LISBON, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Council of Ministers approved on Thursday the extension of the "state of contingency" in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (AML) until the end of August in a bid to control the spread of the COVID-19 in the region, which records the worst numbers of the disease in the country.
The Minister of State for Presidency Mariana Vieira da Silva said at a press conference that the rest of Portugal will remain in a "state of alert," which is an intermediate classification of civil protection.
Taking into account that "the same conditions as 15 days ago" were maintained, the government has decided to keep the two states of deconfinement in force since the beginning of August, she said.
She added that the Council of Ministers analyzed "all the criteria defined at the beginning of the deconfinement process, regarding the response capacity of the National Health Service, the capacity for testing, the reduction of the number of patients hospitalized in the ward and in intensive care, and reducing the number of deaths."
Despite remaining in contingency, AML will have some flexible rules, such as the possibility to expand the opening hours of commercial establishments.
"The mayor may, according to the opinion of the security forces and the local health authority, make changes to the schedules," she said.
In the last 24 hours, Portugal registered 325 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths. The country to date has a total of 53,548 cases and 1,770 fatalities.