Czechs declare state of emergency, impose new virus measures

Capitalisation, flights and certain objects will no longer be allowed, with motorway controls imposed

Czechs declare state of emergency, impose new virus measures

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Czech politicians and security forces have declared a state of emergency in the capital of Prague, as the Czech Republic prepares to start legal proceedings against the transport giant Deutsche Bahn after the discovery of a new strain of bird flu.

The measure means airports and border controls will be increased, including at Prague airport, which is widely used by visitors to the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia.

Deutsche Bahn told the Agence France-Presse news agency on Friday it was asked to enhance cleaning of its service areas that are next to other service areas, and along its train routes.

Under Czech law, the biggest hurdle to imposing bans on passenger traffic is not other transport services but the courts. Czech authorities have about two weeks to file a suit before the country’s central court, but it can be decided whether to stick to the time limits or to shorten the period.

A resident holds a table which advertises the 2015 Miss Universe contest in one of the bank’s branches in Prague. Photograph: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images

The information state agency placed an advisory on its website warning people against falling into an “extreme panic” over the outbreak.

Its director, Zdenek Chladek, said that the majority of Czechs don’t believe the danger is too big to impose entry restrictions on other countries.

He said all points on the capital’s metro will be under police supervision, and street traffic will be limited in certain areas.

He said the country’s emergency medical services would be engaged in providing assistance to people who seek it, as was done after the 2009 swine flu epidemic.

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Czech security and defence forces set up a stand on Prague’s main square to process requests from the public to stay away from potentially contaminated areas.

The Czech Republic, along with neighbouring Slovakia and Hungary, have had a number of cases of MERS virus since it emerged last year, and the danger of bird flu infections is also due to the Czech Republic’s contact with some of the continent’s main poultry and duck production regions.

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