Regular opening hours back in effect in Czechia as of December 25

A regularly updated article with all the latest developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic for Dec. 13-19.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 13.12.2021 09:58:00 (updated on 19.12.2021) Reading time: 20 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 04.07.2022: +1 297

Active cases: 6 692

Currently hospitalized: 219

Tests yesterday: 3 488

Vaccinations yesterday: 792

Confirmed cases total: 3 936 870

Recovered total: 3 889 854

Vaccinated total: 6 965 750

Tests total: 21 930 735

Deaths total: 40 324

COVID 19 - New cases for last
Data valid as of 14:28:01 05.07.2022
Source: https://onemocneni-aktualne.mzcr.cz

December 19, 2021

Overview Rate of new Covid-19 cases continues to decline

The Czech Republic reported 5,982 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the lowest increase on a Saturday since November 6 and 3,100 less cases than last Saturday, according to the latest data released by the Czech Health Ministry. The daily numbers of new cases have been falling in a week-on-week comparison for the past 14 days. The number of Covid-19 patients in Czech hospitals is also dropping, falling to 4,772 on Saturday. Among those patients, 884 are in intensive care.

The weekly incidence rate is also falling. There are now 642 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, while the incidence rate stood at 671 on Saturday. The incidence rate is currently highest in the Liberec and Vysočina regions, both of which report 789 infections per 100,000 people over the past seven days in both of them. The incidence rate is lowest in the Karlovy Vary Region, with 337 cases per 100,000 people.

Although the epidemic has receded over the past weeks, there remains concern about the spread of the Omicron variant, which has been reported in 90 countries according to the WHO. In the Czech Republic, about ten cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed.

Czech PM: End of state of emergency does not mean end of restrictions

The end of the Czech Republic's state of emergency does not mean the relaxation of measures against Covid-19, new Prime Minister Petr Fiala told journalists after inaugurating the new members of his cabinet on Saturday. While a limit on the opening hours of restaurants and clubs and the ban on Christmas markets will be cancelled when the state of emergency ends on December 25, Fiala stressed that other measures not governed by the state of emergency will remain in effect.

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On Friday, the new Czech government decided not to ask the lower house of Czech parliament for an extension to the state of emergency. They want to use other tools in the fight against coronavirus, Fiala said, adding that his new government has been carefully watching the situation abroad, and it is ready to react at the end of the year if it turns out that the Omicron variant brings serious health complications.

Czech Health Minister proposes re-instating limits on Christmas opening times

With the Czech state of emergency in effect through December 25, a law limiting the opening hours of large shops on public holidays is not in effect. While this would mean that stores could open at their own discretion on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, new Czech Health Minister Vlastimil Válek has proposed a government mandate that would force them to close from noon on Christmas Eve.

Under Válek's proposal, shops over 200 square meters in size would need to close at 12:00 p.m. on December 24, and remain closed on December 25. These opening hours would reflect the normal closure of shops on the Christmas holidays, regulated by the Retail Sales Act. When the Czech state of emergency expires on December 25, the Retail Sales Act will go back into effect, meaning stores over 200 square meters in size must also close on the December 26 and January 1 public holidays.

December 17, 2021

OVERVIEW Death toll now exceeds 35,000

There were 9,488 new Covid cases on Thursday, almost 5,000 fewer than a week ago and the first time a weekday figure was under 10,000 since Nov. 8. There were 5,431 Covid patients in hospitals on Thursday, of which 895 were in severe condition. In both cases, this is the lowest number since the second half of November.

The Covid death toll crossed the 35,000 mark to reach 35,046 with 45 deaths reported for yesterday and previous figures revised. The seven-day toll is 697 and the toll for December is 1,743. With the exceptions of yesterday and last Saturday, there have been more than 100 victims on each December day. The most tragic this month was Dec. 1, when 138 people died of Covid.

Some 90,617 people underwent coronavirus vaccination on Thursday, about 9,000 fewer than a week ago. The biggest interest was again in the booster dose, which was given to more than 71,000 people. On the contrary, 5,971 applicants were vaccinated for the first time.

The reproduction number R is at 0.81. There are 704 people infected per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days, down from 748 a day earlier. One week ago, the incidence number was more than 900. The incidence number decreased again in all regions. The highest remains in the Vysočina region, at 881. The Liberec region follows with 842. The Karlovy Vary region is relatively best off at 362. For Prague, the incidence number is 609.

14:26 New govt. will not seek extension of the state of emergency

The new coalition government led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala will not ask the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of emergency due to Covid. The current state of emergency declared by the former ANO-led government will end at midnight on Dec. 25. The emergency decision was one of the first made by the government. "The government has decided not to request an extension of the state of emergency. We are monitoring the situation and if the situation worsens, the government is ready to return to the debate on the state of emergency," Fiala said after the first cabinet meeting. According to him, the cabinet is monitoring the situation around the Omicron variant and is ready to act quickly.

The new government will decide on a state of emergency

The new government will decide today at its first session whether to ask the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of emergency declared for coronavirus. Without extension, some measures against the spread of the disease would cease to apply, such as restrictions on opening hours in restaurants and nightclubs or a ban on holding Christmas markets. The current state of emergency declared by the cabinet is due to end at midnight on Dec. 25. The government can declare a state of emergency for 30 days, as the outgoing cabinet of Andrej Babiš did, and the approval of the Chamber of Deputies is already required for the extension.

Outgoing health minister urges longer state of emergency

The state of emergency introduced over the coronavirus epidemic should be prolonged at least into the beginning of January, outgoing Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told ČTK. Before leaving the ministry, he drafted an amendment to the pandemic law, which he discussed with his team and that of his successor Vlastimil Válek, who will take up the office today. "[The pandemic] seems to be relatively behind us, but this will change again. We have seen this several times and new variants came. I would be very cautious when trying to cancel all measures from day to day. I think extreme caution is needed, also in the context of the Omicron variant," Vojtěch said.

People over 45 can bet booster after five months

For people in the Czech Republic over the age of 45, as of today the wait for a booster dose of Covid vaccine is shortened from six to five months after the completion of vaccination. On Jan. 5, the age will drop to 35 for a booster after five months, and then on Jan. 19 the age will drop to 18. So far, people over the age of 55 and people with chronic diseases have been able to receive a booster dose after only five months. People vaccinated with the Janssen single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson are entitled to a booster dose after two months.

Zeman signs three Covid compensation laws

President Miloš Zeman signed three laws related to the coronavirus epidemic, which had been approved by the Senate on Wednesday. These are the renewal of the crisis nursing allowance, the allowance for quarantined people, and the law allowance for entrepreneurs and contractors. When schools or classes close due to a coronavirus epidemic, carers will receive money throughout the quarantine period. In addition, the benefit will increase to 80 percent of the reduced earnings base, and will be paid back from the beginning of November according to these rules.

People who have found themselves in quarantine or isolation due to coronavirus will again receive up to CZK 370 a day. Self-employed persons and partners of small limited liability companies will be able to apply for a contribution of up to CZK 1,000 per day as compensation for the effects of measures due to the coronavirus epidemic. Contractors will also be able to apply for a contribution of CZK 500 a day.  

Molnupiravir arriving in the Czech Republic

The Covid treatment drug Molnupiravir will arrive in the Czech Republic today. The distributor is already accepting orders for this drug, the Smart Quarantine team announced on Twitter. Molnupiravir is an antiviral drug from the American pharmaceutical company Merck. The drug, which comes in pill form, prevents the virus from multiplying in the patient's body. In the Czech Republic, other products are used to treat those infected with the new coronavirus, but these are given to patients by infusion. The advantage of Molnupiravir is that it can be taken at home.

Czech researchers develop biochip for testing Covid

Czech researchers have developed a biochip that is as fast as an antigen test and reliable as a PCR, the news site Novinky.cz reported. The biochip was developed by a team of experts at the Institute of Physics at the Academy of Sciences and tests on the biosensors on which the system is based have confirmed their sensitivity and reliability. Researchers say the advantage of biochips is that they can be used repeatedly until the first positive result. Ideally, they could serve in large firms and institutions as a means of preventing fresh reinfection once the epidemic subsides. The chips are reportedly sensitive to new variants.

December 16, 2021

There were 11,625 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, the smallest increase on a weekday since Nov. 15 and about 4,500 fewer than a week ago. The daily numbers of new cases have slowed down in a week-on-week comparison for 14 days in a row. There were 5,646 patients hospitalized with coronavirus, the fewest since Nov. 21, and 942 are in serious condition. A week earlier there were 6,746 hospitalized with 1,090 in serious condition. A preliminary 45 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 685 and the toll for December is 1,619.

Some 89,372 people underwent vaccinations on Wednesday, about 5,400 less than a week ago. More than 71,000 people had the booster dose, while 5,765 candidates were vaccinated for the first time.

The reproduction number R is at 0.84. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days continues to fall. It is now 748, down from 791 a day earlier. The incidence number decreased in all Czech regions of the Czech Republic. The highest remains in the Vysočina region, at 936. The Karlovy Vary region has the lowest at 385. In Prague, the incidence number is 637.  

GPs, centers will receive children’s vaccines today

Distribution company Avenier will start distributing Covid vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 to general practitioners' offices and other vaccination centers. Some other hospitals that already have vaccines, such as the University Hospital Brno, and will start vaccinating children today. Thomayer University Hospital started vaccinating in Prague on Wednesday, and the Motol University Hospital will join on Friday. In total, the country has ordered 300,000 doses, enough for 150,000 children.

Senate approves nursing, bonus, and quarantine allowances

The Senate on Wednesday approved the reintroduction of a crisis nursing allowance of 80 percent of reduced earnings for caregivers from the beginning of November. Nursing allowances are paid to parents for schoolchildren, usually for nine days. In addition, the upper house approved a contribution of up to CZK 370 for people in isolation or quarantine. This support is to be paid from the beginning of December to the end of February.  A compensation bonus was approved for self-employed and partners of small limited liability companies. They will be able to apply for a contribution of up to CZK 1,000 per day. Contractors will also be able to apply for a contribution of CZK 500 a day.

Babiš wants to reduce period between jabs for all

Outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš wants to cut the waiting between vaccination and booster shots for all citizens. He will discuss it with the government Council for Health Risks, Babiš tweeted. Currently, people 55 and over may be given the third booster vaccine dose five months after their previous jab. Other people are eligible for the vaccination after six months. Following Babiš’s previous statements, the term between the second and the third jab should shorten for all people over 50 as of Dec. 20. People inoculated by the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for the booster dose already after two months. The outgoing PM wants to discuss the booster anti-COVID dose with the presidents and the PMs of the EU member states at today’s summit.

Tenth Omicron case confirmed

The University Hospital Brno (FNB) revealed another case of omicron infection in a man from Brno by a PCR test. This is the eighth case in the South Moravia region and the 10th overall in the Czech Republic. Two more cases are suspected by hygienists in the Hradec Králové region, who are waiting for the results of sample sequencing.  

Expert group calls for extending state of emergency

Members of the Interdisciplinary Group for Epidemic Situations (MeSES) around epidemiologist Petr Smejkal said that despite the small number of Omicron proven cases, the more contagious variant is spreading in the Czech Republic and there are likely hundreds of actual cases. According to the group, it is necessary to prolong the state of emergency, speed up the administration of third doses of the vaccine as much as possible, and test twice a week in schools and companies, even those who have been vaccinated.

ECDC calls for more restrictions

The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) says that further pandemic restrictions need to be addressed and adopted due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. The ECDC, which just published a new risk assessment, now says vaccination alone will no longer be enough to fight the virus.

December 15, 2021

OVERVIEW Weekly incidence rate in all regions now under 1,000

There were 16,691 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, the lowest increase for a Tuesday since Nov. 9. Compared to last Tuesday, it was about 2,800 fewer. The daily numbers of new coronavirus cases have dropped in a week-on-week comparison for 13 days in a row. A slight decrease is also evident in the number of hospitalized with Covid. On Tuesday there were 5,850 cases with 966 were in serious condition. A week ago, there were 6,906 cases with 1,057 in serious condition. A preliminary 56 deaths were reported for yesterday. The toll for the past seven days is 688 and the toll for December is 1,510.

Some 87,419 doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered on Tuesday, about 9,000 fewer than a week ago. More than 69,000 people came for booster doses, while about 5,700 people received their first vaccination. About 6.5 million people have completed vaccinations.

The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days is 791, down from 817 a day earlier. The reproduction number R is 0.84. In all regions, the incidence is less than 1,000. The highest remains in the Vysočina region at 983 people. On the contrary, the Karlovy Vary region is the best at an incidence of 392. In Prague, the incidence number is 658.

Senate to discuss three compensation laws related to pandemic

The Senate will discuss three laws related to the coronavirus epidemic today. These are the renewal of the compensation for nursing at home, the bonus for quarantined people, and compensation for self-employed people. The Senate committees recommended that all three drafts be approved without amendment. The government has asked for these standards to be discussed in a state of legislative emergency due to the measures it has announced in response to the current wave of the coronavirus epidemic.

The Constitutional Court to rule on the pandemic law

The Constitutional Court will today announce how it ruled on the proposal to repeal the pandemic law or some parts of it. The initiative came from a group of 22 senators for STAN, Pirates, and the ODS. They question both the procedure for the adoption of the law and some of its components. The law allows for restrictions on shops, services and other operations, leisure and mass events, and also addresses the compensation mechanism. In general, it provides a legal framework for dealing with pandemic situations outside the emergency.

Slovakia to ease Covid restrictions on Friday

Slovakia will ease the restrictions introduced due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus infection and as of Friday. The curfew will only be valid in the evening and at night, according to a resolution the cabinet passed. Currently, it is from 5 am to 1 am the next day. The change comes after the government of Eduard Heger faced criticism over not allowing trips to visit relatives during the coming Christmas days within the earlier limitation of the free movement of people. Recently, Slovakia has repeatedly changed the coronavirus restrictions. Last week, the government eased rules for the Covid vaccinated and who underwent the disease.

December 14, 2021

OVERVIEW Fewest weekday cases in a month

There were 11,896 confirmed cases of the disease on Monday, which is at least four weeks on a weekday. Compared to last Monday, this is a decrease of about 3,600 cases. There are now 5,208 patients hospitalized with Covid, 996 of them are in serious condition. A week earlier there were 7,129 hospitalized with 1,066 serious cases. A preliminary 56 deaths were reported. The toll for the past seven days is 683 and for December is 1,400. In the past two weeks, the number of victims in 12 cases exceeded 100.

Some 76,359 doses of coronavirus vaccine were given on Monday, about 9,000 fewer than a week ago. More than 58,000 people came for the booster dose, while fewer than 6,000 people underwent the first vaccination.

The number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days hit 817, down by 34 since Monday. The reproduction number R is steady at 0.83. The incidence number remains higher than 1000 only in the Vysočina region, where it is 1,004. In contrast, in the Karlovy Vary region, the incidence number is 376, which is the lowest in the Czech Republic. In Prague, the incidence number is 663.

14:10 New government to decide on extending state of emergency

The new government led by the SPOLU coalition will comment on possibly extending the state of emergency only after the government is appointed on Friday. Incoming Health Minister Vlastimil Válek will have the decisive say. The outgoing government of ANO and the Social Democrats declared a state of emergency on Nov. 25, effective for 30 days. It will cease to apply on Christmas day without an extension, which the outgoing cabinet has not asked for.

13:00 First hospitals received children’s vaccines

The first hospitals received Covid-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11. A consignment of 12,000 doses went to the Motol University Hospital in Prague in the morning, and the South Moravian Region expects 6,000 doses today. The rest of the 300,000 ordered vaccine doses were taken over today by distributing company Avenier, and will be delivered to vaccination centers and general practitioners' offices on Thursday.

Arrival of child vaccines expected today

The first shipment of 300,000 doses of vaccines for children is due to arrive today. The Pfizer/BioNTech children's vaccine is one-third the strength of the adult version. The child version of the vaccine was approved for use in the EU by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Nov. 25.

Over 8,500 children registered for vaccination

By Monday afternoon, parents had registered more than 8,500 children under the age of 11 for vaccination at vaccination centers. Another almost 6,600 doses of vaccination were ordered by 120 general practitioners for children and adolescents. Vaccination centers, where younger children can be vaccinated, are still missing in five regions, namely in Hradec Králové, Olomouc, Central Bohemia, Liberec, and Plzeň. Those interested can contact pediatricians.

Czech medical groups urge vaccination for children

Seven Czech medical groups jointly recommend vaccinating children aged five to 11 against Covid. They stated this in an opinion that was pointed out on Twitter by the chairman of the Czech Vaccinological Society, Roman Chlíbek. The benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of the side effects, according to doctors. Earlier, the Vaccinology Society recommended vaccination against covid for children from 12 years of age. Although Covid is less severe in children than in adults, children and adolescents make up a significant proportion of patients, some have ended up in the hospital and died.  

Vaccination could take place in dentist offices and pharmacies

The outgoing government approved an amendment to the Public Health Protection Act, which should allow vaccination against Covid-19 in dentists' offices or pharmacies. The government has asked the Chamber of Deputies to discuss the amendment under an accelerated regime. "The conditions should be as simple as possible so that it can be implemented in virtually any pharmacy," Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said. A separate space will suffice. Vaccination in pharmacies is already possible in Poland and France; it is planned in Germany.

Czech soldiers to help fight epidemic until June 2022

Soldiers will be able to combat the Covid epidemic in hospitals and social care facilities and also help with testing until next June as the government prolonged the measures that would have expired at the end of this year. Now up to 900 soldiers can be sent to auxiliary work in hospitals and social care facilities overloaded by the pandemic. Another 150 soldiers can be used in connection with coronavirus testing. Currently, the military is helping in about 70 hospitals, to which it has sent over 300 soldiers. Further military members are helping with the tracing, testing, and the Smart Quarantine program.

December 13, 2021

OVERIEW Lowest daily case increase in five weeks

There were 4,111 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Sunday, the lowest daily rise in the past five weeks. The daily number of new infections has been declining for 11 days in a row. Last week, laboratories confirmed 91,038 infected in the country, compared to 114,000 the week before. Hospitals treated 5,561 coronavirus patients, 984 of whom are in serious condition. A week earlier there were 6.674 hospitalized with 1,050 serious cases. A preliminary 53 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 659 and the toll for December is 11,254.

On Sunday, some 20,974 Covid vaccine doses were applied in the Czech Republic, about 1,300 fewer than a week ago. Most of them, more than 15,500, were booster doses, while only 1,170 people got the first dose.

The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days fell to 851 from 871 a day earlier. The reproduction number R is 0.83. The incidence rate is over 1,000 in two out of the 14 Czech regions. In Vysočina, it is 1,002 and in the Zlín region it is 1,001. The incidence rate has dropped in all regions except the Karlovy Vary region where it slightly rose from 405 to 406, but still remains the lowest in the country. In Prague, the incidence rate is 705.

14:56 Seventh Omicron case confirmed in South Moravia

 University Hospital Brno (FNB) confirmed the seventh case of Omicron coronavirus infection in the South Moravia region by sequencing. The case is a child from Adamov, where there are already two confirmed cases of children in primary school. The other cases are two nurses from the University Hospital Brno and two children of one of them. There is no connection between the cases from Brno and Adamov. There are also two confirmed cases outside of South Moravia, for a total of nine in the country.

Registration for children five and up has begun

Parents can now register their children aged 5 to 11 for vaccination against Covid in vaccination centers. Until now, children over the age of 12 have been eligible for vaccination. Although registration for younger children was supposed to start officially today, as in the past for other age groups, it was possible to register in the system the night before. Another option for younger children is vaccinations in general practitioners' offices, where people can contact doctors directly. According to Health Minister Adam Vojtěch, the child vaccine, which is weaker than the adult version, should be available by the end of the week. About 6,000 children have registered for Covid vaccination so far, and vaccination points will be added. 

People 55 and over can register after five months

People over the age of 55 can sign up for a booster dose after five months. So far, they have been able to receive another dose six months after the vaccination was completed. In a week, the ministry will allow registrations after five months for people 50 and over. Until now, people 60 and over and the chronically ill had a shorter deadline for the booster dose.

Walk-in vaccination center opens in Kotva, accepts self-payers

A vaccination center has opened on the fourth floor of the Kotva department store in Prague on Monday morning, where people can have the covid-19 vaccine administered with or without prior registration. Medical staff from the General University Hospital (VFN) will vaccinate people daily from 9 am to 8 pm. The center is not intended for those over 16 years of age. The center also accepts self-payers and foreigners. Payment is by card only. Kotva is the 83rd vaccination center in Prague. Without registration, people can go to 17 of them, including the main railway station or shopping centers in Chodov and Černý Most.  

Six Omicron cases confirmed in South Moravia

 Six cases of the Omicron variant were officially confirmed in South Moravia on Sunday, raising the number of definitive confirmations to eight. The six newly confirmed cases are two nurses from one ward of University Hospital Brno, two children of one of the nurses, and two 11-year-old pupils from an elementary school in Adamov. Another suspected case has been detected in a child Adamov in the meantime. The samples were verified by the National Reference Laboratory for Influenza at the National Health Institute in Prague. There is no connection between the four cases in Brno and the three in Adamov, three of which are symptomless and four with a mild course of Covid.

France and Madeira turn dark red on travel map

The discovery of the new Omicron Covid variant has led to tightened travel restrictions in the Czech Republic and all over the world. The latest weekly update, based on incidence rate data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, takes effect from Monday. It will see the Azores and the Canary Islands turn orange on the traffic light map, indicating a moderate infection risk. France and Madeira will meanwhile turn dark red, although this will not affect the measures imposed on travelers arriving from those countries. Read more in our original story.

Blanket lockdown ends in Austria

The nationwide lockdown in Austria, which has been in place since Nov. 22, ended on Sunday. For those who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19, strict restrictions, including a curfew with some exceptions, continue to apply. Once again, it is officially possible to go to Austria for tourism. However, the individual regions have independently determined how they will ease restrictions on gastronomy and accommodation services. Christmas markets can take place again, but snack stalls will not be allowed to sell their goods until the opening of gastronomy. In all indoor areas, people must wear FFP2 respirators; restaurants and bars are ordered to close at 11 pm, while nightclubs and ski slopes are not allowed to open at all.

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