Illustrative image via iStock photo @Gwengoat

Is the perception of coronavirus and willingness to accept restricitions changing in Czech Republic?

Czech journalists weigh in on the the nation's readniness to accept the next round of restrictions

Prague, July 23 (CTK) – The readiness of the Czech public to accept restrictions over the coronavirus outbreak is close to none, journalist Ondrej Neff writes in Lidové noviny (LN) today.

As it turns out, the coronavirus pandemic is not something like the flu, it is beyond any previous experience, he writes:

As a rule, the course of the illness in the infected is so mild that if it had not been for the previous panic and if there were no connection with the foreign situation, the public would pay scant if any attention to it.

Now there is a kind of vicious circle here. The coronavirus is still here, not making much harm, but it is being much talked about.

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The public perception of the illness has changed. In the spring, there was the readiness to accept the rules of the game. The public accepted the demand for discipline and active collaboration.

Now summer is here and what was once considered necessary, is now seen as arbitrariness, arrogance, and incompetence.

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The number of the infected is resurging, but the understanding of the steps taken by the government is falling.

In the spring, the cancellation of the festival Colours of Ostrava was accepted as a necessity, and no one raised any objection. Now the cancellation of the NeFestival is seen as arbitrariness, arrogance, and incompetence.

One cannot enter the same river twice, not even with a weapon in hand, Neff concludes.

Jan Stetka writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN) that it is already glaringly obvious how the first and incoming second wave of the coronavirus crisis will differ.

Czechs are supposed to thank the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis for the successful suppression of the spring stage, while they should berate public health officials and regional bodies for the mismanagement of the summer continuation.

Babis claims that ministers cannot be blamed for anything since the government is only watching the coronavirus, not dealing with it since it has “a structure for it.“

This is interesting. In fact, the government also had a structure at its disposal in early March, when the first wave started.

The mandatory wearing of face masks is almost certain to resume in October.

Babis’s team will go to extreme lengths to prevent the Czech Republic from falling to the bottom of the European ranking before the autumn elections.

Right now, the daily increase in the ill is one of the biggest in the continent and it is not sure whether the relatively favorable scenario of the first wave will repeat.

The coronavirus has forced the government to adopt a number of exceptional measures and the government should face the problem of quarantine vote directly, even without being forced to do so by the opposition, Josef Koukal writes about the discussion of the vote by mail for those in quarantine in Pravo.

The drafted vote by mail, originally designated for Czechs living abroad and to be widened to the voters in isolation, proposed by right-wing senators, is not as unrealistic as claimed by Social Democrat leader and Interior Minister Jan Hamacek.

If the opposition is right that Babis’s government is reluctant to adopt the vote by mail for fear of a low support for his ANO among foreign Czechs, the interior and health ministers will have no choice but to look for alternative organisation ways, based on law.

In fact, the coronavirus will really influence the elections, not by the numbers of those it will infect, but by mirroring the steps taken by senior officials at the time of the crisis.

Join the discussion: What are your thoughts on how the government is handling the surge in coronavirus cases?

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