New Domestic Traffic Light System for Local Measures from Monday
A new so-called traffic light system will sort districts into four colour-coded categories based on their current level of risk. The system should both prepare citizens for measures that may come, and give local health officials guidelines for implementing measures.Photo credit: ZM / Brno Daily.
Czech Rep., Jul 31 (BD) – This week, Health Minister Adam Vojtech (ANO) announced a new so-called traffic light system, which will indicate the level of risk per district, and advise district officials on which measures are recommended at which level. The first map should be published on Monday.
While the map indicating the current risk across the country has not yet been published, the Ministry of Health has laid out which measures will be recommended for each level. The districts will be divided in four colours: white, green, yellow, and red. The first map should be published on Monday, and then updated every Monday after that for the coming months.
“The aim is to provide a clear plan for what steps could be taken in the event of a given epidemiological situation in a particular region. The public will know what measures they can expect, and regional hygiene agencies and local governments will have instructions on how to proceed. In this way, we will unify procedures across the Czech Republic,” explained Vojtech.
All measures are only recommendations, and it will be up to local health officials to decide which they will implement.
Zero or white level will mean almost no risk of disease transmission in the district, and less than five new cases per day.
District officials can restrict travel and introduce border measures.
A green colour indicates that there are isolated cases in the area, but no community transmission. For a district to turn green, it would need a seven-day average of more than 25 per 100,000 residents infected.
Recommended measures include following hygiene rules, distancing from sick people, and advising residents experiencing respiratory problems to stay at home and make an appointment with a doctor. High-risk groups should avoid places with a higher concentration of people and keep their distance from others. Restrictions on visits to medical and social care facilities can also be applied.
The second degree of risk indicates that the disease is beginning to spread in the community, with cases that cannot be traced to the source of infection, and a general increase in active cases.
Recommended measures include a requirement to wear a facemask on public transport, at events, and/or in medical facilities, as well as limiting the opening hours of shops and/or restaurants. Visits to medical facilities should be completely suspended, and employers should be advised to send staff to work from home and limit business trips.
The ministry also recommends that citizens download an application that helps track movements and trace contacts, such as eRouska or Mapy.cz.
The highest level of risk, labelled red, will indicate districts where community transmission is increasing or persisting. If the number of cases among over-65s increases by more than 50% week-on-week, or the hospitalization rate exceeds 2%, this will contribute towards the district turning red.
Recommendations for this level include as much isolation and voluntary quarantine as possible. Facemasks should be worn everywhere in public, and the operation of schools and kindergarten should be restricted. The Ministry of Health even suggested that residents should “ensure the availability of basic food, water, medicine, and other necessary equipment for about 14 days and prepare for service restrictions.”
According to officials, there are currently no ‘red’ districts. Prague is considered the highest risk, and would currently be in the yellow category.