Coronavirus update, May 4, 2021: Czech Republic relaxing more restrictions but culture left behind

Culture minister says that the rules for events are unfairly stricter than for other sectors, and other countries are already more lenient.

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Published on 04.05.2021 09:46 (updated on 04.05.2021)

Another relaxation starts May 10, face mask rules to ease

Another lockdown relaxation in the Czech Republic will cover, along with retail shops, some services such as shoe repairs, used-car lots, photography shops, jewelry shops, travel agencies, the operation of shooting ranges, and solariums of as of May 10, Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček said. He said last week already that as of next Monday, the rest of shops would reopen. Face masks will be obligatory outdoors only if two and more people meet with shorter than two-metre distance, unless they are from the same household, Health Minister Petr Arenberger announced after the government meeting. The duty to have nose and mouth covered indoors will remain valid. See our story here.

Zaorálek: Covid relaxation plan for culture discriminatory

Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek criticized the anti-Covid relaxation scheme for culture he received from the Health Ministry and says it discriminatory as the audience is required to have more expensive PCR tests, which is not the case in other domains. Furthermore, the plan makes the lifting of restrictions for cultural events conditional over a significantly better epidemic situation than the one in similar countries that have started relaxing the culture-related anti-epidemic rules already, Zaorálek added. On Sunday, he received the proposition of the Health Ministry and a group of experts for epidemiological situations (MeSES).

"What we received is absolutely inadmissible for me," Zaorálek told a press conference today.


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Corporate Covid testing to continue till the end of June

Mandatory testing for Covid-19 in firms, public offices, and NGOs once a week will continue in the Czech Republic until the end of June at least, Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček said after the government meeting. Besides, the duty to undergo regular Covid tests will further apply to sole traders as swell. The share of positive tests in firms is gradually declining, according to the data from the the Confederation of Industry. From early March till mid-April, it dropped from 0.77 percent to 0.17 percent.

 O2 universum to reach full capacity in June

The high-capacity Covid-19 vaccination center in O2 universum in Prague, which opened yesterday, is to reach its maximum capacity in the second half of June when it is to apply the first and second vaccine doses, Central Military Hospital (ÚVN) spokeswoman Jitka Zinke said. Some 1,100 were vaccinated the first day and 2,000 are expected for Tuesday.

"We would like to reach 3,000 as of Saturday and the promised 6,000 to 7,000 (a day) should be achieved in the second half of June when the second vaccine doses will be administered as well," Zinke said.

The high-capacity center was originally to start operating in mid-April, but its opening was postponed by almost a month due to the lack of vaccines.


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Schools in another four regions could open next week

Kindergartens will fully open without face masks and tests in all regions as of May 10, and the rest of elementary schools will join the rotation scheme of one week of regular education and one week of remote learning in another four regions, Health Minister Petr Arenberger told reporters. Currently, only students in the sixth to ninth grades of elementary schools in the following regions were allowed to follow the rotation education scheme: Karlovy Vary, Hradec Králové, Plzeň, Central Bohemia, Liberec, Prague, and Pardubice. Nurseries have been opened in these regions, too. According to the relaxation announced yesterday, schools in the Ústí nad Labem, Olomouc, South Moravia, and Moravia-Silesia regions should open in a week, too.

Foreign diplomats can get vaccinated

Foreign diplomats in the Czech Republic can register for the vaccination against Covid-19 in the czech Republic and the state will cover the vaccine costs, the government announced in a press release. However, members of the foreign diplomatic missions will not be prioritized in the registration system. The Czech state will cover their vaccines in the same practice as Czech diplomats are being inoculated abroad. The Czech Republic will secure the vaccination not only for the staff of foreign diplomatic missions, consular offices and the international organizations' offices, but also for their family members. This applies also to the employees of the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency.

Many elderly still waiting for Covid vaccination

More than 210,000 people over 70 are still waiting for the Covid vaccination in the Czech Republic, almost two-thirds of them are registered with their GPs. Health Minister Petr Arenberger said he cannot understand why the number of the waiting seniors was not decreasing. In total, almost 500,000 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 by their GPs in the Czech Republic. Association of General Practitioners (SPL) head Petr Šonka said that out of the roughly 3,600 surgeries that participate in the Covid-19 vaccination, 560 have not received any vaccines. "According to our calculations, some 11,000 octogenarians are registered there. Another 900 GPs have got very few vaccine doses, up to 100 only," he added.

New cases continue to fall but R number is increasing


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Relocation from Belgium to Prague

There were 2,216 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday in the Czech Republic, 360 fewer than a week ago. The number of administered doses of vaccination against the new coronavirus was almost 11,000 higher than last Monday, and healthcare professionals vaccinated 66,507 people, according to the Health Ministry. Some 29,421 patients with confirmed disease died. Recently, the daily number of deaths has been lower, and since April 10, no more than 100 people with Covid have died in one day. There were about 30 deaths per day in the first two days of May, and 15 on Monday. The reproduction number R, which indicates how many other people on average infect one positive test, has risen slightly today from the previous 0.8914 to 0.8946, bit is still below 1.0.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (May 4, 2021)

  • New cases 2,216
  • Deaths 29,421
  • Currently hospitalized 2,564
  • PCR tests performed 6,808,647
  • Antigen tests performed 12,007,965
  • Reported vaccinations 3,272,012
  • New cases per 100,00 in seven days 131
  • PES index 46
  • R number 0.89