The Municipal Court decided that self-isolation after returning from abroad is illegal

Václav Pancer, ČTK

This week, the Municipal Court in Prague annulled part of the Ministry of Health’s measure concerning the obligation to self-isolate after returning from abroad. According to the court, the ministry has no right to order self-isolation for citizens. This is a term that does not appear in the legal code and it fundamentally restricts one’s freedom of movement. The court gave the ministry a deadline until 1 November to amend the measure.

The court issued its verdict on the basis of a motion to annul part of the measure, which imposes the obligation to self-isolate after returning from certain foreign countries. According to the woman who filed the motion, such a regulation is contrary to Czech law and is a violation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

The Public Health Act, which is the cornerstone of the anti-epidemic measures, does not contain the term self-isolation. This term, according to the woman, is similar to house detention, which is imposed for the commission of a crime. Following the appeal, the court agreed with her and revoked the part of the anti-epidemic measure in question.

“The Municipal Court in Prague does not exclude the possibility of restricting fundamental rights and freedoms by measures of a general nature, but the primary obligation imposed on the recipients of such measures must necessarily have a legal basis, “the court justified its decision. The Ministry of Health now has time to modify the provisions of the protective measure revoked by the court so that it does not continue to restrict fundamental human rights and freedoms without following the line of the Czech law, or to take other appropriate measures.

 At the same time, however, the court also had to take into account that the obligation of “self-isolation” constitutes an absolutely fundamental interference with the freedom of movement guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, which cannot be tolerated without a proper legal basis. 

In the middle of the week, the Municipal Court in Prague also abolished the obligation to fill out an arrival form when returning from abroad as of 27 October. The court said the government was interfering, among other things, with the right of all citizens to enter the Czech Republic. The ministry may amend or modify the regulation in this case as well.