The Czech Chamber of Deputies has voted to prolong the nationwide state of emergency in the Czech Republic, but only through April 30. The current state of emergency is in effect until April 12.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš had previously requested extending the state of emergency for another month, i.e. until May 11, based on a recommendation from the Czech Central Crisis Staff.
MPs in the Chamber of Deputies, however, ultimately agreed on a shorter timeframe.
‼️ Poslanecká sněmovna Parlamentu schválila prodloužení nouzového stavu do 30. dubna.
— Úřad vlády ČR (@strakovka) April 7, 2020
The state of emergency does not specifically relate to the government mandates regarding ant-coronavirus measures, but rather their ability to pass them in an accelerated time frame that bypasses the usual protocol.
The state of emergency also allows the government to purchase medical equipment and other material quickly without following the usual tender process.
Ninety of the 101 MPs present voted in favor of extending the state of emergency through April 30, a counter-proposal to the Prime Minister’s request from KSČM Chairman Vojtěch Filip.
MPs from the TOP 09, STAN, and Tricolor party were against extending the state of emergency at all, largely due to the lack of a clear plan presented by the government for the coming weeks.
Interior Minister Jan Hamáček countered this by paraphrasing American immunologist Anthony Fauci, one of the key figures dealing with the crisis in the USA.
“None of us has a detailed plan A, B, C, or D, on how we can handle the epidemic, because the situation is constantly evolving,” Hamáček stated.
“When I listen to the discussion in the United States, a sentence from Dr. Fauci, a top American expert, stuck in my mind. He says, and I paraphrase his statement: ‘The only one who has a plan is the virus’.”
The government’s anti-coronavirus regulations, meanwhile, have begun to ease this week with the opening of certain stores and sports facilities.
Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch has stated that further measures would be eased, and more stores reopened, following the Easter holiday this weekend.
Another proposal currently under debate would allow international travel in substantiated cases from April 14.