Coronavirus update, Aug. 17, 2021: Back to school with tests and masks; culture rules relaxed

Untested children will wear face coverings, half of a large audience should be vaccinated, museums and castles can be at 100 percent capacity. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.08.2021 09:52:00 (updated on 17.08.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Rules set for Covid-testing school children in early September

Children will get tested for Covid at the beginning of the new school year on Sept. 1, 6 and 9, and those who would not, would have to wear a respirator, the cabinet decided yesterday, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch has told media. On the three days, the children can get tested at school or at an official testing point and then produce their test result at school. Vojtěch said the three-times testing duty applies to students of elementary and secondary schools. They will undergo antigen tests for Covid-19 that will be supplied to them by the state. First graders can get tested on the second school-year day only, Sept. 2. Schools can also use PCR tests, but have to acquire them by themselves. If so, the state would subsidize them by CZK 200 per a test kit. Children who are not tested will have to keep their nose and mouth covered but will not be excluded from the class, Vojtěch said. The conditions of the testing will also apply to school employees. Exempted from the testing will be those with completed vaccination and those who had Covid-19 in the past 180 days.

Half of large audience with test, half with jab at events

Cultural and sport events in the Czech Republic can see the auditorium or sport hall capacity filled at 100 percent as of Sept. 1, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told a press conference after a cabinet meeting. At events with the audience under 3,000, people will be let in with a negative coronavirus test, vaccination certificate, or a certificate confirming that they underwent Covid-19 in the past 180 days, whatever the proportions between the three groups may be. If the audience exceeds 3,000, at least a half of the visitors will have to be people with completed Covid vaccination or those who underwent Covid, and the other half of seats can be filled with those with a negative Covid test. Vojtěch called these rules a fair-play agreement with which representatives of the Culture Ministry as well as the sports sector agreed.

Museums, castles, and zoos up to 100 percent capacity

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said that the permitted visitor capacity will be raised to 100 percent for museums, galleries, castles, chateaus, and zoos, from the current maximum 75 percent. Nevertheless, the organizers will enable the visitors to keep at 1.5-meter distance from each other. In restaurants, six people will be able to share a table instead of the current maximum four. Vojtěch called this a cosmetic change.

Services can accept online testing

As of September, people will also be able to undergo online testing in service shops such as hairdresser and at mass events, as an alternative for on-site testing.

"This is a type of testing when the person applies a self-test under the supervision of a medical worker connected through a web camera. The test's validity will last 24 hours," Vojtěch said.

Czech Republic to acknowledge Covid vaccination of people outside EU

The Czech Republic will start acknowledging the Covid vaccination of people from outside the EU as of Aug. 23 if their vaccine is a type approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organisation (WHO) for emergency use, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said. The change in the acknowledgment of the vaccination certificates will apply, for example, to the British, who are often vaccinated with AstraZeneca produced in India and who have had to undergo a Covid test on arrival in the Czech Republic so far. For people's family members from the countries, from which it has been difficult to arrive due to the Covid epidemic so far, visas will be issued in a standard way. This will not apply to extreme-risk countries, Vojtěch told media after a cabinet meeting.

Tunisia, Russia, India to be removed from extreme Covid risk list

Tunisia, Russia, and India are among the states the Czech Republic will delete from its list of the countries posing and extreme risk of Covid infection as of Aug. 23, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said after a cabinet meeting. The Health Ministry urgently recommends that Czechs should not travel to the extreme infection risk states. The list will still contain Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Nepal, Mozambique and Tanzania (including the Zanzibar and Pemba islands), Vojtěch said. On the other hand Botswana, Eswatini, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe will be deleted from the list and restrictions will be lifted for those arriving from these countries as of next Monday, Vojtěch said. See our full story here.

Delta mutation accounting for 95 percent of coronavirus

The more contagious Delta mutation is still dominant in the Czech Republic as it accounts for roughly 95 percent of positive coronavirus tests, the National Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) told journalists, referring to the data at its disposal. This is 2 percent less than a week ago. Since June, the Delta variant started spreading in the Czech Republic. The Delta variant was detected in roughly 95 percent and the Alpha or British mutation in fewer than 2 percent of all cases. In South Moravia, two isolated cases of the Lambda variant were detected in July, but they have not spread further, the SZÚ said. There are 20 cases of the suspected Delta plus variant, which is yet to be refuted or confirmed.

R number above 1.0 for 10th day

There were 210 new cases of coronavirus reported for Monday, up from 167 a week earlier. Some 59 people were hospitalized, up nine from the previous day’s revised figure, with 15 people in serious condition, the same as the day before. No deaths were reported, and the August total is at nine. The incidence number of people infected per 100,000 over seven days remained at 12. The reproduction number R rose very slightly to 1.05, and has been over the break-even point of 1.0 since Aug. 8. For Prague, the incidence number is at 30, up one from the previous day. The R number is at 1.15, down from 1.27 the previous day.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Aug. 17, 2021)

  • New cases 210
  • Deaths 30,376
  • Currently hospitalized 59
  • PCR tests performed 9,587,597
  • Antigen tests performed 25,108,715
  • Total vaccinations 11,008,746
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 40,308
  • People who have completed vaccination 5,353,302
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 12
  • PES index 40
  • R number 1.05
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