‘We must pull together’ – Czech PM Babiš addresses nation over growing coronavirus cases

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Due to the deteriorating coronavirus situation in Czechia, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš spoke to the nation on Monday evening, admitting that easing the measures over the summer was a mistake and calling on everyone to abide by the rules.

“After a nice summer, autumn begins and we are in a very difficult situation again. The number of cases is skyrocketing,” said Babiš at the beginning of his speech.

“In the last few days, various scenarios of the coronavirus’s development have been presented to us, which worried me greatly,” the prime minister continued.

Last week, daily increases in the number of cases were unprecedentedly high, and now the Czech Republic is currently one of the countries with the worst epidemiological situation in Europe.

Babiš stated that at the end of the spring, the belief that the virus was gone was prevalent and, therefore, from July 1, the obligation to wear face masks everywhere was abolished.

“At that time, we all had been sick of those measures, we all wanted to breathe freely and enjoy the summer as we are used to. I also got carried away by the coming summer and the atmosphere in the society. That was a mistake that I do not want to repeat,” he admitted.

“Our society is divided. Some people wear face masks and agree with all the measures, while some people consider the virus to be a common flu,” complained the prime minister.

According to Babiš, not wearing a face mask poses a threat to the lives of others.

“It is not a question of individual freedom, but rather a personal comfort. Yes, it is annoying and not very pleasant, but it saves lives. I do not want us to have millions of cases and thousands of dead people,” he said.

Babiš also called on people to comply with the coronavirus measures, so that it is not necessary to “shut down the economy” again.

“I am sorry about the constant disputes, attacks, and accusations. Let’s leave it at that for a moment, in difficult times our nation has always managed to pull together. We beat the coronavirus once, we beat it a second time. I believe we can do it again,” he said, touching on the subject of arguments between politicians about the coronavirus measures.

In his speech, he also thanked all the people in the healthcare who are fighting the epidemic, and also praised former Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch, who just resigned yesterday.

“Everyone has to answer the question of whether they are willing to sacrifice some of their comfort for others — whether it is worth it that someone else, even our loved ones, could die due to our reluctance to temporarily change our behavior,” he said at the end of his speech.

As the latest development of the coronavirus epidemic in the Czech Republic is not very favorable, the government has decided to reactivate the Central Crisis Staff on Monday. Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, who will chair the staff, wrote on Twitter that the staff would start operating immediately.

Title image: Andrej Babiš gives speech to the nation

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