Updated: March 31, 2020 02:53 AM GMT
Timor-Leste President Francisco 'Lu-Olo' Guterres (black tuxedo) has declared a month-long state of emergency to contain the spread of Covid-19. (Photo: Thomas Ora/UCA News)
Timor-Leste President Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres declared a state of emergency across the country from March 28 to April 26 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic
The declaration, in which he called on people to stay at home, comes a week after the nation's first case was recorded in Dili.The president imposed the emergency after obtaining unanimous support from lawmakers in parliament to prevent the virus from spreading. "I do this with full responsibility, as president of the republic, to protect everyone, not to let this coronavirus destroy each of us," President Guterres told a press conference in Dili on March 27.The president said the emergency was aimed at limiting the movement of people "in the defense of greater interests regarding our lives and our families."He called on people to join the government in fighting Covid-19 and support the country's relief team, which was being assisted by the World Health Organization."I ask all parties and political elites and their supporters to unite, to leave behind political differences to work together in fighting against this evil disease," he said.The Council of Ministers, led by Prime Minister Jose Maria de Vasconcelhos, has agreed to halt public transport during the month-long emergency.
However, supermarkets and traditional markets remain open, but people are required to wear face masks, practice physical distancing and wash their hands in the space provided.Foreigners are also prohibited from entering the country, while Timorese nationals returning from overseas trips must be quarantined for 14 days.