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Virus restrictions in Portugal ‘could last months’ – PM

Virus restrictions in Portugal ‘could last months’ – PM

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Wednesday that the country may be facing “one, two, three months” of restrictions on the movement of people. A total of 3,600 companies have applied for government support to pay a proportion of salaries for 76,000 workers whose jobs have been temporarily suspended as a result of the coronavirus crisis, according to the prime minister.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is expected to decide later on Wednesday whether to extend the state of emergency declared on March 18. The move has restricted non-essential travel and led thousands of businesses to close their doors.

Costa expects the president to extend the state of emergency, as health authorities predict the number of cases in the country – where infections and death toll are way below those in neighboring Spain – will plateau at the end of May. So far, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to 8,251, Reuters reports, with 187 having died.

With Easter weekend approaching, Costa said families cannot go home to visit their families. “This year, we must tell emigrants not to come – and if they do, not to leave their homes,” the PM said. Tens of thousands of Portuguese people living in countries such as France, Luxembourg and Switzerland come to spend the Easter and summer holidays in Portugal every year.