Czechia drops Covid-related entry rules for Ukrainians in danger

A regularly updated article with all the latest developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic for Feb. 21–27.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 21.02.2022 09:39:00 (updated on 27.02.2022) 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 05.07.2022: +538

Active cases: 7 048

Currently hospitalized: 213

Tests yesterday: 1 228

Vaccinations yesterday: 28

Confirmed cases total: 3 937 410

Recovered total: 3 890 038

Vaccinated total: 6 965 760

Tests total: 21 932 423

Deaths total: 40 324

COVID 19 - New cases for last
Data valid as of 09:28:01 06.07.2022
Source: https://onemocneni-aktualne.mzcr.cz

Feb. 27, 2022

Overview Number of new Covid cases drops below 3,000

The Czech Republic reported 5,589 new Covid cases on Saturday, about 2,600 fewer than the previous Saturday, according to the latest data from the Health Ministry. The number of suspected reinfections fell by about 360 people, to 1,318. The number of people hospitalized with Covid has fallen below 3,000 for the first time in four weeks.

AGENCY PROPERTIES

Apartment for sale, 3+1 - 2 bedrooms, 95m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 3+1 - 2 bedrooms, 95m2

Kozinova, Domažlice - Hořejší Předměstí

Apartment for rent, 1+1 - Studio, 30m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 1+1 - Studio, 30m2

Křižíkova, Praha 8 - Karlín

There are currently 2,752 patients with Covid in Czech hospitals, a week-on-week decrease of about 660 people. Of those patients, 220 are in serious condition.

The Czech Republic's seven-day incidence rate has fallen to 634 Covid cases per 100,000 people over the past week, the lowest it has been since mid-January. On Saturday, the incidence rate was 659 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days; last weekend, it was 1,023 cases per 100,000 people.

Feb. 26, 2022

Overview Number of new Covid cases hits seven-week weekday low

The Czech Republic reported 9,127 new Covid cases on Friday, 4,600 fewer than a week ago and the first time a week day has been below 10,000 cases in seven weeks, according to the latest data posted by the Health Ministry this morning. There were 1,722 suspected cases of reinfection, 845 fewer than last Friday. There are currently 3,020 patients with Covid in Czech hospitals, 700 fewer than a week ago.

The week-on-week number of new cases has been consistently falling for the past three weeks. The Czech incidence rate is now 659 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week.

Institute of Health Information and Statistics director Ladislav Dušek told journalists on Friday that he believes the latest omicron wave of Covid has already culminated. A rise in new cases is not expected, and the country may be rated "safe" on the EU's Covid map (fewer than 250 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days) by the middle of March.

Feb. 25, 2022

OVERVIEW New Covid cases falling for 17 consecutive days

The daily increase in coronavirus cases continues to slow down. There were 10,025 new infections on Thursday, compared to 15,552 a week ago. Reinfection was suspected in 1,845 people, which was about 1,000 less in the week-on-week comparison. The numbers of newly confirmed Covid cases has fallen in a week-on-week comparison for 17 consecutive days.

The number of hospitalized people with Covid is continuing to decline, with 3,196 infected requiring hospital care on Thursday, compared to 3,964 a week ago. Some 235 patients are in serious condition, down from 268 a week ago. The burden on hospitals was highest on February 14, when 4,297 infected people required hospital care. In recent weeks, deaths have been around 50 per day, with a daily average of 33 in January. A preliminary 23 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 314 and the toll for February is 1,168.

Interest in vaccination has been declining in recent weeks. While in the first days of January around 100,000 people were vaccinated daily in the Czech Republic, at the beginning of February it was around 30,000, and this week between 7,000 and 8,000 people a day. On Thursday, medics gave almost 7,794 doses of covid vaccine, a week earlier there were over 11,200. Some 5,849 people received boosters on Thursday. About 400 people underwent the first vaccination and 1,569 completed vaccination.

The reproduction number R is 0.69. New cases per 100,000 people over seven days reached 702, down from 754 a day earlier. The situation is worst in the Plzeň region, at 851. The lowest incidence is still in the Karlovy Vary region, at 497. Prague is third-highest at 754. According to the director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) Ladislav Dušek, safe values are up to 250, and Czechia could reach that in the second half of March.

13:40 Czech study shows antibodies persist after the booster

High levels of neutralizing antibodies against Covid persist for three months after the booster dose, according to interim results of a Czech study presented by the company Podané ruce (Helping Hands). The research is based on people who received a booster dose of Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine in Brno last November. "Our company has been drawing attention to the importance of the third dose since last spring, especially for seniors. … We also know that revaccination provides relatively reliable protection against the Omicron variant, even if it bypasses vaccination more than the previous variant," Podané ruce director Jindřich Vobořil. About half of those examined had neutralizing antibodies before the booster. One month and three months after the booster dose, all participants had antibodies in excess of 90 percent.  

Covid entry rules do not apply to Ukrainians in danger

The Covid-related restrictions and duties, which Czechia requires from third states' nationals on their entry, will newly not apply to Ukrainians and those in Ukraine and arriving in Czechia due to the Russian invasion, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said after agreeing with the foreign and interior ministers. "I have signed a special protective measure that lifts the entry ban and all duties related to the rules aimed against the spread of the Covid-19 disease for the persons who enter Czechia from Ukraine after leaving the latter due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine," Válek wrote.

Ukrainians and also Czech and EU citizens threatened by the armed conflict in Ukraine will not have to fill in the passenger locator form, nor will they have to produce a Covid test result or a certificate proving their vaccination or past infection, the ministry said. "The enabling of Czech entry without the restricting conditions, and thereby a softer approach to the people endangered by the international armed conflict that has hit Ukraine, is a necessity that is more significant and urgent than the securing of their meeting of epidemiological rules," the ministry wrote.

Booster shots recommended for children

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday recommended that children over 12 years of age receive a booster dose of Pfizer / BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. It also recommended approval of Moderna's vaccine for use in children aged 6 to 11. The recommendations will be followed by a final decision by the European Commission. The move comes after several European Union countries have started offering Pfizer booster doses to adolescents. For example, in the Czech Republic, people aged 12 to 18 can apply for boosters since the end of January.

Dušek: new Covid wave will come in the autumn

The current Covid wave should last until the end of March, but the fight against Covid will not be won. Ladislav Dušek, director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS), said it is certain that the virus will return in the autumn. What form it will take is not known. At a round table of hospital directors in Brno, he said there are two scenarios for the autumn. Without further vaccination, those who have been vaccinated will lose the acquired immunity, and Omicron may cause a stronger wave than now. A second possibility is that a new variant of the virus will come, which will create a stronger wave. He urged vigilance in continuing vaccination for the fall.

Feb. 24, 2022

OVERVIEW Covid cases, hospitalizations continue to drop

Tests on Wednesday revealed 11,211 newly confirmed coronavirus cases of. This is the lowest daily workday increase in six weeks. Last week there were 16,992. The number of suspected recurring infections was also lower on Wednesday, falling by about 900 to 2,010 in the week-on-week comparison. Hospitals have the fewest Covid patients since Feb. 5. On Wednesday, 3,228 infected people required hospital care, a week ago there were 4,044. The number of serious cases is now 230, compared to 282 a week earlier. A preliminary 13 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 267 and the February toll is 1,115.

Interest in coronavirus vaccination has been declining in recent weeks. While in the first days of January around 100,000 people were vaccinated daily in the Czech Republic, at the beginning of February it was around 30,000, and this week between 7,000 and 8,000 people a day. On Wednesday, medics delivered 7,378 doses of the vaccine, of which 5,443 were booster shots.

The reproduction number R is at 0.72. The number of new cases per 100,000 over seven days fell to 754 from 808 a day earlier and is the lowest since mid-January. The highest incidence is in the Plzeň region at 896. The lowest incidence remains in the Karlovy Vary region, at 545. Prague is third highest at 797.

No limits on event attendance as of March 1

The number of people at mass events in Czechia will no longer be limited as of March 1. This applies to both seated and standing events. Currently, seated events can have 1,000 people plus up to 50 percent of the additional venue capacity. Events where people are not seated can now have up to 500 people.

Mask rules relaxing on March 13

Aside from in public transport and at health and social care facilities, people will probably not have to wear respirators as of March 13, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek announced. The obligation to cover one's mouth and nose should be lifted at most other places where respirators are currently required within the anti-Covid measures. Respirators are now required at indoor spaces such as shops, services, cinemas, and government offices. They are required in pubs and restaurants when people are not eating or drinking.

Testing to end at health and social care facilities

Weekly Covid testing at health and social care facilities should end as of March 13. Now, the staff of health and social care facilities have to get tested for Covid-19 with an antigen test conducted by a professional once a week. The Health Ministry's website says that this does not concern the vaccinated, people who recovered in the past 180 days, and those with a valid and negative PCR test. Clients of inpatient facilities as well as visitors should test for Covid now, too. This obligation should expire on March 13.The obligation to test for Covid has already ended at schools and at work.

Insured people can get one free PCR test in March

People with public insurance will be eligible for one PCR test for free in March. It will not require an order form signed by a doctor or a public health officer and the test will be covered by the public health insurance. Currently, people may use up to five PCR tests paid for by their health insurance company. The tests ordered by doctors and public health officers will remain free of charge. Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said the reduced number of free preventive tests goes hand in hand with the anti-epidemic measures being lifted. However, for social and health reasons, one preventive PCR test per person will be still available. People may use it when worried about being Covid-infected or before a visit to a facility that requires a negative test result.

Omicron wave has reached its peak

Ladislav Dušek, the director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS), said the current wave of covid caused by the Omicron variant has culminated. Further escalations or congestion of hospitals are unlikely, he told the lower house’s Health Committee on Wednesday.

Czechia donates 4 million Covid vaccine doses

The Czech government approved the donation of almost 4 million doses of the Covid vaccines, the Government Office announced in a press release. Czechia will donate the vaccines to other countries through the Team Europe EU initiative and the COVAX mechanism, founded by the World Health Organization (WHO). "This is a total of 1.95 million doses of vaccines from Astra Zeneca and Janssen, which are no longer vaccinated in the Czech Republic, and two million doses of vaccines from BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna, which are now in abundance in the Czech Republic and are in danger of expiration," the Government Office said. This gift is worth CZK 1.16 billion.

Feb. 23, 2022

OVERVIEW New cases drop by half compared to last week

On Tuesday, there were 14,307 newly confirmed Covid cases, which is the lowest Tuesday increase since Jan. 11. Last Tuesday saw 28,286 cases. The number of suspected recurrent infections also decreased at a similar rate to 2,570. In a week-on-week comparison, the daily number of newly confirmed cases decreases by 15 days in a row.

Hospitals have 3,297 Covid patients with 222 in serious condition, compared to 4,111 and 284 a week earlier. A preliminary 28 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 331, and the toll for February is 1,036. The February daily average is 49 deaths, in January it was 33. Paramedics administered 7,300 doses of the vaccine, a week earlier they exceeded 10,000. Some 5,400 were booster doses. Only 337 people came for the first dose of the vaccine on Tuesday, and 1,579 completed vaccination.

The reproduction number R is at 0.72. The number of new Covid cases per 100,000 over the past seven days is 809, down from 939 a day earlier. In all regions, the incidence is lower than 1,000. The worst situation remains in South Moravia at 971 and 954, respectively. On the contrary, the Karlovy Vary region is the best at 606. Prague is fourth-highest at 821.

14:30 Slovakia to soften Covid measures on entry to facilities, events

Slovakia will soften its Covid restrictions as of Saturday, with a certificate confirming vaccination, past infection, or a negative test result no longer needed for entry to facilities and attendance of events, the cabinet decided. People’s entry to accommodation facilities, fitness and wellness centers, and restaurants will be without any restrictions as of the weekend. Slovakia will soften the measures two days earlier than originally heralded by Prime Minister Eduard Heger. Home quarantine for the pupils who came in contact with a Covid-positive classmate will be canceled as well. The capacity of mass events and some facilities will remain limited. Another phase of relaxation is scheduled for March 26.

Respirators in public transit could finish at the end of April

The obligation to wear respirators on buses, trams, and trains could stop at the end of April, according to epidemiologist Rastislav Maďar, who is a member of the National Institute for Pandemic Management. "It is possible that in the metro it could be a bit longer than in overground transport," Maďar said, according to news server iDnes. This also corresponds with the statement by Health Minister Vlastimil Válek that all measures will end before Easter (April 17), except for respirators in public transport.

The head of the National Institute for Pandemic Management, Roman Chlíbek, said the gradual abandonment of the obligation to wear respirators should begin in mid-March. "I can be the first to imagine that it will first apply to shops and restaurants, on the contrary, public transport, and mass events would be last," Chlíbek said. "In public transport, even if you want to, you are not able to keep your distance from others. You can keep a gap in the store," Chlíbek said.

Entry restrictions still apply to Czech tourists visiting Germany

Czechs traveling to Germany should check the conditions in the neighboring country in connection with the Covid epidemic. In Germany, it is still mandatory to prove vaccination or confirmation of recovery from Covid in the last 90 days. It is also necessary to fill in the arrival form in advance, the Bavaria-Bohemia Information Center in Plzeň said. Many Czechs believe that it is no longer necessary in Germany after the abolition of the obligation to submit a certificate in the Czech Republic. But they face possible sanctions for failure to comply. Czechs have now started to visit Bavaria a lot for skiing in Bavaria and spas. In Germany, all major quarantine measures against Covid will gradually end by March 20.

Govt. to discuss coverage for PCR tests

The Czech government today should discuss a plan to limit the reimbursement of preventive PCR tests for Covid. The government intends to end the reimbursement of PCR tests from health insurance from March. People use these tests, for example, for prevention or when traveling. Only tests based on a request from a doctor or hygiene station would remain free. Health Minister Vlastimil Válek stated last week that he will negotiate with insurance companies to pay for one preventive PCR test per month.

Czech Republic ninth in world for Covid deaths

The Czech Republic ranks ninth in terms of the total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths per million inhabitants, at 3,574 as of Feb. 22, according to ourworldindata.org. Peru has the highest number at 6,284, followed by Bulgaria at 5,101, Bosnia and Herzegovina at 4,697, Hungary at 4,494, Northern Macedonia at 4,280, Montenegro at 4,245, Georgia at 3,992, and Croatia at 3,643. According to Johns Hopkins University, the death toll from Covid-19 worldwide exceeded 5.9 million yesterday.

Feb. 22, 2022

OVERVIEW Epidemic continues receding

The Covid epidemic continued subsiding on Monday when 13,461 new infections were detected, compared to 19,471 a week ago and the lowest increase on a workday since mid-January. The number of suspected reinfections dropped by one-third, to 2,511, compared to the previous Monday.

The burden faced by hospitals has also been decreasing, with 3.458 Covid patients with 210 serious cases, compared to 4,248 patients and 275 serious cases a week ago. A preliminary 20 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 314 and the toll for February is 1,016. Vaccination data were not reported.

The reproduction number R is at 0.79. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 over seven days is at 939, down from 995 a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 17. Last week it was 1,393. Out of the country's 14 regions, it remains highest in South Moravia at 1,130. The other regions with an incidence rate above 1,000 are Plzeň and Moravia-Silesia. Prague is fourth-highest at 940. The region with the lowest incidence rate is Karlovy Vary, at 714.  

12:22 Slovakia ends state of emergency

Slovakia today will end the state of emergency that its government declared in November 2021. The number of new Covid cases has been decreasing according to the latest data of the National Health Information Centre. The need to present the certificate of vaccination or recovery from Covid when entering some services and public events will be canceled as well as capacity limitations at public events. The government had limited the free movement of people and banned public gatherings, but those measures and some other restrictions have already been relaxed.

Novavax vaccination may start in early March

The Health Ministry expects the vaccination with the new protein-based Nuvaxovid vaccine from Novavax vaccine to start in the Czech Republic in early March. The country is still waiting for the first supply of some 130,000 doses from the producer. "We have received information that the supply to Europe will be delayed by a few days," ministry spokesman Ondřej Jakob said. Deputy Health Minister Josef Pavlovic told Czech Radio that the first supply should arrive in the country this week. Some 8,000 people have registered for the Novavax vaccination so far. As soon as the vaccine arrives, the ministry will inform them about the vaccination points where they can make an appointment.

Nuvaxovid is a protein-based vaccine, containing spike protein manufactured in a laboratory. The ministry believes the people who fear the more modern mRNA vaccines might get inoculated with it. The recombinant S protein that provokes a reaction of the immunity system, is being manufactured near Prague. However, the vaccine is completed abroad.

Compensation set for Christmas markets

Entrepreneurs and Christmas market organizers will be able to claim compensation for the coronavirus pandemic from March 1 to April 1. CZK 450 million has been set aside for them. Contributions to vendors will be calculated based on the number of stalls and days of restriction. They will be able to get a maximum of CZK 330,000. The state will reimburse up to 80 percent of the costs incurred by the organizers, up to CZK 5 million. The Ministry of Industry and Trade published details of the compensation on its website yesterday.

Czech economy lost CZK 240 billion last year due to Covid

The Czech economy lost 4 percent of its gross domestic product and 14 percent of its industrial production last year due to supply chains disrupted by the Covid pandemic, CNN-Prima TV reported. This impact is roughly double that of the euro-paying countries, according to the current analysis by the International Monetary Fund. The country lost CZK 240 billion in the unrealized volume of production of goods and services. Public budgets collected about CZK 80 billion in taxes less than would be the case in normal. If the global supply chains disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic returned to normal as early as last year, the Czech economy would grow by 7.3 percent.  

Feb. 21, 2022

OVERVIEW Least new cases in six weeks

There were 4,267 new Covid cases on Sunday, the lowest number in six weeks. Last Sunday, there were 7,194 cases. The number of suspected repeated infections fell by 430 to 673 compared to last Sunday. In the whole of last week, almost 107,000 new infections were confirmed in the Czech Republic, a week earlier it was about 160,000, and in the first week of February almost 230,000. In a week-on-week comparison, the number of newly confirmed cases decreases 13 days in a row.

Hospitals have the fewest Covid patients since the beginning of February. There are 3,127 Covid patients, compared to 3,813 a week earlier. Some 219 patients are in serious condition, last Sunday it was 259. The preliminary death toll for Sunday is 14. The seven-day toll is 285, and the February toll is 938.

Some 871 people were vaccinated on Sunday. It was only lower this year on Jan. 1, when only 62 people were vaccinated. The booster dose was given to 705 people on Sunday, while only 33 people received the first vaccination and 137 people completed vaccination.

The reproduction number R is at 0.76. The number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days has dropped below 1,000 to reach 995. It was1,023 a day earlier.

The epidemic situation in the South Moravian Region is the least favorable, at 1,203. The Karlovy Vary region is lowest at 737. Prague is seventh-lowest at 968.

15:56 President Zeman signs pandemic law amendment

Czech President Miloš Zeman signed an amendment to the pandemic law that widens the measures against coronavirus and extends the validity of the legislation till the end of November, Zeman's spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told reporters Monday. In the Chamber of Deputies, the debate on the amendment was obstructed by opposition lawmakers Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), for hours.

Under the amendment to the pandemic law, restrictions can be applied to a broader group of activities, and authorities can order testing of business people, students, pupils, and pre-school children, and not just employees and other workers. The public health protection bodies will be able to order isolation or quarantine by phone or in an SMS message, and the defense and interior ministries will be able to issue measures for their sectors as well.

The legislation was passed at the time the government Prime Minister Petr Fiala is loosening coronavirus restrictions. Government officials describe the law as a safeguard for possible further waves of the coronavirus epidemic that might develop in autumn. The SPD has warned that it will file a complaint with the Constitutional Court about the legislation.

13:34 Firms report nearly 172,000 positive Covid antigen tests

Corporate testing for Covid in the Czech Republic revealed almost 172,700 positive antigen tests and the positive results of over 85,000 of them were confirmed by PCR tests, as over 58 percent of people had their results checked, Health Ministry spokesman Ondřej Jakob said. In total, over 84 percent of positive results from home test kits have been confirmed by the more precise and reliable PCR method.

Mandatory testing in companies ended on Friday, Feb. 18, after a month. Even though the figures might be still updated, no major changes are expected, the ministry said.

12:49 Health insurers say the can’t afford more testing

Health insurance companies will pay almost CZK 3.5 billion for Covid testing in January and part of February this year, according to Echo.cz. That equals 38 percent of last year's testing costs. The Czech Association of Health Insurers said they cannot afford these expenses. The insurers are in favor of not paying for public health insurance testing, with the exception of tests ordered by a doctor. The association, which covers 4.7 million insured persons, stated that in the first year of the covid epidemic, insurance companies spent CZK 2.8 billion on testing. Last year's testing will cost CZK 9.2 billion. This year, the main costs have been blanket antigen testing at employers, which ended last week, and preventive PCR tests, now mainly used for travel.

Czech 'traffic light' map now valid for international arrivals only

While the Czech Republic's color-coded "traffic light" map remains largely unchanged, its impact has been altered. As of today, the map will only apply to the entry of foreigners into the Czech Republic, according to a press release issued by the Czech Health Ministry on Friday. Regarding those to whom the map will no longer apply, the Health Ministry press release refers to Czech "citizens." Based on the terminology used in previous regulations, however, it can be presumed that the change also applies to all holders of a Czech residence permit. Read our full story here.

Permitted capacity at mass events increases

Up to 500 people may now attend mass events instead of 100. For seated events, the capacity has increased from the previous 1,000 to 1,000 plus half the seats to the maximum capacity of the space where the event takes place. Masks are still required indoors. The policy of “work quarantine” for medical facilities, residential social services, and school facilities for children has ended. It was intended to keep enough staff during the Omicron wave. The rules took effect on Feb. 19.

Isolation extended to seven days, contact tracing ends

People who have had risky contact with infected people won’t need to isolate. This will end the tracing of contacts. Those who have a positive Covid test will have to stay at home longer. Isolation in asymptomatic people will end automatically after seven days, instead of the previous five. For people with symptoms, isolation will end two days after symptoms end, but isolation will not be less than seven days. The new rules took effect on Feb.19. People who have a repeat positive PCR test in less than 30 days do not need to isolate.

Prague public transit relaxes some rules

As of today, passengers on Prague and regional buses and older tram models will be able to enter through the front door again and use the first row of seats. The obligation to have the mouth and nose covered by a respirator in public transport, including in stations, remains valid. On city bus and tram lines, drivers will continue to open doors automatically where vehicles stop. Request bus stops are maintained in order to ensure bus and tram connections according to current timetables. Weekend metro schedules will return to normal on Feb. 26. Full operation of bus service should begin March 21.

Preventive check-ups down by half

According to cardiologists, patients skipped up to half of the preventive check-ups in doctor’s offices during the coronavirus epidemic. They thus neglect the prevention of heart and vascular diseases, which have long accounted for up to 40 percent of deaths in the Czech Republic and are the most common cause, according to the Czech Society of Cardiology.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more