Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Monday that he asked the president to approve a state of emergency that will give the government more power to take measures against the coronavirus outbreak.
Costa said that the move is “preventative” and will give the state more legal backing to limit movement, measure body temperatures in public or private places, strengthen health resources using the private sector and allow the armed forces to track the virus.
Costa’s request to declare a state of emergency will be evaluated by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
In recent days, he said that he would only approve the new legal framework if it had majority support in the Portuguese parliament.
On Saturday, the Portuguese government announced new lockdown restrictions that will take effect on Nov. 4 in 121 municipalities with a high infection rate.
In those areas, home to around 70% of the country’s population, people will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, school or other essential tasks, and businesses will have to switch to remote work.
The measures will be reassessed every two weeks and Costa told journalists they are “necessary, appropriate and proportional to the situation with the pandemic we are currently living in.”
Portugal has seen a sharp upward trend in new infections since early October.
On Friday, the country broke its record for new daily infections with 4,656 new cases. At the peak of the first wave, the country reported a maximum of 1,516 daily infections, although testing has increased since then.
The country of around 10 million people has slightly more than 60,000 active cases, according to the Health Ministry.
More critical patients with COVID-19 are now hospitalized in Portugal than during the first wave and hospitals have begun reinforcing their intensive care units.
On Friday, the country reported 40 more deaths, the highest daily toll so far, bringing the total COVID-19 death count to 2,486.
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