As has been his practice throughout the pandemic, President Marcelo will be addressing the nation at 8pm this evening, following parliament’s approval of his 12th decree renewing Portugal’s State of Emergency.
The new period in which lockdown rules persist will run from midnight tonight until midnight on March 16.
This afternoon’s debate promises to be acerbic, given that many minority parties believe a renewed State of Emergency when the national virus panorama is so vastly improve is excessive.
It will also play out against the palpable ‘feeling in the air’ that people are getting restless. The ‘bogus’ Whatsapp message being circulated today – purporting to give the government’s plan for release of restrictions – is just one indication of the direction the national psyche is working. Hans Kluge, European director of the World Health Organisation however says Covid-19 is “continuing to propagate at very high levels throughout the continent”.
As to the president’s latest decree, it sets out clearly that he expects a ‘phased plan’ for the country’s return to business “based on recommendations by experts and objective data like a risk matrix”. The head of State wants to see “more tests and more screenings” of populations to ensure Portugal’s ‘return to work’ is successful.