Government to propose to Chamber of Deputies extension of state of emergency until 3 December

The government is to ask the Chamber of Deputies to give its consent to an extension of the state of emergency for another 30 days, i.e. until 3 December. It discussed the draft proposal at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday 27 October 2020, and deputies should rule on the extension on Friday 30 October.

According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, an extension of the state of emergency that the government declared from 5 October is essential for the Czech Republic to cope with the current pandemic situation.

“Today, the government has approved a request to the Chamber of Deputies to give its consent to an extension of the state of emergency in connection with the Covid-19 epidemic, until 3 December 2020. The reason is, of course, the need to extend the crisis measures taken, without which we cannot cope with the current pandemic. So Parliament will discuss our request on Friday from 9 am onwards, and I firmly hope that the opposition will understand the gravity of the situation and approve this request. This is, I think, very important. Mainly to protect the health and lives of our fellow citizens,” said the Prime Minister.

The Government also addressed the intention of the Ministry of Health to launch a testing system in the form of antigen tests for Covid-19. Unlike PCR tests, antigen tests can also be performed by general practitioners and are also significantly cheaper. In the first phase, testing will focus on the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly in social care facilities, patients in after-care, doctors and health professionals. They can also be used by employers or schools.

“I think it is very important that we start this testing quickly, mainly so that we protect our fellow citizens over the age of 65, and in particular the sick, health professionals, social workers, nursing homes and others. So this is the key thing we need to do today,” said Prime Minister Babiš. The tender for the purchase of tests is to be implemented by the Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna for a price of a maximum of 120 crowns per unit, with the ministry planning to purchase up to 10 million tests.

The government also took note of the plan of the Ministry of Health to implement a comprehensive communications campaign in support of government measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The campaign should help improve communication from the state to citizens and reduce the spread of misinformation about the Covid-19 disease. The government has set aside 50 million crowns from the government budget reserve for these purposes.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal to extend Call 2 of the Covid – Rental subsidy programme to other operations that have now been affected by a restriction or prohibition of activities in connection with the further restrictions on retail and services that were approved by the Government with effect from Wednesday, 28 October. Operators of furniture and carpet stores, bookmakers and some market sellers, for example, may now also request a refund of 50 percent of their rent for three months.