Prague court overturns obligation to fill in passenger locator form

The measure, in place to help Czech authorities with tracing efforts, has been deemed in violation of human rights.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 21.10.2021 09:44 (updated on 21.10.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, Oct 20 (CTK) - The Prague Municipal Court has repealed a measure that required travelers to fill in an arrival form (příjezdový formulář or passenger locator form) when returning to the Czech Republic from abroad.

The courts ruled that the duty infringes upon citizens' right to enter the Czech Republic, news server Seznam Zpravy reports. The Health Ministry has until October 27 to revise the relevant directive.

Czech authorities introduced the electronic arrival form amid the coronavirus pandemic last year. It must be filled in by all travelers over the age of six who are asked to give personal data as well as report countries visited within the past two week.

Failure to fill in the form is considered a misdemeanour.

The Health Ministry says the arrival form makes tracing of Covid-infected people easier. The judge presiding over the case, however, pointed out the complication the rule presents for those who do not have access to the Internet or e-mail.

Judge Aleš Sabol ruled that in such a case a person's right to enter the territory of the Czech Republic, which the Czech Constitution's Charter of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms grants, is infringed upon without adequate justification.

"This right is clearly violated by the Ministry of Health without sufficient justification by setting the administrative conditions for its legal exercise," said Judge Sabol.

He said the infringement rests "in the very imposition of the duty to submit the form on arrival from any foreign country, which has been happening regardless of the epidemic situation in the given country." He also questioned the fact that the same conditions apply to both those vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Sabol said the ministry had not explained why people are required to fill in the form regardless of the infection risk posed by the country from which they are returning when the ministry weekly updates its traveller's map indicating individual countries' risk level based on the data of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Currently, the arrival form is required even on return from "green" countries with a low coronavirus risk.

Czech courts previously scrapped dozens of the coronavirus duties and restrictions introduced by the state, arguing that in most cases they were insufficiently explained or were not supported by either the pandemic law or the law on public health protection.

It is not yet clear how the ministry will react to the court's decision. "The judgment of the court has not yet been delivered to the Ministry of Health. We will not make any comments until we get acquainted with it," said a spokesperson from the health ministry's press department.

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