The Czech Republic has prolonged quarantine measures that include the limitation of free movement in the country until April 11 at 6:00 a.m., Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has told members of the local press.
Previously, the quarantine measures were valid through April 1, which is this Wednesday.
The new date gives some hope that the restrictions might be lifted or at least eased allowing travel for the Easter weekend holiday.
The government had previously implemented the measures in 7-day installments, but the latest extension is a full 10 days. Easter Monday falls on April 13 this year.
The initial measures were in effect from March 16 to 24, and an extension pushed that to April 1.
The limitations on free movement that have been extended include a ban on travelling for most purposes with exceptions for work, family, and a few other circumstances: necessary visits to family members, trips to acquire essentials, to health and social services facilities, to help neighbors, or getting out into nature and staying in parks.
That last exception is subject to much debate, however, and residents are generally asked to remain indoors if at all possible. Photos of crowded Prague parks over the weekend were widely distributed over social media.
Additionally, all residents are required to wear a face mask at all times while outside or in public spaces, and keep a two-meter distance from others, under the threat of a 20,000 crown fine. Lifting the mask for any reason, including to smoke, is prohibited in public spaces.
All pubs, restaurants, and most shops must also remain closed under the quarantine measures Czech officials extended today, with exceptions for food stores, drug stores, pharmacies, and select other businesses.
Under the quarantine measures, the Czech borders are closed to most travel, with Czech citizens barred from leaving the country and non-residents barred from entering. Some exceptions include the transport of cargo, and allowing Czech citizens to return home and foreigners to leave.
Officials have previously stated that re-opening the borders would be the final measure to be lifted, and largely depends on the coronavirus situation in other countries.
This is a developing story; we will add more infomation as it becomes available.