Czech borders will remain closed until coronavirus situation improves in neighbors

The borders of Czech Republic will have to remain closed over the coronavirus threat until the situation improves in the neighbouring countries

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 18.03.2020 16:37:06 (updated on 18.03.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, March 18 (CTK) – The borders of Czechia will have to remain closed over the coronavirus threat until the situation improves in the neighbouring countries, Deputy Health Minister and Central Crisis Staff head Roman Prymula told the Senate today.

“The problem with the disease is that we [Czechia] find ourselves in the region of Europe. Even if we succeed [in tackling the virus] on the national level, there will be other countries that might not be so successful. We will have to keep our borders closed until the situation improves in the neighbouring countries,” Prymula said.

Also addressing the senators, Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) said the state has not made many cardinal mistakes in tackling the virus so far and has coped with the situation quite well.

Vojtech dismissed the criticism the opposition-controlled Senate voiced about the government’s approach to the pandemic. He only admitted that the country is short of respirators, face masks and other protective equipment.

Prymula said he wants Czechia to avert a situation similar to that in Italy, which is short of ventilators for patients.

“The [Czech] measures are unpopular. If you find them bad, tell us immediately now. Nevertheless, you should shoot us dead only later, or replace us with someone else to do the job. It is impossible to change the horses and change the measures halfway through the process,” Prymula said in a hyperbole.

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“We have a time period of three weeks. If we fail to build the necessary capacity of hospitals within the three weeks, we would be unable to stem the [infection’s] rise and would have a big problem,” Prymula said.

“I recognise that [the shortage of] protective equipment is the biggest problem at the moment,” he added.

Prymula said the Crisis Staff will assess the effectiveness of the adopted measures in about ten days.

“I think the curve must definitely stop rising,” he said.

Prymula said the Crisis Staff, also including deputy ministers, will meet on Friday. Only its narrow part will meet today.

Coronavirus is not a virus to afflict the whole population. “It will not kill mankind,” he said, adding that he does not expect it to hit up to 70 percent of the population.

The government has banned a free movement of people in the Czech Republic over the further coronavirus spread until March 24. It has also banned the operation of restaurants, bars and shops except for groceries, drugstores, pharmacies, petrol stations and others.

All foreigners are banned from entering the Czech Republic and Czechs are not allowed to travel abroad as of today, with some exceptions.

The first three cases of coronavirus appeared in Czechia on March 1. Their number has crossed 460 by now. Three patients have recovered. Five are in a serious condition but no patient has died so far.

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