The Government is due to approve today new measures for the third of the four phases of the easing of lockdown plan, which includes the return of classroom classes in secondary and higher education and the reopening of restaurants, pastry shops, stores and shopping centres .

"Based on all the scientific information available, the Government will not fail to adopt a fair balance between the will and need for lack of definition and the absolute determination of restrictive measures or of possible pause and suspension in the reopening process where this is necessary," said Eduardo Cabrita, predicting that there may be different treatment for municipalities with a higher rate of transmissibility in the measures to be adopted in the Council of Ministers.

The executive's easing of lockdown plan foresees four phases of reopening - two have already gone ahead on March 15 and April 5 - the next will be on Monday, April 19, and the last on May 3.

The measures can be reviewed if Portugal exceeds 120 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days, or if the transmissibility index (Rt) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus exceeds 1.

Next Monday, the return of face-to-face classes in secondary and higher education is scheduled, the reopening of all stores and shopping centres, as well as cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and concert halls.

They should also reopen the restaurants, cafes and pastry shops, although with a maximum of four people per table inside or six, per table, on terraces. They will be able to open until 22:00 on weekdays or 13:00 on weekends and holidays.

Citizen Stores are expected to open with face-to-face service by appointment, while medium-risk sports and outdoor physical activity return for up to six people and gyms without group classes.

The plan also provides for the holding of outdoor events with reduced capacity and weddings and christenings with 25 percent of the respective reception capacity.

On Monday, Portugal enters its 15th state of emergency in the context of the covid-19 pandemic.

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 with the same time limit.

The state of emergency has allowed the adoption of measures restricting the rights to freedom and displacement - such as the confinement of patients with covid-19, infected people and people under active surveillance or limits on circulation.