By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Portugal’s Health Ministry, or Direção-Geral da Saúde (DGS) report the number of COVID-19 cases stands at 9886 as of Friday, which includes cases in the Azores and Madeira. Officials say there has been 246 deaths.

Today, Portugal begins the renewal for another 15 days of the state of emergency due to the pandemic of COVID-19. In this way, the measures continue until April 17, covering the Easter period.

Within the scope of the renewal of the state of emergency, decreed by the President of the Republic, movement of persons is limited, and travel outside the municipality of residence is prohibited during the Easter period, between 00.00 on the 9th and until the 13th of April, except for health reasons or other reasons of imperative urgency.

In addition to the confinement of citizens to their councils of residence, the Government prohibits gatherings of more than five people, except when they exist with family ties.

Still with regard to limiting circulation during the Easter period, workers must circulate with “a declaration from the employer that certifies that they are in the performance of their professional activities”.

Portugal will also shut down all airports during the Easter period, between the 9th and the 13th of this month, with the exception of State, cargo, humanitarian or repatriation flights to passenger traffic.

Family life at Easter is the main concern of the Government and the President of the Republic, who, in a declaration to the country, asked Portuguese emigrants to “understand the severe restrictions” adopted “and rethink, postponing their plans” of coming to Portugal.

In related news, Portugal expects to receive 24 million surgical masks by the end of April.

Regarding the possibility of wearing masks by those who are not infected, the Director-General of Health recalled that “Portugal is in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the European Center for Disease Control and the medical literature”.

“What we know unequivocally at the time is that there is not a single measure that is completely effective,” he underlined, adding that “it is with the set of measures that we are able to smooth the curve”. If the use of masks by healthy people is to be recommended internationally, he guaranteed, Portugal will follow this orientation. Still, he warned, “it will not prevent us from social isolation.” “We will follow the best guidelines,” he assured.

In his opening statement, António Sales recalled that this is “the most critical month of this pandemic”. “We cannot waver. We cannot lower the only defense we have, which is social restraint ”, he stressed, stressing that“ the greatest proof of our union is isolation ”.