A state of emergency has been declared in Cape Verde by means of Presidential Decree No. 6/2020, of 28 March 2020, in virtue of the situation of public calamity resulting from the COVID-19 disease. The state of emergency has been declared for a period of 20 (twenty) days, commencing at 00:00 a.m. on 29 March 2020 and ending at 12:00 p.m. on 17 April, although this may be extended.
The state of emergency covers the entire national territory and aims to prevent the spread of the disease throughout the country.
During the above-mentioned period, the exercise of the following rights is partially suspended or limited, while additional restrictions may be imposed by the competent public authorities:
1 – Right to national and international free movement of people and circulation of goods and services
- The prohibition of national and international travel, by land, air or sea, while ensuring international and national circulation of essential goods and services;
- Compulsory quarantine at home or in health facilities;
- The establishment of a cordon sanitaire in certain locations or islands;
- The interdiction of unjustified circulation and presence on public roads, with the exception of: the performance of professional functions that are justified in this context, the obtaining of health care, the rendering of assistance to third parties, the supply of goods and services, the walking of pets;
- The control of people and goods at borders, including health checks at ports and airports;
2 – Right to work and workers' rights
- The prohibition or limitation of the provision of work to public or private entities;
- The determination that any employees of public or private entities report to work and, if required, perform their duties in a different location, in a different entity or in different conditions and with different schedules, namely in the case of work to be undertaken in the health, civil protection, security and defence sectors and other activities necessary for the treatment of patients, the prevention and combating of the spread of the epidemic, the distribution and supply of essential goods and services, and the functioning of vital sectors of the economy;
3 – Property rights and private sector
- The competent public authorities may prohibit the activity of private companies, in general or those in certain sectors, and impose other limitations or modifications to their respective activities, including changes to the quantity, nature or price of goods produced and traded, or to the relevant procedures and distribution circuits and marketing;
- Companies may be obliged to remain open and operate, and their working and means of production may be prescribed;
- The public authorities may requisite the provision of any services and the use of both movable and immovable assets, health care units, commercial and industrial establishments, companies and other manufacturing units;
4 – Right of assembly and demonstration
- The public authorities may impose any necessary restrictions aimed at reducing the risk of contagion and implement measures to prevent and combat the epidemic, including limiting or prohibiting assemblies or demonstrations involving a gathering of people;
5 – Right to religious worship
- The public authorities may impose any necessary restrictions to reduce the risk of contagion and implement measures to prevent and combat the epidemic, including limiting or prohibiting celebrations of a religious nature and other events of worship involving a gathering of people.
Notwithstanding these restrictions, other constitutionally enshrined rights, freedoms and guarantees are expressly safeguarded, particularly freedom of expression and information and freedom of the press. In addition to these, under the terms of the Constitution, the declaration of a state of emergency may in no way affect the rights to life, to physical integrity, to personal identity, to civil capacity and citizenship, to the non-retroactivity of criminal law, to defendants’ right to a defence, and to freedom of conscience and religion.
The Government is the body responsible for executing the declaration of state of emergency, with concrete measures expected to be enacted in the coming days. The Government is immediately authorized to establish sanctions for non-observance of the measures taken.
Up until the declaration of the state of emergency, the following measures had already been decreed by the Government:
- The prohibition of the holding of events across the entire national territory that involve a high number of participants from countries affected by the pandemic – Resolution No. 47/2020, of 13 March 2020;
- The interdiction of flight connections with countries affected by the pandemic; the prohibition of the docking or berthing of cruise liners from abroad; the prohibition of the disembarkation or embarkation of passengers or crew of international commercial and fishing vessels – Resolution No. 48/2020, of 17 March 2020;
- The bringing forward of school holidays – Resolution No. 50/20202, of 18 March 2020; and
The declaration of calamity throughout the national territory, with the interdiction of flights and inter-island sea links, the closure of state companies, public services of central and local administration, and commercial, industrial and service activities (with exceptions), and the reduction of public transport by land, with capacity reduced to a maximum of 50% – Resolution No. 43/2020, of 26 March 2020.
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