Governors: State of emergency not needed
At today’s meeting with government representatives in resignation, the governors agreed that due to the state of the covid-19 epidemic, it is not necessary to declare a state of emergency now. After the meeting, the chairman of the Association of Regions and the governor of South Bohemia, Martin Kuba (ODS), stated this on Twitter. They would consider it appropriate to amend the pandemic law to allow the necessary measures to be activated in the affected regions, he added. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES) has confirmed that the governors are not demanding a state of emergency now.
The declaration of a state of emergency was considered appropriate by some governors due to the situation in their regions. However, according to Monday’s opinion of the Ministry of the Interior, which was voiced at the Central Crisis Staff (ÚKŠ), the regions should first consider whether to declare a state of danger on their territory. If that wasn’t enough, the governors could ask the cabinet for an emergency. “At the meeting with the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Health, the governors agreed that there was no need to declare a state of emergency at this time,” Kuba said today.
South Moravian Governor Jan Grolich (KDU-ČSL) stated on Twitter that the regions will manage the situation without a state of emergency. “But hospitals can’t do it unless the government and hygiene wake up quickly and take more drastic measures. Hospitals are overflowing and we can’t pretend that nothing is happening and going to events where there are hundreds and thousands of people,” he wrote.
The capital is ready to help the Moravian regions, said Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) on Twitter. “Prague can provide mass transport of patients from congested Moravian hospitals to Prague,” he said. Due to a possible transport, he had a special car of the Prague rescue service Fénix prepared. “It will transport up to 12 patients on oxygen at a time,” Hřib added.
Today, the regions have gradually expressed the opinion that if the only reason for the emergency situation is the profession of medics in hospitals, they do not consider it necessary, said the governor of the Pardubice region Martin Netolický (3PK / ČSSD) on Twitter. “We have learned from Prime Minister Babiš that the government does not want a state of emergency and that it is trying to meet the needs of the Moravian regions in particular. At the same time, not a single such request has been made today,” he added.
Should the situation change and the governors demand a state of emergency, the government is ready to sit down, Babiš told reporters. According to him, the state of emergency was discussed on the basis of the requirements of the regional care coordinators, but a request from the regional crisis staffs would be necessary. “Within the framework of the crisis law, systemic steps must be followed,” Babiš explained. The cabinet agreed with the governors to improve communication.
Politicians of the future coalition Spolu (ODS, KDU-ČSL, TOP 09) and Pirates with STAN also want to talk to the representatives of the regions today. The result of the morning meeting with the current government in resignation is a plan to amend the pandemic law. “It would be appropriate to adjust it so that it could allow the activation of certain processes necessary for the management of the current situation in the affected regions,” Kuba added.
In connection with coronavirus, a state of emergency was first declared in the Czech Republic last March and a second time before 5 October. It was extended several times and ended on April 11 this year. It is on the basis of the state of emergency that the government has taken a number of measures over the past year and a half – from the closure of most shops and services to restrictions on school operations to restrictions on crossing borders. The state of emergency was also used by the Ministry of the Interior for central purchases of protective equipment, and made it easier to deploy the army.
Coalition and opposition parties agreed on a pandemic law at the beginning of the year, mainly so that there would be tools to combat the covid-19 epidemic that would not require an emergency. The standard allows the Department of Health and sanitation stations to impose more extensive restrictions against the spread of Covid-19 than they could before. Their decisions are subject to government approval.