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Coronavirus: After Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia declare national state of emergency

Prague, Czech Republic – One day after Hungary, both the Czech Republic and Slovakia have declared a national state of emergency on Thursday, March 12, and introduced special measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

State of emergency in the Czech Republic

During a press conference on Thursday afternoon following a five-hour special government meeting, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis declared a state of national emergency to combat the spread of the virus.

Among the measures introduced, Czech citizens have been barred from visiting “high-risk countries” (China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Spain, Austria, Germany, the U.K., France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Denmark). Reciprocally, citizens from all these countries other than temporary or permanent residents have been banned from entering the Czech Republic.

All foreigners have also been banned from entering the Czech Republic via Austria and Germany. A special regime has been introduced at the border with those two countries, allowing people to leave or enter Czech territory only via 11 border crossings. The Interior Ministry will also stop issuing all kinds of visas until further notice.

Additionally, nearly all public gatherings of at least 30 people have been banned. As of Friday, pubs and restaurants will have to close their doors from 8 pm.

Czech police are also being deployed in Prague and the rest of the country to check whether those who have been ordered to stay in quarantine are effectively staying at home.

These measures are due to last for at least 30 days.

The Czech Republic reported 94 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection at the time of writing. Two patients are considered to be in serious condition.

Slovakia takes drastic measures against coronavirus

Earlier today, Slovakia’s Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini also announced a state of national emergency to fight the viral coronavirus outbreak.

Under the new rules, all schools nation-wide will be closed for at least fourteen days starting on March 16. International bus and train connections will be halted until further notice, while Slovakia’s three international airports (Bratislava, Poprad and Kosice) will also close down.

All cultural and sports events are cancelled, and a number of public buildings and spaces (wellness and fitness centres, shopping malls, ski resorts, amusements parks, bars, clubs, etc.) will be closed. Only food stores and pharmacies are allowed to remain open during the week-end. Restaurants and hotels can remain open.

Only Slovak citizens or foreigners with temporary or permanent residency are allowed to enter the country. Exceptions may apply for people living in Austria and Hungary but working in Slovakia.

With the most recent six known cases, Slovakia reported a total of 16 people with confirmed coronavirus infection for now.