Portugal Declared a State of Emergency because of the Coronavirus
Portugal has announced a 15-day state of emergency to combat the spread of coronavirus, which will make it easier for the government to put in place measures to curb human movement.
"This is an exceptional decision for an exceptional period," President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said during a televised address, explaining his reasons for adopting the measure, which goes into effect at midnight.
"This is not an interruption of democracy. It is a democracy that is trying to prevent the irreparable interruption of people's lives," he said.
Portugal, which has a population of 10 million people, has been in a state of emergency for the first time since the country restored democratic rule in the 1970s after decades of right-wing dictatorship.
The Decree on State of Emergency allows the government to restrict certain constitutional rights and freedoms, such as freedom of movement and the right to strike. It also allows the government to enforce forced quarantine.
So far, Portugal has reported 448 confirmed cases of coronavirus and two deaths, but the government has warned that the number of infections in the country is expected to continue to rise "at least" by the end of April.
The government will announce what specific measures it will adopt in the emergency tomorrow after a weekly cabinet meeting.
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