According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the possibility of traveling outside the Czech border is “only theoretical”. He announced it during an interview with iRozhlas on Friday morning.
In his opinion, “the Czech Republic managed the epidemic very well and is one of the ‘world leaders’ in this fight.”
“We had theoretically opened the borders, but in practice, people cannot get anywhere. Flights are mostly canceled and other governments won’t allow people from other countries to enter unless they have a valid coronavirus test. The lifted ban on travel abroad mainly applies to business trips,” added the Prime Minister.
However, travel conditions are regularly negotiated with neighboring countries. Babiš took part in video conferences with presidents and prime ministers from Austria, Denmark, Norway, Australia, and Greece, which are successfully managing the epidemic.
There is criticism that the announcement sowed confusion, with no immediate information on when foreign visitors would be allowed to re-enter, which would help Prague’s beleaguered tourism industry.
“Has the government opened the borders only for Czech citizens or for foreigners who would like to come to the Czech Republic?” tweeted Jiří Pehe, a political analyst and director of New York University in Prague.
According to the Prime Minister, “the mass tourism is still unrealistic, although now we allow citizens from traveling across borders. “But I recommend people to stay in the Czech Republic. It is safe here, we manage the epidemic very well compared to other countries,” says Babiš.
“Now we need to open shops, restaurants, and other businesses,” he concludes.
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.
“It is possible to travel abroad, even for a holiday. But when one returns, they have to be COVID-negative, with proof by a test, or go into a two-week quarantine,” Vojtech said at a televised news conference.
Restrictions are also being lifted on movement within the country, with groups of up to 10 people permitted to gather. Previous rules limited outdoor gatherings to two.