No time to lift lockdown – government

  • Lusa
  • 19 February 2021

The Portuguese government announced that is too early to lift the lockdown, due to the "very high" number of hospitalisations in intensive care units.

Portugal’s minister of the presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, warned on Thursday that the “very high” number of hospitalisations in intensive care due to Covid-19 does not allow the easing of the lockdown at any time soon.

At the briefing after today’s cabinet meeting, Mariana Vieira da Silva was asked about the pandemic numbers in Portugal, which recorded today 105 deaths related to Covid-19 and 1,944 new cases of infection, according to the health authority (DGS).

Despite considering that the numbers of infections show “the success of the measures” in force, she recalled that this is not the only factor to take into account since it is necessary to analyse the response capacity of the health service and the number of deaths, variables that, despite the downward trend, do not allow for an easing of the measures.

Da Silva warned about managing people’s expectations and said that Portugal has 680 people hospitalised in intensive care units today.

“It is a very high number. It continues to be, except for last month, the highest number that we have had in the past year, and it is not compatible with an expectation of an imminent easing,” she warned.

The government maintains the prime minister’s line, António Costa, who precisely a week ago, also in a press conference after a cabinet meeting, said that this was not yet the time for the country to focus on easing the lockdown but to continue to comply with the rules.

“There is technical work being done. There will be articulation work with the other parties. This is the moment to appeal to everyone that we need to consider that we have very high numbers in hospitals and intensive care units. Although the path we are taking is encouraging, it is still too early to think that it is close to the end,” she reiterated.