Czech PM admits error in fight against COVID-19, urges public to take measures seriously

Andrej Babiš urged Czech citizens to follow regulations and pull together in the fight against COVID-19 in a televised speech yesterday


Written by ČTK Published on 22.09.2020 08:35:00 (updated on 22.09.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, Sept 21 (CTK) - Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš confessed to having made an error when failing to take the right measures in the fight against COVID-19 during the summer in an evening speech to the public last night.

Babiš said he had been lulled by the spring victory and upbeat atmosphere in society.

Babiš repeated that unlike spring, the government did not want to close the economy as this would threaten jobs.

He said the government wanted to find an equilibrium between health protection and economy.

"Like you, we want to cope with it using only the measures that will limit our lives as little as possible," Babiš said.

He called on people to respect the obligation to wear face masks for the sake of of the elderly and ill.

Babiš said some people wanted to express protest against the government and its measures by not wearing the face masks. However, they should wear them in order to protect the persons close to them.

"No one wants to constrain anyone arbitrarily. The face mask does not threaten freedom or democracy. But the failure to wear it threatens lives," Babiš told Czech Television.

"It is up to everyone to answer the question of whether to sacrifice part of one's comfort for the sake of the rest," Babiš said.

In recent days, Babiš has faced sharp criticism over the latest development of the coronavirus epidemic expressed by the opposition.

There have been over 500 COVID-19-related deaths and in recent weeks, the daily increases in new cases were over 1,000. At present, there are 24,214 infected.

At the end of the summer holidays, Babiš refused to reintroduce the requirement to wear face masks, asking the media not to scare people due to the rising number of the infected by 500 a day.

As in his two spring speeches to the public, Babiš thanked public health officials, health staff, IT specialists, and volunteers.

"I would like to thank very much our public health officials, the military, health personnel, paramedics, nurses, laboratories, IT experts, policemen, firefighters, emergency personnel and volunteers! They are past a difficult time. But more difficult days are still before them," he added.

Babiš spoke about the need to raise the capacities of call centers, sampling centers and laboratories, to launch self-reporting, and to provide for sufficient beds for COVID-19 patients in serious condition.

"It is vital that the reported capacity of regional and teaching hospitals be immediately available and that it should reflect reality. And it is even more vital to protect the health personnel at any cost," he added.

"We have defeated coronavirus once, we will defeat it for the second time, too. I believe that we will succeed together," Babiš said.

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