Government declares new state of emergency

The Czech government has declared a state of emergency for the next fortnight, starting midnight February 14, when the current state of emergency is due to expire.

Although the lower house refused to extend the state of emergency it in a vote on Thursday, the government acted in response to a request from the governors of the country’s 14 regions who argued that a state of danger would not give them adequate powers to enforce the necessary restrictions needed to keep the coronavirus epidemic in check.

The restrictive measures in place will thus remain valid after midnight Sunday. Work hours at administration offices will return to normal and libraries will be able to serve clients via dispensing windows.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that on Monday the health minister would present the cabinet with a proposed draft of a new pandemic legislation which would enable the government to respond to the crisis without a state of emergency in the future. He pledged to hold talks with the opposition about the bill on Tuesday.