“If we are sensible the worst has passed”: Portugal’s president explains (yet again) why lockdown stays in place

President Marcelo marked parliament’s approval this afternoon of his decree for Portugal’s 12th State of Emergency to explain, yet again, why the nationwide lockdown that is crucifying so many businesses must stay in place until after Easter.

“If we are sensible, the worst has passed”, he stressed – the underlying message being if powermakers yielded to the temptation of starting reopening the economy now (as ‘numbers’ are falling dramatically), Portugal could be ‘back to square one’ within weeks.

“A country that doesn’t learn from history is condemned to repeat it”, said Marcelo – insisting that we have to ‘keep going as we are until Easter, to win the summer and the autumn’.

Easter, as the country has all long been prepared to accept, is ‘cancelled’ – and the way ahead afterwards will be ‘carefully planned’, ‘unhurried’ so that Portugal is not caught up in further virus drama.

At least that’s the plan. Elsewhere there have been warnings today of ‘possibilities of a 4th wave’, ‘worrying new variants’ in the United States and ‘very high rates still of propagation throughout Europe’.

Portugal is playing it safe – and if polls are anything to go by, 46% citizens accept the decision, and even agree with it.

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