Confinement excluded in the new state of emergency

The new state of emergency proposed by the President of the Republic does not allow compulsory confinement, unlike the previous ones.

The draft state of emergency decree that followed today to the Assembly of the Republic, where it will be voted on Friday at 16:00, declares the state of emergency in Portugal between 9 and 23 November, based on the verification of a situation public calamity, to allow measures to contain covid-19.

According to this diploma, the state of emergency is again declared throughout the national territory, but with an exception for restrictions on circulation on public roads, which can be applied only “in the municipalities with the highest level of risk” of contagion with the new coronavirus and “during certain periods of the day or certain days of the week”.

Unlike the previous three presidential decrees of 19 March, 2 April and 17 April, in this diploma there is no mention of the possibility of “compulsory confinement at home, in a health establishment or in another place defined by the competent authorities”, nor to the “establishment of sanitary fences”.

There is also no suspension of the exercise of the rights of international movement, of assembly and of demonstration, of freedom of worship in its collective dimension, of the right of resistance, nor of the right to strike, as there was in the 45 days of state of emergency between 19 March and May 2nd.

Nor are the rights to learn and teach and the right to the protection of personal data limited, as happened in the two renewals of the state of emergency, to frame distance learning and allow public authorities to send written warnings about combat to covid-19.

“The prohibition on journeys on public roads that are not justified” is repeated, now under the partial suspension of the exercise of “rights to freedom and displacement”, a wording more comprehensive than the “right to travel” used in others three decrees.

At this point, trips to perform professional activities, obtain health care, assistance to third parties, production, supply of goods and services are again safeguarded – and this time trips to school establishments are added.

Once again, it will be up to the Government to specify all “situations and purposes in which the freedom of individual movement, preferably unaccompanied, remains”.

With regard to the private sector, the previous decrees allowed that the competent public authorities were “required to provide any services and use movable and immovable property, health care units, commercial and industrial establishments, companies and other productive units “.

Now, the President of the Republic proposes that the resources, means and establishments of health care provision integrated in the private, social and cooperative sectors can be used by the competent public authorities, preferably by agreement, with fair compensation, depending on what is necessary. to ensure the treatment of patients with covid-19 or the maintenance of care activity in relation to other pathologies “.

The right to property remains intact and there are no restrictions or impositions in terms of opening, operating and operating companies, services, establishments and means of production, as previously noted.

The diploma to be voted on Wednesday includes, like the previous ones, limitations to workers ‘rights, but to a much lesser extent, without interfering with the rights of workers’ commissions and union associations or the right to strike.

It is only foreseen that they can “be mobilized, by the competent public authorities, any collaborators from public, private entities, from the social or cooperative sector, regardless of the respective type of bond or functional content and even if they are not health professionals”.

This mobilization may include “public servants in prophylactic isolation or covered by the exceptional regime for the protection of immunocompromised and chronically ill patients, to support health authorities and services, namely in conducting epidemiological surveys, tracking contacts and following people under surveillance. active “.

“It is the responsibility of the Armed and Security Forces to support health authorities and services, namely in conducting epidemiological inquiries, tracking contacts and following people under active surveillance”, reads the draft decree.

In previous periods of state of emergency, it was also foreseen that the authorities could determine “that any collaborators from public, private or social sector entities, regardless of the type of link, present themselves to the service and, if necessary, start to perform functions in different place, in a different entity and in different working conditions and times than those that correspond to the existing bond “.

However, at that time it was intended to mobilize “workers in the sectors of health, civil protection, security and defense and other activities necessary to treat patients, support vulnerable populations, elderly people, people with disabilities, children and young people at risk. , in residential structures, home or street support, preventing and combating the spread of the epidemic, the production, distribution and supply of essential goods and services, the functioning of vital sectors of the economy, the operation of critical networks and infrastructures and the maintenance of public order “.

All previous decrees contained articles to note that the state of emergency did not, under any circumstances, affect the rights to life, personal integrity, personal identity, civil capacity and citizenship, non-retroactivity of criminal law, defense defendants and freedom of conscience and religion – as stated in the legal regime of the state of emergency. Freedom of expression and information were also guaranteed in the three decrees.

This time, the draft decree of the President of the Republic is silent on the rights that are not affected by the state of emergency.

According to the Constitution, the state of emergency allows the suspension of the exercise of some of the rights, freedoms and guarantees, which must be specified in the respective declaration, and cannot last longer than 15 days, without prejudice to any renewals with the same limit. temporal.

The President of the Republic must listen to the Government and be authorized by the Assembly of the Republic to declare a state of emergency, in all or in part of the national territory, in situations of public calamity.

In Portugal, where the first cases of infection with the new coronavirus were detected on March 2, 2,740 people have already died from this disease, in a total of more than 160,000 cases of infection accounted for, according to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).


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