Coronavirus update, May 10, 2021: Shops reopen nationwide today and public face-mask rules relaxed

Today's reopenings include museums and galleries in regions where they aren't already open as well the opening of all remaining shops and some services.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 10.05.2021 09:57:00 (updated on 10.05.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

All shops and most service outlets reopen nationwide

All the remaining stores and some other service outlets that have been closed so far due to the Covid-19 pandemic will reopen throughout the Czech Republic today. In addition to retail, shoe repair shops, car bazaars, car showrooms, cable cars, solariums, watchmakers, goldsmiths, carpenters, and travel agencies can reopen. Respirators will still be required indoors in shops. The government is relaxing the restrictions on the basis of six packages. It is based on the number of coronavirus infections in seven days per 100,000 population. The rules for wearing respirators outdoors are also relaxed. From today, it will be necessary to wear them outdoors only when meeting two or more people less than two meters apart, unless they are members of the same household. Museums, galleries, and monuments in the remaining regions, where they have not yet been open to the public, will also open today. According to Arenberger, the first significant disintegration in culture could take place from May 24.

People 45 and over can register for vaccines from midnight Monday

People aged 45 and over will be able to register for coronavirus vaccination from midnight on Monday to Tuesday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced on Twitter. Originally, registration for the 45 to 49 age group was to open Wednesday. However, Babiš is convinced that the earlier date will be decided by the government council for health risks on Monday. So far, the last wave of registrations was aimed at people aged 50 to 55 and was launched on Wednesday. This week, Arenberger advised elderly patients still waiting to be vaccinated by a general practitioner to use a large vaccination center. Association of General Practitioners chairman Petr Šonka recently said 30,000 people over the age of 80 and 100,000 people aged 70 to 79 were waiting for the vaccine in doctors' offices.

Upper elementary school classes start rotation in remaining regions

Grades six through nine in primary schools in seven regions will start rotating secondary education today, joining the rest of the country. The regions are Ústí nad Labem, South Bohemia, Vysočina, South Moravia, Olomouc, Moravia-Silesia, and Zlín. Due to the new coronavirus epidemic, older students in these regions have still had to study at home. Kindergartens for all children are also opening in the same seven regions today. In addition, clinical and practical teaching of all grades of universities is being renewed throughout the Czech Republic. It is not yet clear when high school students could return to the benches for theoretical lessons. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education said at the end of April that this should happen at the latest with the occurrence of 75 newly infected covid per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days.

PM Babiš: Capacity of big vaccination centers to increase

The Czech Republic plans to gradually lower the number of Covid-19 vaccination centers and increase the capacities of the big centers, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told journalists. Babiš said there were 240 vaccination points in the Czech Republic and now there are fewer than 200. He also said he would like more mobile vaccination teams to operate in the country. These teams should come to the homes of people who are ill and have problems to get to their general practitioner or to a vaccination center, he added.

Arenberger: Lockdown relaxation cannot be sped up

The Czech government must proceed carefully with the relaxation of the anti-epidemic restrictions so that another coronavirus wave does not come as some 30 to 40 percent of the people in the country can still get infected with Covid, Health Minister Petr Arenberger told Prima TV. The government loosened the introduced measures too quickly twice in the past year, he said.

"We don’t want this again and we cannot allow for it," Arenberger said.

When asked about further relaxation as of May 17, Arenberger said he considers it important to end the rotation regime at schools, which makes life difficult for some parents. He did not rule out that outdoor spaces of restaurants could reopen on May 17, although the Health Ministry expert group MeSES had reservations about it. He said the reopening seems a good solution provided that the rules are respected.

Babiš wants EU to deliver vaccines faster

Babiš asked European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to try to speed up the delivery of some Covid-19 vaccine doses that were to arrive in the Czech Republic in the third quarter of the year so that they would be delivered already in June. "The most important for us is to gain vaccines for June because we are getting to the stage when probably in July or soon we will have to do some advertising campaign for people to get vaccinated," he said. Babiš said people must understand that the vaccines are safe and that they make life more comfortable.

"They will be allowed to go everywhere without problems thanks to the vaccination. Those who won’t be vaccinated will have to undergo tests," Babiš said.

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EU has not yet extended the contract for AstraZeneca

The European Union has not yet extended its contract for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which expires in June, EU Internal Commissioner Thierry Breton said. The European Commission sued AstraZeneca two weeks ago for non-compliance with the contract. According to the commission, the company failed to come up with a reliable strategy that would ensure the timely delivery of vaccines. Problems with the supply of the preparation from AstraZeneca were the main cause of the slow start of vaccination in EU countries since the beginning of the year. On Saturday, the European Commission approved a contract to buy up to 1.8 billion doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech. The cost of a new version could be slightly higher than buying an earlier version of the vaccine.  

Covid falling back to late August level

There were 381 Covid-19 cases on Sunday, which was the smallest daily increase since late August and 130 fewer than a week ago, according to Health Ministry data. So far, 3,654,376 doses of the Covid vaccine have been administered and 1.058 million Czechs have full vaccination. On Saturday, over 30,000 people were inoculated and on Sunday almost 25,000, about 4,000 more than a week ago. Last week, the Health Ministry recorded 211 Covid-related deaths, while it was 328 a week ago. In recent weeks, the epidemiological situation has been improving in the Czech Republic. Last week, tests uncovered over 10,800 infected, while it was almost 14,400 a week ago and 17,500 the week before.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (May 10, 2021)

  • New cases 381
  • Deaths 29,711
  • Currently hospitalized 1,819
  • PCR tests performed 6,898,801
  • Antigen tests performed 13,090,173
  • Total vaccinations 3,654,376
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 24,819
  • People with both doses 1,058,179
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 101
  • PES index 43
  • R number 0.82
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