Debate in the National Parliament with the Government on the application of the state of emergency declaration

Tue. 28 of July of 2020, 18:23h

The Government presented to the National Parliament, on July 28th, 2020, the report “Great Strategy to Combat SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) in Timor-Leste”, which reports the activities to prevent and combat the new Coronavirus , during the application of the state of emergency declaration.

Timor-Leste registered the first positive case of the new coronavirus on March 21st, 2020, having registered a total of 24 COVID-19 infected cases , all of whom recovered, and, since May 15th there are no positive cases registered in the national territory.

The state of emergency began on March 28th, 2020, having been renewed twice, for 30 days, ending on June 26th.

During the term of the state of emergency, a series of measures were approved to prevent COVID-19, contain the pandemic, save lives, and ensure the subsistence of the essential goods supply chains and services to the population, even though these measures have limited some fundamental rights and freedoms. These measures were taken with respect for constitutional limits and following the guidelines of the World Health Organization and the example of other States.

At the opening session, Prime Minister began his intervention noting that, since the beginning of the pandemic, in December 2019, COVID-19 is causing a serious economic and social crisis worldwide, in addition to more than 16 million infected people worldwide, which have caused the death of more than 650 thousand people.

Captain of Sea and War, Donaciano Gomes, Pedro Klamar Fuik, who led the Situation Room team from the Integrated Crisis Management Centre, made a presentation on the results, conditions, and recommendations present in the report of the activities during the application of the state of emergency declaration.

Throughout the report, the overall situation, the strategy to combat COVID-19, the capacities and human resources, financial, infrastructural, equipment, and medicines available during the phase of the state of emergency, the presentation of needs and constraints, and recommendations for the post-state of emergency is described.

Donaciano Gomes highlighted the collaboration of all government and non-governmental organizations, public and private entities, national and international, and the entire population, for the successful fight against COVID-19.

In all, a total of 23,889 people were mobilized in the fight against the pandemic, including 318 people at the service of the Situation Room, from the Integrated Crisis Management Centre, 601 on the front line, 6,714 on the border and municipal rear line, 6,445 on the public space patrolling, and 9,811 in the hospital, administrative and logistical support.

During the debate, members of the Government responded to questions and requests for clarification from members of the National Parliament.

The Prime Minister stated that all the efforts made by the Government before, during, and after the state of emergency were intended to minimize the risk of infection for our citizens.

On the other hand, the government also sought to manage the effects of COVID-19 at the economic and social levels, especially at safeguarding economic activities and employment. For this, the Government created stabilization measures and established the Committee for the Elaboration of the Economic Recovery Plan, added the Executive Chief.

Taur Matan Ruak also appealed to the National Parliament to support the Government in approving the amendments to the Health System Law and the Migration and Asylum Law, which are necessary to frame of the border control effort.

The Minister of Health, Odete Maria Freitas, explained the ongoing measures at the level of border control, sentinel surveillance and actions to improve of quarantine and health infrastructures, to avoid the emergence of new cases of the new Coronavirus. The Minister also provided clarifications on the existing facilities to combat COVID-19 and the status on payments to frontline professionals.

The members of the National Parliament heard some data on the implementation of the COVID-19 Fund, presented by the Minister of Finance, Fernando Hanjam, and information on the measures for socio-economic stabilization implementation package state of play, reported by the Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães.

Vice-Prime-Minister and Minister of Social Solidarity and Inclusion, Mrs Armanda Berta dos Santos, informed deputies that the monetary support payment process to households, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, started on June 9th, 2020, has already been completed in 12 Municipalities and in the Special Administrative Region Oe-Cússi Ambeno, being now in the process of complaint’s analysis. The Minister also explained that measures to support the employment are also being implemented.

Prime Minister, in his last intervention in the debate, thanked the work of all the professionals that were directly involved in the fight against COVID-19, from F-FDTL, PNTL and health agents, to the population that, despite the existing economic and social difficulties, and obliged by the State to restrict its rights and freedoms, remained available to support us to avoid serious consequences for the lives of our citizens, as is now happening in other countries.

The Head of Government, on behalf of the entire people of Timor-Leste, also thanked to all the development partners who did everything they could to support our nation and to help us to be better prepared to tackle this situation.

Finally, he reminded us that this battle is not over, although this disease does not exist in our country today, but it continues to increase worldwide. We remain vigilant and the Government still needs the support of the National Parliament, so that we can be well prepared to face this disease and also the economic and social situation, where we have problems with unemployment and economic growth, which we need to solve to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in the lives of our citizens.