The Czech government has declared the new state of emergency from Nov. 26 for 30 days until December 26, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said today.
The reason for the state of emergency is the worsening SARS-CoV-2 epidemic and allows the government to impose a work duty on medics in regions with the highest number of Covid-19 cases.
The government has been considering a ban on large public events and limiting the opening hours of restaurants and bars rather than a full lockdown.
“We will take further measures to limit contacts,” added Babiš. Even before the cabinet meeting, the Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch discussed his proposals with the Anticovid team of the future government.
“The governors do not have to agree with the state of emergency. But we will try to persuade them,” said Dan Köppl, a spokesman for the Minister of Health.
Negotiations with the Anticovid team showed that the ministry will propose not only a state of emergency but also the restriction of mass events over a thousand people, the closure of pubs, restaurants, the closure of nightclubs and bars at 10 p.m, the abolition of Christmas markets.
“We are taking all measures to avoid a lockdown that, according to the Ministry of Health and other experts, will not solve anything,” Babiš said in an interview with Czech Television.
“Let’s wait 10 days and then we can potentially adjust the measures,” Vojtech added.
The Czech Republic has vaccinated 58.5% of the total population, below the EU average of 65.8%, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
According to Ministry of Health data, 5,886 people are now hospitalised with Covid, around 850 of them in serious condition. Close to 72 percent of ICU units in the country are currently in heavy use, with only 1,090 beds remaining unoccupied.