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Ponta Delgada ,  March 16, 2020

Press Release from the President of the Regional Government of the Azores

The Press Release from Regional Health Authority reporting the confirmation of the positive case registered on Terceira Island by the Dr. Ricardo Jorge National Health Institute was made public this morning.
In view of this confirmation, the Council of the Government of the Azores, which has been meeting via teleconference, and after prior contact with the Association of Municipalities of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, has decided the following:
For the entire archipelago of the Azores:
Determine the full closure of all public services of the direct and indirect regional administration, including public institutes and public companies from 12 am (Azores time) of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, with the exception of essential public services:
- Health and civil protection services;
- Processing of social benefits;
- Slaughterhouses and fish sale points, maintaining, from the outset, the operation of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Markets - IAMA and LOTAÇOR;
- Inspection services;
Electrical power supply;
- Those related to fuel supply and transport;
- Others deemed necessary to ensure the basic needs of the population.
During this afternoon, under the guidance of the Vice-President of the Government, the departments of the Regional Government, including public institutes and public companies, will take the necessary measures and make the necessary adjustments to, implementing this measure, ensure the continuity of support from the Regional Administration to the Azoreans, through alternative forms of work, namely teleworking, thus guaranteeing the readiness of workers from their homes.
The Regional Government has also determined:
- Maintain all home support services for people in vulnerable situation, with prior verification of the health status of users and their families, as well as that of the service provider;
- Automatically extend until April 30 all administrative deadlines that expire until March 31;
- Extend until April 30 all documents, certificates and permits that expire until March 31. 
As President of the Government, I want to praise the proactive behaviour of municipalities in the Autonomous Region of the Azores and regional companies in activating their contingency plans and following the recommendations that have been issued by the Regional Health Authority.
However, I urge the owners and operators of food and beverage establishments - restaurants, snack bars, bars and cafes - to comply with the authorities' guidelines regarding opening hours and restrictions on access to these establishments.
In addition to these measures, and specifically addressed to the island of Terceira, the Government of the Azores, after consulting the Municipalities of Angra do Heroísmo and Praia da Vitória, has also decided:
- As shareholder of SATA Group, require the Board of Directors of Azores Airlines to focus its operations at Ponta Delgada airport in order to optimise the work of public health authorities, except for cargo transport flights or urgent situations, provided they are duly authorised by the Regional Health Authority;
- As grantor under the Concession Agreement of Public Service Obligations for Inter-island Air Transport, suspend the respective agreement on flights from all islands of the Azores to the island of Terceira and from the island of Terceira to all other islands of the Azores, except for cargo transport flights or urgent situations, provided they are duly authorised by the Regional Health Authority.
These two measures will take effect from 6 pm today.
I conclude with two important recommendations:
- Firstly, urge Azoreans to comply with the recommendations of the health authorities, especially that, in case of symptoms such as cough, fever or breathing difficulties, DO NOT seek a Hospital or Health Centre, but rather call the Azores Health Line.
 - Secondly, urge all social media users not to listen to or believe in rumours as I, on my behalf and on behalf of the Government, will always have an attitude of total and absolute transparency as regards the number of suspected cases, the number of positive cases and their outcome.



Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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