Map of Europe with focus on Austria, Czech Republic via iStock / Pawel Gaul

Czech government to debate ahead-of-schedule reopening of borders with Austria, Germany today

Prague, May 17 (CTK) – The Czech government will discuss the current regulations regarding the borders with Germany and Austria at its meeting on Monday, including a possible reopening of borders sooner than is currently planned (June 13), Deputy PM and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats, CSSD) said on Czech Television today.

The national state of emergency, which the cabinet imposed over the coronavirus in mid-March, ended at midnight on May 17, but a general ban on crossing borders except at several selected crossings remains in force.

“The Czech Republic will have to assess the decision by Austria and Germany to change the border regime,” Hamáček said, adding that he will submit the relevant “material” to the cabinet meeting on Monday.

“At present, our regime of border checks is in force until June 13. [On Monday], the cabinet will discuss whether the deadline should be June 13 or whether we could loosen the regime faster,” Hamáček said.

He said he would personally wait for a while longer regarding lifting of border checks.

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“I don’t say it must happen on June 13, but I definitely would not open it [borders] tomorrow. I want to hear the opinion of the Health Ministry, I want to see the [coronavirus] data from Cheb and Domazlice, since these have been the most afflicted areas,” Hamáček said, referring to two of the westernmost regions bordering on Germany.

According to the Czech police statistics, released by Czech Television, the police checked 1,552,000 vehicles leaving the Czech Republic and 1,637,000 vehicles entering the Czech Republic from March 16 to May 15. They barred the departure of 14,000 people and denied entry to 24,000.

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Austria has reopened all border crossings with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary as of last midnight. Border checks will continue only randomly from now on, Vienna said on Saturday. It plans the complete opening of borders on June 15.

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