March 9, 2020 / 6:12 PM / 24 days ago

Czechs starts border checks of foreigners suspected of having coronavirus

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech government will start border checks of arriving foreign travelers suspected of having coronavirus, Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said on Monday.

The EU member country has reported 36 cases of the infection, mainly in people who had returned from Italy, and no deaths to date.

Czech police, customs and fire brigade officers had been handing out information leaflets and taking the temperature of selected Czech and foreign travelers at main border crossings with Germany, Austria and Slovakia since Monday morning.

Additionally, the government decided on Monday foreigners suspected of being infected would have to take tests for the coronavirus at frontier posts and await results before continuing on their journey, Hamacek said.

“The tested person will have to await the result of the test on the spot. If the sample is positive, they will be transported to the relevant health facility,” he told a news conference.

He said the army would provide equipment and personnel to help police and emergency services at the border crossings.

The country has already ordered all Czechs and foreign residents returning from Italy to stay in home quarantine for two weeks. Hamacek said the latest decision was meant to include travelers not covered by the previous measures.

The Czech Republic will also ban visits to hospitals and senior homes as of Tuesday as a precaution against coronavirus.

Poland also set up health checks at borders with Germany and the Czech Republic on Monday.

Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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