The Czech authorities recorded 506 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest number of new infections in one day since the outbreak began.
Czechia has so far reported 21,551 confirmed cases of the virus, with 411 deaths, including 19 over the past week.
The Czech government was among the first in Europe to introduce curbs on movement and business as the outbreak took hold. It began to lift restrictions since May but has reintroduced some measures as cases rose in recent weeks.
Face masks will once more be compulsory on public transport, at health and social care facilities, and in state office buildings from Sept 1, but the government rowed back on a requirement to wear masks in shops, restaurants, and common areas of schools.
Outdoor public events including soccer, which start new league season this week, may be attended by up to 5,000 people, if separated into sections of 1,000, and indoor events can host up to 5,000 in separate sections of 500.
The government plans to further relax restrictions on public events from September.
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The daily number of new cases in the Czech Republic jumped to 260, the highest since April 8, Ministry Adam Vojtěch confirmed on Sunday morning.
As CT reports, that is nearly triple that of the 93 recorded on Thursday.
Chief public health officer, Jarmila Rážová, said the rise was due to massive screenings in areas where the virus is spreading quickly, including a mine in Silesia Region and a company in the north.
She also said that Czechs “did not behave in a responsible manner” when restrictions were relaxed after the health situation in the country improved. “However, the outbreak is under control and confined to local clusters,” she added.
On the contrary, according to Vojtěch, the situation in Prague is calming down. “The number of cases in Prague is declining over time,” he added.
The number of tests performed on Saturday (1,862) is lower by about half compared to Friday’s (4,300 tests).
The Czech Republic has had 11,306 confirmed cases while 347 people have died, according to Health Ministry figures released on Sunday morning.
There are currently 3270 patients. Most of them have a mild course of the infection, 122 are hospitalized.
The government has gradually removed most restrictions, apart from wearing masks indoors and limits on pub opening hours and large cultural events.
Last Monday, public gatherings of up to 1,000 people are allowed.
The Czech Republic reported 111 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. This is the highest daily increase since April 21.
The laboratories performed 7349 tests. The ratio of infected COVID-19 compared to the number of people tested rose to 1.51 percent on Monday. It is the highest percentage from the beginning of May.
The rise is partly due to an outbreak reported by state-owned coal miner OKD at its Darkov mine near the eastern town of Karvina, close to the Polish border, Czech Radio reported.
The Ministry of Health published the new data today (Tuesday, May 19) at 9 am.
The Czech Republic had 8,594 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection by Tuesday morning. So far 5,642 people have recovered and 299 people have died.
In the first week after the reopening, IKEA stores in the Czech Republic were visited by 135,650 people. In the year-on-year comparison, IKEA doubled the sales. The store in Prague’s Černý Most between May 11 and 15 saw a 28 percent increase in attendance compared to last year.
Meanwhile, the government eased the regulation which obliges people to wear face masks in public. As of Tuesday, May 19, office workers will not have to wear masks at the workplace if they observe the social distancing requirements.
Czechs no longer need to wear face masks in most public spaces starting on May 25, in the latest easing of restrictions it put in place to curb the new coronavirus outbreak.
But people will soon only need masks on public transport, in shops and in other closed public spaces that also include theaters and cinemas. The government kept in place a recommendation for people to wear them in open-air spaces.
The government is also planning to further ease travel to and from countries deemed safe of risks from the coronavirus from June 8, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said on Monday.
A government expert who wishes to remain anonymous sparked the Czech government to take fast action against the coronavirus in a move that likely saved thousands of lives, said Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamáček while discussing the government’s response to the crisis in its early stages.
“The moment I realized that a train was coming at us from the opposite direction was when I saw a mathematical model that, based on the development in Italy and Spain, showed how the number of infected people in our country will rise and when there will be a collapse of the health care system. When the author of the model presented it at the Ministry of the Interior, there was complete silence. We realized that in a matter of weeks, huge trouble will hit us, and I said that the prime minister must see the model,” said Hamáček.
According to the interior minister, the expert in question does not wish to reveal his name as he does not want to be famous.
The Czech Republic was one of the first countries to initiate lockdown measures and close its borders to hard-hit countries like Italy in moves that may account for the country’s comparatively low death and infection rate.
“We’re still working with his team. He has done a huge amount of work for this country. If he agrees, I will thank him publicly, but at this moment, I don’t have his consent,” added Hamáček, who together with this expert, presented the mathematical model to the National Security Council.
At the time, some members of the government, including Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, were hesitant to believe the numbers in the model predicting a catastrophic scenario.
“I kept the numbers on my mobile phone, and every day, I checked the numbers of confirmed cases and it fit the model almost exactly. The prime minister did the same, and when it turned out on the fifth or sixth day that it followed an exponential growth, he understood that we’re in trouble,” said Hamáček, according to whom Babiš reacted “imperatively and quickly.”
Hamáček also said that he was aware that in order to provide medical supplies as quickly as possible, he often had to act regardless of common rules, but he hoped that people would be lenient in judging his actions.
“I admit that I don’t remember much from the period between March 14 and the arrival of the first plane with the supplies. All my co-workers said that I was in a strange state of mind, being on the phone the whole time. It was an unimaginably strenuous period,” Hamáček admitted.
From Monday, May 11, Prague’s Public Transport will strengthen bus connections limited from March due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Buses will run according to the so-called half-holiday timetables, which are common in January and February. The DPP is now strengthening its operations “following the relaxation of emergency measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the gradual increase in the number of passengers,” stated DPP on their website.
Furthermore, buses will no longer stop automatically at all stops, so passengers need to press the button.
However, boarding restrictions on trams and buses do not change. It will be possible to get on only through the middle and rear doors.
The cable car to Petřín will reopen on 11 May, but with some restrictions. It will carry a maximum of 30 passengers in one cabin and will not stop at Nebozízek.
Passengers need to wear face masks and keep a safe distance of two meters while waiting.
From May 25, DPP expects to return to its original timetables on suburban bus lines. On June 1, seasonal trains from Prague to Central Bohemia should also restart.
According to Prague’s Public Transport, the renewal of trains and buses to Central Bohemia Region must be approved by the Central Bohemian Crisis Staff.
dir=”ltr”>AUTOBUSY PODLE POLOPRÁZDNINOVÝCH JÍZDNÍCH ŘÁDŮ A NÁVRAT ZASTÁVEK NA ZNAMENÍ I Od 11. 5. pojedou autobusy na městských linkách v Praze opět podle tzv. poloprázdninových jízdních řádů. Zastávky na znamení u autobusů i tramvají vracíme do běžného režimu.
— Dopravní podnik hl. m. Prahy, akciová společnost (@DPPOficialni) May 10, 2020