Obligation To Isolate Due To COVID-19 To End On Thursday

Doctors and public health officials will still be able to order isolation in individual cases. Photo credit: Freepik.

Prague, April 19 (CTK) – The seven-day isolation period following a positive COVID-19 test will no longer be mandatory as of Thursday, 20 April, based on a decree from the Health Ministry which has been promulgated in the Law Digest.

Doctors and public health officials will still be able to order isolation in individual cases. According to the Health Ministry’s data, about 1,300 people tested positive for COVID-19 last week, though the number of new cases has been declining since late February.

The conditions of isolation and quarantine have varied over the three years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first patients in March 2020 were isolated in hospitals. Later, people testing positive for COVID-19 were isolated at home for 14 days, and everyone who had been in contact with the infected was ordered to stay in quarantine. The isolation period was subsequently reduced to ten and then seven days. The quarantine was cancelled last February, and there is now no automatic obligation for people in contact with those infected to isolate, including household members.

Isolation can still be ordered on an individual basis.

“The level of individual risk will be assessed either by a general practitioner or by experts from regional public health offices. They can order individual isolation or other quarantine measures, as in the case of other infectious diseases,” Health Minister Vlastimil Valek (TOP 09) told journalists last week.

For example, healthcare staff who work with people with weak immune systems or staff at inpatient social services facilities could be assessed more strictly. Instead of isolation, however, they could also be ordered to wear a respirator. Most European countries are taking a similar approach; Slovakia, for example, has already cancelled mandatory isolation.

If someone disrespects an isolation order, it could be considered as the intentional spreading of a contagious disease, which is a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison. The list of diseases considered contagious for this purpose is stipulated by a Justice Ministry decree, which also had to be amended to remove COVID-19. Other diseases on the list include cholera, plague, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, salmonellosis, SARS, diphtheria and tuberculosis.

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