“This is the second Christmas we have lived in a pandemic. Another Christmas that we have to live carefully, because the best gift we can give to any of our family and friends is to protect their health”, the head of Government began by saying.
Recalling that, “in these nearly two years of pandemic, we have all learned that each one of us only protects, protecting the others”, António Costa reinforced the call for containment during this festive period.
“It is this fraternal and solidary spirit that has reinforced our sense of community. and it will never be too much to thank the extraordinary civility of the Portuguese, in the adoption of safety measures or in mass adherence to vaccination”, he declared.
In his Christmas message, the prime minister also took the opportunity to recall the progress made in the vaccination process against covid-19 in Portugal, which is about to celebrate its first anniversary. “Since then almost the entire population over 12 years of age is vaccinated, two and a half million people have already received the booster dose and we started vaccinating children from 11 to 5 years old”, he said.
He also launched words of thanks to all Health professionals, which remain “unsurpassed” in these pandemic times. “The intense experience of these two years in this command post only reinforced my pride in the Portuguese and my confidence in our NHS”, said the PM.
“But the war is not over yet. As we know, there are millions of human beings around the world who have not yet had access to the vaccine and, as long as that, the virus will remain active and the risk of changing into new variants will persist. Therefore, it is essential to accelerate vaccination on a global scale and continue the vaccination boost in Portugal”, warned António Costa.
A people “capable of overcoming themselves”
Stressing the “brutal impact” of the pandemic on society at large, the head of government praised all those who “did what was possible – and even what so often seemed impossible” to run into all the difficulties, namely “schools, solidary sector entities, local authorities, the State and the European Union”.
“Surely we can’t always arrive on time, nor have all the wounds healed yet. Although employment has fully recovered and we have resumed robust growth, we cannot lose focus on the national recovery effort. And we must do it with the confidence of a people that, having overcome each stage of this pandemic, is capable of overcoming itself, of facing the future with hope, continuing to be extraordinary in times of normality and tranquility that we all yearn for”.
António Costa ended the Christmas message saying that he had more to communicate to the Portuguese, but that “in this pre-election period the prime minister has a special duty to be restrained”. Therefore, he focused only on “what concerns us most and unites us all: the fight against the pandemic”.
“I conclude, wishing you a happy Christmas, with a word of greeting to the Portuguese communities residing abroad and of special recognition to all those who are working this Christmas, in hospitals, homes, security forces, the armed forces, the transport services and many other continuous work activities. I wish everyone a Happy New Year”, he concluded.