Véran were on the ground to present a strengthened action plan to try to stop the Delta strain.
In Spain, the accumulated incidence rose again very slightly, after several weeks falling, on a day in which 18 people died and there are 4,507 new cases. The autonomous communities with the highest levels are Andalusia, La Rioja, Catalonia, Navarre, Basque Country, Aragon, and Madrid.
In the Middle East, Israel gave a step backwards and will re-establish the mandatory use of the face mask after an increase in the number of cases of infected people, despite the majority of the population is already vaccinated.
Across the Atlantic, Brazil will receive three million doses of Janssen vaccines, donated directly by the US government. Yesterday, Venezuela received the first batch of the Cuban Abdala vaccine.
Oxford University announced that it is studying the antiparasitic drug ivermectin as a possible early treatment for COVID-19 to avoid hospitalizations. According to the University of Oxford, research has shown that early drug administration reduces the viral load and duration of symptoms in some patients with mild COVID-19.
Also in England, more than two million people may have suffered prolonged symptoms of the new coronavirus. Researchers admit that dealing with the long-term consequences of COVID-19 is a “huge challenge” and the British government has already allocated more than 58 million euros for the investigation regarding this issue.
A group of Brazilian scientists is studying a case of infection in a single patient that lasted at least 218 days, a period in which the virus replicated and even mutated. The research was conducted by scientists at the University of São Paulo, who found that the virus was not only present in the patient’s body but also replicated during that time.
The reduction in the opening hours of commercial areas in various regions of the country will further aggravate the losses of companies operating in the three main affected areas. The conclusion comes from the CIP (Portuguese Industry Confederation), which regrets the Government’s decision at a time when the vaccination process is proceeding at a good pace, particularly among the elderly and risk groups.
The Ministry of Finance announced this afternoon that support granted to companies by the State in the context of the pandemic hit a total of 1,797 million euros until May.
In turn, the president of the Economic and Social Council considers that the Portuguese economy has been growing at a “manifestly insufficient” pace and said he is convinced that EU funds will contribute to “improving responses”.
Francisco Assis explained that the EU funds are intended for a modernization of the entire productive fabric, the economic component and the modernization of public administration, there will be conditions to improve responses in this area”.
The month of May represented the biggest fall in the unemployment trend registered since the beginning of the pandemic. In just one month, the number of subscribers to public employment services dropped by more than 21,000.
Yesterday, INE (PT Statistics Bureau) announced that the Portuguese are saving more. The average savings will be above 18 billion euros, and in the year ending in the first quarter of 2021, the amount already exceeded 21 billion euros. It is more than double if compared to the pre-pandemic figure.
This morning, the Portuguese stock exchange-traded in positive territory, contrary to the main European markets. The PSI-20 added 0.15% to 5,085.32 points.
Among the main European counterparts, the German DAX lost 0.18%, the French CAC 40 retreated 0.08% and the Spanish IBEX 35 slipped 0.13%. The British index, FTSE 100, was gaining 0.13%.
Today Biden administration approved a new budget package, now dedicated to building and improving infrastructure in the US, valued at US$953 billion.