Government officials now calling on Czechs to start wearing masks voluntarily

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says wearing veils indoors should be mandatory; Minister of the Interior, Jan Hamáček, called for their voluntary use

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 23.07.2020 16:32 (updated on 23.07.2020)

Prague, July 23 (CTK) – Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek today called the recent development of the epidemiological situation in Czechia alarming and appealed to Czechs to wear face masks indoors and in public transport means, whatever the Health Ministry’s directives may be.

The government does not want to repeat the spring closure of the economy, he emphasized.

“I would like to ask the citizens not to wait for the [Health] Ministry to impose directives on them, but to wear face masks [voluntarily] when staying indoors and public transport means,” Hamacek said.

Health Minister Adam Vojtech previously said he wants to decide on Friday whether to order new across-the-board measures against the coronavirus spread.

Hamacek said the use of face masks proved efficient once. “This is the simplest thing we can do and prevent the damage similar to that [the epidemic] caused in the spring,” he said.

“The numbers of the new COVID-19 patients, as reported in recent days, have been alarming. It is turning out that the situation has been slowly deteriorating,” Hamacek said.

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Nevertheless, the situation can be tackled by standard instruments used by the Health Ministry, he said.

On Wednesday, Czechia saw 247 new coronavirus cases, an increase of 36 higher than on Tuesday, and the record high daily increase since the end of June. The total number of those currently ill is 5,062, the highest number since the early March epidemic outbreak in the country.

Some anti-COVID preventive measures will take effect in Czechia as soon as on Friday in view of the deteriorating epidemiological situation, PM Andrej Babis told journalists during his visit to the Hradec Kralove Region today.

“We have to react to the development quickly and appeal to people to behave responsibly,” Babis said.

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch is expected to make an announcement by 6pm today.