Former Czech PM Babiš: I don’t understand why we need a pandemic law

The only result of the law is that the Ministry of Health can restrict companies, entrepreneurs, schools and but it should be up to the government to decide, says Babiš

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Josef Kopecký
Czech Republic's Prime Minister Andrej Babis arrives for an EU Summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. (Johanna Geron, Pool Photo via AP)

One of the topics of Thursday’s meeting of the opposition movement ANO was the change in the government’s approach to Covid-19. The previous day, the government decided that the obligation for citizens to provide a “green pass” proving they were vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 to enter shops, restaurants and other public places would end on Feb. 9. The chairman of the movement, Andrej Babiš, was skeptical about the enforced amendment to the pandemic emergency law, which he said is unnecessary at the moment.

According to Babiš, due to the amendment to the pandemic law, it is not clear who would send soldiers to hospitals and social services facilities, or who would call up nurses or students to help the government’s efforts to fight the virus.

“The only result of the law is that the Ministry of Health can restrict companies, entrepreneurs, schools and it is up to the government to decide. We will definitely be happy if nothing happens,” said the head of the ANO party.

ANO now considers a constitutional complaint due to the way the pandemic law was passed. According to Babiš, it was enforced in a shortened meeting and thus in violation of parliamentary procedure.

Freedom and Direct Democracy deputies also did not support the amendment to the pandemic law on Wednesday and tried to prevent its adoption by obstruction.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala then announced that the government was abolishing the green pass obligation on Feb. 9. The obligation to wear face masks indoors will remain valid.

The government decided to take this step only a few hours after the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to demand Covid-19 certificate in restaurants, clubs, and hotels. The court ruled that the government could not institute rules that would indirectly force people to

According to the court, the Ministry of Health explained the need to prove the absence of infection in order to increase the motivation for individuals to get vaccinated. However, the court rejects this.

The approved amendment to the pandemic law is to apply until the end of November as a safeguard against another Covid-19 wave. The head of the ANO parliamentary group, Alena Schillerová, and the former Chamber of Deputies speaker, Radek Vondráček, have criticized the government for forcing the disputed amendment in a state of legislative emergency.

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