Blatny says loosening Lockdown is 50/50

At a press conference today, the Czech Health Minister laid out his reservations about downgrading to PES level three, keeps everyone waiting.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 27.11.2020 15:19 (updated on 27.11.2020)

The number of new COVID-19 cases is now falling more slowly in the Czech Republic than in the past two weeks, Health Minister Jan Blatny (ANO) told the press today, adding that during the previous week, there was a 40 percent decrease in cases, but only 12 percent this week.

The government is to decide about lifting restrictions on Sunday. If a change is made, it will be valid as of Monday. “I am not going to announce anything today," Blatny said.

"If you asked me on Monday [about lifting restrictions], I'd say the probability is high. Today it is smaller," said Blatný on Radiožurnál Thursday. He asserts it is safer and more correct to wait with loosening restrictions than to loosen and tighten again in a week.

The situation is mixed throughout the country he said, with the current PES number at 57, which corresponds to a potential shift to the third alert level. However, it is only at this level in two regions, Prague and Moravia-Silesia, that could be downgraded to level three, while the others should remain at level four, he asserted.

"Without Prague, the level in the rest of the country would not reach level three anywhere. We insist that downgrading the level must reflect the whole of the country," Blatny told journalists.

The situation is the worst in the Vysocina, Pardubice, Hradec Kralove and Karlovy Vary regions. If Prague is excluded, the risk score would stand at 62 in these regions, which would not enable a downgrade to level three.

Downgrading to a lower level does not mean restrictions will be lifted immediately, as the level must hold steady for seven days, in order for the Health Minister to recommend it.

Should the level be downgraded to three, the ban on curfew would be lifted and restaurants, services, hotels and all shops could open on a limited basis.

Chief Public Health Officer Jarmila Razova said currently there are about 1,000 people on hand in public health centers for tracing of the infected and their risk contacts. The numbers will increase for the voluntary testing of teachers, which is to start on December 4, with another 300 people in reserve.

According to the ministry's estimates, around 200,000 people may be tested. As of December 18, COVID-19 antigen tests covered by the public health insurance may be offered to everyone else.