Prague, April 28 (CTK) – A possible uncontrolled spread of the novel coronavirus epidemic must be further prevented, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) told MPs today, and this is why he asked the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of national emergency in Czechia until May 25.
The minority government of ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD) wants to prolong the state of emergency for the anti-coronavirus restrictions, which are being gradually relaxed, remain valid until its end, mainly those concerning the operation of shops and services and the ban on gathering.
The opposition is willing to support a shorter prolongation of the state of emergency.
“The measures were efficient and really helped prevent an uncontrolled spread of the epidemic,” Babiš said, adding that the introduction of quarantine thwarted the health care system’s collapse.
“Thanks to the measures, the catastrophic scenarios like in Italy, Spain and the United States were not fulfilled (in the Czech Republic),” stressed Babiš, warning that Singapore was facing the second wave of the epidemic now.
Babiš reminded that originally he had not wanted to ask for the further prolongation of the state of emergency beyond April 30, but the Municipal Court’s verdict had made him change his mind.
The Prague Municipal Court on Thursday cancelled the Health Ministry’s four measures restricting free movement of people as well as retail sales and services, calling them unlawful as such fundamental restrictions cannot be issued by the ministry under the public health protection law, but they must be based on the crisis law. In reaction to it, the cabinet approved the steps as emergency measures based on the crisis law.
After May 25, softer measures issued under the public health protection law will be sufficient, Babiš added.
He also stressed that his cabinet did not abuse the coronavirus crisis to curb democracy. The introduced restrictions might by hard, but they were necessary according to epidemiologists, he noted.
Babiš also thanked MPs for their constructive approach so far.
Babiš said he would ask the Supreme Audit Office (NKU) to check all sectors’ purchases during the state of emergency to rule out any doubts about the transparent character primarily of the purchases of healthcare protective devices.
Representatives of the opposition parties asked the NKU for the same. NKU President Miloslav Kala previously said his office would check the purchases of protective means.
The government declared the state of emergency over the novel coronavirus epidemic outbreak as of March 12. It can declare it for up to 30 days only. Before expiring on April 11, it was extended by the lower house until end-April at the cabinet’s request.