Minute’s silence for Portugal’s Covid deaths as State of Emergency looms ever closer

President Marcelo led a dramatic homage today to ‘all deaths, especially those of ‘victims of Covid-19’ as prime minister António Costa tries to gather political support for the declaration of a State of Emergency.

There was a minute’s silence in Belém. The national flag was flown at half-mast – and November 2, for the first time, was recognised as a ‘day of national mourning’.

Respects, on this ‘day of the dead’, come as the country is still in an ‘unconstitutional’ borough lockdown (click here).

The mourning also came in the context of reports that deaths from Covid-19 are but a small percentage of excess deaths that have been registered since the start of the pandemic (click here).

President Marcelo was flanked by the prime minister and leader of the Republican Assembly Ferro Rodrigues for the ceremony this morning which preceded the latest ‘rounds of talks’ designed to firm up on a declaration of a State of Emergency.

So far, according to SIC television news this morning, only the PS and PSD are in favour of the country returning to a State of Emergency in which “certain rights, liberties and guarantees” can be suspended for a maximum period of 15 days (which can then be renewed).

Any declaration will provide legal cover for measures due to come into place on Wednesday (click here).

It seems likely that President Marcelo will address the nation later today but so far there has been no confirmation of this in the national media.

In the meantime, the prime minister has been talking to the press ahead of any decisions being made, admitting that when the State of Emergency is called, it will run for longer than the 15-day maximum period. It is likely to be ‘periodically renewed’, he said, while infections and lamentably deaths are likely to continue to rise through the month of November.

The reasoning behind declaring a State of Emergency, said the PM, was to “eliminate juridical doubts” over “various situations”.

Juridical doubts remain in the air, however, throughout Europe as populations start to question the need for such heavy-handed restrictions for a virus that most people appear perfectly capable to recover from.