Last week, two German magazines, Die Welt and Der Spiegel, published articles criticizing the Czech government for the improper handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The article by Olaf Gersemann in Die Welt argues that Saxony and Bavaria have the worst situation with the coronavirus in Germany because they share the borders with the Czech Republic. He stated that it is not just a coincidence that these areas show the worst results in the entire country. Many Czechs travel there every day for work, thus spreading the virus.

“Developing control with anti-coronavirus measures is difficult because the disease is constantly spreading across the open border with the Czech Republic. There was a third wave of a pandemic with 829 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week. This is the second-worst number in the world,” Gersemann explained. He also suggested that such an uncontrolled spread of the virus cannot be seen anywhere else in Europe.

However, Gersemann pointed out that he doesn’t promote closing the borders between those areas. However, a better COVID-19 testing system in the Czech Republic might partially solve the problem.

“There are much better ways to prevent the spread of the disease. Of course, the first is to offer more testing. But above all: why can’t we offer Czech employees rewards and higher salaries in Germany for staying in Germany for a while and not constantly moving there and back?” Gersemann added.

Another German magazine’s, Der Spiegel’s, article also criticized the Czech Republic for the high number of COVID-19 deaths. The article states that these variants are higher than, for example, in Great Britain and the United States. It agrees with the previously made points about Saxony and Bavaria, where 37,000 Czechs commute to work daily.

The article explained that Bavaria and Saxony already offered the Czech government to help transfer Czech patients to local German hospitals, which are in closer proximity than those in Pilsen and Prague. However, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš declined the offer – as the article describes, “the pride of the billionaire (Andrej) Babiš, who is the prime minister, prevailed”. Also, it noted a worrisome development of the former President Václav Klaus becoming the new example to follow because he symbolizes resistance towards the restrictions and vaccination. 

Featured image by Martin2035 via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0