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Miguel Albuquerque Midday Address

While addressing the nation, Miguel Albuquerque reiterated that although the use of fabric face masks will not prevent contamination, they are useful in combating the transmission of the virus. He concedes that masks are not a miracle solution, but that scientific studies and results from other countries prove its effectiveness in the fight against the spread of the new coronavirus.

The wearing of masks by professionals who are in contact with the public will begin at 00:00 on the 22nd of April. Employers are responsible for ensuring that all members of staff adhere to the new ruling, as spot checks will be carried out. He reiterated the message by saying that despite recommending the use of masks by the general population, all professionals, employees or other workers who are in contact with the public must use them.

When asked about the island’s unemployment, he confirmed that ‘for sure,’ unemployment would rise.

At the moment, 2,528 companies have laid off approximately 36,356 staff, including 3,618 self-employed workers or registered green receipt users, and 32,738 contracted workers.  Taking these indicators into account, the President says he does not doubt that unemployment will rise due to the economic paralysis, saying “I’m sorry to say it, but it will go up.”

Any hopes that there would be a slight relaxation of the rules this week were quashed by the President, who said, he will only decide whether to gradually reopen the economy at the end of next week—reiterating that the safety of the island’s inhabitants is his number one priority.

Referring to the new case in Câmara de Lobos where an infected person has infected ten other people he said that a ‘containment fence’ may be erected to ensure that an epidemic does not break out in the parish.  This situation, he said, would be assessed this afternoon.  At the moment forty individuals are currently undergoing analysis.

Samantha Gannon

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