Czech PM: restriction-free travel to Germany, Austria, and Hungary may be possible from Saturday

Free movement between the Czech Republic and Germany, Austria, and Hungary may be possible as soon as this weekend, says Andrej Babiš

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 04.06.2020 15:31:46 (updated on 04.06.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Free movement between the Czech Republic and Germany, Austria, and Hungary without the need for a negative COVID-19 test may be possible as soon as this weekend, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told reporters in Karlovy Vary this afternoon.

Babiš has convened an extraordinary government meeting at 7:00 tomorrow to discuss the re-opening of borders with European neighbors.

A press conference should follow later in the day; according to Babiš, travel restrictions between the Czech Republic and Germany, Austria, and Hungary may be completely lifted as soon as midnight Friday.

“We convened an extraordinary government meeting on Friday at 7:00,” Babiš stated.

“I expect to decide that not only Austria, but also Germany and Hungary and all these countries and their and our citizens will be able to travel freely, as it was before the virus came, without any certificates or quarantine or testing.”

“I will suggest that we do it as soon as possible. So I hope that tourism with these countries would be allowed tomorrow from midnight.”

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While the opening of borders between the Czech Republic and Austria is expected – Austria has already opened borders from its side – the addition of Germany and Hungary comes as a surprise.

Borders between the Czech Republic and most of its neighbors have been closed to most travel, with some exceptions, since the outset of the coronavirus crisis in mid-March.

The move follows the re-opening of borders between the Czech Republic and Slovakia as of today, which was announced yesterday by Babiš and Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič in advance of a meeting between the two in Prague.

Travel between most European states is expected to be approved by most countries this month, with many eyeing a date of June 15 for free travel including tourism between European neighbors.

On Monday, the Czech Republic announced that return travel without the need for a negative COVID-19 test would be allowed from June 15 from a large number of “safe” and “medium risk” countries in Europe, while travel from “high-risk” countries including Sweden and the UK would still require a test.

Czech neighbor Poland may be one of the few holdouts, however, with negotiations regarding the re-opening of borders expected to take longer than most other European states.

Also this afternoon, RegioJet spokesman Aleš Ondrůj stated that trains between the Czech Republic and Austria would be re-introduced from June 15, with additional lines between the Czech Republic and other countries to shortly follow.

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