Addressing the Portuguese, the head of state added: "Above all, I want to ask you for even more effort, to make it impossible for us to have to go back, so that the state of emergency moves towards the end".

This is the 15th time that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has decreed a state of emergency in the current covid-19 pandemic context, to allow the adoption of measures that imply restrictions of rights, freedoms and guarantees.

The President of the Republic had already said last week that he wished this was the last renewal of the state of emergency.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa pointed out that this legal framework has been in place for "more than five months" and considered that "the most difficult period" was the "general confinement" that started on January 15th.

"Almost three months of general confinement. Certainly less restrictive than a year ago, but more intense, not least because the numbers reached put us in the worst situation in Europe, and then in the world," he said.

In relation to the easing of lockdown Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa again defended that "he must take his course gradually and sensibly" and asked for prudence throughout the national territory, to avoid the rise in the "numbers now stabilized" and the consequent "pressure on health structures ".

Under the terms of the Constitution, the state of emergency, which allows the suspension of the exercise of certain rights, freedoms and guarantees, cannot last more than 15 days, without prejudice to possible renewals within the same time limit.

Under the state of emergency, in order to contain the spread of covid-19, the Government imposed a general duty of home collection and the suspension of a series of activities, as of January 15, and a week later the establishments were closed teaching and there are no more face-to-face classes.

On March 15, the Government's easing of lockdown plan began, with the reopening of daycare centers, pre-school education, the first cycle of basic education, commerce from the door and esthetic establishments such as hairdressers, in a first stage.

In a second phase, on April 5, esplanades, day centers and shops with a door to the street of less than 200 square meters were reopened and the resumption of face-to-face classes for students in the 2nd and 3rd cycles of basic education.

The Government's gradual reopening plan foresees new stages on April 19 and May 3.