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President Timor-Leste declares state of emergency

Tempo Timor - March 28, 2020

Dili – President Francisco Guterres Lu Olo officially declared the state of emergency for the whole territory of Timor-Leste for one month, starting 28 March at 00:00h until 26 April at 23:59h, to protect the country against the corona-virus.

"I declare the state of emergency to avoid public calamity caused by COVID-19. The constitution allows for a state of emergency to be declared in case of public calamity. The state of emergency is declared after obtaining prior authorization from the national parliament. I do so with full responsibility, as president of the republic, to protect our citizens and to prevent COVID-19 from destroying one of us, our people and our country," president Lu Olo stated in the presidential palace, Dili (27/03/2020).

On 21 March, the acting Minister of Health announced in a press conference that there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Timor-Leste.

The state of emergency is declared "to allow the government to take and implement certain measures. This implies the limitation or suspension of some rights, freedoms and guarantees provided for in the constitution. This does not mean we will lose those rights. It will be suspended or limited to defend a major interest – the lives of the people, our lives and the lives of our families," president Lu Olo underlined.

He appealed to the citizens. "I ask the people to accept these measures peacefully and respectfully and to support the teams working in the field. Some activities will be interrupted, other will continue to the degree that they are essential to our lives. The government can ban gatherings, demonstrations and social events, limit the circulation of people and other activities that entail crowds due to high risk of contagion," the president declared.

In his message he referred to the struggle for national liberation and asked the Timorese to work together in this fight. 'Together, we must support the government in implementing effective measures to prevent this virus from spreading further and thereby protect our people. It is important that we continue to strengthen the government's efforts."

He urged "political parties, the leaders, all the cadres and members of the political parties to put aside their political differences and give hands in the fight against disease."

"As Timorese we all have to reflect on what can happen in the next days, in this difficult situation," the president stated. "The specific measures to be adopted during the state of emergency will be defined by the government, with the support of all bodies of sovereignty. The success of the government depends on the collaboration of each and every one of us."Lu Olo: "This is everyone's fight. Together, we will beat COVID-19 because of our organized know-how, yielded by one people with unified will. To live with health and with all our freedoms, but also as responsible citizens who are guided by the values of love and respect for one another, in our free and independent Timor-Leste."

"Let us together protect ourselves, our families and our people," the president stated.

Source: https://www.tempotimor.com/en/2101-president-timor-leste-declares-state-of-emergency