In an address to the nation, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that he would not be proposing the renewal of the state of emergency which officially comes to an end on 30 April at 11.59pm.
“After hearing the experts (…) the Government, all seen and considered, decided not to renew the state of emergency”, declared Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
The current period of state of emergency - the 15th decreed by the President in the current context of the pandemic - began on 16 April.
This legal framework, which has allowed the adoption of restrictive measures of rights and freedoms to contain the spread of Covid-19 in Portugal, has been in force with successive renewals since 9 November after having already been applied between March and May of last year.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa had already said that he hoped that the state of emergency would not be decreed beyond April and that a “good wave” could be entered in the month of May, which was however dependent on the latest data.
While the move out of a state of emergency has been heralded as a positive step forward, the president has also said that he will not hesitate to bring it back if necessary.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that, even “without a state of emergency, as the Government and the Prime Minister have made clear in their interventions, it is necessary to maintain or adopt all measures considered indispensable to prevent setbacks”.
“And I add that, if necessary, I will not hesitate to move forward with a new state of emergency, if the present step does not meet or cannot meet the response based on the essential confidence for all of us”.
The president also took the time to thank the people of Portugal “for this year and two months of courageous and, as I said, disciplined resistance”, but noted that “each opening implies more responsibility and the times ahead will still be very demanding”.
Citing the experts, the President of the Republic highlighted that Portugal is not “free from Covid, free from viruses” and that the people need to be vigilant.
“The step taken by me today is based on trust, on a trust that has to be observed by each one of us,” he said.
“I believe in your wisdom and solidarity, in a fight that belongs to everyone, and in that fight we must be able to count on each one of us”, he reinforced.
On 15 March, the easing of lockdown process began, with the gradual reopening of educational and commercial establishments, divided into four stages, which continued on 5 April and again on 19 April, although some municipalities with a higher incidence rate did not advance to the next phase.
The last stage of the Government’s easing of lockdown plan is scheduled for 3 May.