Czech Government Seeks Tougher COVID-19 Measures to Tame Virus Surge

state of emergency czechia
Photo: vlada.cz

This evening at 18.00, the Czech government will discuss and possibly decide whether issue a stricter lockdown or not, since a hearing held on Wednesday had not produced an official decision.

New rules and restrictions can only be known if the government successfully negotiates later tonight.

However, from what was gathered at Wednesday’s hearing, kindergartens in the Czech Republic could be closed, and only facilities for the children of paramedics and emergency workers would continue to operate.

Pupils in the first and second grades of primary schools should also stop going to schools. The cabinet is also considering restricting movement between regions or within a certain distance of residence. Some shops that were still open could also close.

According to PM Andrej Babiš, lockdown needs to be tightened up, because the current rules are not preventing the Covid-19 pandemic from worsening.

Opposition groups have requested that the cabinet submit the forthcoming measures with a specific justification.

The cabinet has agreed on the scope of the measures, and on Thursday the relevant departments will prepare definitive texts, which ministers will present to the opposition.

According to Hamaček, the government will also ask the House not to end the state of emergency on Saturday, so we are possibly preparing for another state of emergency until the end of March.

“The government will ask the Chamber of Deputies to rescind the resolution on ending the state of emergency and to agree to an extension until March 31,” Hamáček wrote in the evening.

The state of emergency in the Czech Republic has been in place since 5 October last year.

MPs supported the government’s request several times, but rejected the latest proposal to extend the state of emergency until March 16. The state of emergency was due to end in mid-February, but the cabinet declared a subsequent state of emergency again at the request of the governors.

In a press release after the meeting, the Cabinet Office wrote that, given the very unfavorable epidemic situation, the government is of the opinion that the current crisis cannot be resolved only with the help of a pandemic law.

“The epidemic development in the country is not improving, on the contrary, it has worsened due to the rapid spread of the British virus mutation and there are more and more newly infected and serious cases, which leads to the flooding of patients in Czech hospitals,” the cabinet reasoned.

Ministers discussed the government’s intentions with opposition parties on Wednesday afternoon. According to opposition groups, the cabinet has promised to present the planned measures by Thursday with proper justification.

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