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Pavel Burian

September 14, 2020 Politics

Slovakia puts Czech Republic on high risk COVID-19 list

Slovakia puts Czech Republic on high risk COVID-19 list - Czech Points

Slovakia will put the Czech Republic on its “red list” of high-risk countries due to coronavirus’s spread, the Slovak Central Crisis Staff decided today. The decision of Bratislava, which thus responded to the increase in the number of coronavirus newly infected people in the Czech Republic, will, in practice, be reflected in travel restrictions.

In recent years, Czechs have formed the most extensive foreign clientele in accommodation facilities in Slovakia. According to the opposition, the Slovak step shows the seriousness of the situation in the Czech Republic.

On the way from the Czech Republic to Slovakia, people will, with some exceptions, have to submit a negative test for coronavirus not older than 72 hours or in Slovakia to enter a five-day quarantine and then undergo the test.

According to Klus, the obligation to submit a test result or enter quarantine will not apply to commuters within 30 kilometers of the nearest border crossing, students, teachers, researchers, health professionals, farmers, social workers, or so-called critical infrastructure, and athletes, and artists.

The Secretary of State at the Central Crisis Staff meeting also wrote on the Internet that compliance with the regulation would be verified by random checks and monitoring of the movement of mobile phones.

“The Czechia is in a bad situation. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they will be on our green list as soon as possible,” Matovic told reporters. He added that the ties between the Czech Republic and Slovakia are extensive, so he proposed several exceptions to the restrictions mentioned above on travel between the countries. At the same time, the Slovak Prime Minister criticized Klus for publishing the result of the Slovak staff meeting before Matovič announced the conclusions to his Czech colleague Andrej Babiš.

Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček stated that he expected a Slovak decision. “The results of the meeting of the Slovak crisis staff will now be solved by the chief Slovak hygienist, who in the following days will set the exact conditions for exceptions,” he added it would be effective from this Friday.

Babiš has already said that the Czech Republic’s expected inclusion on the Slovak list of high-risk countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic will not help mutual economic relations. Today’s step is not surprising. Last week it was proposed by a pandemic commission of the Slovak government, whose members are, in addition to politicians, also, for example, the chief hygienist and experts in the field of epidemiology and infectology.

Also, when traveling from other high-risk EU countries to Slovakia, passengers will be able to present the result of a negative coronavirus test to avoid quarantine in the land below the Tatras. So far, Bratislava has had 26 states on its list of so-called safe countries for coronavirus. Sweden, Bulgaria, and Canada have been added.

According to Klus, Austria and Hungary have not yet included the “red” countries at Slovakia’s coronavirus traffic light, although they can be moved at any time. Trot also wrote that the rules of travel to Ukraine would be tightened in the coming days; the pandemic commission proposed the complete closure of Slovakia’s borders with this Eastern European country.

Slovakia, which has a population of five million, has also been facing an increase in those infected in recent weeks. The country recorded the highest increase ever, 226 infected, at the beginning of September. According to Prime Minister Matovič, Bratislava will not yet reduce the number of spectators or participants in cultural or sporting events, as suggested by experts. In the meantime, for example, hygienists have ordered for Bratislava. Events with a maximum of 500 participants will continue to be allowed in the interiors. The upper limit of 1000 people will remain for the exteriors.

According to the opposition, the Slovak step shows the seriousness of the situation in the Czech Republic.

Slovakia’s decision to include the Czechia due to the spread of coronavirus among high-risk countries shows that the situation is complicated and needs to be resolved. The chairman of the opposition ODS, Petr Fiala, said. According to the head of TOP 09, Markéta Pekarová Adamová, this is mainly due to underestimating the preparation for the second wave of the infection by the Ministry of Health and the entire government. The opposition encourages the convening of the Central Crisis Staff or respect for experts’ opinions at the expense of PR.

Fiala said the cabinet spent the months preparing for the summer, doing nothing, and praising itself. “The prime minister tried to tell us that we are world champions in the fight against COVID-19, the health minister could not manage the resort, and now we are reaping the fruits of their incompetence,” he said.

According to him, other government actions must be based on the recommendations of epidemiologists, not on “marketers from Babiš’s team.” “It’s a lot. The first thing the prime minister should do is dismiss health minister Adam Vojtech.” Health care needs competent management and finally convene a crisis staff and listen to experts, “he added.

Pirate MP Mikuláš Ferjenčík said that the government should convene the Central Crisis Staff as soon as possible. The CSSD has been urging the Czech Republic to resume its activities in recent days, and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is against it. “The prime minister must stop pretending that the situation is extremely excellent. We are in danger of serious health and economic difficulties,” he said.

Adamová said the move by Slovakia should not be a surprise. “Slovak experts and politicians will not legitimately allow themselves to be reassured by the Prime Minister’s words that nothing is happening in the Czech Republic, but they are realistic about the situation. And it has been serious for several weeks and will worsen,” she warned. According to her, the Czechia quickly became one of the riskiest countries in Europe’s premier role. “Due to the underestimation of the preparation for the second wave by the Ministry of Health and the entire government,” she added.

On Twitter, Adamová stated that two pieces of information flowed from the Slovak step. “The prime minister lied when he said that it was not a threat. And the Slovaks, unlike us, have an activated crisis staff because they do not want to end up like us,” she wrote. Some opposition parties or the coalition CSSD call for the resumption of the Central Crisis Staff, but Babiš is against it. According to him, the role of the staff is held by the government council for health risks.