The government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday evening, which notably allows it to restrict freedom of movement to curb the progression of the coronavirus pandemic in this country of ten million inhabitants.

The government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday evening, which notably allows it to restrict freedom of movement to curb the progression of the coronavirus pandemic in this country of ten million inhabitants.

(.) – “I have just declared a state of emergency. An exceptional decision in an exceptional period ”, declared the Portuguese conservative president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa during an address broadcast on television. “This is not an interruption of democracy. But it is democracy that tries to prevent an irreparable interruption of people’s lives, “he explained to justify this decision, which has been unprecedented since the advent of democracy in 1974.

The government will take concrete measures, which could include restrictions on free movement. They will be announced this Thursday after the weekly cabinet meeting. Mr. Costa assured at the end of an extraordinary council of ministers that there would be “no curfew”. According to him, the objective of this declaration is to make it possible to adopt the measures to “reinforce the fight and the prevention of this pandemic” which made two deaths in Portugal, where there were Wednesday 642 confirmed cases. The state of emergency can only be declared for 15 days renewable, but Mr. Costa warned that it could last for months.

By Wednesday, the city of Ovar, in central Portugal, had become the first confined city in the country, due to a high risk of widespread transmission. This municipality of some 55,000 inhabitants counted Tuesday evening about thirty confirmed cases and more than 440 people under surveillance. “We are facing a high number of confirmed cases in a relatively small area,” said Marta Temido, Minister of Health. The government, which declared a state of alert on Friday, has already announced a series of measures to control the Covid-19 epidemic, such as the closure of schools and the borders with Spain for tourists.

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