Czech State of Emergency Extended To December 23rd

The extension is due to the continuing deterioration of the epidemiological situation. A request for a longer extension was made, but not approved by the Chamber of Deputies. The government also amended the rules on the ban on the public consumption of alcohol and the operation of ski lifts and cable cars. Photo: Press conference after the extraordinary cabinet meeting, 10 December 2020. Credit: Vlada Archive.

Czech Rep., Dec 10 (BD) – At an extraordinary meeting today, the Chamber of Deputies agreed to an extension of the state of emergency, as requested by the government. The government had requested a longer extension of 30 days, but the deputies approved a shorter extension. 

Further amendments were made to the ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in public, as well as the operation of ski lifts and cable cars. 

According to the Czech Health Minister Jan Blatný, the ban on the sale of alcohol applies to the sale of bottled or prepared drinks to be consumed on the spot. One may, for example, purchase a can of beer from the dispensing windows or a bottle of plum brandy from a market and then take it home. 

‘‘The situation is now set up as it was originally planned, that in the markets, whether Christmas or farm, catering services are forbidden and alcohol and drinks prepared on the spot will not be sold there,’’ said Blatný. 

With regards to ski lifts and cable cars, the ban applies only to lifts that are used for the purpose of skiing. Cable cars used to transport supplies to mountain huts or people who are not going to ski, such as the cable car to Petřín in Prague, can operate. 

The Minister of Health J. Blatný informed about the extension of the state of emergency, December 10, 2020. Photo credit: Vlada Archive.

Only a week ago, the Czech Republic switched to the third level of the PES anti-epidemic system. However, at the weekend, the risk score rose above 60 points, which correlates to the fourth level of PES. 

Before the decision can be made to switch to another level of the PES system, the government must follow certain guidelines. If the risk score remains at a value in a lower level for seven days consecutively, then the government can decide to move down a level. However, if the risk score is at a value in a higher level for three consecutive days, this allows the government to reintroduce stricter measures. 

The risk score was at 57 points (level 3) for thirteen consecutive days until Saturday, December 5th, when it rose to 62 points. Since Sunday, the risk score has been stable at 64 points.

On Wednesday, 6,402 positive cases of coronavirus were recorded, which is over 1,800 more than the previous Wednesday. To date, there have been 563,333 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 9,226 deaths related to coronavirus recorded in the Czech Republic. The reproduction number has risen to 1.1.

According to the Minister of Health, if the situation continues to deteriorate, the Czech Republic may switch to the fourth level of PES. This would mean that certain establishments would be closed, but the rules may be changed to allow smaller shops to remain open.

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