The coronavirus cripples the Czech Republic: The end of free movement and soldiers patroling the border. To work and back home, that's it!
The Czech government has restricted free movement of persons. Since Monday, people are allowed to go only to work, shopping for essentials, to see a doctor, or to settle the most urgent matters. The Czech Republic has not experienced such strict measures in the last 30 years. The aim is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has gotten completely out of control in countries such as Italy or Spain.
Simply put, Czechs can now leave the house only for the purpose of work or settling the most urgent matters. Once they have returned home, they should remain there. The police will be monitoring compliance with the rules, but there are no specific penalties planned yet. Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček, however, called for limiting movement to an absolute minimum in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading the way it had in Italy.
There have been 368 deaths in the last 24 hours in Italy, which surpasses the record in China at the time of the greatest crisis.
One of the reasons is that the traditionally sociable Italians would often meet up, allowing a massive spread of the disease.
We are, contrary to expectations, not under a total quarantine. People are allowed to leave the house, if necessary. "A quarantine doesn't mean that people are locked up at home. Quarantine is in place in Italy, and people normally go to work there. We are not introducing quarantine, we are restricting free movement of persons," said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. However, it is possible that if people fail to respect these measures, everything will continue to tighten.
So what is allowed?
Travel to employment or for work purposes in case of business owners
Necessary visits to family or loved ones
Travel to purchase food, medicines, hygiene products and other basic necessities
Visits at the doctor's office or travel for the purpose of testing for coronavirus
Travel for the purpose of urgent official procedures (however, tax returns have been postponed by 3 months!)
Travel of people who ensure safety, health and inner order
Work of public transport drivers, catering, delivery services or social workers
Spreading the coronavirus is a criminal offense
Spreading of coronavirus, even involuntary or irresponsible, is still considered a crime and people can go to prison for it. Breach of state-ordered quarantine can result in fines amounting to CZK 3 million.
At the moment, 2,000 soldiers are heading to the border, where they will help with monitoring the people coming from abroad. The rule still stands that foreigners are not allowed to travel to the Czech Republic (except for those who have a permanent residence) and Czechs are not allowed to leave the country.
All previous prohibitions, i.e. the organization of events, the operation of restaurants or pubs (with the exception of window sales) or the operation of swimming pools and other sports facilities, are still applicable. Newly, the operation of the following services is also prohibitied: shared taxis (f.e. Uber), shared laundries, electronics stores or accommodation services (with the exception of spas or university dormitories).