Czech Republic reported just 55 more cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, the smallest daily increase since March 14.
“We must not loosen our guard until the last confirmed patient is recovered,” Minister of Health said.
The Czech Republic had 7,188 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection by Friday Morning. So far 2,186 people have recovered and 213 people have died.
Czech labs have tested over 203 000 people to date.
On Thursday evening, the Czech cabinet lifted a ban on its citizens traveling abroad for reasons other than work following an improvement in conditions of the coronavirus outbreak.
Czech citizens and foreigners with permission to enter the country have two options for arrival in the Czech Republic from the midnight on Friday 24 April 2020: present a negative coronavirus test upon return or be subject to two-week quarantine.
Moreover, the Czech government has also removed the restrictions on the free movement of persons.
“The Czech government will cancel restrictions on free movement as of Friday, April 24, and allow groups of up to 10 people to meet in public. So far, public gatherings were limited to two people,” said Minister Vojtěch during a press conference.
Václav Havel Prague Airport remains open for all arrivals and departures. Thanks to this fact, a total of 44 special cargo flights with medical supplies were able to land there since 20 March 2020 when the first aircraft with medical supplies on board landed in Prague.
More than 1,200 tons of medical aid in total has already reached the Czech Republic. The total volume of cargo handled at Prague Airport, including regular cargo routes, has increased by 26.5% year-on-year during this period.
Since 18 March 2020, Prague Airport has also handled a total of 33 arrivals and departures of repatriation flights with passengers on board. More than 3,600 passengers, mostly Czech citizens returning home to their families and loved ones from abroad, have arrived in the Czech Republic aboard those flights.
Moreover, approximately 900 foreign nationals have been able to travel back home from the Czech Republic this way.
“Since the second half of March, important medical supplies have been brought to the Czech Republic via Václav Havel Airport Prague almost daily, confirming the strategic importance of our airport within the transport infrastructure of the country. The flights with medical supplies on board are primarily handled by employees of Prague Airport and its subsidiaries, alongside other handling companies and additional partner organizations, such as the Czech Fire Rescue Service, the Czech Police, the Army of the Czech Republic and the Administration of the State Material Reserves,” Vaclav Rehor, Chairman of the Prague Airport Board of Directors, said.
For several months, due to the spread of COVID-19, stringent sanitary measures have been applied to both passengers and airport staff who continue to perform their irreplaceable roles in the airport with limited traffic.
The measures have gradually been introduced since the end of January. For example, in places where queues usually form, stickers are placed advising people to keep a safe distance. Check-in counters and information desks continue to use protective screens, which form an effective barrier between the passenger and the employee.
Every passenger on arrival receives a face mask if they are lacking one, together with an information leaflet on mandatory procedures upon arrival from abroad to the Czech Republic. The arrival gates and other passenger check-in areas are regularly disinfected thoroughly.
“Prague Airport has managed to secure a sufficient amount of protective gear and disinfectant on time. Thus, every employee has access to respirators, face masks, gloves and other protective equipment. There are also more than 250 hand sanitizers located throughout the airport. Employees are consistently and regularly trained in the prevention, as well as their family members, for whom we have created and distributed family-friendly leaflets on the prevention of the spread of COVID-19,” Vaclav Rehor stated.
However, regular traffic at Václav Havel Airport Prague continues to decline. Last March, the airport handled approximately 6,015 arrivals and departures, which is a year-on-year decrease of 47.3%.
With effect from April 14th, 2020 (0:00) new conditions of entry to the territory of the Czech Republic shall apply for the duration of the state of emergency.
Foreigners residing in the Czech Republic, like Czech citizens, will be able to travel abroad, now with the possibility of returning during the state of emergency.
The purpose of travel must be in accordance with the exceptions to the prohibition of free movement imposed by the Ministry of Health.
It is therefore limited to necessary and justified cases only (e.g. fulfillment of official duties, work abroad, etc.), which will have to be proven individually to the police at border crossings. Diplomatic notice from an embassy is therefore no longer required.
Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, who heads the country’s Central Crisis Staff, said this does not mean Czechs “can go shopping in Dresden. The borders are still closed, visas won’t be issued and foreigners are still banned” from entering.
Everyone returning to the Czech Republic (both citizens and foreigners) must undergo a 14-day ordered mandatory quarantine.
Only clearly defined cases of journeys shorter than 24 hours are subject to the exception of the ordered quarantine.
Prohibition of entry to foreigners (including EU citizens), with the exception of those with a valid residence permit, remains effective.
A ban on travel to “risk” states entered into effect on March 14; two days later it was extended to all countries.