As the deadly coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Portugal, the authorities have reportedly given all migrants and asylum seekers full citizenship rights. The recent move by the Portuguese government will give migrants access to the country’s healthcare and it will also ‘unequivocally guarantee the rights of all the foreign citizens’ with applications pending with immigration. The Portuguese Council of Ministers reportedly said that the migrants and asylum seekers are now in a situation of ‘regular permanence in National Territory’ until June 30.
Furthermore, the authorities explained that that decision was taken in a bid to reduce the risks for public health of maintaining the current scheduling of appointments at the immigration office, for border agents as well as migrants and asylum seekers. Currently, Portugal has more than 7,400 coronavirus cases. The deadly virus has also claimed nearly 160 lives in the country.
Last week, Portugal’s President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, declared a national state of emergency in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. The emergency allowed the government to also place temporary limits on civil liberties, such as freedom of movement and the right to protest and grants it special powers, including requisitioning private property. Furthermore, the government can also fix prices, stipulate what goods are manufactured and armed forces can also be deployed to enforce the measures.
Marcelo reportedly also called the coronavirus pandemic ‘a true war’ and said that it would bring true challenges to the country’s ‘way of life and economy’. Moreover, he also praised the behaviour of Portuguese citizens. He said that the citizens have been ‘exemplary in imposing self-quarantine’, “reflecting a country that has lived through everything”.
Meanwhile, coronavirus, which originated in China in December 2019, has now claimed over 39,000 lives worldwide as of March 31. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 199 countries and has infected more than 805,405 people. Out of the total infections, 172,463 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries including Spain, and the economy is struggling.