COVID-19 Updates

Deputy Health Minister says borders with Austria may reopen this week

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The Czech Republic might reopen its borders with Austria this week, the cabinet will discuss the proposal at its meeting today, epidemiologist and Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula has told Czech Television, adding that the reopening of the borders with Slovakia will probably be also discussed.

Prymula said he could see no reason for the Czech Republic not to reopen its border with Austria. He did not rule out the border reopening this week, but emphasized that the setting of the date is up to the Health Ministry and the Interior Ministry.

Austria reopened all its border crossings with Czechia last weekend.

Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek (Social Democrats, CSSD) told CT later today that Prague is negotiating with Vienna on people to be enabled to cross the border not only for urgent reasons, which is the case now, but also for other reasons such as their visit to relatives and tourism.

“We will have a video conference with the Austrian side on Tuesday with the aim to agree on the procedure. I think the originally agreed-upon date of June 8 may be moved back,” Petricek said about the border reopening prospect.

Regarding the favorable epidemiological situation, the Czech cabinet is also likely to discuss the reopening of the border with Slovakia today.

“It is very likely that we will also propose the reopening of the border with Slovakia,” Prymula said, but added that on the other hand, Germany and Poland, with their epidemiological situation still pose a certain risk to Czechia.

“Slovakia is very calm in general, the situation there is much more favorable than in our country, with the only exception of its Roma settlements, where not many measures have been taken. This poses a problem for us, since people from these settlements may migrate to Czechia,” Prymula said.

That is why a regime has to be found to regulate migration from Slovakia’s Roma settlements, he said.

In Poland, a risk is posed by its Silesia region bordering on the Czech Republic. That is why it is only possible to discuss whether to reopen some border crossings remote from Silesia, Prymula said.

He said the situation in Austria was stable, calm and similar to Czech.

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