Babiš: Barring a miracle, Czech Republic must tighten anti-COVID-19 restrictions

The Czech Prime Minister appealed to the public to observe the current anti-COVID-19 measures in a video posted to YouTube Sunday

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 25.10.2020 18:32 (updated on 25.10.2020)

Prague, Oct 25 (CTK) - The Czech cabinet will have to tighten its anti-COVID-19 measures unless a miracle happens, PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) said in a video released on YouTube today, once again urging people to observe the current restrictions.

Babiš said the current measures, the latest valid since Thursday, include too many exceptions.

He added that the Health Ministry must quickly present a project to speed up the testing and contact tracing. The state has failed to trace all contacts of those infected, Babiš admitted.

The government will have to tighten anti-virus measures once again because of the rising number of those infected, mainly among seniors over 65, Babiš said.

The current measures do not work, and some people do not observe them, he added. He held up a photo of the crowds at Prague's Náplavka farmers market on Saturday.

"Next week will be crucial. But unless a miracle happens, we can do nothing else but further tighten the measures, unfortunately," Babiš said, calling on people to show responsibility and solidarity with elderly fellow citizens.

"I will not promise anything now, since I do not know what will happen with the virus, I do not know," Babiš said, noting that there is currently no cure for COVID-19 and that the number of infections has been rising all over Europe.

The Prime Minister stated that the light at the end of the tunnel is a vaccine. According to preliminary reports, it might be available as of December. The Czech Republic should receive a half million vaccines and should primarily vaccinate people over 65, patients with chronic diseases, and healthcare and social care workers, Babiš said.

The Czech cabinet ordered 3.5 million doses of vaccine from the EU, which is enough for 1.75 million inhabitants, he said.

The cabinet has been gradually introducing anti-coronavirus measures since September in order to curb the infection spread and prevent the healthcare system's collapse.

The latest package of measures, valid since Thursday, bans retail sales and services, with some exceptions, and restricts the movement of people who can only go shopping, to a doctor or their family.

Gathering of at most two people is permitted, except for family members. A mere one day earlier, on Wednesday, the Czech government introduced a face mask requirement at outdoor locations at places where people are less then two meters from each other.