Author: Vieira de Almeida & Associados - Sociedade de Advogados, SP R.L.
Contact: E-Mail (email@example.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Overview of legal measures as of 15 June 2020 as response to the coronavirus. . Please note: Due to the extraordinary situation, the legislation is in continuous evolution and may change very fast.
Managing the impacts of COVID-19
Businesses globally are starting to feel the effects of the spreading of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the adoption of legal measures that have profound impact on businesses in different sectors and on society at large. The implications are broad and complex and we are committed to focusing our knowledge and experience to help you navigate these new legal issues as they arise.
1. State of public calamity and state of emergency
1.1 General framework
The state of emergency started in Angola at 00.00 am on 27 March, enacted through Presidential Decree no. 81/20, of 25 March. Having been extended for three times through Presidential Decrees no. 97/20, of 9 April 2020, 120/20, of 24 April 2020 and Decree no. 128/20, of 8 May 2020, the state of emergency was in place until 11:59 pm on 25 May, having been terminated thereafter.
From then on, the state of public calamity became effective, enacted by the President of the Republic through the Presidential Decree no. 142/20, of 25 May.
We have laid down hereunder a short summary of the legal regime of the state of public calamity and the state of emergency.
1.2 State of public calamity
The situation of public calamity is provided for by the Law of Civil Protection, enacted by Law no. 28/03, of 7 November, and recently amended by Law no. 14/20, of 22 May.
The state of calamity can only be declared when, in light of occurrence or danger of a serious accident, catastrophe or public calamity (as defined by law), it is deemed necessary to adopt derogatory measures to prevent, react or restore normality.
The declaration of a situation of Public Calamity is enacted through act of the Holder of the Executive Power (the President of the Republic), which must specify its nature, measures and territorial scope, being in force for as long as the situation on which it was based persists or there are significant changes certified by the competent authorities of the State (articles 5/2 and 11 of the Law of Civil Protection).
The declaration of the situation of calamity may provide for the adoption of administrative measures, which may impact (i) the functioning of the Direct and Indirect Administration Bodies of the State; (ii) the exercise of commercial and industrial activity and access to goods and services; (iii) the functioning of markets; (iv) activities involving the massive participation of citizens, as long as there is a risk of contagion or insecurity of citizens; (v) the protection of citizens in a situation of vulnerability; (vi) the functioning of public transport; (vii) the functioning of kindergartens, nurseries, educational institutions, retirement homes and foster homes; (viii) the operation of road, air, sea, river and rail traffic; (ix) the provision of health services; (x) the holding of shows, sporting, cultural and leisure activities; (xi) the operation of places of worship, as long as there is a risk of contagion or insecurity for citizens; (xii) the mobilisation of volunteers; (xiii) the defence and control of borders; (xiv) the compulsory provision of individual health care, with or without internment, in the interests of public health; (xv) the definition of health cordons (Article 4 of the Law of Civil Protection).
Furthermore, among other effects and consequences, the declaration of the state of calamity:
(i) enables the temporary occupation of immovable or movable property, as well as civil requisition (Article 4/5).
(ii) enables the summoning of Defence, Security and Internal Order Bodies, as civil protection agents, to support citizens and guarantee compliance with the measures taken (Article 5/6).
The measures to be adopted in the context of the state of public calamity must respect the principle of proportionality of public action, that is, they must be necessary and appropriate to the threat that they aim to address or prevent, and under no circumstances may they jeopardize citizens' rights, freedoms and guarantees, as well as Article 58 of the Constitution of the Republic of Angola (Article 4/3 and 7).
Additionally, articles 5 and 19 of the National Sanitary Regulation, enacted by Law 5/87, of 23 February, complemented by International Sanitary Regulation-2005, accommodated in the Angolan Legal Order by the National Assembly, through Resolution 32/08, of 1 September, legitimize the adoption of additional measures that are indispensable to safeguard the health and safety of the population.
Through Presidential Decree no. 142/20, of May 25, the President of the Republic declared a situation of public calamity in all national territory from 00.00am on 26 May 2020, for as long as the risk of massive spread of the SARS-COV-2 Virus and the COVID-19 Pandemic remains.
Without prejudice to the comments on each specific aspect, the aforementioned regime annexed to the Presidential Decree establishes, in particular, the obligation of confinement of COVID-19 patients and those under active surveillance, as well as the obligation to notification to the health authorities (point 9 of the General and Cross-Sectional Rules provided for in the Annex to Presidential Decree No. 142/20).
Moreover, a civic duty of home collection is imposed (article 7), all citizens being recommended to remain at their homes and refrain from travelling on public and similar spaces and streets, except for necessary and unavoidable displacements.
It is further stipulated that the borders of the Republic of Angola shall remain closed, except in exceptional situations, with the entry and exit of the national territory being subject to health control defined by the competent authorities, in accordance with the International Health Regulation and the National Health Regulation (Article 8).
The establishment of a cordon sanitaire is also provided for the Province of Luanda and for the period between 00:00 on 26 May and 23:59 on 9 June 2020, with border control and a slower return of the workforce to public services (Articles 9 and 13/2).
Certain establishments such as health units and vocational training centres are expected to reopen. Reopening dates are also provided for (i) educational establishments; (ii) sports competitions and training; and (iii) restaurants and similar establishments (Articles 14, 18, 19 and 22)
It is further determined that the commercial activity for goods and services in general must take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., observing a limit of workforce attending at work (50% from 26 May, 75% from 8 June and the total re-establishment of the labour force from 29 June) and respecting biosecurity rules (Article 21 and point 4 of the Specific Rules set out in the Annex to Presidential Decree No. 142/20).
Activities and meetings are allowed, with a maximum limit of 150 people and a restriction of 50% of the capacity, when held indoors, with the use of a face mask and compliance with the rules of biosecurity and physical separation being mandatory (article 27 and point 8 of the Specific Rules set out in the Annex to Presidential Decree No. 142/20).
1.11 Persons with a higher risk
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1.3 State of emergency
The state of emergency, originally declared by Presidential Decree 81/2020, of 25 March 2020, and extended by Presidential Decrees 97/20, of 9 April 2020, and 120/20, of 24 April 2020, has now been renewed by Presidential Decree 128/20, of 8 May 2020. Below you will find an overview of the essential issues that arise from this regime as well as an explanation on how they have been implemented by the authorities.
After hearing the Government and obtaining the National Assembly's authorization, the President of the Republic is entitled to declare a state of emergency, which determines or allows for the determination of partial suspension of citizens’ rights, freedoms and guarantees based on the occurrence (or threat) of a public disaster.
A state of emergency can only be declared if a public disaster occurs or is threatened to occur.
The state of emergency legal framework is laid down in Articles 57, 58, 119(p), 125.3, 161(h) and 204 of the Constitution of the Angolan Republic, and in Law 17/91, of 11 May 1991.
In practical terms, the declaration of a state of emergency may involve the partial suspension of certain rights, freedoms and guarantees, as ordered: e.g. a ban on travel or on the performance of certain personal or business activities.
If necessary, civil administrative authorities can have their powers reinforced and be supported by the Armed Forces.
The declaration of a state of emergency grants public authorities powers to adopt the necessary and adequate measures, exempting them from complying with certain formalities in doing so (e.g., the Ministry of Health’s power to requisite human or material resources from private-law businesses).
Asa rule, the declaration of a state of emergency must abide by the principle of proportionality and be limited, in particular regarding its scope and duration and the resources used, to what is strictly necessary in view of the specific circumstances.
Scope of the measures
The state of emergency cannot affect rights of superior constitutional dignity identified in the law and the Constitution. In particular, the declaration must abide by the principle of equality and non-discrimination as well as some elementary guarantees linked with the criminal procedural (e.g., against illegal arrests and detention) and access to courts. Moreover, it may not impose prior censorship of the media or prevent meetings of the statutory bodies of political parties, trade unions and professional associations.
The declaration of a state of emergency may not, under any circumstance, affect or undermine the constitutional rules regarding the competence and functioning of the sovereign bodies, the rights and immunities of the members of those bodies, the rights to life, personal integrity, personal identity, civil capacity and citizenship, freedom of conscience and religion, the non-retroactivity of criminal law and the defendants' right of defense.
As for its content, the declaration must specify which rights, freedoms and guarantees are suspended.
In the present case, with the enactment of Presidential Decree 128/20 the following rights are suspended in full or partially:
(a) Inviolability of the home;
(b) Private property;
(c) Private enterprise;
(d) Freedom of belief, in its collective dimension;
(e) Right of residency, circulation and migration;
(f) Right of assembly and protest
(g) Right to inviolability of correspondence and communications;
(h) Right to strike and other workers’ rights;
A state of emergency may be declared with regard to the entire or a mere part of the national territory and must only be declared regarding such area or territory where the measures are deemed required to ensure or restore normality. Among others, measures can be adopted to restrict circulation or impose forced quarantine in certain areas.
In the present case, the declaration applies to the entire national territory.
A state of emergency shall only last for as long as strictly required to protect the envisaged rights and interests and to restore normality.
Maximum duration is 90 days, without prejudice to any renewal for one or more identical periods if the cause determining it, should subsist.
In the case at hand, the state of emergency was extended 4 times for 15 days periods and terminated at 11.59 pm on 25 May 2020 (Article 1 of the Presidential Decree 128/20).
Any person breaching the provisions in Law 17/91 and in the declaration of a state of emergency (or in its implementation) may incur in criminal liability, notwithstanding any other form of disciplinary or civil liability which may also arise.
1.4 Impact of measures approved by the State
The COVID-19 could also warrant regulatory or authoritative measures on the part of Government with a direct impact on private businesses, including suspending their activities or shutting down services, establishments and the enjoyment of public or private places, or the compulsory confinement or provision of health care to persons who constitute a danger to public health – as originally occurred following the declaration of the state of emergency, with the closure of public services of the central and local administration of the State, in the meantime reopened –, as well as the implementation of conditions to the functioning of private commercial establishments and of markets open to public, as it was more recently determined, following the transition from a state of emergency to state of public calamity, with the imposition of limitations on the presence of the workforce, respect for biosecurity rules and physical separation, and the adoption of the rule of temperature control and the installation of hand sanitization points at the entrance and inside the premises (Article 21).
Businesses can anticipate those measures and set up a plan of action in the event of contagion, quarantine, compulsory shutdown, limitations to air travel or circulation and shutdown of non-essential public services.
Compulsory nature of measures
Public health guidelines issued by authorities are not always binding. However, compliance with those guidelines is linked to the performance of care duties, which may in turn protect and release your company from any damage claims based on tort (or other reasons).
Companies should therefore be prepared to identify and react quickly and appropriately to any legislative or regulatory amendments and to review mere instructions or guidelines.
Companies should also duly record any prevention measures taken by your own initiative or to comply with any laws, guidelines or administrative regulations in connection with the COVID-19.
Entitlement to compensations
In very exceptional circumstances, the State could be forced to pay compensation based on any measures adopted to fight the COVID-19 which, although legal, caused special and unusual damages. The State could enact a specific act creating exceptional compensation or liability limitation regimes.
If, in the context of the public calamity situation, the measures taken unlawfully harm a natural or legal person, the latter will be entitled to compensation under general terms (Article 4/4 of the Civil Protection Law), being also established the right to compensation of the owners of the immovable or movable property used (Article 4/5 of the Law of Civil Protection).
2. Labour issues
2.1 Impact on the management of employees
In the current context, as determined in recent Executive Decree approved by the Minister of Public Administration, Labour and Social Security, companies subject to the General Labour Law must prepare and apply a Contingency Plan on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the law does not expressly state, to respond to the goal which led to the obligation to draw up that plan, it must contain:
· a list of the work places which are temporarily closed and those that will operate;
· the composition of the teams attending work;
· the scheme under which the members of that teams should provide work (either in the work place or at home);
· rules of organization of work and interaction between employees at the company’s premises and at home;
· hygiene and safety rules within the company’s premises specially designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and
· the procedures to be adopted in the event of any employee presenting symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
Only the competent health authorities may prescribe that screening tests for COVID-19 be carried out on employees suspected of being exposed to the infection, or who are under active surveillance.
Employees subject to special measures
During the period of the Calamity, the following employees will be exempt from on site work, as long as they are covered by a cordon sanitaire (as is the case in the Province of Luanda):
· Employees aged 60 or over;
· Employees with a chronic disease considered to be at risk, in accordance with the guidelines of the health authorities;
· Pregnant employees and/or;
· Employees with children under 12 years of age at their care, considering that this benefit is only taken up by one of the parents, regardless of the number of minors in their care.
In areas not subject to cordon sanitaire, the above-mentioned employees should, whenever possible, be part of the workforce temporarily exempted from work until the entire workforce returns to work on premises.
To the extent that there are employees in one of the situations described above, specific measures should be considered to ensure an increased level of protection covering those specific cases. Such measures should, whenever possible, be assessed together with the occupational safety and health services, as well as articulated with the recommendations of health authorities.
Employees working at home
The provision of telework is compulsory for employees who are exempted from providing work on site and telework is compatible with their functions. In these cases, the employee's consent is waived.
As for other employees, in so far, the provision of work under these conditions is compatible, the adoption of the telework regime is recommended, but the agreement of the employee is required.
When it is not possible to fully implement the telework, daily or weekly staff rotation scales should be established, with different entry and exit times.
Special duty of information
The Contingency Plan must be known to all employees and, therefore, its communication will necessarily have to cope with this concern. In addition, mechanisms should be introduced to facilitate contact between the company and employees, with respect for private intimacy, but also ensuring centralized monitoring and handling of issues.
Prophylactic isolation of employees
If there is reason to suspect contagion by COVID-19, the isolation of the employee should, as far as possible, result from a decision by the health authority. If it is not possible to timely obtain this decision, the isolation - and consequent abandonment of the company's facilities - must be determined by the employer, together with the occupational health and safety services, with the employee being required to comply with this order.
As previously mentioned, employees infected with COVID-19, as well as employees to whom a health authority has determined a situation of active surveillance / prophylactic isolation (quarantine), are subject to mandatory quarantine and, to the extent that the symptoms do not prevent the performance of the professional activity, remote working mechanisms may be implemented, and it is up to the company to create the necessary conditions for this purpose.
Impacts of isolation on the employment contract and maintenance of the right of remuneration
If isolation is not an obstacle to the performance of professional activity, the employee shall, in principle, maintain the right to remuneration. If isolation prevents the provision of work, the employee is only entitled to the basic monthly salary. However, we would recommend that a case-by-case analysis is always undertake.
In addition, several measures were approved to ease the economic impact caused by COVID-19 on families, including the obligation for private sector companies to transfer to their employees' salaries the value of the social security contribution owed by employees (3% of the salary) in April, May and June 2020, in order to improve family income.
Social benefits for employees – Vacation
The limitations imposed during the State of Emergency in relation to scheduling/change of vacations have been withdrawn.
In any case, during the Calamity Situation changes to previously scheduled vacation should, preferably, be made with the agreement of the employees. If an agreement is not reached, the possibilities for the company to reschedule the holidays are strongly limited, both in terms of the marking period or the enjoyment of the holiday. However, in exceptional situations, employees may be required to enjoy vacations during the period of partial or total suspension of the activity of the work center, provided economic imperatives related to the company so justify it. Thus, in so far as the partial or total suspension of the activity of the work center seriously affects the financial situation of the company, the employer may, in principle, impose to employees the enjoyment during the period of suspension of the activity, upon notification to the relevant employees.
Assuming that isolation is not caused by a situation of incapacity, the employee can continue to work remotely, and the company must ensure that the necessary conditions occur in the specific case. Desirably, the remote work must have the agreement of the employee and any refusals should be managed by the company in a case-by-case basis to safeguard both the continuity of the production process and the legal guarantees enjoyed by the employee.
Employees with children under 12 years of age are exempted from work on site, considering that this alternative only benefit one parent regardless of the minors in their care.
Employees’ absence from the regular place of work or the abstention from the provision of work at home to provide support to their children will only be considered justified if the employee so requests and the employer authorizes such absence or abstention. Moreover, such absence shall be paid only if the employer does not expressly state otherwise in the respective authorization.
Mitigation of corporate crisis
Measures to alleviate the economic impact of COVID-19 on companies have recently been approved:
· the deferral of the payment of social security contributions (8% of payroll) for the 2nd quarter of 2020, in 6 monthly instalments, from July to December, without payment of interest; and
· the opening of subsidized credit lines to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the productive sector.
In addition, existing labour legislation already provides for a set of mechanisms that could in some way mitigate companies’ costs, such as the adoption of working hours schemes to reduce working time and remuneration, as well as modelling working times in the period of crisis and post-crisis, thereby reducing financial costs with staff.
All employees of companies whose activities are not suspended must be accompanied by a credential issued by reference to the form approved by Presidential Decree no. 98/20, of 9 April, when heading to work. Workers may be asked to show the named to credential to the authorities when commuting from home to work.
3. Impact on the management of tax obligations
3.1 Tax measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19
It what regards tax obligations, it was announced the extension of the deadline for compliance with the following obligations:
· Deadlines to comply with tax obligations (payment and submission of the tax returns) regarding Industrial Tax were postponed until May 29 for taxpayers within Group B and June 30 for taxpayers within Group A.
· Payment of social security contributions due by employers (8%), regarding the 2nd quarter of 2020, may be paid in 6 instalments (July to December), without interest.
· Urban Property Tax ("Imposto Predial Urbano") may be paid in 4 instalments - 1st until de end of April; 2nd until the end of June; 3rd until the end of August; and 4th until the end of October.
A tax credit is granted for a period of 12 months of the VAT paid upon importation of capital and raw material goods necessary to the “basic basket” ("cesta básica").
Costs with goods imported or produced locally, services provided and monetary funds allocated to provide humanitarian help shall be deemed as deductible for tax purposes.
Pursuant to a notice issued by AGT, it was decided to suspend all external tax audits.
3.2 Interaction with the Tax and Customs Authority
During the public calamity situation in force, tax and customs offices will have reduced workforce and perform services with reduced working time. Pursuant to the diploma that approved the calamity situation, the work schedule goes from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Taxpayer Support Centre (“Central de Apoio ao Contribuinte”) will continue to operate from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To clarify any queries regarding tax matters and for purposes of fulfilment of tax obligations, AGT recommends taxpayers to:
· contact the Taxpayer Support Centre (“Central de Apoio ao Contribuinte”) by telephone (923167272) or e-mail (email@example.com);
· use the platform “Portal do Contribuinte” (https://portaldocontribuinte.minfin.gov.ao);
· send their queries by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
For customs issues, contacts should also be made preferably using the available platforms and email addresses.
4. Impacts on corporate governance
4.1 Corporate management
Companies’ governing bodies are subject to special duties of care in the management of the risks inherent to the COVID-19 threat.
Companies whose activities are to be maintained have the obligation to create the necessary biosafety conditions for the protection of people that are providing services. Therefore, these companies should prepare and implement contingency plans geared at continuing their business and the safety of their employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.
Whenever possible, companies should create taskforces to monitor, on the one hand, the evolution of contagion and contention of the COVID-19 in close liaison with the health and local authorities and, on the other hand, the economic, financial and commercial impacts that materialize or that could foreseeably impact their business or that of third parties, adjusting their commercial strategies in order to minimize and overcome any issues that may arise.
It is particularly important that such plans be communicated on time to all structures of the companies, implemented, monitored and reviewed, if required. It is equally important that the process of setting up and approving such plans by the company’s decision-making bodies is guided by rational business criteria and duly documented. Members of the governing bodies may be held liable for the absence of such plans or losses arising from the failure to communicate them on time.
4.2 Daily activities of companies
As part of the legislative package adopted along with the decree that extended the duration of the state of emergency, a number of measures were adopted to remove the burden of red tape on businesses, of which we would like to highlight the following:
· Companies are no longer required to seek their registration for statistical purposes;
· Operations permits are now only required for activities related to the trade of foodstuff, animal and vegetable species, poultry, medicines, sale of motor vehicles, fuels, lubricants and chemicals. Companies engaged in other activities are only required to seek an authorization from the Municipal Administration to open their premises.
5.1 Impacts on the management of contracts
Impact of COVID-19-related events on contractual relationships
In order to assess the impact of any COVID-19-related events on your contractual relationships you should first check whether the contract already provides for solutions regarding this type of event (e.g., force majeure clauses that cover epidemics, change in circumstances clauses, clauses for the suspension or extension of deadlines in light of non-attributable events, etc.).
As part of any standard interpretation of a contract, even if the contracts include clauses foreseeing specific solutions for those events, you should always check whether those solutions are valid under the law applicable to the contract, in an exceptional and emergency scenario such as the current scenario. The applicable law shall determine the legal regime to be considered both in the interpretation of the Agreement and in the search for legal solutions not covered by the contract, such as the legal framework for changes in circumstances or impossible performance.
If a contractual obligation cannot be definitively performed, Angolan law foresees the expiry of such obligation due to impossibility, provided that the causal link between the COVID-19 event and the impossibility to perform the agreed obligation is duly demonstrated.
If, on the other hand, my contractual performance is only temporarily impossible, and the performance deadline is just delayed, Angolan law also foresees that the debtor will not answer for the consequences of the delay.
These effects are not effective automatically but are predicated on the specific situation at hand. Besides, they always require solid evidence, and therefore it is advisable, as a cautious manner, to keep adequate supporting documentation should the need to claim an objective impossibility to perform arise.
With regard to the obligations arising from bank loans, Presidential Decree 128/20, foresees that demands, delays and enforcement shall have no effect, by virtue of delay in complying with obligations which may not be complied with as a result of the State of Emergency.
Should the contractual obligation become impossible, the relevant party has no obligation to compensate the other party. But if the other party has already performed their obligation (e.g., payment of the service) I need to return such payment or if return is not possible, compensate the counterparty.
Also, if someone allege that the obligation has become excessively burdensome in order to be excused from its performance, theoretically it is possible (e.g.: the price set for a service has become ruinous in light of the changes caused by the COVID-19 to the distribution chain), alleging that the circumstances in which the parties decided to enter into the contract have changed. However, the validity of such allegation is predicated on the assessment of the relevance of the event for the performance of the contract, the risks inherent to the contract, the specific provisions of the contract and the equity of the measure.
Any solution will always be grounded on the ability to prove the facts that modified the original circumstances underlying the contractual terms and ultimately, the equity and balance of the solution.
Breaching of contracts in place with third parties related to facts of COVID-19
If the contractual obligation becomes impossible or excessively burdensome following a chain default (e.g.: I cannot perform because my key raw materials’ supplier fails to supply them due to the shut down by an administrative order of its factory or a certain good or service cannot enter or exit the country by virtue of the restrictions imposed by the sanitary fence) Angolan law states that, provided that some requirements are met, the obligation may expire in the same terms as described above. In any case, the existence of this causal link will always have to be shown.
Reaction of clients’/suppliers’ default with the justification based on COVID-19 cases
In some cases, it is possible to claim losses of interest in the obligation and terminate the contract without compensation (e.g., someone ordered a certain product from a company, which claimed it could not deliver the product because its supplier had temporarily or definitively shut down its factory). Loss of interest in the obligation is foreseen in Angolan law, as is the option of terminating the contract as a result of said loss of interest, without compensation and being able to demand the return of any obligation already performed.
Notwithstanding and as mentioned above, the review of the specific contract and the relevant documentation in place between the parties is crucial to this conclusion.
5.2 Impact on leases
Presidential Decree 128/20 maintains the transitional derogation regime for the protection of tenants, under which the eviction proceedings by landlords are forbidden in the residential leases. This regime does not exempt the tenant from the obligation to pay the rent.
6. Finance & Foreign Exchange
6.1 Impact on bank loans – Moratorium
Under BNA’s Order 4/2020, of 30 March, (“Order 4/2020”), bank customers may benefit from a 60-day moratorium to pay the instalments of their bank loans, said moratorium covering capital and interest.
Generally, the beneficiaries of this moratorium would be bank customers that:
· expressly request it in writing before the relevant bank; and
· are parties to credit operations that are in order and that are already under a reimbursement stage or initiated such stage, in March 2020.
Furthermore, banks are prevented from modifying the amount if the instalments and must suspend all admonishments, constitution of customers in arrears and enforcement proceedings resulting from the delay in the compliance of the obligations to pay capital and interest, when such payments cannot be made as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Banks are also under the obligation to adopt the necessary measures to ensure that the relevant contractual addendums are made a posteriori.
However the measures foreseen in Order 4/2020 are exempt from expenses and commissions.
6.2 Measures promoting credit granting to real economy
BNA Order 10/2020, of 1 April, establishes a set of measures designed for boosting the financing of projects of small and medium-sized companies (with more favourable terms and conditions), for 2020 year.
In addition, by means of Presidential Decree 98/20, of 9 April, a financial package consisting in different credit lines was cleared with a view to help micro, small and medium companies in the services-sector keeping operating.
Key measures launched
· Extension of the range of products eligible to be financed (with more favourable terms and conditions). Eligible products are now the products listed in Presidential Decree 23/2019, of 14 January (which is available at http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwin7K6O7vnoAhUX3IUKHSikAMkQFjAAegQIAhAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.governo.gov.ao%2Fdownload.aspx%3Fid%3D1207%26tipo%3Dlegislacao&usg=AOvVaw0p-JWKeBMwf8XP_ASh6i7u);
· Increase of the minimum amount to be financed by banks until end-2020 from 2.0 % of bank’s net assets to 2.5 %; and
· Prioritisation/enhancement of credit granting to agricultural cooperatives and small and medium-sized companies by establishing a minimum number of credits to be made available in 2020 on the basis of banks’ net assets.
The total cost of credit cannot exceed 7.5% per year (includes the nominal interest rate and fees and commissions). If covered by a State guarantee, the costs to be paid to the Credit Guarantee Fund (Fundo de Garantia de Crédito) are added to the total cost of credit.
6.3 Credit line for purchasing Non-Adjustable Treasury Bonds (NATB)
Purpose of the credit line for purchasing NATB by BNA
Enable small and medium-sized companies to transform NATB into cash, allowing the improvement of treasury management during COVID-19 pandemic period. Relevant legal framework is set forth in BNA Instruction 6/2020, of 6 April (“Instruction 6/2020”).
Eligible companies and NATB
Small and medium-sized companies in operation which hold eligible NATB.
Issue date: 2019 or 2020;
· Residual maturity: up to 4 years; and
· Which are not pledged as collateral of banking loans.
Please see other terms & conditions below:
· Amount: AOA 100 billion;
· Availability period: the credit line will be available:
- Up to 3 months from the date of publication of Instruction 6/2020, or
- Until full utilisation of the credit line,
whichever occurs first.
BNA may extend the availability period in justified cases.
· Maximum available amount by company: a billion Kwanzas;
· Trading conditions: BNA purchases NATB at par value, if yield until maturity is equal to or exceeds 18%; or at discount ensuring a minimum yield until maturity of 18%;
· Intermediation fees: 0,1%.
Procedures for getting the credit line
The process begins with the Company submitting to the custodian bank an expression of interest to sell NATB to BNA.
The custodian bank is responsible for checking eligibility of the applicant company and NATB. Within 1 business day from receiving the expression of interest, the relevant custodian bank sends to BNA the information allowing the confirmation of eligibility.
BNA assesses the application and informs the relevant custodian bank of the decision of accepting, or not, the proposed sale of NATB.
The terms and conditions of the purchase by BNA are informed by the relevant custodian bank to the applicant company. The sale and purchase of NATB is completed in 2 business days.
Contact fo additional information
To Departamento de Mercados e Activos: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6.4 Foreign exchange
Handling of foreign exchange transactions
By means of Decree 98/20, of 9 Abril, Presidential Decree 273/11, of 27 October, which enacted the Regulations on the Hiring of Foreign Technical Assistance and Management Services, was revoked. Therefore, the so-called foreign technical assistance contracts are no longer subject to licensing with the Ministry of Economy and the settlement of the relevant invoices is now handled as a regular invisible of trade transaction.
7. Impacts on insurance management
Risks inherent to COVID-19
COVID-19 and the official pandemic declaration by the WHO is a novel situation, it is therefore recommended to carefully review insurance policies to understand whether related insurance claims correspond to risks covered by the policy.
It is important to check if there are no exclusions that would exclude you from the scope of the coverage. Exclusions can be more or less detailed, with more concrete or more general reference to diseases, epidemics or pandemics. It is important to consider how the terms used intersect with the guidelines ssued by the WHO and other official health authorities.
A detailed analysis of the policy conditions is also essential to assess the deadlines and contents for notifying the insurance company of the claim, as well as the means of proof required for exercising your rights.
The infection resulting from the virus is not an accidental event, therefore, in principle, it is not covered under the work accidents insurance. An infection by COVID-19 in a work context (e.g. infection of healthcare professionals) has already been recognised by the World Health Organisation as an occupational disease and as such is excluded from the work accidents insurance coverage.
For employees carrying out their activity through teleworking, the cover of a work accident will depend on whether the applicable requirements are met. For this purpose, the employer must document the telework, including (i) keeping of an internal record with the names of the workers, (ii) the dates and (iii) the authorised times, (iv) the addresses were the teleworking will be provided and (v) the prior authorisation of the employer.
As stated above, the infection resulting from the virus does not correspond an accidental event and therefore, in principle, is not covered by a personal accidents insurance.
8. Public Administration and on Public Procurement Procedures
8.1 Impacts on the relationship with the Public Administration
Broadly speaking, the consequences of COVID-19 on relations between private individuals may also, with certain adaptations, be extrapolated to the relationship between individuals and the Public Administration, notably and always subject to a case-by-case analysis:
· Qualification as a "force majeure" event, as grounds for not complying, in whole or in part, with obligations provided for in an administrative contract, in particular with regard to deadlines (depending on what the contract specifically provides for and provided that a causal link between the illness and the impossibility of meeting deadlines is evidenced, as well as the impossibility or unenforceability of taking alternative measures, or their insufficiency, and always without prejudice to the counterparty's duty to inform).
· Claiming the occurrence of an abnormal and unforeseeable change in circumstances as grounds for amending the contract and/or restoring the financial balance.
· Claiming a "justifiable reason" as a ground for excusable non-compliance with deadlines before the Public Administration (or, at least, as a ground for requesting an extension of the deadline).
· With the transition to a state of public calamity, there is no longer any provision for the suspension of legal deadlines and statutory periods of limitation like the one which was in force during the state of emergency. However, articles 34 and 35 of Presidential Decree 142/20 provide that official documents which have expired, notably ID Cards, Driving Licenses, Motor Vehicles Booklets, Motor Vehicle titles, Passport and Residency Permits, shall remain valid and that licenses, permits or other administrative acts shall remain valid until 30 August, regardless of its expiry date.
8.2 Impact on public procurement procedures
COVID-19-related events will enable Contracting Public Entities to adopt streamlined and simplified acquisition procedures. The urgent acquisition of goods and services necessary to control and tackle the pandemic is subject to an exceptional regime, whose terms and conditions will be determined by the Head of the ministerial department in charge of public finance (article 30 of the Presidential Decree no. 128/20).
The same article establishes that essential goods and services, such as medication, hospital material, biosafety material and other essential material, may also be acquired through a simplified procedure, whose terms will be determined by the head of the ministerial department in charge of public finance, as well.
The exceptional regime mentioned in article 30 of the Presidential Decree no. 128/20 is provided for in the Executive Decree no. 153/20 of 17 April, of the Finance Ministry, which established the following measures:
1. Adoption of a simplified procurement procedure, on the basis of the material criterion of extreme urgency, with provision being made in this connection for a number of additional simplification measures such as waiving requirements applicable to procedural documents, waiving of qualification documents or waiver of the necessity of a written contract;
2. Modification of the limits of competence for expenditure authorisation;
3. Removal of the limit to additional works;
4. Possibility of advance payments by the Contracting Public Entities;
Deadlines of ongoing public procurement procedures
While its scope has been restricted to procedures related to the process of preventing and combating COVID-19, Executive Decree 153/20 provides, in article 5, that the deadlines relating to all ongoing public procurement procedures should be considered suspended, with effect from 27 March 2020, for the duration of the State of Emergency.
Withdrawal of bids already submitted in a public procurement procedure
The disruption caused by COVID-19 could be grounds to release the bidder from the bid submitted provided that it is duly justified (such disruption must be an event which the bidder was not required to be aware of at the time of preparation of the bid and that demonstrably renders performance impossible or excessively burdensome).
Impact on the performance of public contracts and public works
Through Instruction No. 03/GMF/2020, the Ministry of Finance determines that the declaration of the state of emergency as a result of the pandemic is a case of force majeure, thus causing the temporary suspension of obligations in the performance of contracts without guarantee funding.
In this sense, the Instruction sets-forth that excluding contracts and procedures in the health, education and social action sectors, or to those related to logistical supply, sanitation and others whose source of funding has been previously secured, as long as the Transitional Measures for the Response to the Oil Price Reduction and the Impact of the Pandemic of COVID-19 are in force, the Budget Units should:
1. Suspend the implementation of all contracts under the Public Investment Programme (PIP) whose source of financing is not assured;
2. Suspend the execution of all non-priority and structural contracts within development support expenditure, without guaranteed financing;
3. Reserve the amounts available for payment of priority and essential contracts at this time, suspending all others.
Regarding priority and strategic public work, Presidential Decree 142/20 authorizes the resume of public works considered to be priority and strategic, from 26 May onwards while other public and private works may also resume after 8 June 2020 (Article 26).
9.1 Impacts on litigation matters
Presidential Decree no. 142/20 dated 25th May is silent in what regards the functioning of the courts. On the other hand, bearing in mind that the decision of the Superior Council of Magistrates dated 25th March, ordered the generalized suspension of the judicial courts for a 15-day period, only (and this deadline was never extended whilst the State of Emergency was pending), it should be understood that in the absence of any other rules, courts will resume work as normal, subject of course, to the adoption of hygiene and safety measures imposed by the mentioned Presidential Decree no. 142/20 dated 25th May.
As mentioned above, it is expected that court activity be resumed subject to the adoption of hygiene and safety measures imposed by the mentioned Presidential Decree no. 142/20 dated 25th May. This being the case, anyone summoned to attend hearings in person, must appear before the court.
In any event, failure to appear before the court or to participate by any means of remote communication can always be justified based on health reasons, subject to the judge’s acceptance of such justification.
Albeit the successive Presidential Decrees declaring the State of Emergency determined that it would fall to the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, in articulation with the Superior Council of Magistrates and that of the Public Prosecutor, to adopt the measures found adequate to ensure access to the law and the courts as means to safeguard rights, freedoms and guarantees at harm or under the menace of being harmed, no such measures were ruled on or adopted with regard procedural deadlines in course. The Presidential Decree no. 142/20 dated 25th May on the other hand is silent on the matter. Consequently, it should be assumed that rules regarding deadlines in ongoing proceedings are unaltered.
Presidential Decree no. 142/20 dated 25th May does not deal with this subject-matter. Thus being, it should be assumed that the suspension of the statutes of limitations and expiry deadlines has been lifted as a result of the end of the term of the Presidential Decree no. 128/20 dated 8th May.
10.1 Punishable behaviours
The law provides for and punishes as a crime of hoarding the behaviour in which the trader, taking advantage of a notorious shortage of essential goods, such as medicines, masks, or disinfectant products, refuses to sell or hide the provisions, to the detriment of consumers who need these goods.
In this context, speculative conducts, whereby goods are marketed at prices higher than those which would result from natural and free competition; and fraudulent advertising, whereby unjustified profit is sought, in particular as regards fake medical procedures for cure, are also punished.
In the event of a violation of the rules on self-isolation, the competent authorities shall instruct the citizen to return home in an educated manner.
Failure to respect this order constitutes a crime of disobedience, punishable under criminal law, and may lead to immediate detention.
10.2 COVID-19 contamination
If contamination is malicious or if, at least, the infected person anticipates that they could infect others through their behaviour. Although the Criminal Code does not define the crime of spreading contagious disease, the conduct of someone who is infected and, knowingly, intentionally infects others, may be included in the crimes of bodily harm, homicide and poisoning.
10.3 Failure at adapting preventive measures
Liability may arise from failure to comply with the general duty of assistance laid down by law, according to which, in a situation of public disaster or common danger, the aid necessary to remove the danger must be provided.
Another cause of liability could be failure to comply with or to obey the preventive measures decreed by the authorities, to the extent that it is subsequently demonstrated that such failure contributed to the spread of the disease. The company or its officers may also be charged with a crime of disobedience, which will be automatic in a state of emergency and will have to be expressly imposed in order of the authority or legislative act in the other cases.
In addition, a company cannot repudiate its regulatory regulations during the crisis. It should be noted, however, that the general principles of exclusion of guilt provided for in sanctioning legislation, namely exculpatory need and conflict of duties, remain in force and can be invoked.
In the event of any situation where, for pressing reasons, it is not possible to comply with the regulatory obligations or guidelines of the authorities, it is advisable to preserve all documentation and information that would enable proving the lawfulness of the failure to comply or delay in complying with the obligation or order.
It is important to bear in mind that criminal law does not apply retroactively, which means that the criminalization or the creation of administrative offenses during the epidemiological crisis is only possible after its entry into force and never in relation to situations that occurred at an earlier time.
Also, Situations created in the crisis, with a view to not punishing certain events in which in normal circumstances they would be punished (e.g. submission of expired declarations) are only valid for the period expressly stipulated in the law creating the derogation regime and cannot be claimed outside this circumstance.
11. Impact on imports and exports of goods
11.1 Essential goods
Under BNA’s Order 5/2020, of 30 March, (“Order 5/2020”), the import of basic foodstuff, medication, biosafety material and other essential materials (jointly referred to as “Essential Goods”) is no longer subject to the limits foreseen under Order 18/19, of 25 October, subject to the condition that the underlying payments be made directly to the producers or their official representatives.
The same Order establishes that essential goods and services, such as medication, hospital material, biosafety material and other essential material, may also be acquired through a simplified procedure, whose terms will be determined by the head of the ministerial department in charge of public finance, as well.
Moreover, the importation of Essential Goods shall be subject to an exceptional licensing regime intended to simplify the relevant procedures.
Such measures apply only to the following essential foodstuff:
· grain of maize;
· wheat grain;
· powdered milk;
· cooking oil;
· cattle meat;
· pig meat;
· chicken meat.
Pursuant to Order 5/2020, only advance payments regarding the import of essential goods in amounts superior to US$ 100.000,00 (one hundred thousand United Stated dollars), per operation, are subject to BNA approval, subject to an exemption on the issuance of performance bank guarantees.
Advance payments regarding other assets that may come to be considered as essential and that are superior to US$ 100.000,00 (one hundred thousand United Stated dollars) are also subject to BNA approval.
As means to benefit from said approval, interested parties must address their duly grounded requests to their commercial banks that will then be forwarded to BNA. BNA’s exchange control department should reply to the approval requests within 48 hours from the receipt of the request or the additional clarifications that it deems fit to request.
This exceptional regime entered into force on March, 30th, and it is set to last for a 90-day period.
11.2 Custom duties and taxation on imports
For a start, goods imported to provide humanitarian help and/or donations shall now be exempt from VAT and custom duties.
In addition, it is foreseen that taxes due on importation of goods food, medicines and other essential goods may be paid under the so-called “a posteriori payment” regime.
Regarding exportations, the approved measures also include a suspension of all the exportations related with nationalized food products, medicines and medical equipment. It is also expressly prohibited to take out from national territory certain essential goods, fuel, medicines and equipment / materials for medical use.
12. Mobility & Transports
12.1 Main impacts
Presidential Decree no. 142/20 sets-forth a number of restrictions on the exercise of rights, such as the right of residence, movement and migration to any part of the national territory, as well as on the right of international movement. In this respect, among the several measures that were adopted in this regard, we would like to highlight the following:
· civic duty of home isolation, all citizens are recommended to refrain from travelling and staying on public roads (without prejudice to urgent and required travels);
· the existing provincial cordons sanitaire are suspended (excluding Luanda, as per below). However, it is possible for the competent authorities to reinstate them if there is a risk of community transmission or where the epidemiological situation so recommends. In such situations, restrictive measures may be implemented with regard to the entry and exit of persons;
· the cordon sanitaire in the Province of Luanda is extended from 0 a.m. of 26 May to 23.59 p.m. of 9 June, being prohibited all entries and exits in this Province (except for urgent or necessary travels, namely those regarding the supply of essential goods and services, and the movement of humanitarian aid or sick persons;
· public urban and interprovincial transport are restored, being allowed to operate with only up to 50% of their total passenger capacity. This number shall be updated to 75% of the total passenger capacity on 8 June;
· domestic flights are permitted, provided that capacity limitations and biosecurity measures (to be defined) are met. Flights to areas subject to cordons sanitaire are not permitted;
· rail passenger transports will be resumed on 9 June, being allowed to operate with only up to 50% of their total passenger capacity. Travels to areas subject to cordons sanitaire are not allowed;
· moto-taxis services are subject to specific regulations;
· public urban transports are allowed to operate without restrictions on the opening hours;~
· specific rules are defined for the operation of public transports, which include among others the provision of hand sanitizing solutions to staff and customers, the mandatory use of face masks or the creation of conditions to maintain the physical distance between passengers;
· the borders remain closed. Notwithstanding, provided that prior health checks are conducted by the relevant health authorities, the entry and exit in the country is possible on the following cases:
o return to the national territory by national citizens and foreign residents;
o travels of foreign citizens returning to their respective countries;
o official travels;
o entry and exit of cargo, goods and postal parcels;
o humanitarian aid;
o medical emergencies;
o technical stops;
o entry and exit of diplomatic and consular personnel;
o transport of corpses (up to two escorts are admitted);
o entries of foreign specialists for the performance of specific tasks.
In addition to the above, reference must also be made to Executive Decree no. 160/20, of 27 April 2020 (“ED 160/20”), which enacts a number of transitory measures aimed at ensuring that the transportation sector keeps operating while the state of emergency is in place. Among others, ED 160/20:
i) outlines the sanitary and biosecurity conditions that operators and agents are required to implement in order to control and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 and therefore protect their staff and service;
ii) establishes the specific measures applicable to each sector:
i. air transport of passengers on domestic flights is permitted, with the exception of flights to the province of Luanda (subject to a cordon sanitaire);
ii. the transport of passengers engaged in the provision of services within the oil and mining sectors, is not subject to the flight restrictions applicable to the province of Luanda;
port and maritime
i. the following services are permitted:
a. maritime freight services, and loading and unloading operations;
b. cargo handling and repackaging for security reasons;
c. rescue and other urgent operational services;
d. maritime transportation services for the petroleum industry;
e. all material acts which are necessary for the carrying out of the above maritime operations, in particular the handling of cargo by terminals;
ii. the transport of passengers to any national port is prohibited, except in which refers to the transportation of workers within the Oil&Gas sector posted to rigs or offshore FPSOs.
iii) lists the minimum services to be ensured by the regulatory bodies and companies operating in the sector, including the National Institute of Civil Aviation (INAVIC), the Port and Maritime Institute of Angola (IMPA), the National Institute of Angolan Railways (INCFA), and the National Institute of Road Transportation (INTR); and
iv) establishes a number of special measures to be implemented in order to ensure that goods and cargo are cleared in a swift manner and lays down the duties assisting in respect thereof to shipping agents, the National Shippers Council, Port Authorities and port terminals.
In regard to the maritime- sector, the Port of Luanda has recently adopted the following measures:
· vessels wishing to dock must inform the port 72 hours in advance of the vessel's last 10 ports;
· all requests for direct berthing at the port of Luanda are suspended, vessels should anchor outside the port and be subject to inspection visits by Health and Maritime Sanitation entities;
· the port pilot shall only come onboard vessels once the inspection by the health authorities is conducted.
13. Extractive Industries
13.1 Main measures
Petroleum and mining industries, support services included, are qualified as "essential" and operation should not be discontinued during the State of public calamity, except in event of force majeure. The competent authorities are authorized to take all necessary measures to ensure that the provision of the above services is not discontinued.
In addition, air passenger transport services in support of petroleum and mining activities, national and international transportation of goods and cargo, as well as maritime transport services for the petroleum industry, also qualify as "essential public transport" and shall be maintained during the state of public calamity period, although subject to the health rules and procedures that may be established by Executive Decree 160/20.
The Ministry of Health has approved a set of new rules subjecting the workers allocated to petroleum operations to quarantine and self-isolation, comprising, among others, the following obligations and requirements: (i) workers travelling to Angola are required to conduct Covid-19 tests three days prior to arrival date; (ii) workers who are in the country and have been subject to quarantine are required to conduct Covid-19 tests three days prior to the term of the quarantine period, which has a minimum duration of 14 calendar days; (iii) technical specifications for quarantine installations; (iv) rules on monitorization of health of installations for staff subject to quarantine.
The Government is preparing an additional set of industry-specific measures that, presumably, shall impose a reduction of the oil & gas services and workers allocated to petroleum operations.
14. Impact on the operation of industries and trade in general
14.1 Ongoing measures
Presidential Decree 142/20, of 25 May, maintains the permission to pursue industrial activities and trade in general, although establishing some restrictions mainly on opening hours for commercial establishments and organization of work.
Pending the state of public calamity, all businesses shall be opened to the public in fix-working schedules and there were imposed some limitations to on-site workforce, as follows:
· businesses in general, shall be opened from 7am to 7pm; and
· on-site workforce will be gradually reinstated, and it may not exceed 50% of the entire workforce as of 26 May, and 75% as of 8 June. On-site workforce shall be completely reinstated from 29 June onwards.
Restaurants and similar establishments are allowed to operate according to the following terms:
· from 26 May, Monday to Saturday, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.;
· from 8 June, every day until 10.30 pm; and
· the occupation of these establishments shall not exceed 50% of their capacity.
Self-service and kiosk services are not allowed.
Takeaway or homedeliveries are allowed everyday between 0.00 am to 10 pm.
Unlike the diplomas that preceded it, Presidential Decree 142/20 does not specifically regulate the matter regarding preventive closing of the business, and opens the possibility for any company/businessman to close premises.
However, companies shall adopt protection and biosecurity measures to ensure protection and safety of their workers, costumers and the public in general. Companies that fall to implement such measures may be held liable.
14.2 Measures to be adopted
According to the annex to Presidential Decree 142/20, commercial establishments must strictly comply with a set of guidelines, of which we highlight the following:
(a) Companies must ensure that 70% ethyl alcohol, alcohol gel or other products necessary for the safety of customers are made available at the entrance of businesses;
(b) in terms of capacity, commercial establishments open to the public shall ensure a minimum distance of 2 metres between individuals in the premises and display in a visible place at the entrance the maximum capacity of people inside the establishment;
(c) Queues must be organized outside the establishment, with a minimum distance of 2 metres;
(d) Mandatory use of masks for workers and customers;
(e) Safety and hygiene recommendations issued by health authorities must be displayed in a visible spot in the commercial establishments;
In the specific case of catering activities, it is necessary to highlight the following guidelines:
(a) Reduction of the maximum capacity of the establishment (including counter and esplanade) in order to ensure a minimum physical distance of 2 meters between people on the premises;
(b) Arrangement of chairs and tables so as to ensure a distance of at least 2 metres between persons;
(c) Limit of 4 persons per table;
(d) Prior booking of seats by clients.
Presidential Decree no. 142/20 maintains the permission to carry out of industrial activities in general, as well as agricultural production.
14.3 Public markets
Public markets maintain their operations and are open to the public five days a week, i.e., from Tuesday to Saturday, between 6 am and 3 p.m., being allowed to trade in general. The use of face masks is mandatory for both buyers and sellers.
Door-to-door sales are allowed in the same way, provided that sellers and buyers remain at a safety distance.
It is prohibited the sale and purchase of products on public roads by street vendors on Sundays and Mondays. Noncompliance with this rule constitutes a crime of disobedience punishable under the Criminal Law.
Informal street markets with high attendance of people are forbidden.
Among the provisional and exceptional measures in force pending the state of emergency, we would like to further highlight, the following:
· compulsory quarantine, either in an institution or at home, is imposed on patients infected by Covid-19, people who have been exposed to this infection, citizens coming from abroad, and any citizens ordered to remain under active surveillance by the proper health authorities;
· the authorities are authorized to request to electronic communication operators detailed records of telephone calls and other support items exclusively for purposes of tracing citizens suspected of being infected by, or confirmed cases of, COVID-19, and their contact details;
· State bodies will adopt their own specific operation procedures, but must ensure minimum services;
· shutdown of teaching and training establishments;
· sport competitions are forbidden, without prejudice to the performance of individual sporting activities from 5am to 6.30am and from 5pm to 7pm (from Monday to Friday) and 5am to 7pm (during the weekend);
· prohibition of political events and activities, meetings and protests with more than 50 people;
· prohibition of recreational and leisure activities on the public highway or in public spaces;
· suspension of services and religious celebrations;
· retired doctors and nurses may be subject to civil requisition, save for those who are vulnerable to the pandemic;
· the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, in liaison with the Superior Councils of the Judicial Magistracy and the Public Prosecutor’s Office must make the adequate arrangements to ensure effective access to justice and the courts;
· the media, both public and private, remain in operation.