Czech Government Closes Borders to 18 Countries and Declares COVID-19 Emergency


    PRAGUE: The Czech government has announced it is shutting its borders to foreigners from 18 high risk countries starting at midnight on Friday 13 March. This includes Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and USA. Czech citizens will also not be able to visit those countries.

    The impact on the film industry will be severe as movement across borders for international productions and coproductions are a staple of the Czech film industry. Cinemas will also close. Measures included restricting the operation of pubs and restaurants to daytime hours only and the outlawing of events with more than 30 people.

    Beginning at midnight tonight, a security force will be dispatched to the country’s borders with Austria and Germany and foreigners from the restricted countries will not be allowed to enter the Czech Republic. The interior ministry will stop issuing all visas until further notice.

    “We are also banning theatre, music, film and other performances, sports, cultural, religious, community, dancing, traditional events and other meetings,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis said.

    Gyms, swimming pools, and other sports facilities, clubs, galleries, and libraries will also be closed as well as eateries in shopping malls.

    Meanwhile neighbouring Slovakia has closed its borders, with only people with permanent or temporary residence in the country or some other permission to stay there being allowed entry as of Friday early morning.

    Slovakia is also closing schools, international airports, restaurants, ski resorts, amusement parks and water parks for at least two weeks.

    Here is the statement of the Czech embassy in UK: https://www.mzv.cz/london/en/what_s_new/declaration_of_state_of_emergency.htm