Fri, 28 Jan 2022

LISBON, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said on Thursday that he will not declare a new "state of emergency" -- the highest level of civil protection alert -- even if the country doubles the daily cases of COVID-19 until Christmas.

"Eight thousand cases would still be short of what we had a year ago and, above all, with a big difference: a year ago, the amount we tested today was not tested," he told journalists.

According to Rebelo de Sousa, at this time of the pandemic "what matters is the number of hospitalized patients, the number of people in intensive care and the number of deaths," and not just the number of people infected with mild symptoms.

He said that in these indicators Portugal has achieved "a trend of stability" because "vaccination is massively supported by the Portuguese."

He acknowledged that "eventually" he could resort to more "one-off restrictive measures," but "not like during last year's Christmas period."

"The Portuguese will have the Christmas they want. They are getting vaccinated, and if they continue to adhere, as they have been, to the vaccination, and if at the same time they respect the sanitary rules, they will have a safe Christmas," he said.

This week, Portugal registered the highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases in the past ten months, according to the General Directorate of Health (DGS).

The country has already recorded 19 confirmed cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, Director General of Health Graca Freitas said in an interview with the RTP television network, and there are still others to be investigated.

On Dec. 1, Portugal entered -- for the second time this year -- a "state of calamity," which is an intermediate level of response that can be decreed by the government. It is scheduled to remain in force until March 20, 2022.

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