LISBON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said on Thursday that his country's gradual reopening has not led to an increase in coronavirus cases.
He made this assessment during his meeting with experts and policymakers, who analyzed the evolution of the pandemic in Portugal.
This was the first such meeting after the end of the state of emergency and the reopening of certain sectors of the economy on May 4.
He said that Portugal "confirms the trend of the last few weeks" of a decreasing mortality and hospitalization rate of those infected with the novel coronavirus.
He stressed that the coronavirus reproduction rate has not changed significantly, remaining at one (i.e. each infected person transmits the virus to one other person on average).
"There has been very good communication between the health authorities and the Portuguese people, and steps are being taken at a pace and with an intensity that corresponds to that dialogue," the head of state said.
He stressed, however, that the conclusions are still "provisional" and "there is not much data that allows us to draw firm conclusions, since 15 days have not yet passed."
The president said that the reopening of the economy is being carried out "in small steps," and he praised the public for being "sensitive" to social distancing.
He warned that the country will experience "two significant moments."
The first will be next week, with the reopening of schools, restaurants and other community establishments. The second crucial moment occur on June 1, with the general reopening of trade and the return to offices of many who are currently working from home.
He explained that after these two moments the consequences will have to be assessed again.
As of Thursday, Portugal had recorded 1,184 deaths from COVID-19 and 28,319 cases of infection, the health authorities said. Enditem