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Having contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus will no longer necessarily require going into quarantine, according to new rules announced on Monday – as long as both parties were wearing masks during the contact. According to Chief Hygienist Jarmila Rážová, this change is intended to “burden citizens as little as possible, and only quarantine those who really need it.” Photo credit: Vlada.cz.

Czech Rep., Sep 15 (BD) – Yesterday, following a meeting of the Government Council for Health Risks, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch announced new rules to determine when quarantine is required. The new guidelines are effective from today, and come as the number of coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic is increasing rapidly and several countries are imposing travel restrictions for the country. 

According to the new rules, quarantine will not be necessary as long as the person who tested positive and the person they were in contact with were both wearing face-masks or respirators during the period of contact, and the exposed person is not showing any symptoms. However, Vojtech added that potentially exposed people must monitor their health conditions for ten days in case symptoms develop. 

“People who wear upper respiratory protection will not need to quarantine if the positive case they were exposed to was also wearing a mask or respirator,” said Vojtěch. People who have been diagnosed with the virus in the past 90 days will also not be required to quarantine, since such people “have already built up immunity for at least 90 days,” added Vojtěch. 

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch. Photo credit: Vlada.cz.

Experts agree that face-masks are effective in protecting people from contracting the virus. The revised guidelines will theoretically mean that quarantine will only be needed after meeting a positive case in one of the places where masks are not compulsory, such as homes, school classrooms, and outdoors, though this assumes that everyone wears their facemasks in indoor places as required by law. 

“A mask, whether surgical or made at home from suitable materials, is, according to available knowledge, an effective protection against the spread of the disease. We want to burden citizens as little as possible and quarantine only those who really need it. We are aware that quarantine can have a negative effect on people’s personal and professional lives, so we want to prevent that,” said Chief Hygienist Jarmila Rážová.

From September 21st, people who have tested positive to the virus will have to report their contacts by filling out a form on a website. This will help the hygiene offices by speeding up the tracing process.

The government of the Czech Republic has maintained that the second wave of the coronavirus is under control. The country has about 44.5 million facemasks and about 5.2 million respirators in reserve and there are plans to buy more, according to Trade and Industry Minister Karel Havlíček.

Yesterday, the number of confirmed new cases of coronavirus was 1,038, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Czech Republic to 38,260, and active cases to 14,628. 22,129 people have recovered from the virus while 305 people are currently hospitalised. There have been 465 deaths due to the virus in the Czech Republic.

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