Czech Republic to close borders from March 16, barring residents from leaving and tourists from entering

At a press briefing on Friday, March 13 at 12:00, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has announced that all international travel to and from the Czech Republic will be essentially prohibited from March 16.

All foreign nationals without residence in the Czech Republic, including tourists and other travelers, will be barred from entering the country as of March 16.

Additionally, all Czech citizens and holders of Czech residence permits will be barred from leaving the country as of March 16.

One exception to the travel ban will be Czech citizens and residents returning to the country, who will still be able to do so. Likewise, tourists and other non-residents currently in the country on short-term stays will be able to leave.

Incoming citizens and residents may face quarantine measures upon arrival if coming from one of the 15 countries deemed to be at risk of coronavirus spread.

Another exception applies to those who live within 50 kilometers of the Czech border with Austria and Germany and work in the neighboring countries. They will be allowed to continue to drive to work by car, but international travel by bus and train has been suspended.

Those who work in Germany or Austria and live more than 50 kilometers from the border, however, will be forbidden from from travelling to their work. Some exceptions will apply, for example to pilots, drivers, and emergency service workers.

Because Justice Minister Marie Benešová has placed coronavirus on the list of infectious diseases subject to qualification as a crime, the spread of coronavirus could be considered a criminal offense, the Prime Minister said.

Babiš also stated that university and secondary school students in related fields will be obliged to assist during the state of emergency if needed.

The Prime Minister said that the actions of the Czech Republic in preventing the spread of coronavirus are the strictest in all of Europe.

Babiš refuted a rumor that the city of Prague itself would be quarantined.

“If a quarantine were announced, it would be for the whole Czech Republic,” he stated. “To make it just for Prague would be nonsense, this option is not on the table.”

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