COVID-19 Updates

Rules for traveling abroad likely to loosen in weeks to come according to Deputy Health Minister

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The rules for traveling abroad are likely to loosen in the weeks to come, Czech Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula told Czech Television (CT) tonight, adding that mainly summer holiday stays in Croatia and Slovakia have recently been discussed.

He added that officials should also look to mid-June whether the loosening of the restrictive measures in the country has been a success and whether the infection is still under control, he said. Then it could be permitted to travel to countries in which the epidemiological situation is similar to the Czech Republic or better, Prymula said.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) told CT tonight that the government will keep discussing possible free traveling abroad.

Czechs have been banned to go abroad and foreigners are not allowed to enter the country because of the coronavirus pandemic since mid-March.

Prymula said it will depend on the bilateral agreement of countries whether they will accept the citizens of the other country on its territory. He said people would have to stay isolated at home for two weeks if they returned from a country that is considered riskier.

“There are huge pressures to somehow open the border, but we will have to control it very thoroughly so that the infection is not imported,” Prymula said.

Croatia was the most popular foreign destination for Czechs in 2018 when 813,000 of them spend at least four days there, according to the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) data. In 2018, more than five million Czechs had a holiday abroad.

Many people also travel to Slovakia, which formed one state with Czechia for most of the 20th century, and they spend their holidays there but also visit their relatives because of many Slovaks lives, studies or works in the Czech Republic.

Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) said four days ago that the reopening of the border will not come in the next week and perhaps not even in the next few months.

The Central Crisis Staff proposed to let people go abroad as of April 14 if it is very necessary, such as for a business trip or to visit family members living abroad. The government approved this.

At the end of March, Prymula told the media that traveling abroad may be restricted even next year and the following year. Babis then criticized his statement. He said that Prymula should not scare people.

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