On Monday, Health Minister Adam Vojtech will request the Chamber of Deputies to declare a state of emergency due to the unmanageable coronavirus epidemic.
Medical facilities across the country are struggling to cope with the recent surge in novel coronavirus infections.
According to chief hygienist Pavla Svrčinová, the state of emergency would, among other things, facilitate the deployment of medical students in hospitals.
Education Minister Robert Plaga said on social media he hopes the Health Ministry does not want a state of emergency so that medics can help hospitals instead of studying. “I hope the Chief Hygienist and Health Ministry do not mean that seriously!” wrote the Minister.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, as well as the probable future Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek, have recently assured that there will be no lockdown.
The state of emergency was first declared in March last year, and a second time before 5 October. It was extended several times and ended on April 11 this year.
The measures are now being issued under a special pandemic law, which will expire at the end of February next year.
“In hospitals, retirement homes, social care facilities, there is a lack of staff,” Svrčinová said to Radiožurnál’s.
There are currently 4,885 patients with Covid in Czech hospitals. 715 of them are in critical condition.
Some hospitals are already limiting planned care due to congestion and staff shortages. They are also asking the army for help.
As of Friday, Czech soldiers are serving in 24 hospitals, and on Monday they will start helping in 15 other facilties.
State of emergency under the Czech law
The state of emergency is one of the extraordinary measures of the Constitutional Act on the Security of the Czech Republic. It is announced by the government.
One of the cases in which the government can declare a state of emergency is in the situation when there is a dangerous or significant threat to our lives or health.
The government can declare a state of emergency for a maximum of 30 days. However, this situation may be extended with the prior consent of the Chamber of Deputies.
The state of emergency ends with the expiration of the period for which it was declared or with a decision to cancel it. The Government or the Chamber of Deputies can cancel the state of emergency.