Meeting of the Council of Ministers on December 30, 2020

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Eighth Constitutional Government


Press Release

Meeting of the Council of Ministers on December 30, 2020

The Council of Ministers met at the Government Palace in Dili and approved the Government Decree draft, presented by the acting Prime Minister, José Maria dos Reis, concerning the execution measures of the state of emergency, renewed by the President of the Republic’s Decree 73/2020, of December 30th, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state emergency, now renewed, covers the entire national territory and is in force between January 3rd, 2021, 00.00 a.m. and February 1st, 2021, 11.59 p.m..

This Government Decree recommends that all individuals, who are not subject to compulsory isolation and who do not exercise any professional activity or are exempt from the duty to be present at workplace, should remain in their homes, limiting their exits to the minimum necessary.

With regard to the distancing rules on public roads, this Government Decree requires that all individuals, who are not subject to a mandatory isolation regime, when walking on public roads must do so unaccompanied, wearing masks, observing the distance of, at least, one meter from other passers-by and avoid the formation of crowds. All individuals shall also maintain a distance of, at least, one meter when they are waiting for the opportunity to enter commercial, provision of services or public administration services facilities, as well as at the places of entry and exit of passengers on public transport.

It is forbidden to hold meetings and demonstrations, as well as any social, cultural or sporting events involving the agglomeration of more than ten people. This prohibition does not apply to individual sporting activities, which do not involve the agglomeration of people.

It is also prohibited to hold any religious events, including worship celebrations involving the agglomeration of more than ten people. Funerals are conditional on the adoption of organizational measures that prevent the transmission of the SARS-Cov-2 virus and should not imply the simultaneous presence of more than ten people.

Public passenger transport is allowed, however vehicles must be sanitized daily, before starting the activity, and drivers, crews and passengers are required to wear mouth and nose protection masks. Passengers shall avoid, among themselves and to the extent possible, any form of physical contact.

Markets and all commercial, industrial, crafts or service provision establishments are permitted. All individuals wishing to enter these establishments or premises must wear a mask, wash their hands before entering the premises and respect the distance of, at least, one meter from other individuals. Those responsible for market and establishments shall provide the necessary conditions for compliance with those rules and shall refuse entry to those who do not comply with the previous provisions. The above rules also apply to premises where public services operate.

Street vendors must keep a distance of, at least, one meter from their customers and other street vendors, and shall permanently wear a mouth and nose protection mask, as well as ensure hand hygiene.

This diploma does not impose any prohibition on the teaching and non-teaching activities of educational establishments, the latter not including those which have a playful, recreational or ceremonial nature. The necessary and appropriate prophylaxis standards for the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic are approved by a joint ministerial diploma from the members of the Government responsible for the health, education and higher education areas.

Security forces officers should sensitize all individuals to the need to comply with the provisions of this Government Decree. The security forces officers will identify the individuals who disrespect the issued orders and will report the incident to the Public Prosecutor's Office, and the offenders may incur in criminal liability, under the Penal Code.

The obligation that all individuals wishing to enter or leave the national territory must be subject to sanitary control is maintained. It also remains mandatory for prophylactic isolation (quarantine), with a minimum duration of fourteen days, and COVID-19 testing, to citizens wishing to enter the country, who have symptoms of COVID-19, or who have had contact with individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2. Expenses related to prophylactic isolation are borne by each individual when it is carried out in a private health facility, residence or isolation centre.

Land border crossing for traditional or customary purposes and for access to regulated markets is still prohibited, and the respective sanctions are also maintained. The entry of foreigners into national territory, across land borders, remains subject to prior authorization. The Minister of the Interior, through a ministerial diploma, may order the temporary closure of border posts or the reduction of their public service hours.

During the period of the state of emergency, all licenses, authorizations and other administrative acts and documents shall remain valid, regardless of their expiration or validity date.

A Government Resolution draft, which renews the imposition of a sanitary fence in the Special Administrative Region of Oe-cusse Ambeno (RAEOA) was also approved, given the recent cases diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 in the region and in order to safeguard  the public health of the RAEOA’s population and to prevent the occurrence of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the national territory. With this Government Resolution draft, travel by land and sea between the said region and other municipalities is prohibited until January 18th, 2021, 11:59 p.m.. During this period, the transport of goods is permitted.

Lastly, the Council of Ministers decided to cancel the flag-hoisting ceremonies next Monday, January 4th, 2021, as well as all Christmas and year-end public administration’s celebration activities. END