Coronavirus update, Jan. 22, 2021: Czech government extends state of emergency until Valentine's Day

The emergency state has been extended until Feb. 14; elementary schools could reopen next month.


Written by ČTK Published on 22.01.2021 08:41:00 (updated on 22.01.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Following a minor skirmish Thursday in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech Parliament, the government's appeal to prolong the state of emergency was approved though not by the requested 30 days. Health Minister Jan Blatný also pledged to re-open elementary schools in February.

The state of emergency -- which allows for the extension of epidemic measures -- will now be in place in the Czech Republic until Feb 14., not Feb. 21 as the government had originally requested. The new state of emergency goes into effect Friday, Jan. 22.

The state of emergency has been valid since Oct. 5 and will have now been declared for the fifth time in a row. In spring, it lasted for 66 days due to the coronavirus crisis. The current state of emergency will last for at least 132 days.

Preceding the vote, Minister Blatný said that elementary schools should reopen in early February if the epidemiological situation allows.

"There is the clear priority of returning the lower grades of elementary schools. One cannot presume that this might happen before early February. If the epidemiological situation allows for this, the date will be realistic," he added.

This would follow by ninth graders and those secondary school students in the final year before exams, Blatný said. He also addressed the reopening of ski resorts, saying that ski-lifts in winter resorts may also resume at the beginning of February. No further loosening of the current restrictions was discussed.

During the session, a minor brawl broke out when independent deputy Lubomír Volný refused to wear a face mask while speaking. Chairing deputy Tomáš Hanzel threatened to turn off Volný's microphone if he didn't put on a mask and Volny threatened to sit on Hanzel's lap and use his mic. Volný made good on his threat and had to be physically removed from Hanzel's lap by other lawmakers.

The PES anti-epidemic index has remained at 73 points out of 100 in the Czech Republic for more than a week, which corresponds to the fourth PES level. The reproduction number continues to rise for the fifth day in a row, reaching 0.86 today, according to data released by the Health Ministry this morning.

Measures against coronavirus in the Czech Republic, which follow the index, now correspond to the strictest fifth degree. However, Minister Blatný proposed that updated measures be applied to the PES system from Feb. 1. That would mean at some risk levels, mass events could for organized for participants who submit a negative test.

Latest COVID data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Jan. 22, 2021)

  • Active cases 113,839
  • New cases 7,435
  • Deaths 15,130
  • Currently hospitalized 6,131
  • PCR tests performed 4,380,044
  • Antigen tests performed 1,330,594
  • Reported vaccinations 154,989 (* a cumulative number of all reported vaccine doses as of Jan. 21, 2021, at 7 am. Updated every Thursday).


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