Czech Government to Prolong State of Emergency by Three Weeks

The Czech parliament has extended the state of emergency until December 12.

The state of emergency provides a legal basis for tighter government measures aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, including temporary business closures and restrictions on the freedom of assembly.

The government had earlier asked parliamentarians to approve a 30-day extension, to run until December 20.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the extension was needed to deal a “decisive blow” to the infection. The opposition meanwhile criticized the government over shutting down smaller businesses at a time when larger retail networks were allowed to stay open.

Read: “The Goal is to Vaccinate 70% of Czechs”, Says Health Minister

Under Czech law, the government is able to declare a state of emergency for 30 days but must secure the approval of the Chamber of Deputies in advance.

The government already introduced a number of drastic measures, in late October, in an attempt to stem the spread of the disease, including a night-time curfew between 9 pm and 5 am.

Health Minister Jan Blatny warned against lifting the state of emergency too early, arguing that it could lead to an uncontrollable spread of the virus. However, he also said that the restrictions could be eased by Christmas, telling lawmakers the epidemic was showing signs of “slowing down.”

Read: Czech Court Cancels Mandatory Face Mask Rule; Ministry Has One Week to Fix Mistakes

The Czech Republic has been hit particularly hard by Covid-19 this autumn. The number of active cases in the country reached its peak in late October when it amounted to more than 130,000.


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