Coronavirus update, June 8, 2021: Czech govt. to open vaccination to privately insured foreigners this week

Plus: More spectators can go to cultural events, masks come off in classrooms, and testing in companies to end as of July 1.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 08.06.2021 09:27 (updated on 08.06.2021) Time to read: 5 minutes

Foreigners may register for Covid vaccination as of week's end

The Health Ministry plans to launch the Covid vaccination registration for the foreigners who do not have public health insurance in the Czech Republic, and thus will pay for the vaccines themselves, at the end of this week. They will get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the price of the vaccine and its application will not exceed CZK 850.

"We expect the vaccination registration of the uninsured foreigners to be opened at the end of this week. The systemic testing is underway now. At least one vaccination center will be designated for this purpose in each region," Martina Čovbanová, from the Health Ministry press section, said.

Foreigners from the EU or third countries with long-term residence in the Czech Republic will be able to get vaccinated there. It is not known how many of foreigners without public health insurance live in the Czech Republic and its capital of Prague.

Cultural events may have more spectators

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Indoor and outdoor cultural events will be allowed to have up to 1,000 and 2,000 spectators, respectively, provided that only half of the auditorium is occupied as of June 8, Culture Ministry spokeswoman Michaela Lagronová said after Monday’s government meeting. As of June 14, the number of spectators at outdoor cultural events will not be limited 50 percent but there will still be a maximum of 2,000. The area for spectators without seats must have at least four square meters per spectator. For indoor events, half of the seats in the auditorium will have to remain unoccupied. The conditions for coronavirus testing for cultural events will be the same as those applied to restaurants. People may drink and eat at cultural events, but will not be allowed to eat or drink in the auditorium.

Rules for proving tests to be unified

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told a press conference after the cabinet meeting that all kinds of coronavirus tests including self-tests or a statutory declaration will be recognised everywhere in the country to prove the absence of infection in a person. Vojtěch said the rules for all spheres were becoming the same.

"It won’t be so that somewhere a lab test is required, while somewhere else a self-test is enough, or a certificate from the school or employer, a statutory declaration and so on," he said.

Vojtěch said restrictions set for restaurants should not change now. The duty that people coming to a restaurant must have a negative test should be lifted only when a certain percentage of the Czech population gets vaccinated. At cultural events, people will still be obliged to wear face masks or something similar and to prove that they were vaccinated, negatively tested or that they recovered from Covid-19. Vojtěch said indoor swimming pools, wellness centers, and saunas may have visitors if half of their capacity remains empty. Their visitors will not have to wear face masks, he added.

Face mask duty lifted during classes at schools in most regions

Neither students nor teachers have to wear face masks during classes in all Czech regions except for the Zlín, South Bohemia and Liberec regions as of Tuesday, the government decided and Education Minister Robert Plaga tweeted. However, the face mask duty will remain valid during breaks and in common premises, such as corridors and restrooms, at schools. Deputy PM and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats, ČSSD) said before the cabinet meeting that his party would strive for the lifting of the duty to have nose and mouth covered during instruction in the regions with the lowest incidence rate, which is the number of the Covid infected per 100,000 population in the past week.  

Coronavirus testing in companies will not be mandatory from July

From July 1, regular testing for coronavirus at work and for self-employed people will not be mandatory, the government decided on Monday. Tests will not be needed in schools either, which may apply to summer exam dates at universities, for example. As of today, the conditions for visits to medical and social care facilities have also eased, according to a cabinet decision. "With effect from July 1, 2021, all mandatory regular testing at work, for the self-employed and in schools will also be abolished," the ministry said. As of today, the validity of the PCR test is extended to seven days and the antigen test to 72 hours for visits to medical and social care facilities, the ministry announced. "The test performed by the employer or the school will also be recognized. Vaccinated persons will also be able to prove their certificates and it will be possible to take the test on the spot," the office added.

Interval between Moderna vaccine doses to be shortened

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The second dose of the Moderna Covid vaccine can be applied 25 to 35 days after the first dose instead of the current 38 to 42 days, while the interval between the Pfizer/BioNTech doses will remain unchanged, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told reporters after the government meeting. So far, some 535,000 Moderna vaccine doses have been applied in the country, which is about 9 percent of all doses.

"This vaccine is now primarily designated for GPs whom this (shorter interval) will not cause any organizational problems," Vojtěch said.

Roughly since mid-May, all supplies of the Moderna vaccine have been heading for the GPs' surgeries except for those necessary for the second doses somewhere else. As far as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is concerned, it is mainly administered in high-capacity vaccination centers, and the interval between its first and second dose will remain the same for organizational reasons so far, Vojtěch noted.  

Slovakia gives Czechs 10,000 Moderna vaccine doses

The Avenier vaccine distributor brought the Slovak gift of 10,000 doses of the Moderna anti-Covid-19 vaccine to the Czech Republic on Friday, the server Seznam Zpravy reported, referring to the Slovak Health Ministry. Slovak PM Eduard Heger promised this gift during his visit to Prague in April. According to the contract, it is worth CZK 5.2 million, the server writes. Avenier delivered it from Slovakia to a distribution center near Olomouc, central Moravia, while Slovakia covered the transport costs. On Friday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš also received 40,950 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto outside the National Vaccination Center in Prague's O2 universum, which Hungary had loaned to the Czech Republic.

Fewest new cases for a Monday since Aug. 31

There were 386 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, a quarter less than a week ago and the least for a Monday since Aug. 31, 2020, according to the data the Health Ministry released today. There were fewer than 21 infected per 100,000 population in a week. The biggest number of infection cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days is now in the South Bohemia region (over 33) and the smallest in the Karlovy Vary region (under five). The reproduction number R, which shows how many people catch COVID-19 on average from one infected person, slightly rose to 0.84 from 0.83 on Monday.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (June 8, 2021)

  • New cases 386
  • Deaths 30 193
  • Currently hospitalized 277
  • PCR tests performed 7,457,266
  • Antigen tests performed 18,496,067
  • Total vaccinations 5,983,341
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 110,242
  • People who have completed vaccination 1,798,220
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 21
  • PES index 34
  • R number 0.84
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