Tabloid Correio da Manhã claims restrictive measures to stem the spread of Covid-19 will remain in place until Easter (April 4).
“The government will only start lifting measures once the number of new infections falls to around 2,000 a day, which could happen by the third week in March.
“Cafés and restaurants are expected to stay shut till the end of April”, the paper adds.
Right now, working with the current “falling tendency of the pandemic curve”, the government has created a kind of timetable “of what could happen in the foreseeable future”:
Lockdown, as the country has at the moment, will continue until the end of February.
“There is the chance of some kind of light relief” of current measures in March – and from the beginning of April “the country will start being released from confinement”.
The “greatest doubt, in the government’s analysis, is knowing how the pandemic will evolve in March”, says the paper.
But if March is “difficult to predict”, all expectations are that after Easter (falling on Sunday April 4), schools will reopen, at least on some levels (possibly just the younger years returning to start with) – and cafés and restaurants will be able to reopen at the end of the month.
“Even so, the idea is for a very careful, gradual reopening of the country”, says today’s report.
“By fixing the moment to start releasing restrictions at a point where there are around 2,000 new cases a day, the government wants to have the conditions to control the pandemic if the number of new infections rises to 4,000 per day”, CM continues.
Epidemiologists say it will take roughly three more weeks to get to the stage where there are a ‘safe’ number of new infections coming in.
Says CM, forecasts are for the number of new cases dropping to around 3,066 day by the end of February – and to around 1,533 during the third week of March.
President Marcelo has already been clear about intending to keep the State of Emergency in place until March 9 (when his second five-year mandate official begins), thus it is just a question of putting more ‘flesh round those bones’.
Says CM, the government and president will be meeting with INFARMED medical experts on Tuesday (February 9) to discuss forecasts and the country’s situation.
After the meeting, President Marcelo is due to hear political parties once again on the subject of yet another renewal of Portugal’s State of Emergency.
This next State of Emergency would run from February 15 to March 1.
Giving a purported calendar of “probable restrictive measures” to come, CM suggests that the next State of Emergency will then be renewed again (from March 2 to 16), with the country remaining almost certainly with the same measures in place now.
Then from March 17 -31, the paper predicts yet a further State of Emergency but with “possible relief of some of the restrictive measures”.
From April 1 – 15, there’s the chance that the country will return to a State of Calamity (reduced from Emergency), with the partial reopening of schools.
April 16-31, will see this State of Calamity continue, with a partial reopening of commerce and cafés/ restaurants, concludes the paper.
None of this however has been officially confirmed, and it excludes businesses like bars and discotheques which have been forcibly closed since last March.