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Resolution of Council of Ministers 157/2021 published


Following the Council of Ministers communique published on 25th November, the government has today published the full resolution concerning the Situation of Calamity to come into effect at oo.oo hrs 1st December 2021

This covers travel into Portugal mainland, entry to gyms, bars and night clubs etc.

The details translated informally into English can be downloaded here.

The original Portuguese version is here.


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COVID-19 Prime Ministers Announcement following Council of Minister’s Meeting 25th November 2021



Portugal will move to a Situation of Calamity with effect 1st December 2021

Mandatory masks in all enclosed spaces unless otherwise indicated by the DGS.

The digital certificate becomes mandatory in restaurants, tourist establishments and local accommodation, events with marked places and gyms.

A mandatory negative test (even for vaccinated) applies to visits to nursing homes; visits to patients admitted to health establishments; attendance to large events without marked places or in improvised venues and in sports venues, clubs and bars.

The negative test is also mandatory for all flights arriving in Portugal, “regardless of the origin or nationality of the passenger”.

Control at airports will be strengthened with the hiring, from private security companies, of the necessary staff.

Each passenger disembarked without a test will represent a fine of 20 thousand euros to be paid by the airline. At airports there will be a retention zone for anyone who has been transported without a negative test. Accommodation and food expenses imposed on those who have to remain in isolation because they have tested positive at entering will be covered by the airlines.

The tests required to enter the country through airports are PCR and antigen

The Council of Ministers decided to postpone the reopening of the schools after Christmas vacations: classes only start on January 10th.

These five days less in schools are compensated by removing two days from the Carnival break and three days from the Easter break.

Also from 2 to 9 January, teleworking becomes mandatory and clubs will be closed.


António Costa stated that, thanks to the efforts of the citizens, Portugal is the country in Europe with the highest rate of vaccination. Aspect that is reflected in the lower number of deaths and hospitalizations.

Comparing the situation today, with 3150 cases of infection, with the situation a year ago, there are far fewer people in intensive care units. “We are frankly better than a year ago,” says Costa. The conclusion we must draw, is that vaccination is worth it.

The first measure is, therefore, to reinforce the vaccination effort, through the booster dose in eligible people: over 65 years of age and with a second dose for more than five months; people with a medical prescription for vaccination and patients who have recovered from the disease.

Christmas will be a time of risk, recalls António Costa.

“It is time to adopt new measures”, he adds.

The first steps are general recommendations:

– Recommended to do self-tests, for example before joining the family

– Teleworking is recommended, whenever possible.


Please see the Council of Ministers Full PowerPoint here




Dissolution of Parliament does not prevent a new state of emergency


By this time, last year, Portugal was already in a state of emergency. One year after the pandemic and with 86% of the population with complete vaccination (and the elderly receiving the third dose), this scenario, despite the worsening of the pandemic situation, is still not on the table. However, with the Assembly of the Republic dissolved from the end of November or the beginning of December for early elections to be held on January 30, the question arises: with the Parliament dissolved, it is possible to decree a state of emergency, if necessary?

According to the regime of the state of siege and the state of emergency, it is possible. The declaration of a state of emergency remains the responsibility of the President of the Republic, after having heard the Government. Subsequently, the declaration must have the authorization of the Assembly of the Republic “or, when this is not in session and its immediate meeting is not possible, of the respective standing committee”, refers the regime. This is the case that Portugal will live in December and January if it needs to enter a state of emergency.

“When authorized by the Standing Committee of the Assembly of the Republic, the declaration of a state of siege or a state of emergency will have to be ratified by the Plenary as soon as it is possible to convene it “, adds the regime, specifying that “neither the Assembly of the Republic nor its Standing Committee may, respectively, authorize and confirm the authorization with amendments”. The standing committee is composed of deputies appointed by the parliamentary groups according to their respective representation.

This is corroborated by constitutionalist Tiago Duarte to the ECO: ” The Constitution of the Portuguese Republic expressly says that in the event of the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic, it is the standing committee that decides “, he explains, noting that the plenary of Parliament must be convened immediately afterwards — not least because the current deputies maintain their mandate until the electoral act — for this one to vote. If the declaration fails, the state of emergency must end.

However, the professor of constitutional law at the Catholic University adds that the plenary would be convened “only for the purpose of voting on the state of emergency, leaving it after being in office.” In other words, deputies would not have any parliamentary instrument to oversee and oversee the Government with regard to the regulation of the state of emergency, which is carried out by the Executive in institutional coordination with the President of the Republic.

The standing commission of the Assembly of the Republic will be constituted after the dissolution, which can happen either at the end of November or at the beginning of December. By proposal of the PSD, this permanent commission should have a weekly meeting until January 30th, with the presence of members of the current Government. The parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, Adão Silva, admitted that it is not “usual” for the standing committee to meet weekly, but argued that this will be a period in which “the Government is in full function” so parliamentary oversight has to “to gain the possible dynamic within the constitutional and regimental rules”.


Until an eventual approval of the state of emergency, there are several measures that can be reintroduced since, at this moment, after the last phase of de-confinement, there are few remaining restrictions. Earlier this month, Expresso wrote that the Government was confident that it will not be necessary to introduce a state of emergency — no one has publicly ruled out that hypothesis in the past —, simply resorting to the instruments of the Basic Civil Protection Law depending on the evolution of the pandemic in next few weeks.

Article EcoSapo

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One day there will be an earthquake forecast. It’s just not known when

Unlike the sky, the Earth’s interior is not transparent. And that’s why a seismologist like Fernando Carrilho faces very different challenges from colleagues from other departments at the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA), who can relate the previous day’s forecasts to the clouds they see on the horizon. “There are earthquakes originating from depths of 10, 20, 100 kms or more… and the existing technologies do not allow us to know what is happening in these places”, explains the head of the Geophysics Division at IPMA.

In the 1970s, several scientists tried to find a way to predict earthquakes — but that first impulse has lost much of its force after 20 years. “If I say that there is going to be an earthquake of magnitude 3 or 4 in Lisbon, I could be correct (due to the characteristics of the region). But I cannot know when this earthquake will occur. A forecast must have an instant of occurrence, location and magnitude, otherwise it is not an earthquake forecast”, adds Fernando Carrilho.

The expectation of the last century has failed and recent technological advances have not helped much either. “Tomography scans of the Earth’s interior are already being carried out, but the images do not have much resolution, in addition to requiring very expensive and time-consuming scientific campaigns”, explains Rui Moura, professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto.

Given the difficulty in collecting data, some scientists even tried to establish a relationship between earthquakes and changes in electromagnetic fields or radon gas emission. But these studies were also inconclusive. “There are several places with an increase in radon emissions and changes in electromagnetic fields that have not suffered earthquakes”, recalls Fernando Carrilho.

In the absence of a solution, efforts began to focus on mitigation. And Japan, with four thousand seismic stations and sensor networks in the Pacific, is the benchmark in this approach. Seismic waves travel across the ocean floor at speeds of four to seven kilometre per second, but sensor networks “go beyond them” by traveling at the speed of light allowed by fibre optics. Which gives you to issue alerts tens of seconds before the earthquake affects the archipelago, famous for its automation. “Even if it’s three seconds ahead, it makes a difference. It’s enough time to open doors, turn off the gas or for the elevators to stop in the right place automatically”, says Rui Moura.

Mexico and the US already have sensor networks — and there are plans for Portugal to join the “mitigation” club. The project has been developed by IPMA, Instituto de Telecomunicações and Instituto D. Luís, in the LEA consortium. The objective is to take advantage of the replacement of the ring of submarine telecommunications cables that link the continent, Azores and Madeira with sensor cables. Fernando Carrilho believes that the investment pays off, “even with a 10% increase in costs”.

The renovation will have to be completed by 2027, when the current cables expire. “The State Budget already provided for this investment, but it ended up not being approved. It is an urgent decision that will have to be taken soon”, concludes Fernando Carrilho.

Source Expresso