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Portuguese encouraged to “go out safely” despite COVID-19 outbreaks in Greater Lisbon

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Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Saturday asked Portuguese to “go out safely” and enjoy the swimming season, despite this week’s COVID-19 outbreaks in Greater Lisbon, local media reported.

“We cannot facilitate it, but we cannot fall into the opposite alarmism. There is a balance here that needs to be maintained,” Rebelo de Sousa commented on the situation in Greater Lisbon, when he went to take bathing at the opening of the swimming season, according to Portuguese private broadcaster CMTV.

As of Saturday, Portugal has recorded 1,474 deaths related to COVID-19 and 34,351 cases of infection, health authorities said.

Among 382 new cases of infection in the last 24 hours, 345 cases were reported in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region. Local media said those positive cases mainly came from the civil construction sector.

“We cannot confuse a massive action (of testing) in the civil construction sector in five municipalities with a spread (of the disease) in society,” Rebelo de Sousa said, warning that everyone “must respect the sanitary rules” of social distancing and wearing a mask going to the beaches.

“There must be an evolutionary process,” said the president, who only took off his mask when he went to take a 20-minute swim. He praised the strategy of testing civil construction workers. “What is being done is being done well, to know what is going on.”

Also on Saturday, Prime Minister Antonio Costa asked Portuguese people to have extra care and to “go out safely,” according to Portuguese Lusa News Agency.

“When a week with two holidays is approaching, many Portuguese people after many months of confinement … certainly want to enjoy this week, but with a new slogan, which is ‘get out safely’,” Costa said, after presiding over an official opening of the swimming season in Faro City in the south of the country.

Costa suggested that the Portuguese should take advantage of this year to boost domestic tourism, Lusa said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Marta Temido admitted that “it is very likely that the number of cases in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region will grow in the next few days,” but dismissed the adoption of “more restrictive measures” for the region, the Portuguese SIV TV reported.

At a daily press conference on the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Temido assured that “more restrictive measures are not on the table.”

“We have extraordinarily and deliberately enlarged the number of tests in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region in order to quickly identify these outbreaks and control them,” she said.

(XINHUA)

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