State of emergency extended until December 12

The lower house of Parliament has extended the ongoing state of emergency by three weeks until December 12.The vote took place after a nine-hour debate in which the opposition parties vehemently opposed the idea.

Health Minister Jan Blatný urged deputies to extend the state of emergency so as to prevent a new upsurge of coronavirus infections in January. He warned that easing the restrictions too fast in view of the Christmas holidays and a renewal of social contacts, which would certainly happen, would lead to a fresh outbreak of infections at the start of next year. Without a state of emergency, many of the enforced restrictions would be reduced to mere recommendations, Blatný said.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš also urged the lower house to comply with the government’s request, saying it was essential to reach a decisive turning point in the fight against the epidemic. The government originally asked for a four week extension.