Czech and Austrian officials vow to prevent Covid-related border closings in 2022

A regularly updated article with all the latest developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic for Dec. 27–Jan. 2.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 27.12.2021 11:21 (updated on 02.01.2022) Reading time: 15 minutes

This is a weekly overview of the latest coronavirus news for Prague and the Czech Republic. Here you'll find important developments, organized by date, and updated daily by Expats.cz as well as a live data stream taken from the Ministry of Health. A regularly updated list of restrictions can be found here.

For a more detailed breakdown of Covid hospitalization, vaccination, and mortality data for the Czech Republic, see CovData.cz.

Latest COVID Statistics

Confirmed cases on 20.01.2022: +26 907

Active cases: 216 630

Currently hospitalized: 1 572

Tests yesterday: 100 725

Vaccinations yesterday: 52 452

Confirmed cases total: 2 705 754

Recovered total: 2 452 127

Vaccinated total: 6 903 405

Tests total: 17 528 380

Deaths total: 36 997

COVID 19 - New cases for last
Data valid as of 18:28:02 21.01.2022
Source: https://onemocneni-aktualne.mzcr.cz

January 2, 2022

Overview Number of Covid patients in Czech hospitals falls below 3,000

The Czech Republic reported 1,088 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, according to the latest data from the Czech Health Ministry. The number of new cases is exactly the same as one Christmas Day, but half as many tests were performed on January 1. The incidence rate in the country remains unchanged at 336 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

There are currently 2,708 Covid patients in Czech hospitals, the first time that number has fallen below 3,000 in nearly two months. Among those patients, 570 are in serious condition. Since March 2020, more than 2.48 million people have tested positive for coronavirus in the Czech Republic, and 36,219 of them have died.

January 1, 2022

Overview Czech Republic reports 5,000 new coronavirus cases on New Year's Eve

The Czech Republic recorded 4,992 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, nearly 750 fewer than on Thursday, according to the latest data from the Health Ministry. There are currently 3,010 patients with Covid-19 in Czech hospitals. Of those patients, 582 are in serious condition, the fewest since mid-November.

The incidence rate has grown from 308 to 336 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days. It increased for the first time since December 2 and in all Czech regions. This is because only about 2,000 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed a week ago on Christmas Eve; fewer people were tested as it was a national holiday.

The Karlovy Vary Region continues to report the lowest incidence rate, with 182 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days. Prague now has the highest incidence rate, at 414 cases per 100,000 people over the past week.

December 31, 2021

OVERVIEW New cases continue to drop

There were 5,749 new Covid cases reported for Thursday, down from 7,357 a week earlier and again the lowest weekday figure since the end of October. Some 3,163 people were hospitalized with Covid, with 596 in serious condition. A week earlier, there were 4,117 Covid patients with 766 serious cases. Out of the number of positive cases confirmed on Thursday, 58.7 percent were unvaccinated people, under 40 percent the fully vaccinated with two vaccine doses and the rest were those with still incomplete vaccination. A preliminary 28 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 427 and the toll for December is 2,820.

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Some 51,337 vaccine doses were given out on Thursday, most of which were booster shots. In total, 15.458,564 shots have been given out since the start of the pandemic.

The reproduction number R is at 0.78. It has been increasing slightly for several days but is still below the break-even point of 1.0, meaning the pandemic is still receding. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days fell to 308 from 323 a day earlier. The pandemic is now worst in Prague, with an incidence number of 384, while Central Bohemia is at 366. The Karlovy Vary Region has the lowest incidence rate at 162.  

13:20 Three religions call on people to get vaccinated

Representatives of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in the Czech Republic have called on people to keep united, support each other, jointly tackle the coronavirus crisis, and observe the epidemiological measures including vaccination. The religious representatives will definitively shape their joint declaration at a meeting in Prague's Trauttmansdorf Palace today, aimed to commemorate the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic that has plagued the world for two years now. Participants include Catholic priest and theologian Tomáš Halík, the Special Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Robert Řehák, the pastor for minorities Mikuláš Vymětal, Rabbi David Maxa, and Islam student Kristián Dembický.

10:38 Over 1.74 million Covid cases confirmed in 2021

More than 1.74 million coronavirus cases were confirmed, 111,000 Covid patients were hospitalized and over 24,000 died in the Czech Republic in 2021, according to Health Ministry data. Roughly eight in 10 infected were unvaccinated, and about the same proportion applies to the hospitalized and those who died with Covid-19. The highest Covid death toll and the number of the hospitalized with the infection was in March.

In the comparison of particular months, the highest number of the confirmed Covid-19 infections was in November, over 400,000, followed by roughly 303,000 in December, but these data are still incomplete. In March, just over 300,000 new infections were revealed, and more than 250,000 in January and February each. On the contrary, the infection was spreading the least in the summer when under 6,000 new cases were confirmed in June and August each, and slightly over 6,000 in July.

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Italy, Sweden and Malta turn dark red on travel map

The conditions of return to the Czech Republic from selected European countries will toughen for unvaccinated Czechs as of Monday, the Health Ministry said, naming Italy, Sweden, and Malta as the countries switching to the highest-risk dark red category on traveler's map. The tougher restrictions come in reaction to the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. The Health Ministry updates the traveler's map every week based on data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Latvia, Hungary, Austria will newly appear in the red group, instead of the current dark-red, and Romania will move from the orange moderate-risk group to the green group of countries posing a low risk of COVID infection. The Azores, now orange, will appear in the red group as of Monday. read more in our full story here.

Ministers: Czech-Austrian border must not close over Covid again

The Czech Republic and Austria must continue to cooperate in Covid-related issues to prevent another closure of the joint borders that both countries saw in spring 2020, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg told reporters after their talks yesterday. "The situation we experienced in the spring of 2020 cannot reoccur under any circumstances," Schallenberg said after the meeting, adding that tens of thousands of people commute to Austria for work and these activities cannot be disrupted. In the coming months, Lipavský would like to hold a meeting of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria, he said.

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Last chance for loans under Covid programs

Entrepreneurs have the last chance to apply for a loan from the Covid III and Covid Plus programs. The guarantee programs have been in operation since last spring,. The application deadline was originally scheduled to end last year. However, the European Commission has extended the temporary framework, which has allowed EU Member States to boost their economies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Based on that, the Czech government thus extended the Covid III and Plus programs first until June this year and then until Dec. 31.

December 30, 2021

OVERVIEW Death toll tops 36,000 but mew cases continue to drop

The Czech Republic saw 6,145 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, one-fifth fewer than a week ago and the lowest weekday figure since Oct. 29. The number of people hospitalized with Covid fell by one-quarter during last week. Currently, 3,363 people need hospital care over the coronavirus infection and 637 of them are in serious condition. Last week, there were 4,560 hospitalized with 811 in serious condition.

The Covid-related death toll is 36,061 people since the epidemic outbreak in March 2020. A preliminary 35 deaths were reported for yesterday. The seven-day toll is 419, and the toll for December so far is 2,752.

On Wednesday, some 66,000 people were inoculated, 12 percent fewer than last week. Most of the vaccinated, some 54,879, came for the booster dose. Altogether, nearly 2.4 million Czechs have already received the third Covid jab.

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The reproduction number R is at 0.73. The incidence rate of new cases per 100,000 over the past seven days has been decreasing for three weeks. It fell to 323 from 338 a day earlier. Nearly all of the 14 regions of the Czech Republic saw their incidence rate dropping. While Prague has the highest incidence rate of 393 cases, while the Karlovy Vary Region has the lowest at 196 cases.

12:14 Vaccination certificates valid for nine months as of Feb. 1

Certificates on vaccination against Covid-19 will be valid for nine months only as of Feb. 1, and not as of Jan. 1 as the Czech Health Ministry originally announced. The change is based on a European Union regulation that will introduce the nine-month validity as of Feb. 1 for all member states. People will have to get re-vaccinated after nine months of the complete Covid vaccination to extend the certificate validity. The validity of the Covid certificates was first unlimited, then it was put at four years, which their holders can now see in the Czech Tečka mobile application.

11:41 There are 57 confirmed, 108 suspected Omicron cases

Whole-genome sequencing has so far confirmed 57 cases of the Omicron Covid variant in the Czech Republic and further 108 test samples, some 0.6 percent, are suspected of it after discriminatory PCR testing last week, the National Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) said in its weekly report. The Delta variant was present in 98 percent of the positive samples. Omicron has been reported in most of the 14 regions across the Czech Republic.

Covid booster jab to be available to all adults after five months

The booster dose of anti-Covid vaccine will be available after five months from the previous jab to all Czechs over 18 as of Jan. 4, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek told a press conference after a government meeting yesterday. So far, most people were given the third dose six months after the previous inoculation. According to a scheme set by the former government, people aged 18–35 would get their vaccine as of Jan. 19. The new cabinet already sped up the inoculation of the age group 30–45 who may ask for the third dose as of Dec. 27.

Válek expects Omicron wave to peak in late January, early February

The coronavirus wave triggered by the Omicron variant will peak in the Czech Republic in the last week of January and the first week in February, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said at a press conference yesterday. It seems that the epidemic situation is getting better because the numbers are on the decrease. However, it is a lull before the storm, as Omicron is in the Czech Republic, Válek warned. Some regions already reported community spreading and the government is carefully preparing for that, he noted, adding he expects a high rise in numbers of the coronavirus infected. The government will speed up vaccination with the booster dose. The third jab will be available to all adults after five months from the second jab as of Jan. 4. Available data from Denmark and Britain show that the inoculation is efficient against the Omicron variant, Válek said.

Health Minister to discuss shorter isolation, quarantine times

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek will hold a meeting today with experts to discuss potential shortening of the isolation and quarantine period over confirmed or suspected coronavirus infection. They will deal with a shorter interval between the recovery from infection and vaccination. The government will go through the conclusions of this meeting next week and the Health Ministry will issue new anti-epidemic measures.

Govt. to purchase of 14 million Covid tests for schools

The government agreed with the purchase of another 14 million antigen tests for schools, This supply delivered in February and March should be sufficient for the testing twice a week. The State Material Reserves Administration (SSHR) should open the tender by Jan. 3 at the latest as the state of national emergency is not in force anymore and thus the tests cannot be bought without public competition, the government wrote in the document. The 14 million antigen test kits match the need for 10 testing rounds at all elementary and secondary schools and conservatories.  

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December 29, 2021

The Czech Republic reported 9,089 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, new data from the Health Ministry shows. The number is a quarter fewer than on the same day a week ago, although the number of tests taken was a third lower than last week, with 53,500 PCR and 15,000 antigen tests performed.

The number of patients hospitalized with Covid continues to decrease, with the current total of 3,460 Covid patients in hospitals around 30% lower in a week-on-week comparison. Of those patients, 673 are in a serious condition. The number of deaths from Covid is also dropping quickly: 418 Covid-related deaths were recorded in the past week, a third fewer than the week before.

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The Covid incidence rate, or the number of new cases per 100,000 people over the past week, is also in decline, falling significantly from 363 on Tuesday to 338 today. The incidence rate is now highest in Prague, with 396 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Central Bohemia on 395 and Liberec on 383. The lowest incidence rate is in Karlovy Vary, at 195 per 100,000.

Testing Government wants to tighten testing rules at work

Czech Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek said that the government hopes to impose a requirement on companies to test all their employees twice a week starting on January 17. Válek said the ideal scenario would be testing for all employees every three days. The proposal is still to be discussed with trade union representatives, so no changes are yet confirmed. Currently, only employees who have not received two doses of an approved Covid vaccine or who have not had Covid in the last six months need to be regularly tested at work. The proposed change would make testing mandatory for all except those working from home and those who do not come into contact with anyone else at work, regardless of their vaccination status.

Restrictions Tightened gathering rules coming into effect today

Measures introduced by the Czech government to counter the potential impact of New Year celebrations on the pandemic situation in the Czech Republic are coming into force today. The new rules are focused on controlling parties, celebrations and other mass events as Covid numbers decline throughout the country.

From today, only four people will be allowed to sit at a single restaurant or bar table, instead of the current six. This rule does not apply to members of the same household, however. Larger tables can contain larger groups as long as a distance of 1.5 meters is maintained between separate groups of four.

A maximum of 50 people are now allowed to attend parties or celebrations, defined as public or private events in which people gather in a single location. These may include, but are not limited to, dances, festivals, house parties, parades, tastings, celebrations and pilgrimages.

Mass events have a maximum capacity of 1,000 seated people, with Covid vaccination or proof of recovery required for all attendees. Organizers must in all cases check certificates by scanning QR codes.

These rules limiting New Year celebrations will be in effect until at least January 2.

December 28, 2021

Overview Czech Republic reports lowest workday rise in new Covid cases since October

The Czech Republic reported 6,850 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, new data from the Health Ministry shows. The number represents the lowest total on a workday since October 29 and twenty percent lower than a week ago, but the number of tests performed was also low in the wake of the Christmas holidays, almost forty percent lower than the previous Monday.

The number of patients hospitalized with Covid has decreased by more than thirty percent week-on-week, and now stands at 3,505. Of those patients, 87 are in serious condition.

The Covid incidence rate, or the number of new cases per 100,000 people over the past week, has also been declining, falling from 379 on Monday to 363 today. It has dropped in all of the country's 14 regions, and remains highest in the Liberec Region (433 cases per 100,000 people) and the lowest in the Karlovy Vary Region (197 cases per 100,000 people).

Vaccines Czech Republic has given out one million booster shots over the past 20 days

Healthcare workers in the Czech Republic have administered more than one million booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine over the past 20 days, according to vaccination data provided by the Health Ministry.

More than 9,300 people aged 30-44 received the booster shot on Monday, which was the first day this age group could receive the booster five months after the previous one. Previously, people in this age range had to wait at least six months to receive a Covid booster shot.

On Monday, 114,000 people registered for the booster dose through the Health Ministry's website, and 90,000 of them belonged to the 30-44 age group for which the third jab was newly available, the Smart Quarantine team tweeted.

December 27, 2021

Overview Czech Republic reports 2,011 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday

The Czech Republic reported 2,011 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, according to data posted by the Health Ministry this morning. The number represents a drop of about 50 percent compared to last week, but the umber of tests performed was also down around 37 percent due to the Christmas holidays. The number of new Covid cases has been gradually decreasing since late November, when daily figures almost reached highs of almost 28,000 cases.

The incidence rate has also been dropping, and fell from 396 Covid cases per 100,000 people over the past week on Sunday to 379 cases today. The Liberec Region currently has the highest incidence rate, at 454 cases, while Karlovy Vary has the lowest, at 206 cases per 100,000 people over the past week.

The number of people hospitalized with Covid has also been decreasing over the past three weeks. On Sunday, there were 2,943 people with Covid in Czech hospitals, about 40 percent lower than a week ago. Among them, 660 were in a serious condition.

Vaccination Booster shots now available to people aged 30+ after five months

People over the age of 30 who were initially vaccinated against Covid-19 more than five months ago are now eligible to receive a booster vaccine as a new change in regulation takes effect today. Previously, only those aged 45 and older could receive a booster shot after five months, with younger people having to wait six months for a booster. The change means about 155,000 people will now have access to the vaccine a month earlier.

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In total, about 6.9 million in the Czech Republic are now vaccinated against Covid or have registered for vaccination. The number represents more than 64 percent of the total population. More than two million people have already received a booster shot.

Travel Restrictions tightened for non-resident foreigners entering Czech Republic

As of December 27, the rules for entering the Czech Republic have been tightened for foreign nationals without permanent or temporary residence. For these travelers, a negative PCR test is now required before entering the Czech Republic from all countries (even those green and orange on the Czech travel map). Travelers who do not have proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 will also need to take another PCR test between 5-7 days after their arrival.

Those who have completed their vaccination AND had a booster shot, children aged 12-18 who have been vaccinated (no booster shot needed), and children under the age of 12 are exempt from the new measure. For Czech citizens and residents, entry requirements have not changed. After some initial confusion last week, updated entry requirements have now been published on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.

Zeman Czech President pushes for mandatory vaccination in Christmas address

Czech President Milos Zeman called mandatory Covid vaccination the best way to combat the coronavirus epidemic in his Christmas speech on Sunday. According to a decree approved by the former Czech government, vaccination would be mandatory for selected professions and Czech residents over the age of 60 as of March; new PM Petr Fiala has stated that he wants to cancel the requirement for those over the age of 60.

"I am convinced that this is the simplest way in which to suppress the pandemic," Zeman said. The president said he was inspired by Austria, which will introduce mandatory vaccination for the entire population as of February 1.

"My viewpoint gradually changed as new coronavirus waves were coming," he added. "After all, mandatory vaccination exists for a number of diseases, and there is no reason not to add coronavirus to them. It is better to take a radical measure rather than undergoing the stages of expectations and subsequent stages of disappointment because the epidemic does not constantly fall."

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