Dili, June 30th, 2020: His Excellency the Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, participated, last Tuesday, in the Dili Convention Centre (CCD), in the ceremony of transferring the competences of the Integrated Centre Crisis Management (CIGC) Situation Room for the Ministry of Health, as the Ministry responsible for the prevention and mitigation of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This transfer of competences happens because the third phase of the State of Emergency ended on June 26th, 2020, and, therefore, the Situation Room, automatically, ends its activity, meaning that Timor-Leste has entered a new normality time, after three consecutive months of State of Emergency, from the beginning of March until June.
In his intervention, before the transfer of competences, the Head of Government stressed that the Situation Room is no longer active, and that Timor-Leste is currently free of COVID-19, however, cases of infected people in the world continue to rise. Once the State of Emergency ended, automatically, the CIGC’s coordination competencies are transferred again to the Ministry of Health, as Ministry responsible on the supervision of the health, mainly in the sanitary control of the population.
“Today, the Situation Room’s dismantled. Now my question is: Could it be that with the absence of the Situation Room, we will be overloading the Ministry of Health? The Situation Room no longer exists, but I spoke with Mr Brigadier General Aluk so that the Crisis Management Office will temporarily switch to the CCD, until a vaccine’s discovered, and only then it will change again to the Government Palace. It is only a way to predict the worst-case scenario, instead of running around looking for a place, for computers, as happened before. For this reason, leave them here, prepared. In the event of any threat, they can quickly take a drastic decision, so that the whole country can pay attention to this problem again. The Ministry of Health will not be alone in this situation!”, emphasized the Chief Executive, in his speech.
On the same occasion, the Head of Government expressed his satisfaction with the work and dedication of the Situation Room team, led by the Director of the Integrated Crisis Management Centre, Brigadier General Aluk, who efficiently managed, during the three months, the prevention and mitigation of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Head of Government also thanked the collective effort, especially by specialists, doctors, nurses, PNTL, F-FDTL, firefighters and journalists, who, during these three months, collaborated and dedicated themselves full time to face this difficult situation in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Besides that, he also thanked the development partners, namely the UN and its agencies, as well as the friendly countries, which supported Timor-Leste during this fight against COVID-19.
I want to take this opportunity to thank our development partners, the United Nations, the Embassy of China, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and all other embassies based in our country, whose names I did not mentioned, as well as international agencies such as WHO, UNDP, among others, who supported us. This fight was not just one person’s only, but was an effort from all of us, the collective. So, on behalf of the country, the Government, the President of the Republic, the National Parliament, we want to thank you for your contribution and tell you that we will still need the precious help of each one of you, on this journey and in the future ”, said the Chief Executive.
Lastly, the Head of Government also thanked the entire population, for their patience in complying with the rules imposed during the State of Emergency, even if it has undermined citizens’ freedom, and also took the opportunity to appeal to the community to continue to comply with the rules advised by the Ministry of Health and WHO, of social distancing, hygiene and the use of masks in public places, in order to prevent the spread of this virus.
The Situation Room was established based on Ministerial Diploma No. 14/2020, of March 31st, under article 29 of Law no. 2/2020, of April 21st, National Security Law, which created the Integrated Crisis Management Centre (CIGC), as a specialized body for advising and consulting in the technical coordination of operations for the activities that make up the integrated system of National Security, namely to develop strategies for conflict prevention, under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office.
In accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2 of article 38 of Law no. 2/2020, of April 21st, the CIGC can function as a Situation Room in cases of constitutional exception, under the terms provided for in the legislation that regulates the State of Exception or the State of Emergency.
During the existence of the Situation Room, the services of the Ministry of Health or the ministerial lines for the prevention and mitigation of the outbreak of COVID-19 were all transferred to the tutelage of the Situation Room, with a single command, for an intervention more systematic, organized and effective, according to each one’s areas.
Timor-Leste recorded 24 positive cases, all of which have already recovered, being one of the first Asian countries to get rid of COVID-19, together with Laos. END/PMO