Portugal must be prepared for worst-case coronavirus scenario: PM

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Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Tuesday that the Portuguese people must be prepared for the worst-case COVID-19 scenario.

   “We are facing a virus that is new in Portugal and in the world, and that naturally puts factors of uncertainty about what is the forecast of what may be its evolution,” Costa told reporters after meeting with his ministers of finance, economic affairs, internal administration, health, infrastructure and planning, to announce further measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

   “If we compare it with other European countries, the number of cases of infection in Portugal is low,” he said, adding that this may be because the novel coronavirus outbreak is still “at an early stage” in Portugal.

   “We must foresee an increase in the number of cases of infection over the next few days and weeks. We must be prepared for the worst-case scenario,” he said. However, he also reiterated that panic is the worst enemy of all.

   As of Tuesday morning, 41 confirmed coronavirus cases had been reported in Portugal.

   Portuguese authorities are beginning to adopt strict containment measures, such as closing homes, schools, universities, or suspending visits to hospitals and prisons. All flights between Portugal and the most affected areas of Italy have also been suspended.

   The Lisbon Half Marathon, originally scheduled for March 22, is now postponed to September and professional football games will be held behind closed doors.

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