Czech government imposes new restrictions on movement over virus

The Czech government imposed new restrictions on movement to combat the spread of the coronavirus Sunday, adding to measure that have closed shops, restaurants, pubs and schools and banned gatherings of more than 30 people.

Czechs are only allowed to go to work and back, go shopping, see their family or a doctor, take care of their animals, buy petrol or spend time in nature, Prime Minister Andrej Babis told a press conference.

The measure will apply until 0500 GMT on March 24 in the central European nation of 10.7 million people which has 293 confirmed cases of the novel virus and no deaths.

Babis called on employers to allow staff to work from home whenever possible and asked Czechs to keep a distance of two metres (six feet) from those they meet and use cards instead of cash if possible.

Prague had earlier also announced foreigners would no longer be allowed to cross into the country and Czechs would not be allowed to leave as of Monday.

The government has come under fire this weekend for the shortage of face masks, after it sent a plane with five tons of medical material in aid to China earlier this month.

Health Minister Adam Vojtech said Saturday that doctors were short a million face masks, but the government has since confirmed orders of 1.1 million respirators and five million face masks from China. Private companies have also pledged help.


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