Czech Health Minister issues limit on gatherings of more than two people

The Czech state of emergency will end tomorrow, but Petr Arenberger wants to keep the same limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 11.04.2021 09:57 (updated on 11.04.2021)

Health Minister Petr Arenberger has issued a measure specifying that a maximum of two people may meet indoors and outdoors, Czech Television reported on Saturday. The measure will take effect when the state of emergency ends tonight, but will need to be approved by the Czech government within 48 hours to be maintained.

The limit on gatherings would be the same as it is now under the state of emergency, and not the 10 people indoors and 20 outdoors that was initially reported.

The measure he issued on Saturday will become effective as soon as the state of emergency ends on Sunday midnight. "But it must be approved by the government within 48 hours, otherwise its validity will end," Arenberger wrote to CTK.

The government will meet on Monday afternoon. Arenberger announced his decision to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and other government members today.

Arenberger said he believes that everybody would understand the postponement of planned activities. He said the postponement is unavoidable. "We must proceed prudently and we must not make the same mistake as in the past," Arenberger stated.

He said he made the decision based on the stance of the Inter-Disciplinary Group for Epidemiological Situations (MeSES), which warned on Friday against gatherings of people.

"Given the fragile epidemiological situation, including the first appearance of the Brazil variant P2 SARS-COV 2, the MeSES does not support from the medical point of view the originally declared limitation of gathering of persons by 10 indoors and by 20 outdoors, which my predecessor presented," Arenberger said on Twitter.

Jan Blatný was dismissed as health minister on Wednesday.

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The MeSES said that limiting gatherings of people is one of the most effective measures against the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic.

On Friday, Arenberger said he did not like the more moderate measure that would have allowed smaller gatherings of people as of next week. He said he could not influence this measure as he was appointed health minister on April 7 and the measure was approved earlier in the week.

Arenberger said on Friday that a limitation on gatherings cannot be implemented under the new pandemic law that will take effect once the state of emergency ends.

However, he later told Czech Radio today that his stricter measure limiting gatherings was discussed with many lawyers and it was finally concluded that the Health Ministry can do this based on other laws than the pandemic law.