Coronavirus update, April 22, 2021: Health Ministry to propose six waves for relaxing restrictions

The outdoor gardens of restaurants would be in the fifth wave and indoor seating in the sixth, but only with a Covid test.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 22.04.2021 09:57 (updated on 22.04.2021)

Govt. will discuss plan to loosen measures today

The government this afternoon will discuss a plan to relax measures against Covid-19 in trade and services. According to the Minister of Health Petr Arenberger, the Czech Republic is moving toward the opening of stores no later than May 3. His office is now preparing a dismantling plan for the first half of May, which already has the basic outlines. Arenberger will also announce in which regions all children will be able to return to kindergartens from April 26. The cabinet should set further plans according to the development of the epidemic  

Health Ministry to propose six waves of relaxation of restrictions

The Health Ministry plans six waves of disintegration of Covid restrictions, according to daily Mladá Fronta Dnes. The first wave occurred on April 12, with the returning some children to schools and reopening of some shops. The second wave is scheduled for Monday, April 26, with the start of practical teaching at secondary schools and in the last years of higher education. The next wave from May 3, would see more stores open but with occupancy limitations, and more children returning to school on a rotating basis. Spas, galleries, and services such as hairdressing could reopen in limited modes. The next three waves rely on percentage of infected per week, and have no specific date. Restaurant gardens will open in the fifth wave, the people will be able to go inside a pub only in the final sixth wave, and will have to prove themselves with a negative test.

Nursing allowance raised to 80 percent of salary

The nursing allowance for people at home to take care of children has been raised to 80 percent of the salary from the previous 70 percent, retroactively from March 1, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Jana Maláčová announced on Twitter. The proposal has passed through the Senate but still needs to be signed by the president. Parents of children with special educational needs will now also be entitled to nursing allowance. The retroactive part for March should be sent out by the Social Security Administration in two weeks.

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Parents of children who test positive can get nursing allowance

Parents of children who are diagnosed with coronavirus during school testing are entitled to the nursing bonus until the infection is refuted by a validation PCR test, or until their offspring, if a Covid is confirmed, quarantine or isolate and are able to return to class, the Social Security Administration told ČTK.

"A positive test result does not allow the personal presence of the child in the given facility – it is forbidden – and already in a given day there is a need to care for a child, entitling a parent to a nursing allowance," the Social Security Administration communication department said.

If the test is positive on Monday, the nursing allowance is paid from that day onward. The child must then go for a validation PCR test. If coronavirus is confirmed, the student will be isolated and nursing allowance will be provided until the end of his illness and subsequently for the duration of distance learning. "If the confirmatory PCR test is negative, then on this day (announcing the result) the need for care ends and the child returns to school," the office said.

GPs to get Johnson & Johnson vaccine today

General practitioners will receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccines today as the distributor on Wednesday had to check the vaccines’ authenticity and prepared them for the delivery, distribution company Avenier said. The Health Ministry had announced on Tuesday that distribution would take place Wednesday, but that was delayed. Some 288 doctors’ offices will be supplied with 14,400 vaccine doses in total. Association of General Practitioners head Petr Šonka said many GPs are ready to inoculate at weekends, too.

"The doctors who will receive the vaccine obviously start inoculating immediately, and many of them vaccinate at weekends, too," Šonka said.

Up to 10 times more doctors have ordered the vaccine than will be receiving it.

The share of positive tests in companies falls

The share of positive tests for coronavirus in companies according to surveys by the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (SP) fell from 0.77 percent to 0.17 percent from the beginning of March to mid-April. The price of self-test sets is gradually decreasing, half of companies now buy them for CZK 60 to CZK 100, at the end of March, 37 percent of companies purchased them at these prices. This follows from an April survey of 190 companies, the results of which SP published in a press release. According to the survey, 99 percent of companies also want to know how long the mandatory testing will take. The SP also said that 86 percent of companies want vaccination to take place at the company worksite, as this will be more convenient for workers.

Senate: Contract to purchase school tests violated the law

According to the Senate, the order for the purchase of antigen tests for students was carried out by the government in violation of the requirements of the Act on Financial Control in Public Administration. According to a proposal from its commission, the upper house stated, among other things, that the government has ordered 1 million more tests than will be distributed among students. According to the commission, the government did not respect the recommendations of experts for the supply of non-invasive tests. It limited the range of manufacturers and suppliers contacted, which could have a negative impact on the price of the supply, the commission said.

Covid case increase lowest for a weekday since September

The increase in the number of Covid-19 cases on Wednesday was the lowest on a weekday in more than half a year, with 2,942 new cases. The last time the weekday increase was that low was Sept. 30, according to Health Ministry data. The increase in cases slowed by a fifth compared to the previous Wednesday. At the same time, however, vaccination slowed down again. The number of people vaccinated against Covid-19 fell by a tenth to 58,637 on Wednesday compared to the previous week. The reproduction number R has been increasing. From Monday's 0.73, it rose to 0.85 today, but is still below 1.0, which means the spread of the virus is slowing down.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (April 22, 2021)

  • New cases 2,942
  • Deaths 28,787
  • Currently hospitalized 3,909
  • PCR tests performed 6,623,342
  • Antigen tests performed 9,855,496
  • Reported vaccinations 2,647,527
  • PES index 54
  • R number 0.85