Czech Health Minister: State of emergency must continue

Using his new, stricter evaluation plan PES, Blatny tells government to ask for another state of emergency extension.

James Fassinger

Written by James Fassinger Published on 13.11.2020 11:02 (updated on 13.11.2020) Time to read: 1 minute

With the current state of emergency to expire November 20, Health Minister Jan Blatny (ANO) will suggest the government ask the Chamber of Deputies for another 30-day extension - until December 20.

Blatny's request is due to the new stricter evaluation methods used in his new PES scheme for the control of lockdown rules in the Czech Republic, said to be unveiled later today.

Now that the R number has reached 0.8, the new Health Minister has decided to introduce a stricter method to evaluate the infection rate which, according to the new method, does not warrant the lifting of lockdown measures, instead prolonging them.

Exactly one month ago, Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) and former health minister Roman Prymula (ANO) told Czechs that if the R number reached 0.8, lockdown restrictions would begin to be lifted.

"If the average reproduction number per week is reduced to 0.8, the restrictions will be relaxed," Prime Minister Babiš said at a press conference after the government meeting exactly a month ago.

It was the value of 0.8 that the ex-minister Prymula mentioned as a turning point. "If the increase in cases can be reduced and stable at the level of the reproduction number of 0.8, the individual measures will be gradually released at the shortest possible intervals," he said in a speech to citizens in mid-October.

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek (junior government Social Democrats, CSSD) said after Wednesday's Central Crisis Staff (UKS) meeting that he would see whether the government would ask directly for a month extension, or just for 14 days.

A whole series of measures have been put in practice in the Czech Republic to prevent the virus from spreading. Among them, are mandatory face masks, a curfew after 21:00 and a closure of restaurants, shops and schools.

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