Coronavirus in Czechia: Government considers declaring a state of emergency

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With five confirmed coronavirus cases in Czechia. Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček will recommend the cabinet to declare a state of emergency, allowing for better distribution and implementation of protective measures.

With emergency powers, the government could regulate the supply of protective equipment and medical supplies, ban events featuring large crowds, and oblige people returning from high-risk regions to contact a doctor or health center.

Hamáček also said that the police president and the chief of the fire brigade ordered all police officers and firefighters who visited coronavirus-affected areas to start a 14-day quarantine.

“The point is not to jeopardize the agility of these two bodies,” explained Hamáček.

However, according to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, there is currently no reason to declare a state of emergency until there is a coronavirus epidemic.

“We cannot paralyze the whole country as there is no reason for it,” Babiš said.

The Czech National Security Council will discuss necessary measures concerning coronavirus this Wednesday.

According to the Czech constitutional law, the government may declare a state of emergency in the event of natural disasters, environmental or industrial accidents, and other dangerous situations that significantly endanger lives, health, property, peace, or security.

Declaring the state of emergency will, according to Hamáček, depend on how the situation develops.

“However, it is already clear that many things would be easier if we had these special mechanisms in place,” he said.

He further reiterated the statement of the Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch (ANO) that in all coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic, infected people came from abroad, and there is no epicenter of the virus in Czechia so far.

On Monday, the government of Andrej Babiš also announced that it will ban all flights to and from South Korea, one of the world’s most affected countries, with the flight ban coming into effect on Tuesday.

Potential restrictions on air connections with some Italian cities will be a subject of negotiations between the cabinet and the European Commission.

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