National Parliament authorizes President of the Republic to renew the State of Emergency for another 30 days

Wed. 30 of June of 2021, 13:19h

Following the Government's request to the President of the Republic and the positive opinions of the Council of State and the Supreme Council for Defence and Security, the National Parliament today, June 30th 2021, authorised the President of the Republic to renew the declaration of the state of emergency for the fifteenth time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, between 12:00 am on July 2nd 2021 and 11:59 pm on July 31st 2021.

The draft law to authorise the renewal of the declaration of the state of emergency was approved with 35 votes in favour, 20 abstentions and no votes against.

In the message addressed to the National Parliament, the President of the Republic, Francisco Guterres Lú Olo, stated that "given that the determining causes that justified the declaration of the state of emergency and its renewals, still in force, remain, it becomes absolutely necessary, with a view to protecting public health, a renewal for an equal period". "We will therefore have to give the Government adequate mechanisms for epidemiological surveillance, in order to prevent and reduce opportunities for the importation and spread of the virus."

The Head of State also stressed that COVID-19 "can affect anyone and we never know when and at what level it can affect us", "COVID-19 is not a simple flu" and "it does not only affect older people, it does not only affect people with comorbidities or risk factors”.

Regarding vaccination, Francisco Guterres Lú Olo recalled that although vaccines protect "against the development of severe forms of the disease" and are "very effective in reducing the risk of disease and virus transmission", the "risk is not eliminated" and "a person vaccinated against COVID-19 can still contract the disease and even transmit the virus". He also stressed "that the vaccine can only be considered to 'protect' effectively 14 days after the last dose has been taken".

Opening the debate in the National Parliament, the Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães, representing the Prime Minister, stated that "after four weeks of implementation of the fourteenth period of the Declaration of the State of Emergency, it is with moderate satisfaction and optimism that we witness the positive evolution of the implementation of the main preventive, management and combat measures against the Pandemic of COVID-19 on the ground".

He also stressed that "this satisfaction is underpinned by the change in the daily statistical data collected on the ground, which now indicates a downward curve in the spread of the disease".

The Minister attributed "the reversal of the pandemic's exponential growth trend, to a large extent," "to the arrival of new combined lots of vaccines from AstraZeneca and Sinovac," which "allowed for around 295,800 doses to be received by June 9th 2021, making it possible to expand the execution of the National Vaccination Plan to the entire territory during the month of June.

The Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers guaranteed that "the Government proposes to quickly and efficiently carry out the necessary and adequate actions for the fulfilment of the objectives consecrated in the Vaccination Plan against COVID-19, because it is aware that only the quick and massive vaccination of our population will allow for the protection of Timorese public health, but also to ensure a progressive return to social and economic normality, deeply affected by the pandemic situation that has been present since the beginning of last year".

 He also highlighted that "at a time when new, more contagious strains of the virus are appearing in our neighbouring countries", "it is therefore important that each of us assumes the responsibility of taking care of our own health and the health of others, namely through the use of personal masks, frequent hand-washing and compliance with rules of social distancing, even by those who are already fully vaccinated".


To see the speech of the Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers  in the Parliamentary Debate on the Request for Renewal of the 15th State of Emergency, click here