Social Democrats want state of emergency extended

Jan Hamáček, head of the junior coalition party of Social Democrats, has said the party will defend its position on extending the state of emergency in the country beyond April 30.

He said the state of emergency would allow the government to respond to the country’s needs more swiftly, such as in purchasing protective gear for the state sector centrally, without having to hold an open competition.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Wednesday he was against an extension, arguing that the state of emergency had already served its purpose and the government restrictions were not dependent on it.

However he said the government would take into account the arguments of epidemiologists on the matter before coming to a final decision on whether to ask the lower house for an extension.

The government initially imposed a 30-day state of emergency on March 13 in view of the coronavirus situation. MPs later voted to extend it to the end of April.