Czechs open borders for Poles, Britons despite virus spike
The Czech health minister said Monday his country would open borders for travellers from Britain and Poland from this week despite a recent spike in COVID-19 cases at home.
The EU member state sealed off its borders on March 16 because of the pandemic.
"Poland's Silesia region has moved up to the green zone so travellers won't need negative tests or to undergo quarantine," the minister Adam Vojtech told reporters.
"The same goes for Great Britain."
Czech authorities expect to further ease the measures they adopted in March to combat the novel coronavirus, though they will leave them in place in certain problem spots.
From July 1, Czechs will no longer have to wear face masks except in hospitals, retirement homes, the Prague underground and two northeastern districts where the virus is spreading among miners and their relatives.
People in Prague will also have to wear face masks at indoor events with more than 100 people.
The country registered 305 new cases on Sunday, the fastest daily increase since April 3.
More than 11,600 Czechs have so far tested positive and 348 have died. Between mid-April and mid-June, daily increases never exceeded 100 cases.
"This increase is due mainly to massive testing of miners and their contacts within the OKD mining company," Vojtech said.
He also called on Czechs to remain vigilant as "the virus is still here with us," but added that the overall situation was stable with most districts reporting no incidence of the disease.
The northeastern region will have to keep its night clubs shut. Public events have been restricted to 100 people there, while hospitals and retirement homes will be closed to visitors.
"We expect incidence in this region to fall in the days to come owing to all the testing," said Vojtech.