António Costa was speaking to the country after an Extraordinary Council of Ministers, in which he announced that the Government gave a favourable opinion to the decision of the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, to declare a state of emergency.
“To save lives, it is essential that life continues and everything that is essential in supply chains continues to be ensured, essential services continue to be provided, because our citizens, particularly the most fragile, need the entire essential goods and services chain to continue to function “, he defended.
“The country is not going to stop, we have to continue, because only by continuing we can effectively combat this pandemic,” he said.
If the proposal for a presidential decree is approved by parliament as expected on 18 March, the Council of Ministers will meet again on 19 March to approve the measures that implement it and the prime minister has already requested technical and scientific help to put these together for the country.
“Today, at the Ministry of Health, I met with the Minister, Secretaries of State, Directorate-General for Health, President of the National Institute of Health, President of the National Council for Public Health, whom I requested that, by the end of today (18 March), aid the Government with the most solid technical and scientific basis possible and the recommendation of measures to the Government”, he said.
Asked how he will apply the state of emergency decree, after having implied that it was not necessary, the Prime Minister assured that “the Government is here to execute” the diploma, with the same criteria that it has applied so far .
“We will do everything that is necessary, nothing more than is necessary, to limit the abnormality of people’s lives to a minimum and do everything to save people’s lives,” he said.
António Costa also left an appeal to the Portuguese: “Maintain serenity, calm, confidence, it is very important for everyone to be aware that we are facing a pandemic that is a risk to the health of all of us, but there are conditions to overcome it, especially if we all act with the serenity and calm that prevail at the moment “.
At the time of going to press on 18 March, according to DGS data, of the 642 people infected with the new coronavirus in Portugal, 89 are hospitalised and 553 are recovering at home.
There are 4,074 cases in which the test was negative and 351 cases awaiting laboratory results.
The DGS bulletin also indicates that since January 1, 5,067 suspected cases have been registered.
There are 6,656 (minus 196) contacts under surveillance by health authorities and the number of active transmission chains has increased to 24 (there were 19).
Portugal has registered two fatal victims of the disease and three patients have already been reported as recovered.
The North region is the one with the highest number of confirmed cases (289), followed by Lisbon and the Tagus Valley (243), the Central region (74) and the Algarve (21).
The DGS bulletin indicates that Alentejo already presents two cases, Madeira one and the Azores three. There are nine cases abroad.
The Government declared on 13 March a state of alert in the country, putting civil protection means and security forces and services on standby, and suspended classroom teaching activities in all schools from 16 March, imposing restrictions on commercial establishments and transport, among others.
To keep up to date with all of the latest news regarding the coronavirus in Portugal, visit our website where daily updates are posted.