Czech state of emergency ends, new regulations take effect

A regularly updated article with all the latest developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic for Dec. 20-26.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 20.12.2021 09:36 (updated on 27.12.2021) Reading time: 16 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 17:28:01 21.01.2022
Source: https://onemocneni-aktualne.mzcr.cz

December 26, 2021

Overview Czech Republic sees dip in Covid cases, patients on Christmas Day

The Czech Republic reported 1,086 Covid-19 cases on Christmas Day, according to data published by the Health Ministry this morning. The number represents five times less cases than last Saturday, though the number of tests conducted, at 15,000, was also significantly less due to the holidays.

The number of Covid patients in Czech hospitals continues to drop, and reached 3,228 on Saturday, with about 700 of those in serious condition. Over the past week, the number of Covid patients in Czech hospitals has decreased by 1,600.

In part due to the decrease in testing, the the Czech Republic's Covid-19 incidence rate has also sharply declined, and now stands at 396 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, down from 642 a week ago. The weekly incidence rate has now fallen below 500 in all Czech regions. Liberec has the highest incidence rate, at 495 cases per 100,000 people over the past week, while Karlovy Vary reports the lowest incident rate at 211 cases over the past seven days.

Restrictions Czech state of emergency comes to an end

As of the morning of December 26, the Czech Republic's state of emergency has come to an end. While restrictions put into place under the state of emergency are no longer in effect, a few new ones have been enacted by the Czech government to take their place.

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The curfew on restaurants, bars, clubs, and other establishments, which had to close by 10:00 p.m. over the past month, is no longer in effect. A ban on consuming alcohol in public has also ended. Christmas markets are also now allowed to officially operate, but it's unlikely any that had previously closed will now open after the holidays.

A mandate requiring Covid vaccination to attend events or go to restaurants and other venues remains in effect, with staff now required to check for valid certificates using an app to read QR codes.

Newly, the number of people allowed to sit at a single table in restaurants has been reduced from six to four, unless they are members of the same household.

From December 29 to January 2, covering New Year's Eve celebrations, a maximum of 50 people will be allowed to attend both public and private events, unless they are seated during the event.

December 25, 2021

Overview Czech Republic reports 2,000 new Covid-19 cases on Christmas Eve

The Czech Republic reported 2,043 new Covid-19 cases on December 24, according to the latest data published by the Czech Health Ministry. The total represents the lowest daily rise in Covid cases since October 24 and 7,500 fewer cases than the same day last week, though many testing points in the country have closed due to the Christmas holidays.

There are currently 3,489 patients with Covid-19 in Czech hospitals, including 736 in serious condition, the lowest number of patients since the first half of November. The incidence rate in the country is now 441 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, a decrease of 65 people compared to Thursday.

The Liberec region of the country now reports the highest incidence rate, at 532 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, followed by the neighboring Ústí nad Labem region at 518 cases and Central Bohemia at 504 cases. The Karlovy Vary region reports the lowest incidence rate, at 258 cases per 100,000 people over the past week.

Testing Most Prague testing points closed through Christmas holidays

Most Covid-19 testing points in Prague are currently closed due to the Christmas holidays, and will reopen from Monday, December 27. A list of testing points that are still open through the holidays can be found at covid.praha.eu. At locations that only test based on appointment, many are already booked through the holidays.

Exceptions include the Vinohrady Teaching Hospital, which will open its testing point for four hours on Sunday, December 26, and Motol hospital, which will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Covid sampling point on Na Bojišti street near the city center is also open to walk-in patients, but saw long lines of people waiting to test on Friday.

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December 24, 2021

overview Czech Republic reports lowest daily rise in Covid cases since October

The Czech Republic reported 7,353 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, which represents the lowest daily rise since the end of October, according to the latest data provided by the Health Ministry. The number of the patients hospitalized with Covid-19 has also greatly declined, down 28 percent week-on-week. There are currently 4,064 patients with Covid-19 in Czech hospitals, down from over 9,000 last week, and 767 of them are in serious condition.

In November, the daily number of new Covid-19 cases reached almost 28,000, the highest daily increase over the course of the epidemic. However, since the end of November, the daily figures have been consistently declining. The daily number of people dying with Covid-19 has also been declining. At the beginning of December, around 120 people with COVID-19 died each day, but this week around 70 Covid-related deaths have been reported daily.

Travel Test required for non-residents travelling from all countries as of December 27

The Czech Health Ministry has announced that they will require a negative test for Covid-19 for non-residents travelling to the Czech Republic from all countries, not only those red and dark red on the country's travel map, as of January 3. Previously, the ministry stated that all travelers would need to supply a test; later, they updated this to non-residents only. Those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, and had an additional booster shot, are exempt from the requirement to provide a test.

"The conditions of entry into the Czech Republic are being tightened for foreigners only," the ministry says in a new press release. "The given protective measure will be adjusted in this respect immediately today. A misunderstanding occurred during its drafting and release. We apologize to all whom the mistake might have affected for the arising complications."

December 22, 2021

OVERVIEW 15 millionth Covid jab given out

The number of Covid-19 cases continues to decline in a week-on-week comparison. There were 11,825 infected on Tuesday, which is almost 4,900 fewer than a week ago. The burden on hospitals is also slowly decreasing, with 4,678 people now requiring hospitalization, down from 6,099 a week ago. The number of patients in serious condition has decreased from 993 to 821. A preliminary 41 deaths were reported for Tuesday. The seven-day toll is 569, and the toll for December is 2,185.

Since the end of last December, health professionals in the Czech Republic have applied 15,082,389 doses of vaccine, almost 6.6 million people are fully vaccinated, and more than 2 million have boosters. About 83,700 people were vaccinated on Tuesday, and about 80 percent of the doses given were booster shots.

The reproduction number R is at 0.80. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days is also constantly decreasing. It is now 563, down from 608 a day earlier. It has decreased in all regions. The highest incidence number is now in the Liberec region, at 716, followed by Vysočina, at 673 cases. The lowest is in the Karlovy Vary region, at 301. In Prague, it is 506.

14:46 Czech govt. announces new anti-Covid measures

The new government has introduced a set of measures against the spread of Covid-19 to take effect from Wednesday, Dec. 29. A maximum of 50 people will be able to attend events, parties, and New Year's Eve celebrations, and the organizers/owners must screen Covid certificates via the Tečka app.

From Dec. 29 to Jan. 2, a maximum of four people will be able to occupy restaurant tables with the exception of those from the same household. A maximum of 1,000 seated people will be able to attend cultural and other events. Events during which attendees do not sit at tables will be limited to 100 people.

Restaurants and pubs will be allowed to be open past 22:00 from Dec. 26. However, until Jan. 3, only people with vaccinations or who have had Covid will be allowed into these establishments, which means PCR tests will not be accepted for entry into restaurants until Jan. 3. The government cites the rapidly spreading Omicron mutation as the reason behind this decision.

Stores with an area over 200 square meters can be open on Dec. 24 until noon and have to remain closed on Dec. 25, despite there being a state of emergency that makes the law on holiday closing not binding. The state of emergency ends Dec. 25, and the law will resume effect and keep the big retail stores closed on Dec. 26, as has been normal since 2016.

Stores should continue observing the restricted capacity of one customer per 10 square meters. The customers should keep a 1.5-meter distance from each other, wear a respirator and disinfect their hands on entry.

From Monday, Dec. 27, people over the age of 30 are eligible for a booster dose of vaccine after five months. In the first two weeks of the new year, pupils, students, and school staff will be tested twice a week whether or not they have been vaccinated or have had Covid in the last six months. Testing will take place every Monday and Thursday.

Govt. to decide on new Covid measures today

The new government led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala today will discuss new anti-Covid restrictions once the state of emergency ends on Dec. 25. Health Minister Vlastimil Válek will propose that in the first two weeks of January, coronavirus testing in schools should be carried out on Mondays and Thursdays. He said that the government is coming up with five variants of anti-epidemic measures for the period up to the end of the year and two to three variants of measures for the period from the beginning of next year.

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So far, he has only announced that he will propose a restriction of opening hours on Dec. 24 until noon and the closing of stores on Dec. 25. He also stated that he wants to use CZK 100 million to buy equipment for PCR tests, which should be used not only in hospitals but also in all workplaces that want to participate in testing.

Covid reinfections rapidly spreading

The number of Covid reinfections with symptoms of the disease has been rapidly increasing recently. The National Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) has recorded 8,156 cases since the start of the epidemic and 3,465 of them (42 percent) occurred this November, the SZÚ said. Some 4,832 were women and 3,324 men. The medium age is 37 years. The interval between the first and second episodes of the illness was between 61 and 624 days. Besides, the SZÚ has recorded 8,358 cases of reinfection when people had at least one past illness without symptoms.

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Regions combat Covid-19 disinformation in Roma communities as hospitalizations soar

The Coalition of Romani Representatives in the Liberec Region has launched an information campaign aimed at the Romani community and meant to support a willingness to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The campaign aims to motivate both Romani men and women to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Regional healthcare authorities in additional regions with large Roma populations such as Ústí nad Labem are also addressing disinformation spread on social media with public service campaigns, according to server Romea.cz.

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Brno lab registers 16 positive samples for Omicron

The Elisabeth Pharmacon laboratory in Brno has found 16 positive samples for the Omicron variant since Sunday, which is 5.4 percent of all positive samples. So far, the University Hospital Brno has found 17 positive cases of omicron variants in the region. Both the hospital and the laboratory can also sequence samples to confirm the variant. Health Minister Vlastimil Válek expects that omicron will be dominant in the Czech population around mid-January. Experts say Omicron is three to four times more contagious than the Delta variant, now still dominant.

Post-jab compensation for those with carditis, blood clot

The Czech Health Ministry has issued a directive defining the compensation for people who suffer from permanent consequences of compulsory vaccination, which extends the previous directive by adding Covid-19 jab consequences such as anaphylactic shock, carditis, and blood clots. The former cabinet introduced compulsory vaccination for all people over 60 and for selected professions as of next March. New Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said he would cancel the duty for the age category of 60+. Cases of the vaccination's suspected undesirable effects have been monitored by the State Drugs Control Institute (SÚKL), which registered some 9,300 of them out of the total of 13.5 million applied jabs.

Education Ministry earmarks more funds for tutoring

The Ministry of Education has set aside approximately CZK 400 million to further support tutoring from January to the end of the 2021/2022 school year. It can be used by primary and secondary schools and conservatories set up by municipalities and regions. Compared to autumn, it will be possible to tutor pupils of all grades of secondary schools and conservatories, not only final ones. At the same time, the money can only be used for individual and group tutoring, not for socializing activities.

December 21, 2021

OVERVIEW Fewest new weekday Covid cases since Nov. 4

 There were another 8,586 Covid cases on Monday, which is at least on a working day since Nov. 4 and about 3,300 less than a week ago. The number of hospitalizations has decreased in the past week. Some 4,801 care hospitalized with Covid, with 840 in serious condition, while last Monday 6,367 were hospitalized with 1,028 in serious condition. A preliminary 32 deaths were reported. The toll for the past seven days is 591. The toll so far for December is 2,093.

Some 80,423 people were vaccinated on Monday, up just over 800 from a week ago. Some 62,241 were booster shots and just over 1,000 were for children aged 5 to 11. In total, 14,992,997 doses have been given out and 6.6 million people are fully vaccinated.

The reproduction number R is 0.81. The incidence number continues to decrease. In the last seven days, there were 608 Covid cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the previous day it was 639. The highest remains in the Vysočina region, with 763, and the Liberec region with 758 cases. The lowest weekly incidence is still in the Karlovy Vary region, currently 342. For Prague, the incidence rate is 535.

Novavax vaccine approved, should arrive in January

The Czech Health Ministry has so far ordered 370,000 doses of the newly approved Covid vaccine from the Novavax company. Part of the vaccine is being made in the Czech Republic. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) yesterday recommended approval of this vaccine. Based on the information released by the State Drug Control Institute (SÚKL), this is a protein-based vaccine, which means a different type than the four already approved ones. The Novavax vaccine should arrive in the Czech Republic in January, according to previous information. Two doses are needed. The key part of this vaccine, a recombinant S protein replicating the one on the surface of the SARS-COV2, is manufactured near Prague. Another component is being made in Sweden and the vaccine is completed in Germany.

Health minister to suggest new measures on Wednesday

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek will bring a specific set of anti-epidemic measures to the government meeting on Wednesday, which will apply until the end of this year, Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said after the meeting of the Central Crisis Staff. The end of the state of emergency does not mean that all measures in the Czech Republic would cease to apply. The state of emergency will end on Dec. 25, and the new government does not plan to extend it.

SZÚ: Omicron spreading in Czech community

The National Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) expects the coronavirus variant Omicron to be spreading in the Czech Republic because community cases have already appeared, without any link to travels to Africa, it said in a press release. Tests have shown that Omicron occurred in the South Moravia, Liberec, and Hradec Kralove regions. Suspected cases appeared in the Zlín region and Moravia-Silesia, the SZÚ said. By Dec. 17, six Omicron cases have been confirmed in the country. But the University Hospital Brno announced yesterday that there were further 17 suspected Omicron cases and new cases appeared in other regions, too. "Given the community findings of the Omicron variant, it can be expected that it is spreading … so it is necessary to maintain all measures to lower the community transfer," National Reference Laboratory head Helena Jiřincová said.

Some people attempting to get booster early

Some people in Prague have been trying to get a booster dose before they are entitled to it according to age. Over the weekend, information spread on social networks that people under the age of 45 can get vaccinated in five months, for example, in the Kotva shopping center. According to a spokesman for the General University Hospital (FVN) in Prague, which operates the vaccination center, there were "a few cases" of people getting a booster ahead of schedule, but now it has stopped. Currently people 45 and over and the chronically ill can get a booster after five months, while others have to wait six months. People who got the single-dose Janssen vaccine can get a booster after two months.  

December 20, 2021

OVERVIEW Fewest Sunday cases since Nov. 7

There were 3,740 Covid cases of on Sunday, almost one-tenth less than a week ago. This is the lowest Sunday increase since Nov. 7. The number of hospitalized deceased to 4,568, with 838 in serious condition. A week ago, it was 5,883 with 1,028 serious cases. A preliminary 22 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 591 and the toll for December is 1,981.

About 21,500 people were vaccinated on Sunday, similar to a week ago. Some 17,516 were booster shots.

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The reproduction number R is 0.81. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 over the past seven days dropped to 639 from 642 a day earlier. The highest incidence number is now in the Vysočina region, at 796. On the other hand, it is still the lowest in the Karlovy Vary region, at 333. For Prague, the incidence number is 562.

Health Risks Council to be scrapped

The government Health Risks Council will cease to exist as it deforms the crisis management system, new Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan told journalists, adding there was agreement with Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Health Minister Vlastimil Válek. The council was founded last July. It is headed by the prime minister and its members include three cabinet ministers and health experts. "This is something outside the system and it was a rival center of decision-making and power within the crisis management," Rakušan said. The Central Crisis Staff (ÚKS) must be the institution that decides, he added.

Govt. will focus on strengthening PCR testing and keeping children in schools

The new government plans to strengthen PCR testing, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said on CNN Prima News. He also considers it essential to maintain full-time teaching in schools. He will submit a proposal to the government on Dec. 29. It will focus on three areas: increasing PCR tests, providing care for the sick in all regions, and maintaining full-time teaching in schools. Regarding the strengthening of PCR tests, Válek intends to negotiate with representatives of the laboratories and instructed Chief Hygienist Pavla Svrčinová to focus on the issue. He expects 600,000 PCR tests a day by the middle of next year, up from the current 140,000.

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Health Minister to cancel mandatory vaccination for people over 60

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek will submit an amendment to the vaccination decree to the government by mid-February, so the decree will no longer include compulsory Covid vaccination for people over 60 years of age. According to him, the exact wording will also depend on the data on the Omicron variant. The decree on compulsory vaccination against people over the age of 60 and selected professions is to apply from March. Válek has previously said that he opposes widespread vaccination of age groups.  

Zeman backs mandatory Covid vaccination

President Miloš Zeman repeated that he was an advocate of mandatory Covid vaccination on CNN Prima News. He criticized Police Chief Jan Švejdar for raising objections to the mandatory Covid vaccination of the police. Zeman said he was one of the few to advocate mandatory Covid vaccination. "At least one-half of doctors, including the new health minister, are against mandatory Covid vaccination," Zeman said. "In our country, there is mandatory Covid vaccination against a number of diseases. If you add Covid to the set of diseases, nothing terrible will happen," he added. Currently, Czechs have mandatory Covid vaccination against 11 diseases, mostly administered at child age.

Travel from Romania to the Czech Republic will become less restrictive

Restrictions for those without proof of vaccination or recovery arriving to the Czech Republic from Romania will soften from Monday as the country has moved down to the medium-risk orange category in the latest Czech travel map. Restrictions from the Canary Islands, meanwhile, will tighten as the location moves to the high-risk red category. Other countries have also changed color on the latest map, but conditions for traveling from them to the Czech Republic will not be affected. Read more in our original story.

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