Portugal's Prime Minister, António Costa

PM calls ‘extraordinary meeting of Council of Ministers’ for Saturday to define new measures to combat spiralling pandemic

PM António Costa has called an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers for this Saturday to define new measures to combat the spiralling pandemic.

Say reports this morning, he will listen beforehand to the various parties on Friday.

The decision comes as a number of hospitals are reported to be ‘close to rupture’ and “various specialists have warned that the north of Portugal could be registering as many as 7000 new cases of Covid-19 infections by next week”.

There are a number of boroughs said to be on a similar ‘level’ as the three (Paços de Ferreira, Lousada and Felgueiras) that have already been bound by extra restrictive measures (beyond those conditioning the rest of the country).

Mayors in the greater Porto area are in favour of “obligatory confinement” (ie a new lockdown strategy), say reports. It just remains to be seen what terms ministers decide.

According to SIC television news this morning, whatever restrictions are defined on Saturday will become ‘immediate’. The country will be in the midst of its five-day borough lockdown, with the population’s mobility already severely reduced.

Meantime, meetings will be going ahead between economy minister Pedro Siza Vieira and ‘social partners’, while epidemiologists are said to be briefing the minister of health and minister for the presidency.

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