On Thursday, the cabinet announced the ban on circulation to and from the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (AML) on weekends, starting at 3 p.m. on Friday, due to the rise in cases of Covid-19.
The government denied on Friday any unconstitutionality in the measure that imposes limits on movement in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon (AML), claiming that these restrictions are “expressly provided for” in the Basic Law of Civil Protection.
On Thursday, the cabinet announced the ban on circulation to and from the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (AML) on weekends, starting at 3 p.m. on Friday, due to the rise in cases of Covid-19 in this territory.
Hours later, the Portuguese Bar Association (OA) president, Luís Menezes Leitão, said the health measures announced by the Government for the AML to contain the covid-19 pandemic were “clearly unconstitutional”.
“As no state of emergency is in force, it does not seem that article 19(1) of the Constitution allows for any suspension of constitutional rights, even more so through a simple regulation, as are the cabinet resolutions,” Leitão said.
When confronted by the Lusa with this position of the head of the Bar Association, the assistant secretary of state to the prime minister, Tiago Antunes, disagreed completely, ruling out any doubt of constitutionality concerning the measure that came out of the last cabinet meeting.
“The limits on movements are expressly provided for in the Basic Law of Civil Protection as one of the typical measures of a disaster situation. As it is a measure foreseen in a law approved by parliament, there is no unconstitutionality”, Tiago Antunes told Lusa.
He also pointed out that in Portugal, “several times”, during the Covid-19 pandemic, “there have been limits to movement between municipalities outside the state of emergency”.
Antunes added that “there is express legal basis” in this government measure that aims to prevent the contagion from spreading rapidly to other areas of the country outside Lisbon, which currently has a high incidence of cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.
“There is no unconstitutionality, and there is nothing new,” he concluded.
At the end of the cabinet meeting, the minister of the presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, said that “the circulation restrictions to and from AML apply from 3 p.m.” today until 6 a.m. on Monday.
The minister stressed that this is a new pandemic control measure, which “is not easy or desired by anyone, but it is necessary” to contain the worsening incidence of the disease in this region, especially with the prevalence of the “delta” variant.