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27 Oct, 2020 16:48

Czech Republic braced for curfews and severe new Covid-19 curbs, as PM warns 'we cannot cope' without them

Czech Republic braced for curfews and severe new Covid-19 curbs, as PM warns 'we cannot cope' without them

The Czech Prime Minister is set to ask for an extension to the country’s state of emergency until December 3, less than a week after he ordered shops to shut in a bid to prevent the “collapse” of the health system.

Andrej Babis will discuss his request at the Chamber of Deputies on October 30 where he will seek the backing of Czech lawmakers in order to successfully enforce new measures to curb coronavirus infections.

A night-time curfew between 9pm and 5am will come into force from Wednesday, while children will not return to school on November 2 and dog-walkers will be limited to within 500 meters of their home. 

The government's measures are a desperate response to the rapidly increasing number of new Covid-19 infections in the Czech Republic, with the total caseload now at 268,370 – in a country of 10.7 million people.

“We are in a situation where we need a state of emergency to apply the measures,” said Czech Health Minister Roman Prymula on Monday.

“Its repeal would mean the repeal of all those measures, I can not imagine that anyone in the government would not agree with it.”

Under Czech law, the government is able to declare a state of emergency for 30 days but must secure the approval of the Chamber of Deputies in advance. The existing state of emergency is in place until November 3. 

Last week as Babis shut down the country’s retail sector, he warned that the hospitals were nearing full capacity and that the health system would “collapse” between November 7-11 if the infection rate remained as it was.

“The reason is the need to extend the crisis measures taken, without which we cannot cope with the current pandemic,” the PM said on Tuesday. 

The health minister revealed on Tuesday that schools would remain closed to all students as of November 2, including those in kindergartens and special schools, which had been exempt from the shutdown of face-to-face teaching, which came in on October 14. 

The Czech Republic’s Covid-19 reproduction rate or 'R-value' remains at 1.3 ahead of the new night-time curfews on Wednesday, under which residents will be unable to leave their homes apart for essential journeys, such as visiting the doctor.

Also on rt.com Czech PM demands health minister’s resignation for breaching his own coronavirus rules

The country reported a further 10,273 new cases of the virus on Monday, according to official government data. A further 75 coronavirus-related fatalities were also registered, taking the total death toll to 2 365. 

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