Nobody knows when this will end, but António Costa asks the Portuguese for an effort to maintain discipline – especially for the elderly, who “have to make a greater effort to be alone”. The tone is realistic, and the prime minister is keen to repeat the idea several times that he does not want to give false hope. Get out of the hole, let’s get out. When, nobody knows. It may last another “two, three months”, the “dream” was that we would gradually return to normal “at the end of April”, but from dream to reality there is a considerable distance. One thing is right: “This is the most difficult month” because people will feel the drop in income and will feel the fatigue, and the longing, inherent in isolation. Therefore, the effort must be greater and, in order to avoid yielding to tiredness, the Government’s network will also be tighter.
That is what the Prime Minister announced at the end of this Wednesday morning at the Cristina Program, at SIC. The state of emergency will be renewed for another 15 days and the Government will take the opportunity to “Tighten the law a little bit” so that it is clear that we should not give in or facilitate.
António Costa did not specify what type of restrictive measures the Government is going to tighten, but he warned several times that the Portuguese have to realize that Easter holidays cannot be synonymous with greater circulation on the roads. “People cannot go ashore. They cannot visit family members. Portuguese emigrants, this year cannot come to Portugal, because they will not be able to leave home. Large families will each have to be in their home ”, he enumerated, explaining how Easter this year will have to be“ radically different ”.
“It is very difficult to maintain this discipline, and then there is fatigue. After a while it is difficult to maintain this isolation. I think we will have to tighten the law a little bit so that it becomes clearer that we have to make this effort now so that it lasts as little time as possible ”, he underlined.
Asked by Cristina Ferreira on what state Portugal will emerge from this situation, the Prime Minister admitted that “We are going to be poorer” and “more economically fragile” but also “we will improve our collective self-esteem”. “We are going to have to make a huge effort to relaunch the economy. So that we can reach the end of this tunnel in the greatest possible financial health. Hopefully this will last for two or three months, but that is a hope that I cannot convey, ”he said at the end of the interview.
To the elderly, who are most at risk of life if they contract the virus, António Costa asked them to make a “greater effort to be alone”, to protect themselves from the disease. “People who are in normal health and are under the age of 65 may take a long time to heal, but in principle they are not at risk of life. They are the elderly who are most likely to be contaminated, and they are the most at risk of life, they are those where it is more difficult to treat the disease ”.
Asked if there is anything missing in the SNS, Costa admitted that his sentence was not well understood, but guarantees that “every day we have asked for more material”. The problem is that “There is a brutal fight around the world for fans, glasses, visors, masks”, that is, the race is “brutal” and is “worldwide”. The prime minister insists that there is no shortage of fans, for example, there are usually over a thousand in the NHS, but that purchase is being made even to “control panic”. In other words, we don’t have a lack of fans yet, but we have to be on our guard, said the prime minister. To prevent what happens in Portugal what happens in other countries where doctors have to choose who they save: “We have to give people security to fight panic: if this gets out of hand, we have to know that we have the capacity to respond”.
Regarding the reopening of schools or not this school year, Costa refused to say that the most likely is not to open again this year. He said that it will only be on the 9th that he will make this decision, and the rule is “maximum restraint with minimum disturbance”. On the 7th there will be a new meeting with DGS experts strictly for the Government to take a decision on schools. In the less bad scenario, the prime minister said that schools should open in early May, with Easter holidays ending on April 15th. “There are no good scenarios, but that would be the least bad”.
But the degree of probability is not high. In any case, the Government is study the hypothesis that teaching in the third period will be done at a distance, namely through digital terrestrial television to guarantee access for all. “We are working to have a solution for all educational levels, so that it is on TV (DTT) to be accessible to everyone,” he continued, assuming the difficulty of ensuring a grid for all subjects.
And he guaranteed: “We cannot lose the year, we are going to save the year and assure everyone the greatest fairness in the assessment and the greatest opportunities in educational access to guarantee the learning that students must acquire. We want to have a safety net based on TV to guarantee accessibility, at the same time that we will continue to develop in schools all the digital platforms that have been used and study to the maximum the opportunity for schools to reopen as soon as possible ”.
One thing is certain: no one knows how long the contamination phase will last. It will be tough, and the prime minister does not want to deceive anyone. “When I said that a buoy does not save us from the tsunami, it means that we are going to swallow a lot of water. But the more disciplined we are in this period, the less time it lasts ”, said. “And when we reopen we will have to reopen slowly, because the virus will still be among us”. In other words, we will have to learn to live with the virus, since we will have to spend another winter without a vaccine.