Portugal’s Prime Minister says Schools will only close when absolutely necessary and wants schools to carry on as normal.
António Costa was asked by journalists about the possibility of closing schools, a scenario that the Prime Minister had already admitted this morning, with the anticipation of Easter holidays, but whose decision had been referred to the National Council for Public Health, which meets later today.
“At the same time that we have to prevent the spread of this epidemic, we have to ensure the highest possible normality in the lives of all of us. We are well aware that closing a school has a very disturbing effect on the lives of families. We can and should only do it when strictly necessary ”, he pointed out.
The Prime Minister insisted on “drawing attention to the communiqués issued today”, either by the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities or by the Coordinating Council of Higher Polytechnic Institutes, who “were very clear about this matter and about the adoption of these measures based on technical information and not on the spontaneous initiative of each one ”.
“We have to make this effort, which is to try to live an exceptional situation as normally as possible. All the more so, we have to take into account that we do not know if we are taking measures for three weeks or for several months ”, he warned.
For António Costa “it is not the same thing to close a school for three weeks, anticipating Easter holidays, or to close a school for an indefinite period”.
“This situation already has enough uncertainty to prevent us from adding anxiety to what is already natural anxiety. Tomorrow the National Council of Public Health will meet and we will act accordingly. Because we must act not in terms of the ‘guesswork’ of each one, but in terms of the best technical information available ”, he reiterated.
This morning, after a meeting with eight ministers linked to the response to the outbreak, the prime minister had admitted the scenario of closing schools, anticipating Easter holidays, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, but referred the decision to the National Public Health Council.
“We will adopt the measures that the technicians consider to be justified to adopt. We cannot each have your opinion. We are talking about a matter that is not a political option. It is an issue on which politicians must act in the light of the best technical information available ”, said António Costa.
Portugal has registered 41 confirmed cases of infection, according to the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).