Coronavirus update, May 14, 2021: Outdoor pools set to reopen May 31, indoor pools two weeks later

The govt. will set definitive rules for restaurant gardens today, plus an agreement with neighboring countries over vaccination certificates is reached. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 14.05.2021 09:49:00 (updated on 14.05.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Outdoor, indoor swimming pools to reopen

Outdoor swimming pools and natural swimming places in the Czech Republic may reopen within the Covid restrictions relaxation as of Monday, May 31, and indoor pools and wellness centers as of June 14 if the epidemiological situation does not worsen, chief public health officer Pavla Svrčinová said. On Monday, the cabinet approved that indoor sport places except for swimming pools, may reopen as of Monday, May 17, with not more than one visitor per 15 square meters,10 people at the sport place at the most and groups of maximally two people. Indoor sport places are among the facilities that have remained closed for the longest time of all. In face of the second wave of coronavirus, they had to close as of October 9, and they could reopen, shortly and with many limitations, in December before being closed again due to the unfavourable development of the epidemic.

Health Ministry to set foreigners vaccination rules next week

The Czech Health Ministry will set the rules for the vaccination of foreigners against Covid-19 in the country next week, and the vaccination may also be made accessible to self-payers, Health Minister Petr Arenberger told the Chamber of Deputies yesterday. Arenberger did not say when the vaccination may become accessible to foreigners. Health Ministry spokeswoman Jana Schillerová said that the ministry is preparing an offer of the registration for vaccination by the foreigners who do not have public health insurance in the Czech Republic or elsewhere in the EU.

"These will mainly be the Czech citizens who do not have public health insurance, and foreigners from the EU or third states who have long-term residence in the Czech Republic," Schillerova said.

A problem may be the foreigners who work in the Czech Republic illegally. Labor Inspection's checks uncovered about 2,400 of such foreigners last year and over 3,500 in 2019 and 2018. See our full story here.

People aged 40 to 44 can register as of midnight Sunday

People aged from 40 to 44 years will be able to start registering for the Covid vaccination in the Czech Republic as of Sunday midnight, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told reporters. Then, the registration system will open to all inhabitants over 16, he added, but did not give a date. Currently, all people over 45 can register for the inoculation. The registration opened to the age category of 45 to 49 on Tuesday. As soon as the possibility to get vaccinated is offered to those aged 16 to 39, the state will get an overview of how many people are actually interested in the Covid vaccination, and can modify its campaign in support of it on the basis of these data, Babiš pointed out. The Czech state is considering getting firms involved in the vaccination against Covid-19 as well. However, Babiš said this step must be pondered thoroughly as bigger supplies of the Pfizer vaccine would be needed for it.

Czech Republic, neighbors to mutually acknowledge Covid vaccination

The Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Germany will as of Saturday, May 15, start mutually acknowledging anti-Covid vaccination cestificates, and negotiations with Slovakia are underway, Czech Health Minister Petr Arenberger told the lower house health committee. Last week, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that six countries would join the vaccine mutual acknowledgment, the sixth being Slovenia. Other foreign vaccination certificates such as ones from the U.S. or UK still will not be accepted. The relevant agreements will be made as a diplomatic note.

"It was not quite easy, since in Hungary, for example, the certificate is issued after the first dose [of vaccine] application already," Arenberger said.

Hungary is the only EU country to use, among others, the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and China-made Sinopharm and CanSino Biologics vaccines, which have not been certified for European use by te European Medicines Agency (EMA). Slovakia, too, plans to start using Sputnik V. The EU is developing a Covid passport to make cross-border travel easier across.

Govt. to discuss rules for restaurant gardens

The rule for opening restaurant gardens and for traveling to neighboring countries and should be discussed by the government at today's meeting. The Chamber of Commerce has called on the government to clarify the rules for opening restaurant gardens. It is still not clear how guests will be required to prove they have a negative coronavirus test, full vaccination, or recovery from illness in the last 90 days. The gardens will open on Monday. According to current information, for example, the WI-Fi network should not be switched on and music should not be played. According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, this should also be resolved. Previously, chief public health officer Pavla Svrčinová said that restaurants could post a sign with the government rules, and the responsibility for complying would fall on the guests.

Universities to reopen on May 24, some with exam period already

Universities in the Czech Republic will fully reopen as of May 24, Health Minister Petr Arenberger told a meeting of the lower house health committee. Practical lessons resumed at universities on May 10, and for final-year students as of April 26. On May 24, the examination period will be already underway at some. The cabinet previously said that secondary schools will reopen as of May 24. Elementary schools were reopened earlier this month, gradually for younger and older pupils and in the rotation system of classes' weekly alternating presence and distance learning.

GPs to get Moderna vaccine directly at their offices

General practitioners will newly get Covid vaccines from Moderna directly to their surgeries as of next week, which should solve the problem of over 216,000 people still waiting for vaccination by GPs, including 23,000 seniors over 80, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told reporters. So far, GPs have mainly received the vaccine from AstraZeneca and the one-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson as they are easier to store. However, their amount is insufficient for all who are registered for the inoculation by GPs. In total, GPs should get 454,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine in May and June. Every week, 70,000 Moderna doses will be delivered, 50,000 of which will be distributed directly to the GPs' surgeries, while the rest will be designated for the second dose for those who were already vaccinated with it. The number of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses to be delivered in May is just to cover the demands for the second dose.

Second-highest number of vaccine doses applied

There were 1,218 new Covid infection on Thursday, 350 fewer than a week ago and 48 fewer than on Wednesday, according to Health Ministry data. Some 85,621 Covid vaccine doses were administered, the second-highest number in a day, 85,621. The total number of the applied doses is close to four million, while almost 1.1 million Czechs have complete vaccination. The PES number remained at 40 and the reproduction number R dropped very slightly but still remained at 0.77, meaning the pandemic is continuing to recede.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (May 14, 2021)

  • New cases 1,218
  • Deaths 29,857
  • Currently hospitalized 1,578
  • PCR tests performed 6,966,723
  • Antigen tests performed 14,037,339
  • Total vaccinations 3,992,027
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 85,621
  • People with both doses 1,094,338
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 82
  • PES index 40
  • R number 0.77
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