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Czech commission to convene over coronavirus developments in Italy

Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) is going to convoke the national epidemiologic commission for Thursday
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Prague, Feb 24 (CTK) – Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) is going to convoke the national epidemiologic commission for Thursday over the disquieting situation with new coronavirus in Italy, he said today, adding, nevertheless, that Czechia does not plan to toughen preventive measures for the moment.

With the infection hotbed in mainland China, where almost 2,600 patients have died since December, the coronavirus recently killed four people in Italy, where 149 infected people were registered by Sunday.

In the meantime, the Czech Foreign Ministry has recommended that Czechs do not travel to the regions in northern Italy where the coronavirus appeared.

Those visiting the given regions may be subject to two-week quarantine, the ministry wrote today, recalling the Italian government’s decision to isolate 11 towns hit by the infection.

The development in the afflicted area may influence the travelling to other, still unaffected areas in Italy, the ministry wrote. It recommended that Czech travellers closely follow the current information about possible temporary measures in Italy.

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Furthermore, the ministry recommended that Czechs in Italy observe hygienic rules, shun places with a big concentration of people and immediately call the emergency line 112 in the case of health troubles or a suspected contact with an infected person.

Vojtech did not rule out possible further Czech measures if Italy failed to stem the virus.

In early February, the Czech government decided to ban direct flights between China and Czechia, and the Foreign Ministry stopped issuing visas to Chinese nationals.

Furthermore, the Czech Republic has been reinforcing the national material reserves in case the infection appeared in the country.

“Our measures remain unchanged…They rank among the toughest in Europe. Let’s see how the situation will develop. I feel a little worried by the developments in Italy, where the number of cases seems to be rising quite steeply,” Vojtech said.

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Chief sanitary officers from the EU countries will share information and discuss possible new measures at a phone conference today.

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“I have decided to convoke the national epidemiologic commission, a body comprised of representatives of several ministers including the Foreign Ministry. It is to meet on Thursday,” Vojtech said.

The national epidemiologic commission is the government’s permanent advisory body.

Vojtech said he does not expect Prague to toughen its anti-virus measures. “However, the situation is developing, so let see how it will develop in the days to come. If the number of cases continued rising essentially and Italy failed to stem it, we would possibly be forced to take measures such as a restriction of flight arrivals, but I do not want to anticipate it,” Vojtech said.

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) met Police President Jan Svejdar over the issue earlier this morning.

“The security forces are aware of the situation and are ready to follow the instructions issued by the Health Ministry and sanitary officials,” Hamacek told journalists.

“For the time being, we have no information about the appearance of the virus in the Czech Republic. If the situation changed, we would definitely react by convoking the National Security Council (RBS) and by further steps,” Hamacek said.

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The next RBS meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 2. It can be convoked sooner if needed, Hamacek said.

Tip: Visit Expats.cz Health for more health & wellness resources in Prague & the Czech Republic!

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