State of emergency to end on February 14

The lower house of Parliament has rejected extending the coronavirus state of emergency after February 14. This means nationwide restrictions and a lockdown on three districts coming into force on Friday will be unenforceable after that date.

The government will have to decide how to handle the situation in view of the worsening coronavirus epidemic in some regions. One possibility is for the governors of given regions to announce a so-called “state of danger” of health and lives at risk, which would enable them to enforce measures on a regional scale.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who appealed for a fortnight’s grace, told MPs that anyone who voted against extending the state of emergency would be directly responsible for the loss of human lives. The lower house on Thursday appealed to the public to maintain discipline and adhere to the recommended safety precautions.