In spite of the fact that certain sectors are due to reopen on Monday (March 15), President Marcelo has this evening sent yet another decree to parliament proposing the 13th renewal of Portugal’s State of Emergency, to run to March 31.
His reasoning after a day in which he consulted with all political parties is that in spite of marked improvements in the national virus picture “complex external signs persist imposing caution in the short-term”.
The 72-year-old Head of State is thus proposing a renewal for the next 15 days on the same basis as the last renovation – meaning among so many other restrictions that frontiers will remain ‘controlled’ with citizens prevented from leaving the country unless absolutely essential.
This will be the 13th State of Emergency imposed as a result of the pandemic. MPs will debate Marcelo’s decree ahead of a vote in parliament tomorrow.
The current State of Emergency expires at midnight on Tuesday March 16.
Regardless of what politicians decide, reactions coming in show that people may well have had enough of caution – particularly as the country is being told even by the experts that the time has come to deconfine with some degree of safety.
One comment under a text posted this evening by Jornal de Notícias said: “Mr President, people are desperate; entire families are living in misery and shame. You still receive your salary every month, but five million citizens don’t! Confinement equals Death! Can you really sleep when you go to bed when you have chosen to save a few and let millions die slowly?”
Updates to come.
Tomorrow’s parliamentary debate – ahead of the announcement promised by the government on the country’s ‘slow return to business’ – promises to be electric.