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On Monday, the government reversed plans to end free preventive testing for all. Last week, a Ministry of Health proposal to restrict free preventive testing to certain categories of citizens was approved by the cabinet, but Health Minister Adam Vojtech said this policy would be withdrawn, citing developments in the pandemic situation across Europe. Photo Credit: Vlada.cz.

Czech Rep., Aug 23 (BD) – The government has announced a U-turn over its plans to end free preventive testing for all under the public health insurance system.

Last week, the cabinet approved changes to the conditions under which preventive tests for Covid-19 will be covered by public health insurance, restricting this to under 18s, people in the process of being vaccinated, those referred by a doctor, and those unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons. On Monday, however, Health Minister Adam Vojtech announced a reversal of these plans, citing adverse developments in the pandemic across Europe. Preventive testing will therefore remain free for all even into the autumn.

“Today, we have discussed and reassessed the development of Covid-19 in Europe and the coming period,” said Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (ANO). “If we look at the situation in the surrounding states, the whole of Western Europe has a deteriorating trend.”

The minister noted that the situation had begun to deteriorate a month ago in Spain, but the trend was now also being observed in neigbouring countries. “It is now deteriorating in our western neighbors as well,” said Vojtěch. “The Robert Koch Institute has announced the fourth wave in Germany. For now, we will postpone the cancellation of covid-19 tests, originally planned for September 1st, given the deteriorating situation in Western Europe, including Germany, where it is rising rapidly. Sooner or later it can be assumed that the same situation will occur with us, so we need to maintain testing capacity.”

According to ministry guidelines, everyone with public health insurance is entitled to reimbursement for one antigen test per week and two PCR tests per month.

This article was updated at 17:50 on August 23rd to reflect changes in the government’s policy, announced this afternoon.

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