State of emergency renewed until 23 December. “Pressure in intensive care” and “high death toll” worry the President.

The decision to renew the state of emergency, despite the slowdown in cases, is due to “pressure in intensive care” and “high number of deaths”, the President of the Republic said this Friday at 20h00 in a statement to the country. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that it was important to maintain efforts to relieve the pressure in hospitals. On vaccinations, he confirmed that the “arrival to all Portuguese” follows “extended timetables” and that “it will be a matter of weeks” rather than days. The President hopes that “this will be clear so as not to create excessive expectations and, therefore, immediate disappointments”.

The less intense regime on Christmas, if it comes to pass, will be designed for families to achieve the “desired and legitimate” encounter, but avoiding uncontrollability. The President of the Republic stressed the importance of these meetings being made with caution in order to avoid a possible “third wave” and lack of control in January. The aim, explains Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is to live Christmas, “but without concentrating on a single moment and with increased respect for the rules that can prevent widespread family contagion”.

The President of the Republic also left a message of praise to the Portuguese, for, in general, having complied with the rules, quoting the State adviser and neuroscientist António Damásio, who, in an interview with PÚBLICO, said: “There is a great distribution of generosity, patience and calm in the Portuguese”.

The presidential decree to renew the state of emergency, despite having a maximum validity of 15 days, should be renewed in the same way during Christmas week, to be in force until 7 January. The decree provides for approximately the same restrictions of rights that were already in force, and it is now up to the government to define the specific rules for each period. On Saturday, the Council of Ministers will meet again to define the specific measures which will be in force during the same period, in particular the Christmas and New Year periods.

“This decree keeps unchanged the framework that allows to impose, between 9 and 23 December, the same rigour for the current period and underlies the same purpose for the following period, until January 7, with the possible exception that is expected to be well understood and well experienced at Christmas,” said the President. “It is obviously in everyone’s interest that January may represent a consolidation of the steps taken in December and not a new and frustrating rise that will eventually accentuate the dimension of a dreaded third wave,” he warned.

Meeting the constitutional deadlines, the renewal of the state of emergency will last 15 days, beginning at 00h00 on 9 December 2020 and ending at 23h59 on 23 December 2020. But renewal is already guaranteed on these terms, at least until 7 January 2021.

The current state of emergency started on 24 November and ends at 23h59 on Tuesday 8 December. This renewal takes effect from 00h00 on Wednesday 9 December.

According to the Constitution, this legal framework, which allows for the suspension of the exercise of certain rights, freedoms and guarantees, may not last more than 15 days, without prejudice to possible renewals with the same time limit.

This Saturday, António Costa will announce the measures for this period.

Source: PÚBLICO and RTP.