Czech government to seek extension of state of emergency through at least April 11

According to Deputy PM Jan Hamáček, the Czech cabinet has agreed on the need to extend the current state of emergency by at least two weeks.


Written by ČTK Published on 21.03.2021 15:38:00 (updated on 21.03.2021) Reading time: 1 minute

The Czech government has agreed that the current state of emergency should be extended by at least 14 days, until April 11, Deputy PM Jan Hamáček said during an interview today.

In a separate interview, Finance Minister Alena Schillerová (for ANO) said the cabinet will likely ask MPs to extend the state of emergency by 30 days.

Speaking on Prima TV, Hamáček said he hopes that two weeks may be enough. He said the government may make the request to the Chamber of Deputies on Monday, and the Chamber would vote on it Friday.

The current state of emergency, in force over the coronavirus epidemic, will expire on Sunday, March 28.

"If [a prolonged state of emergency] works effectively, the country's daily increases [in the number of new COVID-19 infections] may drop below 5,000," said Hamáček, who also heads the Czech Central Crisis Staff.

"If so, it would be possible to lift the blanket restrictions and permit people's movement between districts, and keep the rest [of the restrictions] in force based on the pandemic law. I consider this the most realistic prospect,"

If the Chamber of Deputies rejects the cabinet's request to prolong the state of emergency, the country's pandemic law would take control of the measures in effect from March 28. This would entail loosening the blanket restriction of people's free movement, Hamáček said.

"This will probably also work, but more slowly," he added.

In another interview on Czech Television, Schillerová said the cabinet has preliminarily agreed to ask the Chamber to approve a 30-day extension of the state of emergency.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš would not comment on a possible extension of the state of emergency when addressed by CTK. He said he has repeatedly asked the cabinet members to keep their opinions within the cabinet until an official decision is reached.

The extension of the state of emergency has been proposed by Health Minister Jan Blatný, because he wants to maintain the current strict lockdown through at least Easter Monday (April 5).

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