Prime Minister Interview with Radio Observador on State of Emergency issues

“The coronavirus vaccine will not exist before the end of the next school year.” The Prime Minister, António Costa, assured this Tuesday 14th April, in an interview with Rádio Observador, that coexistence with the coronavirus will continue for many months and therefore, despite maintaining optimism, the Prime Minister also stresses the caution required and seriousness of this virus.

This interview was held on the day that the third period of classes starts in a distance learning model. Responding to journalists’ questions, the Prime Minister highlighted several aspects of this new modality without classroom activities and said it was important that “next school year” the country must be prepared for a situation like this, so that, at that time, there is no need to “improvise like now”.

During this conversation, António Costa also addressed the evolution of the pandemic and the measures adopted by the Government in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Asked about the inspection that has been carried out, the Prime Minister replied that it is not necessary to “inspect” the Portuguese at all. “We don’t live in a police state where we have to inspect each other,” he said.

For António Costa, the restrictive measures to combat Covid-19 decreed by the Government should only be lifted when the risk of contagion is “controlled”. The Prime Minister adds that he knows that until that control comes, there must be a “gradual and progressive” process.

The prime minister therefore considered that it is still too early for the country to start lifting measures to restrict circulation because of Covid-19, but accepted removing restrictions on the collective rights of workers.

Asked if there is a possibility that some of the measures to restrict the circulation of citizens will begin to be raised as of Friday, confirming the scenario of the country renewing the state of emergency for the second time, the prime minister replied: ” Today is early “.

At a time when the State of Emergency in Portugal is still active, António Costa made a positive assessment of the measures adopted in the Easter period and informs that there was no “an abnormal number” of non-compliance with the rules. Asked about maintaining restrictions for older people and at-risk groups, Costa admitted that the consequences for these populations are “radically different”.

Asserting that it is important to maintain the measures of isolation and distancing until there is a vaccine or an unequivocal treatment for Covid-19, the prime minister explains that “we are going to have a country with multiple speeds: different regions, people with different risk”.

Regarding the process of a predictable renewal of the state of emergency, the Prime Minister predicts that “some institutional restrictions on collective workers’ rights are likely to be eliminated”.

“Regarding what are the limitations on circulation and the set of activities, I do not foresee any changes for now,” he said.

The prime minister also defended that “now is not the time to give the wrong signal by starting to ease the measures”.

Addressing the issue of the elderly, for whom “we establish a duty of social protection, because they are exposed to a special risk because they are more fragile and can be contaminated, so their contamination can have more serious causes”, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of isolating those who are contaminated.

The prime minister rejected “ghettos” and gave the example of his mother, who has fulfilled social isolation. “My mother has always been the most undisciplined person I have ever met, and always a lover of freedom, and has now been the most disciplined person because she says she is winning years of life there. She is not in a ghetto, she is winning years and we have a special duty to protect our elderly if we want to be a decent society. It is not about ghettoizing, it is about protecting, “he said.


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