The Prime Minister announced today the closure of schools from tomorrow, Friday, January 22, with the teaching activity to be completely suspended.
“Despite all the efforts that schools have made to prepare and function normally in the face of this new strain and the speed it carries, the precautionary principle requires that we interrupt all teaching activities during the next 15 days” , said António Costa this Thursday.
“The interruption will be duly compensated in the school calendar in the way that the Minister of Education will adjust with the board of school directors in order to compensate for these 15 days that will be lost from classroom teaching, with the expansion of classroom teaching in another period dedicated to vacation, ”he added.
In his speech, António Costa reaffirmed that schools "are not and were not the main focus of transmission, nor are they or were the main place of transmission".
Portugal today reached a new record of fatalities: 221 deaths in the last 24 hours, a total of 9.686 in 10 months of the pandemic. The number of cases rose from 13.544 to 595.149, according to DGS data.
Despite the decision, the fact that Portugal recorded one of the worst days of the pandemic: record of new infections (14.467) and deaths (219), which was surpassed by today's numbers, was also noted.
The President of the Republic has already said that he agrees with the closure of schools and universities in Portugal as a measure to stop the pandemic that hit record cases and deaths on Wednesday.
“I think it is a good solution. First, it is not easy to distinguish between cycles and close A or B or C or D. Second, social dissemination is entering schools, the number of classes at home has increased substantially in recent times and some of the tests that have started to be done in schools point to prudence ”, said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in an interview with Porto Canal.
After arriving from Brussels, where he was in the European Parliament, António Costa met on Wednesday night with the ministers of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, Health, Marta Temido, Education, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, and Higher Education , Manuel Heitor.
“We took stock of the alarming spread of the pandemic in Portugal,” wrote António Costa on social media on the day that Portugal recorded the worst day of the pandemic since its inception 10 months ago.
“We analyzed the information that epidemiologists shared with the Government, namely about the growth of the British variant of the virus. This Thursday, in the Council of Ministers, we will decide accordingly, with the certainty that the priority is to save lives and control the pandemic ”, according to the minister.