Summary: Coronavirus Developments in the Czech Republic This Week
Updates to the PES system will be discussed on Monday, Germany will treat the Czech Republic as a high-risk country from Sunday, and the government is considering the need to make respirators compulsory in shops and on public transport. Photo credit: Freepik / Illustrative Photo.
Czech Rep., Jan 22 (BD) [Updated Jan 25, 11am] – The Czech government has extended the state of emergency and the anti-epidemic measures until February 14th. Yesterday, 7,435 new confirmed cases were recorded. To date, there have been 15,130 deaths, and 6,131 people are currently hospitalized. A total of 170,670 vaccinations have been administered so far, over 1.5% of the population. Vaccinations were administered at a rate of over 13,000 each day this week.
On Thursday, the South Moravian Region decided to order syringes and needles needed for vaccination against Covid-19 at its own expense from warehouses in Europe, as the government is distributing vaccines to regional hospitals without the necessary equipment.
After a meeting of the Central Crisis Staff on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček said there is no reason to ease restrictions, and that this will only happen when the daily number of new confirmed cases drops to 1,000-2,000. According to CTK, Blatný spoke on the Otázky Václava Moravec (‘Questions by Václav Moravec’) program this Sunday and stated that the Czech Republic could move to the fourth level of PES in mid-February.
Respirators have been selling fast in the Czech Republic since Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said at a press conference on Wednesday that the government is considering making them mandatory when in shops or travelling on public transport. This is connected to the recent confirmation of the British Covid-19 mutation in the Czech Republic, which is more contagious and may require the use of respirators that offer greater protection than cloth masks.
‘‘We discussed harmonizing the FFP2 regulations within neighboring countries. We realize that acquiring these respirators will be expensive, so there is no need to go to the store and buy FFP2 respirators now,’’ said Health Minister Jan Blatný at a government press conference this morning. The requirement to wear respirators is being introduced in Germany and Austria. According to Babiš, there is sufficient stock of respirators.
Today, Blatný presented an update of the anti-epidemic system (PES) to the government, which could come into effect from February 1st. It will be discussed further on Monday. The minister also said in the Chamber of Deputies that primary school children could return to school at the beginning of February, if the epidemiological situation allows. Blatný also confirmed at today’s press conference that crèches for children under the age of three will be allowed to open.
As of this Sunday, Germany will categorise the Czech Republic as a high-risk country, meaning that travellers will now have to present a negative test at the border, instead of taking the test after crossing the border. The Czech government has discussed the need to increase testing capacity in areas near the German border due to these requirements. According to CTK, cross-border commuters into Saxony are obliged to be tested for coronavirus twice per week, and for Bavaria the tests are mandatory every 48 hours. According to Blatný, the Czech government will try to give citizens at least one test every five days.