Crisis Chief Hamáček calls for extending Czech state of emergency

When will it end? Czech government to debate possible lifting of lockdown measures.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 11.11.2020 09:12:00 (updated on 11.11.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, Nov 10 (CTK) - The government plans to ask the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of emergency once again due to the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy PM Jan Hamacek, Central Crisis Staff chief, told reporters today.

The Chamber of Deputies is likely to decide on the extension November 19, chairman Jaroslav Faltynek (ANO) said.

Hamacek (CSSD) said he had asked Health Minister Jan Blatny (ANO) to update information regarding whether current anti-pandemic statistics justified an extension of the state of emergency. Blatny plans to present this findings by the end of this week. The Government Council for Health Risks will debate it on Friday, Hamacek said today.

Finance Minister Alena Schillerova (ANO) said the ministers agree with the need to extend the state of emergency. She said she expects the issue to be dealt with at the next cabinet meeting, either on Friday or on Monday.

Right-wing opposition leader Petr Fiala (ODS) said it seems apparent that the government would want the measures against COVID-19 to remain valid. He expressed hope that the government would present clear figures and a plan. "This is not because of the opposition. The public has to know what to expect," he said.

The state of emergency is so far valid in the Czech Republic until November 20. Hamacek previously said the state of emergency might last until Christmas.

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If there is a clear plan, the Civic Democrats are ready to negotiate about their support for a proposed extension for the necessary short period of time so that the measures can continue working, Fiala said.

According to him, the pandemic situation would require the state of emergency to continue after November 20, including the closure of most retail shops and the restricted opening of schools.

PM Andrej Babis (ANO) said after the first extension of the state of emergency that is would not suffice to have it only until November 20. The government must ask the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of emergency.

However, the opposition criticized the coalition ANO-CSSD government for not having prepared particular lockdown measures and linked them to the pandemic development.

A system of assessment for both tightening and relaxing the restrictions based on the pandemic situation, drafted by the Health Ministry, will have two levels, Blatny said.

The first level in the form of a chart to set the general measures is to be completed today. The second level will elaborate on the restrictions in particular spheres and sectors. Blatny intends to present the whole system at the Health Ministry's press conference on Friday.

Last week, he said the measures would be divided into five levels of pandemic risk. The situation will be assessed on the basis of the 14-day number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the infection spread in the elderly population, a simplified reproduction number, which says how many people get infected from one positive person on average, and the share of those tested positive in all tests.

In the spring, the state of emergency was valid in the Czech Republic between March 12 and May 17. With the consent of the lower house, it was extended twice.

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