May 18, 2020 / 5:43 PM / in 11 days

Czechs may allow easy travel to and from coronavirus-safe countries from June 8

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic is planning to ease travel between the central European country and other countries deemed safe from risks of coronavirus from June 8, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said on Monday.

The Czech Republic was among the first countries in Europe to ban entry by foreigners and even banned most Czechs from travelling abroad to keep the spread of the infection under control in March.

Some restrictions have been eased but the country is still not open for foreign tourism and Czechs are required to present a negative coronavirus test upon return or go into quarantine.

Discussions have been underway to open borders with neighbours such as Austria and Slovakia, which have also taken steps to relax their border regimes.

Vojtech said he had proposed that as of June 8, travel to and from a list of risky countries - to be determined but currently likely to include Spain, Italy or France - would be subject to the current requirements while others deemed safe - such as Austria, Slovakia or Croatia - would be exempt.

Vojtech said the list of risky countries would be updated continuously.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said last week that borders with Slovakia and Austria could be fully opened from June 8.

Separately, Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said on Monday that borders with all neighbouring states - Poland, Germany, Austria and Slovakia - could be open by mid-June, news agency CTK reported.

The foreign ministry also said Czech tourists may be allowed to travel to Greece from July.

Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Giles Elgood

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