From Saturday, July 25 at midnight, it will be mandatory to wear face masks at indoor public gatherings with over 100 people, including nightclubs. The Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (ANO) informed Czech Television today afternoon.
“We are not planning to close certain industries or limit the free movement of people, but prevention is needed. The measures taken are based on information from the regional hygienic stations,” said Vojtěch.
“This measure does not concern shops or restaurants, but specifically sports and cultural events,” the minister specified.
A maximum of 500 people seated in five separate sectors, each comprising 100 people, will be allowed at indoor events.
The number of cases is growing, but the risk group over the age of 65 is not affected and there are no more serious cases that require hospitalization. “However, a number of smaller outbreaks show that there may be potential for a community spread,” said the minister.
An outbreak of coronavirus linked to a music club in Prague has recently increased to 98 cases, including footballers from several of the city’s clubs.
PM Babiš stressed that the Czech Republic had managed the first wave of the epidemic very well, but expressed concerns about the daily increase in coronavirus cases.
The number of new cases in the Czech Republic has been growing significantly in recent days. On Tuesday, the country recorded 212 new positive people. On Wednesday, 247.
The number of active coronavirus infections topped 5,000 in the Czech Republic for the first time after labs reported the highest daily rise in nearly a month.
The Czech government will discuss the resumption of the Central Crisis Staff on Monday.
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According to the Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch, the compulsory use of facemasks on public transport may return from October or November.
“In autumn, the normal seasonal flu could compound health risks stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Additional tests will also be needed to exclude other diseases,” says Vojtech.
“The incidence of the disease will determine whether we need to wear face masks again. We need to prevent the spread of infection when other respiratory viruses will circulate,” added Vojtěch.
Currently, masks are mandatory only in the Prague metro and in public transport in the Moravian-Silesian and Jihlava regions. It should also be worn in inpatient facilities and nursing homes, as well as indoors at public events.
The compulsory use of the face mask was introduced by the Czech government on March 19, when citizens were “obliged to wear any form of respiratory protection in public places, including in the open air”.
The Czech Republic had 13,238 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection by Tuesday morning, with 64 new infections on Monday. So far 8,373 people have recovered and 353 people have died.
Although the virus is still circulating in Prague, the capital city has only seen a residual amount of new Covid-19 cases in recent days.
At the beginning of April, the Czech-made video #Masks4All by Petr Ludwig and Aneta Kernová in English language was watched by millions of people worldwide and featured on CNN.
The video encouraged people across the world to wear face masks during the global pandemic to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
Czech health authorities believe the spread of the new coronavirus is under control despite an uptick in cases in recent days.
The country is preparing to open pubs, hotels, and relax mask-wearing rules on Monday.
Public events for up to 300 people will be allowed next week, and swimming pools and schools will reopen. An initial easing of restrictions from May 11 had not had an adverse effect, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said.
“There are no negative trends noted, it is still valid that the Czech Republic has managed the situation very well,” he added.
The country had recorded 8,757 cases of Covid-19 by Friday morning, with 306 deaths.
Chief public health officer Jarmila Razova said there were currently two main local infection hot spots. In Prague, there were 50 new daily cases on average since May 1 scattered across the whole city. In the east of the country, more than 100 cases have been identified, mostly among the miners from one shaft and their families.
The Czech Republic took early action in March to close borders, schools, and much of the services sector and has also been eager to relax many of the restrictions.
In Prague, there were 50 new daily cases on average since May 1 scattered across the whole city, a presentation showed.
The overall number of hospitalized patients had dropped by two thirds from the peak to 150 on Friday.
The Czech Republic is donating 500,000 face masks to Italy to support healthcare workers. Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch (ANO) announced it during the daily government press conference.
Italy will receive the shipment this week.
Italy is one of the countries most affected by coronavirus, with 212,000 cases and 29,000 deaths.
Italy registered the lowest daily number of coronavirus-related deaths since just after its lockdown started two months ago. Both the number of new infections and patients in intensive care have continued to fall.
The country is relaxing its lockdown from Monday when Italians will be able to exercise as long as they respect rules on maintaining a physical distance. They will also be able to visit relatives – but not friends – within their region.
However, schools, cinemas, and most shops will stay shut. Bars and restaurants are due to start allowing customers to sit at tables in June.
On March 23, the Italian daily La Repubblica reported that Czech authorities seized Chinese masks intended for Italian hospitals under the guise of a sting against traffickers.
A few days later, the Czech Republic sent 110,000 of the much-needed protective items to Rome as compensation for the snafu, according to a report.
“We’ve just sent 110,000 face masks to Italy by bus heading to Rome… along with 43 Italian tourists who could not get back home,” Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek told Agence France-Presse.
Interior Minister Jan Hamacek later acknowledged on Twitter that “unfortunately, after further investigation, it turned out that a smaller part of this seizure was a Chinese donation to Italy.”
From May 11, ninth-graders students will return to school, cinemas, and theaters can reopen. Minister of Health added that there will be strict rules for visitors, such as a safe distance between them.
For example, cinemas will have a limit of 100 people per auditorium in the hall. However, they will not be allowed to sell any snacks. “No popcorn, no drinking. It would be necessary to take off the face mask and that is a great risk,” Vojtech explained.
There will always be one free row among the occupied ones. People must sit at least one empty seat apart. Only couples and married couples can sit next to each other.
Hairdressers and barbers need to wear a face mask. At the same time, it will be necessary to keep at least a two-meter distance between customers.
The Minister of Industry Karel Havlíček explained how restaurants’ gardens will work. “Customers can sit without restrictions at one table. However, the distance between guests at different tables must be one and a half meters”.
Shopping centers over 5,000 meters will open on May 11. Hand disinfection will be provided at each entrance. Disinfection must also be provided in all shops. Children’s corners and similar services won’t work. Employees must prevent people from gathering in front of the toilets.
“From May 11, it will be possible to try on clothes. Prerequisite is hand disinfection,” said Minister Vojtěch.
According to the Minister of Education Robert Plaga, kindergartens “will operate as usual, with increased hygienic measures”. Children do not have to wear a face mask, but they should spend most of their time outside outdoor.
Minister Plaga emphasized that the return of ninth-graders students to schools will be voluntary.
Sports and cultural events (up to 100 people) will be able to take place again, providing the epidemiological situation remains favourable and specific hygienic measures are in place. Indoor sports grounds will also be opened, said Milan Hnilička (ANO), chairman of the National Sports Agency.
Museums and galleries should also open from May 11. Up to 100 people will be allowed at the same time, with a maximum of one per ten square meters of space for visitors. “Galleries and museums know their exhibition area and therefore are able to count how many people can let in,” said Vojtech. Visitors have to keep two meters of safe distance.
Cross-border workers will newly be released from the mandatory quarantine if they present a negative test result to a district hygienic station within 72 hours after returning to the country. Negative test result will be required once in 30 days.
The smart quarantine project is to be applied actively nationwide as of May 1st after undergoing a testing period in several regions. It should replace the broad government-imposed restrictions which are being gradually eased.