“I hate to be authoritarian, I don’t want to be authoritarian, but we have to control this pandemic”, says António Costa, defending that “if we don’t control it now we will be in a worse situation in a few weeks”.
Speaking to journalists, on the sidelines of a meeting in Brussels with the President of the European Commission, António Costa said he saw no difference between forcing the installation of the Stay Away Covid screening app and other measures that the Government was forced to take to control the pandemic in recent months.
“Do you ask me if you were authoritarian? It was also authoritative to keep the bars closed. It is also authoritative to have imposed the closure of many companies. It was also authoritarian to prevent people from moving out of the municipalities during the Easter period ”, replied António Costa.
“If you ask me if I like it, no, I don’t, because I don’t like prohibitions,” he says. “But there is one thing that I see – we cannot be afraid to see the numbers increase.”
The Prime Minister clarified that the requirement to have the tracking app on the mobile phone only applies to those who are able to do so. And he said he was aware that “there are risks that have to be avoided from the point of view of data protection”, considering that this is not the case with the Stay Away Covid application, “with the conditions of anonymity that the application has”. António Costa considers that it would be “unthinkable” to implement “a solution that violates data protection”.
Government wants fines of up to 500 euros for failure to use a mask and the StayAway Covid app
António Costa says he understands that there is tiredness on the part of the Portuguese, but he understands that “people have been devaluing the risk” of the infection. “Perhaps, because there is an incidence now mainly in an age group in which the symptoms of the infection are not so evident, the perception of risk is lower and people tend to devalue the risk”. An attitude that the Prime Minister considers “very dangerous”, taking into account that the evolution of the pandemic “is serious”.
For Christmas, António Costa suggests that the Portuguese reorganize and rethink the planned parties. “We know that there are many people who live in cities and have roots elsewhere in the country and have to move, but they all have to organize themselves to have smaller meetings, maybe have dinner with some and have lunch with others or as they see fit, we are not going make a decree to say how Christmas is organized ”, explains the Prime Minister.
“It is unimaginable to adopt measures at Christmas as drastic and authoritarian as those we adopted at Easter when forbidding people to move from one municipality to another”, he guarantees. Because “Christmas is an exceptional time for parties and family reunions”.