Minister of Health: “The State of Emergency Must Continue with All Taken Precautions”

Jan Blatný, Czech Minister of Health, claimed that the state of emergency, extended by two weeks on Friday, must be accompanied by all the restrictions which had been approved before the vote.

Furthermore, Blatný added that the rigid enforcement of these restrictions must linger in order to ensure a smooth transition to normalcy in the country. The minister hopes that this renewal of the state of emergency will be the last one.

On the TV show Questions of Václav Moravec premiered on Sunday 28th Blatný asserted that without diligent compliance with all the precautions currently in force, the government would have to act resolutely.

“The moment we succumb to some false illusion or a feeling that the measures do not have to be observed, drastic changes may happen that no one wants,” said the minister. “All other steps assume that at least until then [April 12th] all the precautions remain in force,” he added. Blatný warned that otherwise, the epidemic situation could start to deteriorate again.

The precautions mentioned by Blatný included a restriction on free movement which was reintroduced at the end of January. Due to it, neither citizens nor foreigners can travel between districts without a compelling reason.

This particular restriction is criticized by many opposition parties, most notably KSČM (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia), which nonetheless opted to vote for the extension of the state of emergency on Friday.

According to Blatný, not all people take the imposed restrictions seriously enough. “I went for a walk in Prague yesterday and discovered two interesting facts: one part of people does not abide the precautions and the other one does”, he said.

The minister’s statement is backed by the press department of Prague, which published a press release on Saturday containing information about individuals not wearing respirators, not keeping a safe distance and drinking alcohol in public. Among violators were city police officers.

Blatný also reiterated that he regarded April 12th as the earliest date for the possible return of children to schools.

In the Czech Republic, 1722 cases of coronavirus infection were detected on Sunday, 666 less than on Sunday last week. The burden on hospitals is also falling, although it remains high.  According to the latest data, they are treating 7188 infected. 1727 patients are in serious condition.

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