The meeting of António Costa's executive takes place about two weeks after the Council of Ministers of 21 December which approved new restrictions and anticipated other measures to respond to the worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic, due to the Ómicron variant of the coronavirus, which is more transmissible than Delta.
Since this date, when 5,754 cases were recorded, the number of infections has soared significantly in Portugal, even exceeding 30,000 on 31 December and with several days above 20,000. On 5 January, a new high of 39,570 infections was recorded.
Hospital pressure has also increased since then, but at a much lower rate, with just over half the critical limit of 255 occupied beds in intensive care units in mainland Portugal hospitals, but with disparities between various regions.
The mandatory use of masks in public spaces is one of the measures that the Government may determine on 6 January, if it considers it necessary, since the transitional regime promulgated by the President of the Republic in late November gives the Council of Ministers this possibility, without having authorisation from Parliament.
Faced with the exponential increase in daily infections, the Portuguese are subject to several restrictions that will end next Sunday, according to the resolution approved on 21 December.
Besides making telework compulsory, the Government has brought forward the closure of crèches and free-time workshops, as well as discos and bars with dance spaces, but foreseeing support for families and companies.
It has also established a limit of one person per five square metres in commercial spaces, with the exception of service establishments.
The Government has also implemented rules for access to tourist and local accommodation establishments, which now depend on the presentation of the digital test or recovery certificate, or proof of a test with a negative result.
This rule is also now applied to family celebrations, such as weddings and christenings, and corporate, cultural and sporting events.
The reopening of schools, after the Christmas holidays, was postponed to 10 January, a date that will remain, confirmed the Assistant Secretary of State and Health, Lacerda Sales, who dismissed the possibility of a new postponement due to the increase in cases of infection in the country.
At the time, the Prime Minister justified these new measures to control the pandemic with the need to "prevent so as not to have to remedy", given the pandemic situation in the country due to the rapid spread of the Ómicron variant.