Czech Republic coronavirus updates, August 20: 316 new cases, face masks go back on September 1

Starting next month, face masks will be needed in most indoor locations including schools, restaurants, hairdressers, and cinemas

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 20.08.2020 09:21:33 (updated on 20.08.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

There were 316 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the Czech Republic yesterday, according to the latest data published by the Czech Health Ministry this morning.

It’s the third-highest daily rise in new COVID-19 cases in the country this month, and the fifth-highest since the beginning of the outbreak in March. The number of new daily cases has been rising this week, from 191 cases on Monday to 281 on Tuesday and 316 yesterday, but are largely consistent with numbers reported over the past month.

Around 7,000-8,000 tests are conducted daily, except for the weekends when fewer are processed. According to Health Minister Adam Vojtěch, the current capacity for tests should be around 18,000 daily.

There are currently 4,778 known active COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic, 112 of which are being treated in hospitals.

Since the beginning of the outbreak in March, the Czech Republic has reported a total of 20,798 COVID-19 cases; about 75% of those have recovered, and there have been 404 COVID-19-related deaths. The death toll increased by two yesterday.

Over the past week, the number of new cases has somewhat stabilized in Prague and Frýdek-Místek, the only two risk areas identified by the Czech Health Ministry in their regional map the past two weeks.

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Prague has reported about 28 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past week, and Frýdek-Místek 21 new cases.

Two other regions, meanwhile, have exceeded 40 new cases per 100,000 residents during the past seven days: Uherské Hradiště (42 new cases per 100,000 residents) and Plzeň (41 new cases per 100,000 residents).

Seven employees of Prague’s IKEA store in Černý Most tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, but  health officials say that the situation under control.

The requirements only apply to indoor areas, and are largely the same as they were earlier this year during the start of the epidemic.

From September 1, face masks need to be worn in restaurants when not consuming food, at hairdressers and beauty salons, in shops and shopping centers, in cinemas, theaters, churches and elsewhere. See a full breakdown here.

Exceptions to the mask requirement include gyms and fitness centers, saunas, spas, and indoor swimming pools. Students need to wear masks while walking throughout schools, but not in individual classrooms.

The move has been made both as a precautionary measure to coincide with the start of the new school year, and as a response to the increasing trend in new COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic over the past month.

It may not be the last word on face masks from September, however. Later today, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš – reportedly unhappy with the way the new requirement has been unveiled – will discuss the measures with Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (ANO).

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