PM opens the door to a four-week Portugal lockdown

  • ECO News
  • 12 January 2021

Government and political leaders met this Tuesday with Infarmed experts to assess the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

As Portugal’s Prime Minister left the meeting with experts at Infarmed headquarters, António Costa opened the door to a four-week lockdown in the country. The specific measures will be known on Wednesday, after the Council of Ministers.

“The consensus is that, given what are the figures and the clear trend of growth of the pandemic, it is essential that we adopt measures, and that these measures have a one-month duration and a very similar format to what we adopted at the very beginning of the pandemic, in March and April,” António Costa said.

António Costa admitted that “the figures have fluctuated widely”. However, “regardless of the specific situation we are in, what is certain is that we have a very strong growth dynamic, which must be stopped,” the Prime Minister added.

“The only way” to stop the progress of the pandemic “is through a general lockdown,” since weekend lockdown measures “are not enough,” he reiterated.

As for the measures that will be implemented in this new lockdown, one of the “differences” between scientists, according to the Prime Minister, concerns the functioning of schools. António Costa ruled out the possibility of “interrupting evaluation activities” such as those of higher education institutions and said that, “with regard to younger children, nothing justifies the closure of schools.”

The government, political leaders and experts met this Tuesday at Infarmed to assess the effect of the festive season (Christmas and New Year Period) on the Covid-19 pandemic and the situation the country is currently in.

Portugal may reach 14,000 daily Coronavirus cases

If nothing is done, every 11 days Portugal will double the cases of Covid-19, Manuel Carmo Gomes, an epidemiologist at the Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon, said this Tuesday at the meeting between politicians, government and experts at Infarmed. The country could reach 14,000 cases a day in the next two weeks.

Portugal reached last week, the highest number of daily cases since the beginning of the pandemic, 10,176, totalling 56,000 cases in one week, which led the government to admit a new lockdown. But this lockdown will not stop an increase in cases in the coming weeks.

If from now on, with the lockdown, “we achieve deceleration similar to the first wave, we will stop the average number of cases and take two weeks”. “Even so, we should reach 14,000 cases per day,” Manuel Carmo Gomes warned, pointing out that “we are already at a very high level.”

“To reduce these 14,000 cases by half, we will take approximately three weeks, assuming a similar decline to the first wave,” he indicated.

Projections also point to 700 people in intensive care units (ICUs) and 140 to 150 deaths per day within two weeks.