NEW MEASURES ANNOUNCED BY PM AT 1840 HRS

In a briefing with reporters following the Council of Ministers meeting, Prime Minister António Costa relayed a set of main measures contained in the decree.

Firstly, the PM affirmed that a set of rules for clarification of previous provisions will be established. For instance, there should be no gathering of more than 5 people, except of course people with family ties and large families.

Two very important measures concern the extension of the deadline for owners to clean the forests to 30th April, not forgetting the enormous risk of forest fire in the country. Additionally, there is a clarification of the exemption from user fees for covid-19 patients, whether during a diagnosis or a treatment phase.

Easter constitutes a particularly critical moment and one when it is essential to restrict circulation in the national territory.

Between 00h on Thursday 9th and 24h on Monday 13th, any travel outside the municipality of habitual residence will be prohibited, except naturally for those who have to travel for the exercise of professional activities that are allowed, or in the 3 municipalities which have territorial discontinuity ( such as Vila Real de Santo António, Montijo and Oliveira de Azeméis).

Workers who need to move to another concelho during the five days when the restriction on circulation will be tighter,  must have a declaration from the employer to prove their work address, says the prime minister.

In the same period, all national airports will be closed for passenger traffic. Cargo flights, humanitarian nature, Portuguese repatriation flights or State flights and military nature are maintained.

Other restrictive measures: The Minister of Health and the Minister of Internal Administration, taking into account WHO recommendations, will define countries / territories from which travel will require a medical consultation, in view of preventing infections from occurring.

Air transport will have a limitation of capacity set to only one third, in order to ensure the greatest possible social distance. This is a measure that has already taken place with public transportation, which will continue in effect.

In addition, measures will be taken in regard to strengthening the authorities’ competences for working conditions. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister says, in this period and despite the measures that have been adopted to support the sustainability of companies, there have been abuses. Therefore, inspectors may be required to reinforce the framework for labour inspections.

António Costa stressed that “no one has the right to take advantage of this circumstance to abuse and exploit workers or consumers”.

Finally, a law proposal will be submitted to the AR, in line with appeals launched by the United Nations High Commissioner and the Ombudsman that aim to prevent the pandemic in prisons.

The process by which the President of the Republic can grant a release of prisoners for humanitarian reasons will be streamlined (for instance, people at risk due to old age and underlying illnesses).

A partial pardon of prison sentences may be given to those serving sentences of up to 2 years or the last 2 years of their sentences, excluding those who have committed particularly heinous crimes such as murder, rape, abuse of minors, domestic violence,  or those with special responsibilities including security, armed forces or political office holders.

The partial forgiveness of sentences is subject to a condition of respect for house confinement and the absence of any type of criminal act. If this condition is broken, the release will be reversed.

 


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