"We have to maintain the current level of lockdown, certainly for the next 15 days and that we must realistically assume that we will have to maintain it even during the month of March," António Costa told reporters at the Ajuda Palace in Lisbon at the end of the Council of Ministers to decide the new measures for the state of emergency which was renewed until 1 March by parliament.

In the initial message, António Costa gave a positive signal about the current lockdown and recognised the "civic effort" of the Portuguese, stating that the lockdown is producing results, with a "reduction of new cases" that translates into a significant reduction of the risk of transmissibility.

Despite these results, the prime minister warned that "the situation remains extremely serious".

"And this gravity, if it translates into the increase of hospitalised patients, if it translates into the increase of patients in intensive care, it also translates into the extremely high number of daily deaths. It is also decreasing, but we cannot resign ourselves to the numbers we still have. They are absolutely unacceptable", he stressed.

Comparing with the maximum daily deaths that there was during the first wave, when all the Portuguese mobilised "to fight this pandemic", the numbers that Portugal currently has "are absolutely unacceptable" he concluded.