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Source: US Global Legal Monitor

(Nov. 17, 2020) On November 6, 2020, Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa enacted Decree No. 51-U/2020 to declare a state of emergency in the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration of the state of emergency, which is based on the verification of a situation of public calamity (art. 1), covers the entire national territory, without prejudice to the provisions of article 4(a) of the decree (art. 2).

Article 4(a) determines that the exercise of the rights to freedom and to travel are partially limited, restricted, or conditioned. The necessary restrictions may be imposed by the competent public authorities to reduce the risk of contagion and implement measures to prevent and combat the epidemic, particularly in the municipalities with the highest level of risk. Article 4(a) also prohibits, to an extent that is necessary and proportional, driving on public roads during certain periods of the day or certain days of the week and traveling except to perform professional activities, obtain health care, assist third parties, attend educational establishments, produce and supply goods and services, and for other serious reasons. It is the responsibility of the government to specify the situations in which individuals remain free to circulate, preferably unaccompanied.

Article 3 of the decree provides that the state of emergency is to last for 15 days, starting at midnight on November 9, 2020, and ending at 11:59 p.m. on November 23, 2020, and does not preclude its renewal.