“The experts have said there are conditions to do something before Easter. What, and at what pace, is a decision that has not yet been taken", said Pedro Siza Vieira.

Without giving dates, nor specifying which sectors will open first, the Deputy and Economy Minister said the coming out of lockdown process will be "gradual and progressive", depending on the geographical evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The minister assured that the Government will take into account, in the preparation of the deconfinement plan, the epidemiological, economic and social recommendations that it has received in the consultations it has held with experts, political parties and with the social partners.

"We are listening as much as possible to gather opinions, to make a decision, which ultimately will be political," he said.

According to the minister, this "is a difficult exercise" and added that "the great difficulty has to do with the fact that there are no rules and absolute certainties to act upon".

The meeting of the Standing Committee on Social Dialogue aimed to hear the position on the easing of lockdown measures is expected to be announced by the Government on 11 March.

The Minister of Economy told journalists that social partners expressed their desire that the process of deconfinement should begin as soon as possible, but without advances and retreats.

The meeting also discussed support measures for the economy, and Siza Vieira said that the Government would strengthen and extend the support that is currently in place, for workers and companies.