PRAGUE- Summer travelers thinking of vacationing in Europe (or elsewhere) this summer may want to reconsider in light of the Coronavirus epidemic that has put literally everything on hold. This includes any travel to Czechia.
In response to the surge in cases in the country, the Czech government has closed down the entire country for six months, effective immediately. This is according to several German news sources, including MDR Aktuell and is based on a speech by Roman Prymula, the head of the Czech Crisis Management, on national TV. Czechia borders the German states of Saxony and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland, Austria and Slovakia. Under the rule, travel into the Czechia is not allowed. Exceptions are commuters working in the country and lorry drivers wishing to deliver goods there. Non-Czech residents can leave the country but will not be allowed to re-enter.
Czechia has been on lockdown since the beginning of the month because of the outbreak. This includes no travel unless it’s absolutely necessary and all residents are required to wear a mouth mask when outside. Failure to wear a mouth mask means a find of 800 Euros per offense. At the time of this news release, 904 cases have been reported with no deaths reported. 22,129 cases were reported in Germany with 95 deaths, whereas Austria has 2649 cases with six fatalities. Slovakia has 178 cases.
Czechia became the second country to impose a travel ban of six or more months. On Friday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued an executive order banning all non-essential travel within and into Australia for six months. Like in Czechia, the ban may be extended should the outbreak not be stopped. It could lay a precedence that other countries may follow suit, given the current situation.
Analysts are predicting the Corona Virus to linger throughout the entire year, thus putting a halt to many key events, including sports and international conventions that attract thousands of visitors. Even experts in Germany are expecting the soccer season to not take place again for the rest of the year. Officials of the German Football Federation will discuss the future of the 2019/20 season next week.