António Costa started the press conference where he will announce the measures of general confinement, saying that this is the “most dangerous moment”. Because the vaccine arrived, but we also recorded 535 deaths from covid-19 since Sunday. “The hope that the vaccine gives us that we can beat the pandemic is the same hope that fuels the relaxation that makes this pandemic more dangerous.” The prime minister argues that these measures are “to save lives, protect the NHS and flatten the curve”. “There is no fatigue that allows us to take on this collective pain of continuing to have more than a hundred deaths a day. It is not acceptable and we have to stop this.” “Therefore, the fundamental message of the decisions we now make is to return to the duty of home care as we did in March and April when we successfully caught the first wave. The rule is simple. Each of us must stay home. there are exceptions. We will not stop going to the grocery store to do the shopping we need. We will not stop being able to go to work if we have to go to work “, stresses the government official, but he appealed for each one to comply with the rule, which is to stay at home.
The rules are “essentially the same” as in March and April, except for the democratic calendar that involves the presidential elections on January 24 and with “the need not to sacrifice the current generation of students again”, with the aim of ” keep educational establishments in full working order.
“I know it is a theme that divides the scientific community, but it unites the educational community and after listening to representatives of families, school heads, professionals, and especially after we have reassessed the irretrievable consequences for the academic process that the interruption of the face-to-face activities they had last year, we cannot repeat the same rule this year. Therefore, with the same precautions that made the school safe, we will keep the school running. “
The maintenance of the functioning of the schools was due to the positive evaluation of the 1st period. “There were few outbreaks.” Then, “costs for learning” were also considered, which benefits “from classroom teaching”, despite “the teachers’ efforts in the first confinement, we know that classroom teaching is the best and we cannot compromise another school year”.
Measures in force from Friday
To reinforce compliance with measures such as wearing a mask on the street: “All fines are doubled,” he announced.
The Council of Ministers decided that from 00:00 on the 15th, the duty of home collection, the obligation to telework and the restrictions of March and April will return to Portugal. “We are going to focus on the essentials, which is the duty of obligatory collection.” For now, the measures will be in force for two weeks, as foreseen in the state of emergency, which must be reviewed every 15 days. However, António Costa left the warning: “It was good that we looked at these measures for a month.”
António Costa repeatedly underlined the “priceless cost of human life”, thus defending the harsh confinement measures. This despite the “costs to the economy”, recalled that this year’s State Budget provides for greater protection for families and companies in response to confinement, when compared to the previous Budget and confinement.
During the time that this general confinement is in force there will be no restrictions on connections to the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira.
On the side of economic activities, the Prime Minister announced that “hairdressers, barbershops and gyms will close”. Cultural establishments are also closed from Friday.
Professional football, on the other hand, will remain as public as it has been until now. The trip to public services with appointments continues, as well as establishments that have essential goods and functions.
With the new confinement, there is no longer mandatory collection. In other words, the population has a duty to stay at home, being able to go to the supermarket or pharmacy at any time of the day, during their opening hours.
With mandatory teleworking, companies are no longer able to request refusal, as has been the case so far. “The less we travel and the more isolated we are, the less the virus is transmitted. If we all did that, it would not be necessary to apply these measures now.”
The Council of Ministers met this Wednesday to discuss the measures to be applied in the new state of emergency that was approved this morning in Parliament. The new confinement comes in response to the worsening of cases and deaths by covid-19, after the relief of measures during Christmas.
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