In the text of the decree, the President of the Republic defended that "the future easing of lockdown must be planned in stages, based on the recommendations of experts and on objective data, such as the risk matrix, with more tests and more screenings, to be successful ".

The current state of emergency period ends at 23:59 on Monday, 1 March. This renewal will take effect in the period between 2 and 16 March.

Under the state of emergency, which allows the suspension of the exercise of some rights, freedoms and guarantees, the Government imposed a general lockdown and the closure of a set of activities, since 15 January.

In a statement to the country, from the Palace of Belém, in Lisbon, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa warned that "it can never be said that there is no relapse or retreat" in the spread of covid-19 in Portugal and that "the numbers go up always faster than they descend ".

In a message in which he advised against easing lockdown before Easter to avoid "confused or contradictory messages" in relation to that period, the head of state defended that "planning for the future is essential, but we need to be careful because the numbers these days may tempt people into being frivolous ".

"To quote an almost classic: A person who does not learn from history is condemned to repeat it. We know this year's pandemic history well. We will not make the same mistakes. And we have hope - hope, not certainty - that, if we are sensible, the worst is over ", he said.

In the first part of his speech, the President of the Republic noted that "it is very tempting to defend the need to open up again as soon as possible, and schools would be the most proposed sector for the beginning of this opening".

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that, according to the defenders of the resumption of face-to-face teaching, "it would only be important to guarantee the existence of a faster and wider vaccination, which would cover whatever was opening, starting with schools, vaccinating earlier in schools".