Foreign News

Czech border controls leave some uneasy

Rob Cameron

BBC Prague Correspondent

From midnight on Sunday, the Czech Republic will effectively seal its borders in an effort contain the spread of the coronavirus.

It’s the most draconian restrictions introduced by a Czech government in the country’s 27 years as an independent state.

Jan Hamacek, Czech Minister of the Interior, told the BBC it is “the only effective way” to combat the outbreak.

Most Czechs appear broadly sympathetic to the measures for perilous days, although there are voices of dissent.

Petr Kutilek, a local politician for the Green Party, said he believed the government had not given a proper explanation of why such extreme limits were being imposed.

“They also raise doubts that [the government] is in fact covering up for failures in providing health care professionals and other frontline responders with respirators and other vital equipment,” he added.

For most Czechs, free movement is one of the hallowed four freedoms of EU membership. People seem ready to relinquish that right. At least for 30 days.

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