Czech Republic declares new state of emergency

Czech Republic declares new state of emergency

Lawmakers in the Czech Republic on Friday approved the imposition of a state of emergency to tackle a rise in coronavirus cases, POLITICO reports.

The vote came after days of wrangling between the government and opposition parties, and a threat by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to bypass parliament if he did not get his way.

"If the vote does not take place, I will convene the government immediately and declare a new state of emergency. The new measures require a state of emergency,” he told MPs on Friday.

Following the vote, the government announced that the state of emergency would run from February 27 to March 28.

It will usher in a new range of lockdown measures, including strict limits on personal mobility, the closure of all kindergartens and other schools that are currently operating, and a restriction of sales to essential goods.

Health Minister Jan Blatný told MPs that the number of daily coronavirus infections will hit the 20,000 mark in the coming weeks, but will then decrease. Currently, about 14,000 new infections are registered daily.

If no measures are taken, the number of infections would soar to 35,000 a day, Blatný added.

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