“After listening to the experts, social partners and parties and after listening to the President of the Republic, the Council of Ministers approved the state of calamity”, declared António Costa.
António Costa revealed that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa agreed “there is no need to continue in a state of emergency” and that it is possible to lower the level of containment from a state of emergency to a state of calamity. However, he warned that the danger has not yet passed. “The risk remains high and the pandemic remains active,” said António Costa. “Every day the numbers vary and that is why what is important to look at is the long trend that we are having”.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that the vast majority of infected patients are being treated at home, which leaves some room for response from the National Health Service. Therefore, “and with all the precautions that safety demands”, the Government believes it is possible to mitigate the restrictions imposed.
António Costa recalled that for this there are conditions that must be guaranteed: it is the case of disinfectant gel, masks, a strategic consolidation of the SNS, and the guarantee of a good distribution network.
In Portugal, 307.302 tests have already been carried out, announced the Prime Minister. “The number of tests that are carried out is much greater than the number of people who are actually infected”, he said.
The prime minister also said that the decrease in the number of people hospitalized in intensive care “has been consistent over the past few weeks”. There is also a “stabilization” in the number of deaths.
“If we look at the list of recovered patients, it has been steadily increasing. This means that we have gone through a phase of exponential growth, in which it was possible to control the risk of growth”, explained the Prime Minister.
The transition from a state of emergency to a state of calamity “has risks”, says António Costa. “Each of us has to adopt hygiene and distancing rules, in order to protect ourselves and others. As we reopen some activities, we are aware that the risk will increase”, explains the Prime Minister.
The situation will be assessed every 15 days. “I will not be ashamed to take a step back if necessary. This is a route that we have to take with confidence and together”, he added.
“The state of emergency is over, but the virus remains the same,” says the prime minister, adding that it will continue to be necessary to avoid unnecessary trips as much as possible.
“We are all aware that until there is a vaccine available on the market and accessible to all of us, or until there is treatment, we will have to continue to live and continue without our normal lives”, insists the Prime Minister.
“We must make this effort so that the path is a step forward and not a step back. I am not one to take steps back, but I guarantee that I will do it if necessary. This is what we owe to all who have already lost their lives, to those who are infected, to the families of those who have lost loved ones, to those who know infected people and to health professionals who do their best”, said Costa.
“We will not lose in the next month what we have achieved so hard in the past two months,” appealed the prime minister.
Regarding the rules to be adopted, there will be a mandatory confinement duty for sick people and those under active surveillance, with a civic duty of home confinement continuing. There cannot be gatherings of more than ten people and funerals will be held only with the presence of family members.
Regarding religious celebrations, the DGS will also create a set of rules for them.
The prime minister warned that “it will continue to be mandatory” that all functions that can be carried out in teleworking thus remain, at least throughout the month of May.
From June 1, there will be partial teleworking, with irregular shifts. The priority, explains the prime minister, is to reopen companies and businesses that cannot function remotely.
In public transport there will be mandatory use of masks, a maximum capacity of two thirds and the mandatory hygiene and cleaning of transport.
António Costa announced that on Monday, the 4th of May, deconcentrated customer service counters will open by appointment. On June 1, the citizen’s stores will open.
In terms of commerce and restaurants, stores up to 200 square meters may be reopened as of May 4, such as bookstores and car trade. Hairdressers, aestheticians and barber shops will reopen but with appointments, complying with the rules of hygiene and individual protection”, explained the Prime Minister.
From May 18, stores up to 400 square meters will be able to reopen. Restaurants, cafes and pastry shops can have a capacity of up to 50%. As of June 1, commercial spaces over 400 square meters and stores inserted in shopping centres will be reopened.
With regard to schools, the 11th and 12th year students will start face-to-face classes, and from June 1st day care centers, ATL’s and pre-school will be able to reopen. In culture, libraries and archives will reopen from May 4. From the 18th, museums, monuments, palaces, art galleries and exhibition rooms will reopen. On June 1, cinemas, theaters and concert halls will be able to return to business.
In relation to sport, starting on Monday, individual sports may be resumed (without the use of changing rooms) and at the end of the month, the 1st football league and the Portuguese Cup may be resumed.