Meeting of the Council of Ministers on April 29th, 2021

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Eighth Constitutional Government


Press Release

Meeting of the Council of Ministers on April 29th, 2021

The Council of Ministers met at the Government Palace, in Dili, and attended the presentation of the epidemiological situation of the country, by the Situation Room of the Integrated Centre for Crisis Management. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 2124 people were detected infected with the new Coronavirus. Cases have been detected in all municipalities in the country, with Dili being the most affected municipality, where a total of 1794 people have been infected and where community transmission is considered to exist. There are currently 1014 active cases and there are 21 moderate and two severe cases of COVID-19. The incidence rate in Dili Municipality is currently 27.3 per 100,000 population.

The Council of Ministers approved the Government Decree draft, presented by the Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, on the measures of implementation of the Declaration of the State of Emergency, made by the President of the Republic Decree No 24/2021, of April 28th, to respond to the pandemic of COVID-19. The state of emergency, now renewed, covers the entire national territory and is in force between May 3rd, 2021, 12.00 a.m. and June 1st, 2021 11.59 p.m.

The measures imposed by this decree are similar to the rules of execution of the previous Declaration of the State of Emergency. It should be noted that it is now established that all individuals with complete certification of vaccination against COVID-19 are exempt from compulsory prophylactic isolation when entering the country from abroad.

The remaining rules remain unchanged, namely the obligation of all individuals residing in Timor-Leste to keep a distance of, at least, three feet from other individuals with whom they do not live in common economy. They are also still obliged to wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth when having access to or staying in public or private places of collective use and to sanitize their hands when entering commercial, industrial or service provision establishments or buildings where public administration services operate. Everyone is also obliged to avoid crowding in public places.

The Government’s draft resolutions for the renewal of the imposition of sanitary fences in the municipalities of Ainaro, Baucau, Covalima, Dili, Ermera and Viqueque, for another 14 days, until May 16th, 2021, 11.59 p.m. were approved. Also approved were the draft resolutions of the Government to impose sanitary fences in the municipalities of Lautém, Liquiça, Manufahi between April 30th, 2021 12.00 a.m. and May 16th, 2021 11.59 p.m. Thus, the movement of people between these municipalities and the other administrative districts is prohibited, except in duly justified cases for reasons of public safety, public health, humanitarian assistance, maintenance of public supply systems or the achievement of public interest.

The Council of Ministers approved, with amendments, the Government’s draft Resolution for the imposition of general home confinement of all persons residing or currently in the municipality of Dili, who must remain in their homes or in their places of temporary accommodation, between April 30th, 2021, 12:00 a.m. and May 13th, 2021 11.59 p.m.

Exceptionally, persons may be absent from their residence or place of accommodation in the Municipality of Dili if they have to travel in order to receive hospital, medical or medication care; to accompany a relative or a person in their care or custody in order to receive hospital, medical or medication assistance; to provide assistance to others who need it for reasons of health, social protection or humanitarian assistance; to lodge complaints or denunciations with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Ombudsman’s Office for Human Rights and Justice or any criminal police body; to attend judicial or police proceedings for which they have been summoned; to buy food, meals, basic necessities or fuel; to make payments for electricity, telecommunications or internet access services; to access financial services; to perform professional activities when not exempted by their hierarchical superior, in the case of public administration employees, agents or workers, or by their respective employer, in the case of workers from the private sector of the economy; to participate in funerals, under the terms foreseen in this Government Resolution and to request authorisation to move outside the area of the Municipality of Dili.

These journeys should last only for the time strictly necessary to achieve the purpose for which they are intended and when they occur for work purposes, the persons must carry a document proving the obligation to be present at the place of work.

The circulation of public transport, namely microlet, biscota, taxis and anguna, is prohibited in the entire area of the Municipality of Dili.

All commercial, industrial, handicraft or service establishments of the private sector of the economy operating in the municipality of Dili shall be closed to the public, with the exception of commercial establishments selling food, water and other essential goods, namely supermarkets, mini-markets or kiosks; establishments providing medical care or medication; establishments providing social welfare services; pharmacies; petrol or gas retail outlets; commercial establishments where payments are made for the supply of electricity, internet access or telecommunications; media; hotel establishments and similar, in accordance with the rules established in this Government Resolution; restaurants, warungs and similar, in accordance with the rules established in this Government Resolution; financial institutions, namely banks and entities licensed to perform international money transfers; construction companies or activities related to construction or commercial establishments selling construction materials; Companies providing technical services of maintenance, repair or operation of power generation plants or the national power grid; land, sea and air cargo transport companies; establishments selling funeral materials or providing funeral services, in accordance with the rules established in this Government Resolution; companies providing pest control services; companies providing sanitation and sewage cleaning services.

Workers and clients of these shops and businesses shall, before entering the premises of these establishments and businesses, sanitize their hands and cover their nose and mouth with masks. While inside such establishments and businesses, they shall wear a mask covering their nose and mouth, keep their distance of at least three feet from other individuals with whom they do not live in common economy, and sanitize their hands frequently. While waiting to enter the establishment, customers should wait outside the establishment keeping a distance of at least three feet from others with whom they do not live in common economy.

Commercial, industrial, craft or services establishments in the private sector of the economy that are closed to the public may develop their activity through home delivery services.

Restaurants and similar establishments may only provide take-away meals for consumption at home or in the place of temporary accommodation or by delivery at customers’ homes or in hotel establishments, and it is not possible to sell and consume meals to customers inside those commercial spaces. People staying in a hotel establishment should take their meals in their room.

The implementation activities of the Basic Food Basket programme are exceptionally authorised.

The Dili Municipal markets, Manleuana and Taibessi, remain open between 06: 00 a.m. and 06: 00 p.m., and the respective operators and users, before entering the interior of the markets, should sanitize their hands and wear a mask covering the nose and mouth and keep a distance of, at least, three feet from other individuals with whom they do not live in common economy. When the security forces verify that it is not possible to maintain a distance of at least three feet between users, they will prevent the access of new users to the market premises until the number of users allows them to respect that distance.

The street vendors of goods or services of first necessity, namely of food products, especially horticultural products, as well as merchants who carry out their activity in fairs must wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth, wash their hands frequently, keep a distance of at least three feet from other street vendors or their clients and prevent the formation of a crowd near the place where they carry out their activity.

Religious celebrations involving gatherings of people are prohibited.

For the purposes of this Government Resolution, the gathering of more than two people at a distance of less than six feet from each other is considered a gathering of people.

The organisation and holding of funeral ceremonies involving the participation of more than ten people is forbidden. During these ceremonies, these people must wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth and keep a distance of at least three feet from other people present at the ceremony.

Police authorities shall monitor compliance with the rules set out in this Government Resolution and warn violators that their persistent failure to comply with the rules may constitute a crime of disobedience. The police authorities shall notify the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the identity of persons who, after the warning provided for in the previous sentence, persist in disrespecting the rules set out in this Government Resolution. In cases where the rules set out in the present Government Resolution are disrespected by foreigners, the police authorities shall inform their identity to the Immigration Service.

The Council of Ministers approved the Government’s draft Resolution that renews the declaration of the state of calamity, for another 30 days, given the occurrence of floods and inundations in the Municipality of Dili, in the early morning of April 4th, 2021, caused by the tropical cyclone Seroja.

The Minister of Health, Odete Maria Freitas Belo, presented to the Council of Ministers the master plan for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the National Hospital Guido Valadares and Hospital Dr. António Carvalho, to be carried out in phases over ten years, in order to improve treatment conditions and increase service capacity.

The Minister of State Administration, Miguel Pereira Carvalho, as Coordinator of the Mission Unit for Civil Protection and Natural Disaster Management, made a presentation on the state of play of the impacts of the floods of last April 4 and respective recovery actions. In Dili, there are currently 4,356 displaced persons who are in seven shelters still active. At national level, a total of 31,337 families have been affected by the floods and 41 people have died or are missing. A total of 27,178 homes across the country were damaged or destroyed. In terms of public infrastructure, the floods caused damage to 22 roads and 11 bridges. The Government is providing support to affected families with food and non-food items and is planning to distribute materials for the reconstruction of destroyed houses. The re-housing options for populations living in areas that are prohibited because they are in flood areas or areas of slope instability of medium to very high risk were also analysed.

The Minister of Public Works, Salvador Soares dos Reis Pires, presented the data regarding the identification of the collective public infrastructures and equipment destroyed or damaged by the floods. The data survey and classification of the constructions is still in progress, but preliminary information indicates the existence of 57 simple structural rehabilitation projects costing less than 1 million US dollars and 44 complex structural rehabilitation projects estimated to cost more than 1 million US dollars. Cleaning and normalisation activities have been undertaken and several projects of emergency nature are also underway.

Lastly, the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister for Planning and Territory, José Maria dos Reis, presented a set of land use planning measures for risk prevention and mitigation. A survey was conducted of data on risk areas due to their location in flood areas or medium to very high risk slope instability areas. Needs for legislative intervention in the context of territorial planning, options for temporary and permanent resettlement of populations in risk areas and possibilities of resettlement sites were also presented. END