PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech lower house on Friday approved a bill giving the Health Ministry new powers without needing a state of emergency order, as the government laid out plans to “radically” tighten lockdown measures amid a renewed spread of COVID-19 infections.
The country of 10.7 million has had among the world’s highest per capita rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths in recent weeks, with new variants complicating the situation.
The so-called pandemic bill was supported by almost all parties in parliament and gives the Health Ministry the right to issue bans and orders, like closing shops or services, with the cabinet’s consent.
Under previous laws, the government had that right only under a state of emergency, which needs lawmakers’ consent to run beyond 30 days. Restaurant closures, which have been widely used during the pandemic, buy generic celexa canada without prescription can fall under public health laws.
The approval of the legislation, pushed by opposition parties, is only one step in the government’s efforts to tighten restrictions after Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Wednesday “hellish days” were ahead and hospitals faced unprecedented stress.
The government will still need a state of emergency as it seeks to sharply limit people’s movements and contacts in the coming weeks, measures not covered in the new legislation.
Babis’s minority government was asking for an extension of an existing state of emergency into March in parliament on Friday.
Lawmakers rejected an earlier request but some opposition parties said on Friday the government should simply call a new sate of emergency given new virus variants have changed the situation.
The government is set to unveil details of new restrictions once state of emergency frameworks are agreed.
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