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Czech Republic and Slovakia move to re-introduce state of emergency


Bratislava, Slovakia – The Czech Republic and Slovakia have taken steps to re-introduce the state of emergency as both countries struggle with a record surge in COVID-19 cases.

In Slovakia, Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO) declared on Monday that the government is likely to approve a nation-wide state of emergency to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

“We need to have this ‘back-up weapon’ at the ready”, he said following a meeting of the central crisis staff.

“A specific motion is to be drafted by the time the government convenes on Wednesday, and then I’ll be able to tell you more”, PM Matovic explained, adding that he was personally in favour of reintroducing the state of emergency in light of the latest epidemiological developments.

Slovakia first declared a state of emergency in mid-March, when only a few cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed, before lifting it on June 14 as Europe reopened.

It remains unclear at this point which measures would come into force if the state of emergency was declared.

Regardless of tomorrow’s decision, face-masks will once more become mandatory outdoors when social distancing is impossible from October 1. Most gatherings – including sports, cultural, business and religious events – will be banned starting next month with only a few exceptions, like weddings and funerals.

The Czech Republic could move in the same direction as its neighbour. According to media reports, Health Minister Roman Prymula will ask the government to declare a state of emergency.

The issue will also be discussed at a government session on Wednesday. New restrictions are likely to be introduced regardless of the state of emergency.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.