Friday, May 7th | COVID-19 Daily Update
According to the daily epidemiological bulletin of the Portuguese General Directorate of Health (DGS), in the last 24 hours, there was another death and 377 new cases of infection by COVID-19 in Portugal.
DGS reports that the total number of fatalities increased to 16,989, while confirmed cases increased to 838,852. Concerning people who recovered from the disease, an additional 490 cases were recorded, bringing the total number to 799,442. The R(t) and the incidence decreased.
The transmissibility rate in Portugal is now 0.92 and the national number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days is 57,7, slightly below the incidence verified in Braga county: 61 cases.
PANDEMIC IN PORTUGAL
About 100,000 people received the vaccine against COVID-19 yesterday and today the same number of doses should be administered, which anticipates in one week the goal defined by the vaccination task force.
Portugal remains as one of the two countries in the European Union with the best indicators of pandemic control, according to data released yesterday by the European Center for Disease Control.
Portugal is the member state with the lowest number of deaths per million inhabitants in 14 days and the second with the fewest cases per 100 thousand inhabitants.
A new weekly assessment of the pandemic has been made, and the map of the municipalities under more severe restrictions changes again. But only one will have to go back in the measures of deconfinement: Cabeceiras de Basto, not far from Braga, with over 378 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva sees signs of “a controlled pandemic”, with a stable incidence and transmissibility index, but warns of the existence of some outbreaks. The Government highlights the “strong improvement” in Odemira.
The Recovery and Resilience Plan, delivered by Portugal in Brussels, recovers some of the measures proposed by the troika for the reform of the NHS. The Portuguese Government commits itself with Brussels to concentrate the medical emergencies, in the areas of Lisbon and Porto and also to impose financial objectives on hospitals. Another of the foreseen changes is that the Ministry of Finance starts to make a continuous assessment of the performance of the NHS units.
The president of the Portuguese Society of Cardiology argues that telemedicine, which has grown with the demands of the pandemic, should be maintained and that the critical issue in medical appointments is to define which patients can be followed at a distance.
PANDEMIC IN EUROPE AND THE WORLD
Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech are against the US plan to temporarily lift patents on the production of vaccines. Pfizer executive chairman Albert Bourla claims that opening production sites for vaccines produced in partnership with BioNTech in places other than those in the US and the EU would complicate production and compromise the dose rate targets produced.
The German Government has also shown opposition to the proposal, with Angela Merkel taking off from the position of several countries and the European Union itself.
In turn, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa says that the problem in India and other countries “does not lie precisely in the holding or non-holding of the patent, but in the ability of everyone to increase production at a global scale”. The head of the Portuguese Government considers that the fundamental problems are in the production capacity and the regulation of the medicine market worldwide.
Germany appears to have overcome the third wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said today, reporting a slight drop in the number of cases.
French Health Minister Olivier Véran announced that 600,000 people were vaccinated yesterday, a record in French territory. At the same time that vaccination numbers are increasing, with almost 17.5 million French people now vaccinated with the first dose, the pandemic numbers are decreasing.
The UK recorded the deaths of 13 people and 2,613 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, according to the latest data from the British Government, which has already immunized 66% of adults with the first dose of vaccine. The Indian variant of the coronavirus has already been found across England, including in nursing homes. British authorities fear the speed with which these transmission chains are growing.
Outside Europe, India remains at the epicentre of the pandemic. In the last 24 hours, the country recorded more than 400 thousand deaths, on the second day with figures of this magnitude, and for several days it has been breaking the world record for daily cases. The situation is leading to the depletion of different health resources. The problem is even greater because most Indian hospitals do not have their own oxygen systems.
The World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa warned that delays in the delivery of vaccines by India could lead to the occurrence of more strains, leading to a new wave of infections in Africa.
Unused vaccines in Japan are expected to reach tens of millions of doses, taking into account that the country is about to approve the use of two more vaccines in the coming weeks and the immunization campaign has been proceeding at a slow pace due to problems with the specialized workforce and logistics. The Japanese government plans to extend the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic until the end of the month, to reduce infections and relieve hospitals.
Russia yesterday approved a “light” version of the Sputnik V vaccine, which will be administered in a single dose, although it is slightly less effective, announced the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Sputnik Light is 79.4% effective in combating COVID-19, that is, slightly less than the 91.6% effectiveness of the original version, which requires two doses.
There is a new mutation of the Manaus variant circulating in Rio de Janeiro, said yesterday the city’s State Department of Health, which is developing a study in that state to analyze about 4,800 samples in six months. The P1.2 strain was found in 5.85% of the 376 samples analyzed in the second step of the sequencing, and the main variant of the Manaus virus (P1) was present in 91.49% of the samples analyzed in this Brazilian study.
Whether due to reports of very rare cases of pulmonary thromboembolism resulting from taking the Astrazeneca vaccine or due to complaints of tiredness, fever, and muscle pain after inoculation with any of the vaccines against COVID-19, its side effects still raise some doubts in many people. Experts and regulatory bodies ensure that the benefit of being vaccinated is far greater than the possible risks.
The European Commission promises to keep a close watch on the implementation of the social goals defined by each Member State for the implementation of the measures decided at the Social Summit, which starts today at the Alfândega do Porto, with the presence of the majority of European leaders.
António Costa’s Government is preparing changes to the Social Insertion Income to strengthen the fight against poverty.
In this regard, the Minister of Labor, Ana Mendes Godinho also sustains the “null effect” for remote work expenses. Yesterday, the Government approved in the Ministers’ Council the creation of the social tariff for Internet access. The Secretary of State for Digital Transition points to a monthly fee that should be 5 euros, per person.
At the same time, the Prime Minister affirms that the Portuguese proposal for a Recovery and Resilience Plan establishes the hiring of more civil servants and provides for a reform of the regulated professions.
The President of the Economic and Social Council admits he fears that the pandemic has increased inequalities at the European level. Europe cannot limit itself to defining social goals, it must adopt a fiscal policy that is not an enemy of economic growth, defends Francisco Assis.
The EUR 24.4 billion European Guarantee Fund, which is part of a first recovery package for COVID-19, is about to reach half the target: 11.7 billion business support financing across the Union, in total approved financing plan that is expected to mobilize close to 94 billion.
Almost 14,000 companies were born in the first four months of the year. This happened at the same time that almost 4,000 closed. The data are contained in the Informa D&B Barometer, released today.
On the other hand, Bosch in Braga will go into lay-off starting on Monday due to the scarcity of semiconductors, and will guarantee the remuneration “of 85% of the gross monthly income” of the affected workers, the group announced today.
Portugal has already taken several steps in the deconfinement process, but foreign tourists are still few because Portugal still has many constraints on the entry of non-residents by air. This is one of the changes that the Algarve Tourism Region calls for to be included in the next review of the state of calamity.
According to ISEG’s (University Institute of Economy and Management) forecasts, the Portuguese economy should strongly accelerate its growth in the second quarter of this year, benefiting from the beginning of the deconfinement, for an annual increase of Portuguese GDP between 10% to 15%.
In the international scenario, China’s foreign trade grew 26.6%, in April, in comparison to the same period of 2020. The surplus in China’s trade balance was fixed at the equivalent of 35.9 billion euros last month.
The Lisbon Stock Exchange was gaining 0.64% to 5,123.98 points in the middle of today’s session.
The main European markets are negotiating on positive ground. Frankfurt was up 1.37% and Paris gained 0.25%. Madrid was up 0.73%. London added 0.71% and Italy increased 0.23%. Euro Stoxx continued to appreciate 0.65% to 4,025.35 points.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke a record yesterday, rising 0.46% to 34,386.31 points, supported by an optimistic weekly report on unemployment benefit claims, which were below forecasts. But not all major North American indexes had such a positive day. The S&P 500 gained 0.17%, the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.41%.