Coronavirus update, July 27, 2021: You can dance if you want to! Health Ministry loosens venue restrictions

As of Aug. 1, the capacity of indoor and outdoor events will increase; the loosened lockdown rules also apply to stadiums and swimming pools

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff
Published on 27.07.2021 09:38 (updated on 27.07.2021)

Capacity for sports and cultural events increases

Up to 7,000 people outside and 3,000 inside will be allowed to watch sports and cultural events as of Aug. 1, instead of the current 5,000 and 2,000, respectively, Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told journalists. The mandatory distance between the standing spectators will be reduced to two square meters from four. As of the new season of the first and second football divisions, the permitted number of spectators will be increased. If there is the capacity under 5,000 places, they may be quite full. When it comes to the auditoriums with 5,000-10,000 men, there can be maximally 5,000 spectators, while the stadiums with 10,000 persons and more can now fill up to one-half of the auditoriums, provided there is the distance of at least one seat. The government passed the measures because the epidemiological situation is stagnating or maybe even improving, he added.

"We cannot observe any major negative aspects, be it the numbers of positive cases or hospitalized," Vojtěch said.

You can dance if you want to

Dancing will be permitted in dance halls provided people clean bill of health, as of Aug. 1.

"We allow dancing to the persons who were either inoculated or have fewer than 180 days after they underwent the disease (Covid-19) or who will present a test that is not older than 24 hours," Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said.

Although discos could open two months ago, dancing was not allowed there. This was logical from the epidemiological viewpoint, Vojtěch said. The Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) ruled before that it was inadmissible to ban the establishments' functioning by the ministry setting the condition in which they cannot operate.

Rules loosened for pools, children's groups

In the swimming pools, the capacity will no longer be limited as of Aug. 1, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said. Now the operators can only fill the capacity of 75 percent. However, swimming pools may still only be entered by those inoculated, recovered from Covid in the past 180 days, or with an antigen or PCR test, Vojtěch said. The size of children's groups in camps for educational and other events is also changing from 500 to 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 outdoors, Vojtěch announced.

Gallery operators have a choice, tour size increases

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Operators of exhibitions and similar internal spaces will be able to choose whether to observe the limit of visitors per square meter, valid now, or whether to newly use 75 percent of their capacity, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said. The possible number of people in one group in organized tours of castles, chateaux, zoos and the like will increase from 10 to 20 people. They will not have to show a vaccination or test cetrificate. 

Mobile operators to send SMS to returning vacationers

The government has established cooperation with mobile operators. After the entry of Czech citizens from abroad back into the territory of the Czech Republic, they will be sent an SMS with a notification to fill in the arrival form.

Delta variant of Covid-19 prevails up to 90 percent in the Czech Republic

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The Delta variant of Covid-19, formerly called Indian, was confirmed in 80–90 percent out of 2,200 samples in the past two weeks, while the Delta plus is suspected to occur in 20 percent of the cases, but was proven in one case only so far, the Czech State Health Institute (SZÚ) wrote. The Alpha, or British, variant occurred in 12 percent of cases, which makes it the second most common in the country. Both the Beta and Gamma variants were revealed in fewer than 1 percent of samples. Between July 9 and 23, experts in the Czech Republic analyzed 2,186 samples. A laboratory in the Karlovy Vary Region detected 20 samples that might correspond to the Delta plus mutation. The samples were sent to full genome sequencing.

Czechs to donate 2.4 million vaccines to foreign countries

The Czech Republic will donate at least 2.39 million Covid vaccines by the end of year, specifically to the Balkan countries, Africa and Asia. The gift is part of an earlier agreement of EU leaders under which the EU will donate a total of 100 million doses of the vaccine to the third countries.

"We will only defeat Covid-19 if the whole world is vaccinated enough. We therefore need to help countries that do not have enough vaccines. The Czech Republic has a surplus of these substances and can thus donate at least 2.39 million vaccines through #TeamEurope and #COVAX by the end of the year. They will help the Balkan countries, Africa, Asia," Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said on Twitter.

Vojtěch said within the European gift, the government could earmark the priority countries to which it wants to send the vaccines. These are, for example, Ukraine, Georgia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mali, Thailand and Bhutan, Vojtěch said. Outside the European plan Covax, there are the gifts of 250,000 doses for Vietnam and 30,000 doses for Taiwan, he added. Vojtěch confirmed what Prime Minister Andrej Babis said before. Slovakia will receive 1 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech from the Czech quota instead of the Czech Republic and will pay for it. Vojtěch said the Czech Republic had ordered about 14 million doses from this supplier and now the amount would fall to 13 million. The Czech Republic has ordered 23.9 million doses for CZK 8.5 billion. Vojtěch said it would not be able to use them all.

President of Taiwan thanks Czechs for donation of Covid vaccines

Taiwan and the Czech Republic are partners not only in the questions of democracy and freedom, but also good friends, President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen said in reaction to the Czech pledge to donate 30,000 Covid vaccines to Taiwan.

"This manifests again that Taiwan and the Czech Republic are not only firm partners on the path of freedom and democracy, but also that a friend in need is a good friend indeed," Reuters cited Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said, according to Reuters.

Reuters added that the donation might irritate China, as it claims Taiwan a part of its territory. Since the start of the epidemic, Taiwan has provided face masks to the whole world, including the Czech Republic. It also donated five assembly lines to manufacture the protective devices to the Czech Republic.

Govt. to give up to CZK 27 million for school PCR tests

The Czech government agreed to release up to CZK 27 million from the EU Solidarity Fund for more precise PCR Covid testing at schools, Education Minister Robert Plaga tweeted. The amount should cover two testing rounds in September, and the schools that will prefer PCR tests to cheaper and less reliable antigen tests will get CZK 200 per PCR test. The same amount apiece was paid at the end of the last school year, too. Some 365,000 PCR tests for CZK 73 million in total were carried out in May and June. As the Education Ministry was allocated CZK 100 million for them, the amount for September corresponds to the remaining money. The government already ordered that children will be tested in the first days of the school year three times with state-provided antigen tests. If a school opts for PCR tests, it has to arrange the testing on its own.  

Number of hospitalized jumps, other indicators drop

The pandemic continues to recede, though there was a jump in the number hospitalized. The number of new cases reported for Monday was 206, down from the previous week’s 218. The index number of newly infected per 100,000 over seven days dropped from 13 to 12. The reproduction number R was steady at 0.87. The number of hospitalized people jumped from 41 to 49, and the number of people in a serious condition rose from five to six. No deaths were reported for the fifth day in a row. Since the start of vaccination, over 10 million doses have now been given out, with 4.6 million having completed vaccination. In Prague, where the pandemic situation is worst, the index number dropped from 32 to 31. The R number remained at 0.78.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (July 27, 2021)

  • New cases 206
  • Deaths 30,362
  • Currently hospitalized 49
  • PCR tests performed 8,831,681
  • Antigen tests performed 23,641,183
  • Total vaccinations 10,064,380
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 65,758
  • People who have completed vaccination 4,644,069
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 12
  • PES index 16
  • R number 0.87
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