“The country will enter the most critical month of this pandemic, so it is essential that we prepare for it,” said Prime Minister António Costa after a working visit to the Covid-19 military support center for the pandemic, at the Old Hospital Militar da Ajuda, and the Hospital Support Unit of Câmara and Universidade de Lisboa, in the university’s swimming pools, both in Lisbon on 30th March.
The Prime Minister stressed that “the virus only goes where we take it, because we are the ones who carry it, and that is why it is essential to move as little as possible and remain as isolated as possible”.
“If we do that, we are not transmitting the virus to anyone, nor are we at risk of being infected,” he said, adding that “the fight against this pandemic depends, above all, on each act with responsibility, with discipline”.
This Easter “will really have to be a different Easter” in which “people cannot go to land”, nor can they go to the Algarve, and families cannot also gather to celebrate it. It is a sacrifice “essential to saving us all,” he said, adding that “the best way to be together right now is to be really apart”.
Extend the measures
António Costa also said that, “knowing that we have been successful, fortunately, in lowering the peak of this pandemic – that is, in lowering the moment when the greatest number of people will be infected -, thus prolonging its duration, this means that we will also have to prolong the measures that have been adopted, with a state of emergency or without a state of emergency ».
The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, “this week will take the initiative to renew or not the state of emergency”, giving the Government its opinion and being the decision of the Assembly of the Republic.
António Costa said that, so far, “our hospitals have responded to needs, and we are doing everything to keep them going, but if the pandemic continues to evolve as projected, it is essential to have these rear units”, the created by the Armed Forces and the Lisbon City Council and University.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of coordinating efforts, stating that “the mobilization of all is essential, but it must be an organized mobilization. It is important that those who want to make donations or take initiatives try to articulate them through the Regional Health Administrations, under penalty of having a concentration of many resources where less are needed and failing them where they are indispensable ».
Tests in nursing homes
António Costa also referred to tests in nursing homes, stating that “the ability, which the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Lisbon developed, to do rapid tests and, consequently, to do more tests, and the articulation that it established, through the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, over the weekend, with several university institutions, allows today to start, in a pilot phase, a more active collection of samples from the population that is in homes in various regions where universities have joined the University of Lisbon ».
«The objective is to take this effort across the country, adding it to others from multiple municipalities that have their own projects, such as that of Porto, which has its own project for homes in the city, with the support of the Ministry of Health», he said, answering questions from the press.
The Prime Minister – who was accompanied by the Ministers of National Defense, Gomes Cravinho, of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, and of Health, Marta Temido – insisted that, also in this, “it is fundamental to act in an organized way so that , with the few resources that exist with the limited capacity and time that each test takes, we can direct them to the priorities ».
National unity and effort
António Costa also said that “the sense of salvation and national unity has prevailed in Portuguese society and also among political leaders”, referring to “the cooperation between sovereign bodies” and the mobilization “of all the institutions of Portuguese society, from Forces Armed forces, security forces, universities, municipalities and entities from the central administration to companies – all have made an extraordinary effort ».
Right now, “we have to focus on the priority of stopping the pandemic and responding to the needs of people who are infected or who may be infected”.
At the same time, “a set of measures has been adopted by the Government, and the Assembly of the Republic is also discussing a set of measures, which aims to give life support to the economy and household income over the next three months”.
«Then, we have to start preparing the effort to rebuild and relaunch our economy. And the effort must be everyone’s, ”he said.