- Title: Czech, Slovak governments restrict international travel to contain coronavirus
- Date: 12th March 2020
- Summary: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC (MARCH 12, 2020) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF CZECH GOVERNMENT BUILDING SIGN ON BUILDING READING (Czech): "OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC" POLICE OFFICER AND PRESS VEHICLE OUTSIDE CZECH GOVERNMENT BUILDING CZECH PRIME MINISTER ANDREJ BABIS, AND CZECH INTERIOR MINISTER JAN HAMACEK, WALKING TO PODIUM (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) CZECH PRIME MINISTER, ANDREJ BABIS, SAYING: "The Czech government has declared a state of emergency due to health risks from the coronavirus. This is from 14:00pm (1300GMT) today as of March 12, 2020. For now it (state of emergency) will last for 30 days." JOURNALISTS OPERATING CAMERAS AND TAKING NOTES (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) CZECH PRIME MINISTER, ANDREJ BABIS, SAYING: "We have banned all foreigners coming from risk areas from entering (the country), except foreigners staying here for more than 90 days or having a permanent residency in the Czech Republic." JOURNALIST OPERATING CAMERA (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) CZECH PRIME MINISTER, ANDREJ BABIS, SAYING: "Effective March 13, 2020, which is tomorrow, from 6:00am (0500GMT), the following will be closed: theatre, film and other artistic performances, sport, culture, religious, dancing, traditional and similar actions and other meetings." JOURNALIST OPERATING CAMERA (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) CZECH PRIME MINISTER, ANDREJ BABIS, SAYING: "Effective March 13, 2020 since 20:00pm (1900GMT) the public will be prohibited from 20:00pm (1900GMT) till 6:00am (0500GMT) from being in the places of catering services (restaurants, bars, pubs)." (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) CZECH INTERIOR MINISTER, JAN HAMACEK, SAYING: "I would like to warn all citizens that violating the law in this state of emergency is a criminal case." JOURNALISTS OPERATING CAMERAS AND TAKING NOTES (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) CZECH PRIME MINISTER, ANDREJ BABIS, SAYING: "It is clear there will be economic impacts. We want to help entrepreneurs and citizens, of course. But now we have to do everything for the virus to not spread, to avoid having it here without control. It will be complicated but we will do our best so that it doesn't happen." JOURNALIST OPERATING CAMERA BABIS AND HAMACEK LEAVING NEWS CONFERENCE
- Keywords: COVID-19 Czech Republic Peter Pellegrini Slovakia border closures coronavirus pandemic
- Reuters ID: LVA001C4QZRJT
- Location: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC AND BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA
- City: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC AND BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA
- Country: Czech Republic
- Duration: 00:02:30
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: The governments of the Czech Republic and Slovakia introduced measures on Thursday (March 12) that will restrict international air travel, introduce border checks and close schools and public venues.
The Czech Republic will close its borders to travellers crossing from Germany and Austria and also ban the entry of foreigners coming from other risky countries to contain the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Thursday.
Czechs will also be barred from travelling to those countries, and to and from other countries deemed risky, effective from Saturday (2300 GMT on Friday).
Exceptions will be given to foreigners visiting for at least 90 days or with residency in the Czech Republic and to cross-border workers.
Under a state of emergency declared for 30 days, the Prague government also banned international passenger transport, but kept freight business open.
Babis told a news conference the government would also ban public events of more than 30 people and impose closures of places such as sport centres, spa services and galleries.
Slovakia will close all schools for at least 14 days, stop international travel to and from the country and introduce border checks, said Prime Minister, Peter Pellegrini.
The central European country also plans to close sport, leisure and entertainment centers such as ski areas, pools and clubs, and will shut all shopping centers this coming weekend.
Pellegrini said Slovakia's international airports would close and international bus and train travel would also be halted, though international freight transport would continue.
A 14-day quarantine period imposed on Slovak citizens returning from Italy will now be extended to all those returning from abroad, Pellegrini said.
There are 16 reported cases of coronavirus in Slovakia, while the Czech Republic reported 96 cases on Thursday, with both countries reporting no deaths.
(Production: Jiri Skacel, David Cerny, Dominik Starosz)
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