Government and National Parliament discuss measures to prevent and combat COVID-19 and the execution of the declaration of state of emergency

Thu. 16 of April of 2020, 19:32h

The Government and the National Parliament discussed today, 16 April 2020, the measures to prevent and combat COVID-19 and the implementation of the declaration of a state of emergency, in a session attended by the Prime Minister, Taur  Matan  Ruak, members of the Government belonging to the Interministerial Coordination Commission for the implementation of prevention measures and the control of the outbreak of the new Coronavirus and members of the Integrated Crisis Management Centre (CIGC).

The Prime Minister, in his speech, said that "the fight against the new coronavirus is a war against an invisible enemy in which all the nations of the world are gathering all the means available to prepare themselves to fight this disease, including drastic decision-making such as the limitation of the rights of movement and of freedom of assembly or manifestation". However, and “with all these measures, the number of infected worldwide already exceeds two million and of these 133,000 died”, the Prime Minister added.

Taur Matan  Ruak also said that "this fight  becomes a bigger and more difficult problem because the effort is not only to prevent deaths, but also to deal with the drastic social and economic impact it causes", to the extent that around the world "millions of workers have already lost their jobs and entire families have been left in poverty".

The Prime Minister also said that to ensure the "most optimistic scenario", which is "to have zero deaths (…) we are working to avoid the most pessimistic scenario, which according to the analysis of the Integrated Crisis Management Center, is that Timor-Leste could have 390,000 infected, 30% of the population, of which 156,000 would be mild cases, 58 thousand would be serious cases, which is equivalent to 15% , 19,500 would be severe cases that would require assisted ventilation and 17,000 would be the death toll or 3%”.

To this end, to ensure the most optimistic scenario, the head of the Government said it was necessary to "combine will and capacity" and that the Government "is determined to increase our capacity". As such it has already approved the Government Decree on the rules for the execution of expenditure of the COVID-19 Fund.

During the session, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dionísio Babo Soares, listed the various countries and organizations that have supported Timor-Leste in the fight against COVID-19, including support in the purchase of medical equipment and medicines and in the creation and improvement of medical facilities and the national laboratory, by organizations such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Program, the European Union, UNICEF, USAID and nations such as China, Australia, Japan, the United States of America and South Korea. The Minister also stressed that Australia and South Korea have decided to extend and renew the visas of Timorese workers and students in these countries.

CIGC spokespersons made a presentation to Members of the National Parliament on the ongoing strategy for preventing and combating COVID-19 and on the state of play in the national context.

During the session, the Prime Minister and the various members of the Government present answered the questions and suggestions of Members and also presented the measures being taken in each Government sector, namely health, defence and security, education, agriculture, economy and telecommunications.

Timor-Leste has so far recorded 18 cases of infection with the new Coronavirus, of which 17 have a stable condition and one is already cured. So far, 229 tests have been performed, of which 195 have had a negative result.