Prime Minister António Costa Christmas Message
Covid-19: Costa says the war is not over and it is essential to continue boosting the vaccine
Lisbon, December 25, 2021 (Lusa) – The prime minister highlighted today that the war against covid-19 is not over, considered it essential to continue the vaccination boost in Portugal and praised the “unsurpassed” work of health professionals and answer from the SNS.
These positions were conveyed by António Costa in his traditional Christmas message, which he said this year is more restrained from a political point of view, as it is in the pre-election period.
In his seventh Christmas message since taking office as prime minister, António Costa praised the way in which health professionals have been committed to fighting covid-19.
“After the tireless work in 2020; after the dramatic wave they had to face in January and February of this year, health professionals were once again unsurpassed – and, in this case, especially the nurses – in the remarkable vaccination operation”, he declared.
In this context, the prime minister also highlighted that his “so intense experience of these two years” in that “command post” only reinforced his pride in the Portuguese and his confidence in the National Health Service (SNS).
Then, he left warnings regarding the evolution of the pandemic in the coming months.
“The vaccine has proven to be the most effective weapon in fighting the pandemic, an extraordinary victory for science, but the war is not over. As we know, there are millions of human beings around the world who still have not had access to the vaccine and, as long as that is the case, the virus will remain active and the risk of transforming into new variants will persist”, he warned.
Therefore, for the executive leader, “it is essential to accelerate vaccination on a global scale and continue the vaccination boost in Portugal”.
“Schools, entities in the solidarity sector, local authorities, the State and the European Union did their best – and even what so often seemed impossible – to help everyone in the various vicissitudes they faced. We certainly can’t always arrive on time, nor have all the wounds healed yet”, he said.
However, according to António Costa, employment has already “fully” recovered from pre-pandemic levels and Portugal has resumed “robust growth”.
“We cannot lose focus on the national recovery effort. And we must do so with the confidence of a people who, having overcome each stage of this pandemic, are capable of overcoming themselves, of facing the future with hope, continuing to be extraordinary in times of normality and tranquility that we all yearn for”, he added.
In the opening part of his message, the prime minister recalled that he spent Christmas last year in prophylactic isolation for days before having lunch in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron, who fell ill shortly afterwards with covid-19.
“A year ago, I myself spent my Christmas Eve in solitude, in prophylactic isolation, far from my wife, my children, my mother, my entire family. But I know, we all know, that difficult, truly difficult, is the pain of someone who suffers the loss of a loved one or the ordeal of someone who is sick, so often in need of hospitalization. It is these pains and these trials that none of us want to suffer and that we all wish that those who are dearest to us never suffer”, he emphasized.
António Costa also pointed out that a year ago on Monday the vaccination process began in Portugal.
“Our first vaccinated, Professor António Sarmento, a veteran doctor at Hospital de São João, gave us all an example of what needed to be done. It was a gesture of the utmost importance to reinforce the confidence and motivation of the entire country. Since then, almost the entire population over 12 years of age has been vaccinated, two and a half million people have already received the booster dose and we have started to vaccinate children aged 11 to 5 years”, he added.