Marcelo hears health chiefs “unanimous” over need to extend State of Emergency

President Marcelo has been meeting with health experts ahead of tomorrow’s announcement of whether or not Portugal’s State of Emergency is to be renewed for another two weeks.

Everything points to this happening. Indeed the head of State has said as much on lunchtime television today.

“Looking at the positive evolution of the curve of cases there is an appreciable difference between the first phase of evolution and the most recent phase”, he said, explaining that numbers have come down by roughly a half in terms of the spread of infections since Portugal’s ‘lockdown’ came into effect.

This leaves all experts ‘unanimous’ in the position that life has to remain as it is now for the immediate future.

Said Marcelo, it’s a question of “keeping pressure on the plug, so it doesn’t work loose”.

The head of State has had various meetings ahead of tomorrow’s decision which is expected to extend the State of Emergency from midnight on Wednesday to midnight on April 16.

A decision on whether or not schools will reopen will come next week, he said – following further meetings.

Specific containment measures “will be taken by the government”, the president continued, adding that “on April 7 there will be a meeting to analyse current data and previsions for the future, bearing in mind the government will make a decision on April 9”.

It has already been widely reported that the education ministry is busy organising programmes for distance learning during the third period (summer term). Prime minister António Costa himself has said “the third period will probably not be very different to what school has been for these last few weeks”.

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