Portugal thus regresses from alertness, the least serious, to contingency, intermediate. The most serious is that of calamity, which came to be applied in 19 parishes in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon.
The decision, announced this Thursday, aims to allow the Government more leeway to act, preparing for the arrival of autumn and a predictable increase in cases, when the return of students to school and the return of thousands of workers to jobs is expected, after months of confinement followed by vacation.
The majority of mainland Portugal entered on July 1 in a situation of alert due to the pandemic of covid-19, with the exception of the Metropolitan Area, which passed to the contingency state, which on September 15 will be extended to the whole country.
The measure was announced, this Thursday, in a press conference by the Minister of the Presidency and Administrative Modernization, Mariana Vieira da Silva, after the meeting of the Council of Ministers.
The minister said that the new measures of the contingency state regime are not yet defined and that they will be discussed in the next 15 days together with experts and political parties.
The contingency state, currently in force in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, imposes a maximum limit of 10 people in gatherings, prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the streets and the sale of these in service areas and gas stations, for example, and limitations on the opening hours of restaurants, it is not yet known whether they will regress or maintain the current closing time (midnight, which can go until one in the morning behind closed doors, with customers inside).
According to Mariana Vieira da Silva, the approach of cold weather brings new challenges. Although there is, in the official’s opinion, no evidence of deterioration of the pandemic in Portugal, when entering into contingency mode the Executive wants to have legislative weapons to prepare for the arrival of autumn.
The minister announced that meetings will be held, at local and national level, to detail the return to classes, refining what was generally determined, in order to prepare the reaction to the emergence of cases of covid-19 in schools.
The official also announced that the parents of students who have to stay at home due to the covid-19 will have a justified absence for 14 days, corresponding to the incubation of the virus. He added that the sickness benefit will be paid in full within the first 28 days, in case of infection with the new coronavirus.