EPIDEMIC: About 70% of the Portuguese population is affected by the confinement to combat the coronavirus
Portugal will be submitted from Wednesday in a new confinement plan, which will cover about 70% of its population will be less strict than in the spring, in order to contain the outbreak of coronavirus, announced Saturday night Prime Minister António Costa. “The moment has arrived when it is necessary to take more restrictive measures […] to control this pandemic”, declared the head of the socialist government at the end of an extraordinary council of ministers devoted to the health crisis.
The measures already in force for ten days in three municipalities in the north of the country will be extended from next Wednesday to 121 municipalities out of a total of 308, or some 7.1 million inhabitants representing 70% of the Portuguese population.
The people concerned will be called upon to respect a “civic duty of home confinement”, but will be able to leave their residence to go to work, if telework is impossible, or to take their children to school. Shops will have to close no later than 10 p.m. and businesses will have to institute staggered working hours.
“Loss of control” in the progression of the pandemic
Antonio Costa has indicated that he will study with the President of the Republic, the conservative Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the need to declare a state of emergency in the municipalities affected by this new confinement. The list of these municipalities, which for the most part are experiencing “a loss of control” in the progression of the pandemic marked by more than 240 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days, will be reassessed every two weeks.
Portugal recorded on Friday 4,656 new cases of contamination and 40 deaths in 24 hours, and had 1,927 people hospitalized, including 275 in intensive care. For each of these indicators, this is the heaviest toll since the start of the pandemic for this country of ten million inhabitants. To avoid traditional gatherings on All Saints’ Day, the government has already banned unjustified travel between municipalities from Friday to Tuesday. And, since Wednesday, wearing a mask outdoors is compulsory throughout the country.