Dili, March 12th, 2020: His Excellency the Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, this Thursday, held the weekly meeting with the President of the Republic, Dr. Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, at Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace, in Dili. At this meeting, the Head of Government informed the Head of State about the security situation in the country and about the proposed amendment to the Budget and Financial Management Law, and also invited the Head of State to deliver a message to the people of Timor-Leste about COVID-19 or Coronavirus pandemic.
“In this weekly meeting with His Excellency the President of the Republic, we addressed three issues. First, we talked about the security situation in the country. In that regard, everything is going well in our country, despite some small problems. Secondly, we talked about the situation related to the Coronavirus and about the preparations to deal with the outbreak. Thirdly, we talked about the proposed amendment to the Budget and Financial Management Law, which will be requested to the National Parliament, in order to allow the Government to have the funds necessary to satisfy the country’s commitments, internally and externally. Finally, I asked His Excellency the President of the Republic to deliver a message to our people, about the Coronavirus outbreak. Overall, these were the subjects discussed with His Excellency the President of the Republic”, explained the Chief Executive to journalists, after the meeting with the Head of State.
The Head of Government added that the Head of State welcomed this request to convey a message to the people of Timor-Leste, but, before that, the Ministry of Health and the technical team will deliver a presentation about this outbreak to the Head of State.
The Head of Government also explained that the Government is currently preparing two measures: one, to ban the entry of foreigners who come from countries with high rates of COVID-19 (the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Italy, Republic Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran) to Timor-Leste and, the second one is related to the Government preparation to respond to this pandemic, should any case arise in Timor-Leste.
“The Government has already created an Interministerial Commission, which is led by the acting Minister of Health, and which includes the Ministry of State Administration, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Ministry of Defence and the Interior Ministry, and also a technical team. This Commission is taking several steps to prepare three centres. Probably, a screening centre will be installed in Bairro de Formosa, the Vera Cruz Health Centre will operate as an intensive care centre and, in the event of an exponential increase in the number of infected patients, then, we will use the Tibar Centre. We are looking at some alternatives, with the support of the International Community, to improve our ability to respond to the situation. We know that even countries with more advanced health systems have not been able to resolve the outbreak (COVID-19), let alone Timor-Leste, which its health system and infrastructure are still very weak,” said the Prime Minister.
Since the appearance of Coronavirus in the Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019, until the latest update, on March 12, 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 had already spread to 119 countries, with a global total of 125,048 confirmed cases, 4,613 dead and 68,313 cases of recovery from this outbreak. For the time being, Timor-Leste is still free from this epidemic, despite the fact that a few days ago there were suspicions about an Italian citizen. Fortunately, the results of the tests, carried out in Australia, showed that this citizen was not infected with COVID-19. END