Portugal, with 1,043 deaths recorded today by coronavirus, is debating whether to allow faithful to be present in the Sanctuary of Fatima on May 13, the anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin, something that had initially been ruled out.
The issue has emerged in recent hours, coinciding with the lifting of the state of emergency, after the Health Minister, Marta Temido, admitted that it is a “possibility”.
“If that were the option of whoever organizes the celebrations, to organize a May 13 celebration where several people can be, provided that the sanitary rules are respected, that is a possibility,” he said in an interview with the SIC network.
The minister responded in this way after being questioned about the celebration of Workers’ Day in Lisbon, where 800 people gathered by the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP) with a safety distance, although the aerial image of the meeting has ended in controversy .
The minister’s words have caught the diocese of Leiria-Fatima by surprise, which on April 6 announced that it would commemorate the date without pilgrims due to a matter of “great sense of responsibility” in the face of the pandemic and is now studying whether it will be able to receive faithful in the temple.
“They caught us off guard and we are studying the situation, in the sense of knowing what is possible (to do),” the diocese spokesman told the Portuguese newspaper Público, where they say they are very “surprised”.
In the daily conference to take stock of COVID-19, the Minister of Health wanted to clarify her words.
“There is a difference between pilgrims and people who celebrate,” said Temido, implying that there could be faithful present, but not that they approach the site on pilgrimage.
While the issue is debated, the country is preparing to start its de-escalation tomorrow Monday with the opening of hairdressers, barbershops, bookstores, shops of up to 200 square meters with exits to the street and even dealers.
Portugal registers a total of 1,043 deaths and 25,282 coronavirus infections this Sunday, and adds 856 people admitted, of which 144 are in intensive care, always according to official data.