Friday, June 4th | COVID-19 Daily Update
According to the epidemiological bulletin of the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS), over the last 24 hours, in Portugal, there were no deaths associated with COVID-19, but the country registered 430 new cases of infection.
Data released today indicate that there are now 851,461 confirmed cases and 17,029 fatalities.
Concerning people who recovered from the disease, another 300 were registered, bringing the total number to 810,959.
Regarding the national R(t), the indicator rose again and is now at 1.08. The incidence in Braga county is now at 147 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants over the last 14 days (in Portugal the incidence is at 69,8 cases).
This means that Braga is now under tight surveillance by the health authorities and may go back to stricter measures if the number of new cases keeps rising.
Portugal has currently 23,473 active cases.
THE PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
As of today, people over 45 years old will be able to self-schedule the vaccine against COVID-19. The information was confirmed by the vaccination task force, and vaccination of people up to 49 years old will start on the next 14th of June.
On the other hand, the coordinator of the task force revealed that Astrazeneca’s vaccines in Portugal are reserved for second doses only. During the visit to the biggest vaccination centre in Lisbon, Vice-Admiral Gouveia e Melo guaranteed that “there are no vaccines to be used” and that more than one million first doses of this vaccine have already been given.
The official had already announced that the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine would no longer have limitations for men, but the Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales, does not commit to dates for this change.
The departure of Portugal from the “green list” of the United Kingdom requires a quarantine on arrival.
The decision was justified by the increase in cases in Portugal and the appearance of a “Nepal mutation”, unknown by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already reacted to the decision of the British Government and says it is a “decision which rationale is beyond understanding”.
INSA (National Health Institute) microbiologist João Paulo Gomes indicates that only 12 cases of a mutation of the Indian variant were detected and not 68, as announced by the United Kingdom.
In addition, the INSA monitoring report, which will be published today, will clarify whether Lisbon has crossed the red line of incidence. The possibility of moving forward in the deconfinement plan seems remote, being that it is more likely that it will remain in the fourth phase or that it will retreat to the third phase.
THE PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
WHO vaccine expert Kate O’Brien said immunizing children is not a priority. From the organization’s perspective, given the extremely limited global supply of doses, it is critical to ensure that healthcare professionals and the elderly, or those with underlying illnesses, are vaccinated before adolescents and children.
The Director-General of WHO urged rich countries to donate vaccines to poor countries instead of immunizing their adolescents and children. In this follow-up, Africa must no longer depend on the import of vaccines and develop capacity for the production of vaccines and other medical products, defended the WHO leader, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
In turn, the director of the African Union Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the pandemic is getting worse in Africa, with the number of infections growing and some countries getting close to a third wave. This week there was an average increase of about 14% of cases across the continent, reported this official.
After announcing that they will share a total of 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with countries most in need, the Joe Biden Administration has detailed how this sharing will work. The White House announced that 75% of the total doses will be shared through the Covax program, with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro condemning the US decision to exclude the country from this list.
In Europe, France is going to allow people from other European Union countries to enter the country with a vaccination certificate starting next Wednesday, without having to present a negative PCR test, as has happened so far.
The Spanish government wants to start vaccinating young people aged 12 to 17 against COVID-19 before the start of the next school year, in September, announced the Minister of Health.
Meanwhile, Russian officials were optimistic about recognition of the Sputnik-V vaccine by the WHO and the European Medicines Agency, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Mourachko said today at an economic forum in St. Petersburg.
Chinese authorities today placed two more districts in Guangzhou under quarantine, with entry and exit being prohibited, increasing to 180,000 people in isolation, after an outbreak was detected in the city.
Regarding the origins of the coronavirus, north-American immunologist Anthony Fauci, an advisor to the White House, asked China for medical records of workers at the Wuhan laboratory who became ill in 2019. The aim is to try to analyze whether the pandemic originated in a leak from the laboratory located in the city where the first cases of COVID-19 were detected.
A week after the European Medicines Agency, the British regulator also approved the use of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in younger people between 12 and 15 years old. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency ensures that the drug is safe in this age group and that the benefits outweigh the risks.
The new coronavirus variant detected in India, called Delta, could be 60% more contagious than the one found in Kent (southeast England), called Alpha, said Neil Ferguson, a leading expert at Imperial College London. More data is expected to establish the effectiveness of vaccines against the Delta variant, which now predominates in the UK.
A new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA, concluded that vaccination is essential, but may not be enough to fight the pandemic once and for all. The team, which used a mathematical model to perform a simulation of the dissemination of the coronavirus in the state of North Carolina, realized that it is essential to continue to follow COVID-19 prevention measures, such as the use of face-masks, for example, while the vaccination is going on, even with the rates of people being inoculated increasing more and more.
Once the pandemic crisis is over, it will be up to the countries of the European Union to understand “when exactly is a good time to start phasing out support measures”, said Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president of the European Commission in charge of financial affairs. The official insisted on the idea that “countries must carry out this assessment and find the right moment to change course”.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, argues that the COVID-19 digital certificate should be valid for contacts outside the European Union, such as the United Kingdom. The measure officially starts on the 1st of July and aims to facilitate circulation in the European Union in the context of the pandemic.
What seemed to be the great lever for the resumption of tourism in Portugal disappeared after 22 days. Raul Martins, the president of the Portugal Hotels Association confirmed that yesterday there were already “cancellations of reservations piling up”, mainly in the Algarve hotels and resorts, where “the situation is dramatic”.
Today, it is reported that the pandemic harmed the results of three of the largest private healthcare groups operating in Portugal. The losses were due to an increase in expenses and a reduction in care activity during the first months of 2020, which was not offset by the recovery in the second half of the year.
Retail sales in Portugal increased by 4.3% in April, compared to the previous month, the biggest increase registered among the countries of the European Union. Both in the regional bloc and the Eurozone, this indicator had a negative behaviour, with a decline of 3.1% compared to March, indicate data from Eurostat.
The Portuguese stock exchange-traded in positive territory, reversing the trend towards opening and in the opposite direction of the European counterparts.
This morning, the PSI-20 rose 0.10% to 5,126.53 points. Among the main European markets, the German DAX lost 0.03%, the French CAC 40 dropped 0.04%, the Spanish IBEX 35 depreciated 0.60% and the British FTSE 100 dropped 0.20%.
US stocks ended lower in yesterday’s session on fears of the Federal Reserve’s withdrawal of economic stimulus during the pandemic. The prospect that the US central bank may also raise key interest rates sooner than expected has weighed heavily on Wall Street trading.
Yesterday afternoon, the shares of British airlines were falling, after the country changed the composition of the “green list.” EasyJet’s shares even registered declines of around 6%, while those of the International Airlines Group retreated another 5 % In turn, Ryanair’s bonds were losing 4.26% and TUI’s 3.87%.