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COVID-19: Czech government to ask for state of emergency extension

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Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech government will ask the Chamber of Deputies for an extension of the current state of emergency, Interior Minister and head of the Central Crisis Staff Jam Hamacek said on Tuesday.

The Czech Republic declared, for a second time this year, a month-long state of national emergency on October 5 to take extraordinary measures aimed at slowing down the spread of the coronavirus.

The state of emergency was then prolonged until November 20, despite the government asking MP’s to approve a 30-day extension until early December.

Hamacek added that Health Minister Jan Blatny would present, by the end of the week, a detailed plan outlining the conditions under which current COVID-19 restrictions could be eased or lifted.

Hamacek had previously claimed that the state of emergency could remain in effect until Christmas – although part of the restrictions could be lifted sooner.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis also said that the November 20 extension would not be enough to contain the outbreak.

After being one of the countries most several affected by the second wave of COVID-19, the Czech Republic imposed a partial lockdown and a night curfew last month. Daily coronavirus cases have since started to go down, with around 6,000 cases reported yesterday – the lowest number for a working-day in four weeks.

Health experts nevertheless warned that lifting restrictions too soon – as the Czech government did in summer – would send the numbers of cases and the death toll skyrocketing again and put added strain on a struggling healthcare sector.

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