The Czech government ordered blanket testing of employees in companies around the country.
Companies with over 250 employees will have to start testing on Wednesday and conclude the first round of testing no later than March 12, companies with over 50 employees no later than March 15.
The fine for failing to comply can reach half a million crowns. Around 2.1 million employees will be tested in the next two weeks.
According to the new measures, large- and medium-sized companies must test all employees in order to continue operating during the pandemic. The state will fund four tests per employee per month.
Employees working from home are not required to be tested.
“We are not stopping industry. However, comprehensive testing in companies will be mandatory. This makes them part of the solution to the Covid crisis,’’ said Karel Havlíček (ANO), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade.
Průmysl nezastavujeme. Plošné testování ve firmách bude ale povinné. Tím se stávají součástí řešení covidové krize. Do 12.3. musí mít první testy všichni zaměstnanci firem nad 250 zaměstnanců, do 15.3. pracovníci podniků 50-249.
— Karel Havlíček (@KarelHavlicek_) March 1, 2021
The new rules imposed are the strictest to hit the industrial sector, which has remained in operation throughout most of the crisis and which epidemiologists say is key to getting the epidemic under control.
During the first wave of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic last spring, some companies temporarily closed down, which contributed to a record contraction of the economy in the second quarter.
The health ministry recorded 12,150 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, up from 11,402 cases a week earlier. The official death toll from COVID-19 has reached 20,701, a rise of 232 from a day earlier which also includes revisions to previous days, according to ministry data.
In total, 1.252 million infections have been recorded since March 2020.
Current hospitalisations stand at 7,717, more than double the government’s target level, and a record 1,568 were in serious condition.
The ministry reported 674,040 vaccine shots have been administered.