BREAKING: Portugal considers Covid quarantines outside the state of emergency unconstitutional

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THE Constitutional Court (TC) in Portugal ruled on Wednesday, July 13 that Covid quarantines outside the state of emergency are unconstitutional and ‘represent a deprivation of liberty and are not admissible outside periods when a state of emergency has been declared.’

The TC ruled that Covid quarantines (confinements) imposed in Portugal without a state of emergency having been decreed are unconstitutional. The news comes as a major blow to the Portuguese government which has reportedly been busy preparing a health emergency law.

Five judges ruled that the confinements outside of a state of emergency ‘represented true deprivations of liberty and not just mere restrictions on freedom of movement’. Two judges were in favour of allowing quarantines to happen outside of a state of emergency.

Councillor António José da Ascensão Ramos’ ruling stated that “establishing a mandatory regime of confinement in housing (confinement), constitutes a very important interference in the scope of protection of the right to freedom.

“[Which] imposes the conclusion that the government, through a resolution of the Council of Ministers and outside its own legislative competence (Article 198 of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic), produced a law on a matter reserved for the Assembly of the Republic, breaking the constitutional statute in this area, as understood in the contested decision.”

A document from the court read: “This issue has already been considered by the Constitutional Court on several occasions, having repeatedly concluded that the organic unconstitutionality of rules introduced into the legal system by Resolution of the Council of Ministers, which established similar containment obligations to the rule under review (see Constitutional Court rulings nos. 424/2020, 687/2020, 729/2020, 769/2020 and 173/2021, 88/2022, 89/2022 and 90/2022).”

Prior to the hearing, the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said: “I am already telling you what I intend to do with the law, which is, when it reaches my hands, to assess it and send it to the Constitutional Court in preventive review, for a preventive reason.”


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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