Coronavirus update, April 20, 2021: Govt. to discuss relaxing rules for shops and services on Thursday

Kindergartens in some regions will fully reopen without testing, vaccination for people over 60 to start on Friday.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 20.04.2021 09:51 (updated on 20.04.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Havlíček: govt. will decide on shops and services on Thursday

The government will decide on dismantling restrictions on shops and services at an extraordinary meeting on Thursday. It will assess the impact of last week's last relaxation of rules and present a release plan, Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček said after the cabinet meeting. The cabinet is waiting for the 10th day, Wednesday, to evaluate the impact of this step.

"If the situation develops well, if the incidence is towards the key level we agreed on, that is 100 per week against 100,000 inhabitants, we are ready to show a system of loosening in trade and services on Thursday," he said.

According to government representatives, the current PES system should be replaced by new rules. Minister of Health Petr Arenberger said it will not be a table, but rather "packages to be dismantled."

Kindergartens in some regions will be completely opened

From Monday, April 26, kindergartens will be completely opened in regions where the weekly increase in new cases of Covid-19 is below 100 per 100,000 inhabitants. These are currently the Karlovy Vary and Hradec Králové regions. This also applies to children's groups and forest nurseries, Health Minister Petr Arenberger said at a press conference after the government meeting. Children in kindergartens in regions with low disease growth will not have to wear faced coverings, nor will they be tested for coronavirus. This will also apply in these regions to preschoolers, who have been attending kindergartens since last Monday and now have to test themselves. Arenberger did not rule out that kindergartens could be opened next week in other regions, such as Plzeň. Also from Monday, April 26, practical teaching in secondary schools and practical and clinical teaching in the last years of universities will also be resumed. The original plan of the Ministry of Education provided for the resumption of practical training in the first phase of reopening schools. "It's a week later, but the epidemic situation has improved, conditions have occurred and students can return," Education Minister Roberty Plaga said.

Covid vaccination registration opens to people over 60 on Friday

Registration for anti-Covid vaccination will open in the Czech Republic to people aged 60 to 65 on Friday, April 23, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told reporters after the government meeting. Health Minister Petr Arenberger said he expected another age group, with a five-year difference, to be able to register for the vaccination always in a week.

"We would like to always move the borderline by five years every week," Arenberger said.

There are some 679,000 people in this age category in the Czech Republic, roughly 250,000 of whom were vaccinated as a priority group, being, for instance, health professionals, teachers and patients with some chronic diseases. According to the Health Ministry's data on the vaccination, 18 percent of the population over 16 have got at least one vaccine dose and about 10 percent got both necessary doses as of Sunday.

Covid quarantined, isolated to get daily bonus till June

The daily bonus of up to CZK 370 will be added to the sick pay for the people in ordered coronavirus quarantine or isolation until the end of June, the Czech government approved, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Jana Maláčová has tweeted. The people sent to quarantine over their contacts with the Covid infected or to isolation after tested positive for Covid-19 as of March 1 who are on sick leave, receiving the sick pay amounting to 60 percent of their base pay, are entitled to the daily bonus of up to CZK 370 a day. The level of the bonus varies according to the employees' wages and they can get maximally 90 percent of their average pay.  

Govt. support program extended one month

The government has extended the Antivirus program, from which the state pays wage contributions to companies affected by the epidemic, by one month to the end of May, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Jana Maláčová has tweeted, saying the program has protected over 1 million jobs. Before Monday’s government meeting it was announced that an extension would be sought until the end of June.

Hamáček: Russian vaccine out of the question

The only way for the Czech Republic is to focus on the anti-Covid vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the debate on the Russian Sputnik V vaccine is out of the question amid the current circumstances, Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister and acting Foreign Minister Jan Hamáček said.

"Our only way is to focus on the vaccines that come via the EMA and are certified. I believe this can be also discussed with our allies," he said.

On Wednesday, Hamáček announced his planned business trip to Moscow where the vaccine supplies for the Czech Republic were to be discussed. Hamáček should have left for Russia on Monday, but the trip was eventually canceled on Friday.

Homeless to be tested

Homeless people will receive free antigen tests for Covid-19, the government decided on Monday. According to ČTK, the tests will be released from the stocks of the State Material Reserves Administration and the Ministry of the Interior. The aim is to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

Over 2.5 million vaccine doses administered

The increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the Czech Republic on Monday slowed down by more than one-tenth to 3,301 infections compared to the previous week. The daily increases in the number of coronavirus infections have been gradually declining since the beginning of March, when they rose to almost 17,000. There has also been a decline in the number of people with Covid-19 in hospitals since mid-March. On Monday, compared to Sunday, the number of hospitalized rose slightly from 3983 to 4108, but compared to the previous Monday, the number of people in hospitals is still about a quarter lower. In total, over 2.5 million vaccine doses have been administered with 877,954 people having two doses. The reproduction number R rose slightly to 0.80 form 0.73, and the PES index rose to 56 from 53 the previous day.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (April 20, 2021)

  • New cases 3,301
  • Deaths 28,640
  • Currently hospitalized 4,108
  • PCR tests performed 6,582,247
  • Antigen tests performed 9,407,080
  • Reported vaccinations 2,527,622
  • PES index 56
  • R number 0.80
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