COVID-19 Updates

Government bans free movement of people with nationwide quarantine

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The government has banned a free movement of people all over the Czech Republic due to the further coronavirus spread as of midnight on Sunday until 6:00, March 24, Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) told reporters last night.

The free movement ban in the country does not apply to traveling to work and health care facilities, to the family if need be and for basic needs.

The Czech Republic is the fourth European country, after Italy, Spain and Austria, to take this measure.

The government also decided to activate the Central Crisis Staff over the novel coronavirus outbreak that will be headed by Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula.

After the state of emergency is declared, the crisis staff is drafting proposed solutions. It submits them to the National Security Council or possibly to the cabinet.

Babis said at the press conference last night that the cabinet had decided to ban the free movement in the country among other reasons because some people did not observe the current set rules to prevent the coronavirus spread.

Reasons that residents can go out include:

  • To go to work or to pursue a business or similar activity.
  • “Absolutely” necessary journeys to see family or close relatives.
  • To acquire necessary goods for living (food, medicine and medical devices, sanitary goods, cosmetics and other drugstore goods, animal food and other pet supplies) and related needs including banking and postal services.
  • To provide such service for another person (e.g. volunteering).
  • To travel to health, social, or veterinary care facilities, or escort relatives to such places.
  • To attend to urgent official matters, including imprisonment, and to accompany loved ones to such matters.
  • To provide services in support of: security, internal order, and crisis management; health protection, health or social care; spiritual care; public transport and other infrastructure; services to the public including supply and distribution; veterinary care.
  • To attend funerals.
  • To travel back to one’s place of residence.

Going for walks was also discussed, and the Prime Minister said they would not prevent residents from taking walks in public spaces.

He reiterated on Prima TV on Sunday that the spread of the coronavirus was a crime an that a fine of up to three million crowns can be imposed for violating the individual quarantine rules.

The ban on services and the closing of shops in the Czech Republic do not apply to car repair workshops, gardening, florists, the sale of transport tickets and healthcare means, Industry and Trade and Transport Minister Karel Havlicek (for ANO) told reporters today.

On the contrary, the government has newly banned the sales of accommodation services and electronics as well as the operation of driving schools and taxi services, except for those delivering food, Havlicek said.

The government also approved the Finance Ministry’s measures to postpone the deadline for income tax returns over the coronavirus outbreak. The ministry will not impose some fines either.

The new resolution completes the government regulation issued on Saturday when the cabined banned as of 6:00, March 14, until March 24 the operation of restaurants, bars and shops except for groceries, drugstores, pharmacies, petrol stations and others, including shops with electronics.

This is a developing story.

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