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Czech Republic’s state of emergency, domestic travel ban to expire on Sunday

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Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech government will not ask for an extension of the state of emergency beyond April 11, Prime Minister Andrej Babis announced on Sunday, resulting in the end of the night curfew and domestic travel ban next week.

Instead of asking Parliament to approve yet another prolongation of the state of national emergency, the government will implement the recently approved pandemic law, the Czech Premier told local media.

Czech domestic travel ban and state of emergency to expire on April 11

The state of emergency had been declared and repeatedly extended since October last year, while a ban on domestic travel came into force at the beginning of March. A few exceptions applied for people travelling for work or to attend a doctor’s appointment.

Under the new pandemics law, a number of anti-COVID measures will be able to lawfully stay in place. Restrictions on the free movement of people will be scrapped, however, meaning that both the ban on domestic travel between districts and the night curfew (9 pm – 5 am) will not apply beyond next Sunday.

The minority government led by Prime Minister Babis has been facing growing pressure from the opposition to end the state of emergency, and had initially sought to keep it in place until the end of April, before being turned down by MPs.

Minority government of Prime Minister Babis under pressure

One of the worst-hit countries in the world in the first quarter this year, the country of 10.6 million inhabitants has seen its infection rate decrease over the past few weeks, with a daily average of around 6,000 new cases last week.

With popular support plummeting and national elections only six months away, M. Babis and his ANO party are facing strong criticism for the government’s handling of the pandemic. On Tuesday, the Communist Party – which isn’t part of the ruling coalition but tacitly supports minority government formed by ANO and CSSD – will decide on whether or not to keep its agreement with M. Babis or withdraw its support.

Talking to local news site tn.cz, the Prime Minister said he hoped they could still reach an agreement for his coalition government to survive until the general elections in October.

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.

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