Increasing number of Prague healthcare workers test positive for Covid-19

A regularly updated article with all the latest developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic for Jan. 17–23.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 17.01.2022 09:59:00 (updated on 23.01.2022) Reading time: 27 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 21.05.2022: +85

Active cases: 2 044

Currently hospitalized: 164

Tests yesterday: 1 413

Vaccinations yesterday: 335

Confirmed cases total: 3 918 064

Recovered total: 3 875 754

Vaccinated total: 6 961 224

Tests total: 21 835 564

Deaths total: 40 266

COVID 19 - New cases for last
Data valid as of 19:28:01 22.05.2022
Source: https://onemocneni-aktualne.mzcr.cz

January 23, 2021

Overview New Covid-19 cases hit weekend record high

The Czech Republic recorded 18,334 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, the biggest weekend increase since the beginning of the epidemic, according to the the latest data from the Czech Health Ministry. Conversely, the number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 in Czech hospitals continues to fall, and dropped below 1,500 yesterday, the lowest it has been since November 20. 

The number of new cases on Saturday included 2,235 confirmed reinfections, cases when a person has had Covid multiple times. The number of new cases has roughly doubled in week-on-week comparisons over recent days, an effect attributed to the spread of the more contagious omicron variant.

The Covid incidence has reached a new high of 1,438 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days. All regions of the Czech Republic have reported an increase in new cases over recent days, with Prague reporting the highest incidence rate at 2,463 new cases per 100,000 people.

People with a positive PCR test will not need to re-test for 30 days

People who test positive for Covid-19 by PCR will not have to take another test for 30 days after the initial test was conducted, according to a new Czech Health Ministry proposal. The government will discuss the proposal on Wednesday; if approved, it will take effect on January 31.

Health Ministry spokesperson Ondřej Jakob said the ministry had proposed the measure due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant. People who test positive (by PCR) and undertake the required quarantine will not need to take additional tests within 30 days of the initial test for work or school purposes.

"We are preparing a simplification of the quarantine system. Following an agreement with experts, we have arrived at the following conclusion. Given the behavior of omicron, after the disease the person who ends up in quarantine is considered to be someone who cannot be infected for 30 days," Health Minister Vlastimil Válek told Czech Television today.

Increasing number of Prague healthcare workers test positive for Covid-19

The number of healthcare workers in the Czech Republic who have been infected with Covid-19 is growing, especially in Prague, according to data presented by Institute of Health Information and Statistics director Ladislav Dušek.

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Despite this, the operation of Prague hospitals has not yet been limited in any way, hospital representatives have told CTK. This is due to the decreasing numbers of Covid patients in hospitals and the newly-implemented working quarantine, which allows essential healthcare employees to continue to go to work even if they test positive for Covid-19.

"At the moment, the operation of the hospital is not threatened because employees of the hospital are within the exemption that allows them to work during the time of quarantine, provided strict sanitary conditions are met, and also because the number of infected hospitalized patients keeps decreasing," Eva Libigerová, a spokesperson for Bulovka Hospital, told CTK.

According to data from earlier this week, there were roughly 3,300 healthcare employees who had tested positive for Covid-19 in the Czech Republic; among them over 1,000 were in Prague. Dušek said that Prague was hit by the new omicron variant of Covid-19 before the rest of the country, which has resulted in an especially high number of new cases in the Czech capital.

January 22, 2022

Overview New Covid cases continue to surge, but hospitalizations keep falling

The Czech Republic reported 26,597 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, twice as many as a week ago, according to the latest data posted the Health Ministry this morning. Among the new cases, 3,076 cases were reinfections of people who have caught Covid multiple times. Testing centers conducted roughly 142,700 tests yesterday, about 42,000 more than a week ago.

The Covid-19 incidence rate in the Czech Republic is now 1,353 cases per 100,000 people over the past week, and the Covid-related death toll has crossed 37,000. The number of new infections has been steeply rising in recent days due to the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, which appears to be a more contagious but less severe mutation of Covid.

Despite the rising wave of new cases, the number of patients hospitalized with Covid has been steadily decreasing, down to 1,566 yesterday compared to 1,844 last Friday. Among them 214 in a serious condition, about 30% fewer than a week ago.

January 21, 2022

OVERVIEW New cases top 25,000 for third day in a row

The daily increase in newly confirmed cases of coronavirus remains close to record values, with 26,907 more infections on Thursday, compared to 11,684 a week earlier. According to experts, the Omicron variant is more likely to break through post-infection immunity, which is why the number of reinfections is also increasing. Some 3,631 people had tests indicating reinfection on Thursday.

The number of people hospitalized with Covid has been declining. There were 1,572 patients with 221 serious cases, down from 1,996 patents and 373 serious cases a week ago. According to experts, the current high numbers of positive tests may become apparent in hospitals in about two weeks. A preliminary 11 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 165 and the toll for January is 738. Health professionals administered 52,452 vaccine doses, including 45,223 booster doses. Some 3,962 people completed vaccination with either a second dose or the one-show vaccine.

The reproduction number R is at 1.9, meaning the pandemic is spreading rapidly. The number of new cases per 100,000 over seven days hit 1,228, up from 1,086 a day earlier. The number is rising in all regions. The worst situation is still in Prague, where the incidence there has risen to 2,220, the highest number in any region since the beginning of the epidemic. The lowest incidence rate is in the Vysočina region at 699.

15:09 Children over 12 can register for booster dose as of Monday

The Health Ministry will open the registration for the booster shots of Covid vaccine for children over 12 in the Czech Republic on Monday, Jan. 24. They can get the booster at vaccination centers and the pediatricians' offices five months after completing the initial vaccination, which for children is usually with two doses. People aged 12 to 17 will receive the adult-strength Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Only some vaccination points provide the Covid-19 inoculation of children under 16, while those aged 16 or 17 can go to any vaccination point, including those without prior registration. All people 18 and over can already get booster shots. Vaccination data show that almost 232,000 children aged 12 to 15 have been vaccinated or registered for vaccination, which is 50.8 percent of this age group. Data on the Covid vaccination of those aged 16 to 18 are not released separately, but in the group aged 16 to 29 years, more than 66 percent are inoculated.

Monday's school testing shows number of Covid cases doubled

Results of Covid testing at Czech schools on Monday confirmed the infection in 7,210 pupils and students and 957 school employees, over twice as many compared to previous testing last Thursday, the Health Ministry wrote. The results were confirmed by PCR tests. Prague had almost twice as many cases than the average. The Karlovy Vary Region had the second-highest number of cases in Monday's school testing.

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In the first two weeks in January, Covid testing took place at primary and secondary schools twice a week, while currently, only one testing round a week is conducted, mainly with antigen tests. If students and school employees test positive with their antigen test, a confirmatory PCR test follows. About 50 percent of the positive antigen tests were confirmed by PCR tests.  

Employers report 11,418 positive Covid self-tests

Employers have reported 11,418 positive Covid self-tests of their staff in the Czech Republic since the beginning of the week, but the total number of the tested is unknown. Corporate testing twice a week was introduced on Monday. Firms must report just positive results. The results of antigen self-tests are not included in the daily coronavirus statistics released by the Health Ministry. Employees who test positive with an antigen test stay in isolation for five days, which can be ended earlier with a negative PCR test. Employees with a positive antigen test result need not confirm it with a PCR test. However, in such a case their having the infection is not registered in the system.

Booster dose to become available for teens

People aged under 18 cannot get the booster dose yet. Health Minister Vlastimil Valek (TOP 09) said on Wednesday that the cabinet is aware of this and wants to make it possible for teenagers to get the booster dose as soon as possible.

Booster dose protects against Covid infection, hospitalization

Getting infected with coronavirus in Czechia in January was four times less probable for people who received the booster dose than for the unvaccinated or those with two vaccine doses but not the booster dose, Health Ministry data show. The data also show that if people are not vaccinated, it is four times more likely that they will need hospital treatment than those who received the two-dose vaccine. They are also seven times more likely to be hospitalized than people with the booster shot.

"Though protection against the infection lowers if people have received two doses of the vaccine, the booster dose returns it to more than 82 percent. Protection against a serious course of the illness is permanent, for the vulnerable groups it is higher than 90 percent," Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) director Ladislav Dušek told the lower house healthcare committee. In the past seven days, 30.1 unvaccinated persons per 100,000, 7.6 persons per 100,000 with the two-dose vaccine, and 4.2 persons with the third booster dose per 100,000 were treated in hospital with coronavirus.

Willingness for vaccination linked to West-East orientation

Culture and political factors play a role in people's decision on whether to get jabbed against Covid, and those who feel part of West Europe tend to seek vaccination more often than those inclining to the East, who more often believe Covid hoaxes, research released by the Czech Academy of Sciences shows. "The vaccination rate strongly correlated with whether people want their country to be democratic and whether they feel part of democratic Europe, western culture and civilization when compared with the culture and civilization of the East," Martina Klicperová, from the Institute of Psychology, said. Out of this type of respondents, almost 90 percent were vaccinated. On the other hand, the vaccination rate was lower among those declaring their adherence to the eastern and Slavic cultures.

Bus service reduced in Central Bohemia

The Central Bohemian Region yesterday canceled 18 lines of Prague Integrated Transport (PID) and reduced five bus lines due to Covid-19. Ropid, the organizer of regional transport, previously announced that non-essential lines may be reduced if there was not enough staff to maintain operation. A schedule of connections that will not run can be found here.  

Czechia now 10th least affected by Covid in EU

 According to the number of coronavirus infections in seven days, the worst situation in the EU is in Denmark, with 3,724 cases per 100 000 people in seven days. A week ago was the fourth with 2,357 cases. France remains second with 3,503 compared to 3,056 a week ago. Portugal is third with 2,804. It was fifth a week ago with 2,315 cases. The Czech Republic has 1,228 cases in seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, making it the 10th least affected country in the EU, one week ago it was the sixth from the bottom.

January 20, 2022

Prague’s weekly incidence rate hits a record 2,000 per 100,000 people

There were 25,989 new confirmed Covid cases on Wednesday, some 2,500 fewer than the Tuesday record but up from 11,453 a week ago. Health Ministry's data do not include reinfections in the daily figures of the newly confirmed cases. On Wednesday, some 4,700 reinfections were recorded.

The number of hospitalized with coronavirus keeps dropping. On Wednesday, 1,615 Covid patients were in the hospital, with 245 in serious condition. A week earlier, there were 2,124 hospitalized with 389 serious cases. A preliminary 12 deaths were reported the seven-day toll is 171. The toll for January is 713. Some 48,112 vaccine doses were administered on Wednesday, down from 86,897 a week ago. Of yesterday’s doses, 40,973 were booster shots.

The reproduction number R is 1.85. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 over seven days is 1,086, up from 950 a day earlier. The record was 1,234 on Nov. 25, 2021. The worst situation is still in Prague with an incidence rate of 2,000, up from 1,820 a day earlier. It is the highest weekly incidence number for any region since the pandemic began. The best situation is in Vysočina at 599.

15:30 Govt. wants to extend pandemic law indefinitely

At a meeting on Wednesday, the government amended some parts of the draft pandemic law. Originally, the proposal was to extend it to Aug. 31, 2023. Health Ministry spokesman Ondřej Jakob has clarified that the proposal finally approved by the government would extend to law indefinitely. Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said on Wednesday after the cabinet meeting the government approved the proposal, without going into detail. The fact that the government changed the proposal was only clear from the published results of the meeting. The amendment still needs to be approved by both houses of the Czech Parliament.  

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ÚZIS: Covid wave bringing 100,000 new infections per day

Some 100,000 will soon be getting infected with Covid in Czechia a day, and tests are likely to daily reveal roughly 40,000 new infections in the coming days, Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) head Ladislav Dušek said at a meeting of the lower house committee for health care. Recent Health Ministry reports of new cases have been over 25,000 a day.

"There are two or three times more of the newly infected in the population [than revealed in tests]. So there will be about 70,000 of them in Czechia," Dušek said. "A wave bringing 100,000 newly infected per day seems to be going through the country," he added. Experts say the current testing capacity allows confirming up to 50,000 new infections in one day, but not more. According to various models, there may be up to 200,000 new Omicron cases per day when the wave culminates in the country.

Govt. approves extension of pandemic law

The pandemic law, which was to be effective until the end of the next month, will be prolonged by 18 months or until the end of August 2023. The amendment now also allows for the operation of all types of business premises, shops, markets, schools, sports, and education facilities to be limited. Now the two houses of Parliament will deal with the amendment. Not only the Health Ministry but also the Defense Ministry will be entitled to issue measures based on the pandemic law. The amendment is a reaction from the Health Ministry to the Supreme Administrative Court, which canceled many special measures in the past due to lack of specificity in the current law.

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Current testing system to last to at least mid-February

The Covid-19 testing system, which is now in schools, companies, and healthcare and social facilities, will last until mid-February or the end of February. Further possible measures will be approved by the government when the wave caused by the Omicron variant begins to decline, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said after the government meeting. In the past, the government has said that the company testing regime, which began this Monday, should apply for two to three weeks.

Válek said that if people follow the current measures consistently and succeed in convincing other people to get vaccinated, there is a chance that Czechia will overcome the Omicron wave without major losses. "We really have to adhere to the regime until at least mid-February, and if all predictions work well, we will be behind the water," Válek said.

CDC adds Czech Republic to ‘very high risk’ list

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just added the Czech Republic and 21 other countries to its Level 4 travel list, which designates “very high risk” for visitors. In total, there are now over 100 countries and territories on the CDC’s level four list. The CDC website says: “Avoid travel to the Czech Republic. If you must travel to the Czech Republic, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel. Because of the current situation in the Czech Republic, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants. Travelers should follow recommendations or requirements in the Czech Republic, including wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others.”

January 19, 2022

OVERVIEW Czechia sees record high daily number of new Covid cases

The Czech Republic saw a new record on Tuesday, with 28,469 confirmed Covid cases, the most since the pandemic began. It broke the previous record of 27,937 from Nov. 25, 2021. It is more than double the cases of last Tuesday when there were 12,371. The number of new cases is sky-rocketing due to the spread of the more contagious Omicron variant.

On Tuesday, 1,635 Covid patients were hospitalized, with 252 in serious condition. Both figures were down slightly from the day before. A preliminary six deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 179, and the toll for January is 662. Health professionals applied 55,428 vaccine doses, including 47,348 booster doses. Some 4,565 people newly completed vaccination.

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The reproduction number R is at 1.8. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days rose to 950 from 799 a day earlier. The incidence rate has risen in all regions. The worst situation is in Prague at 1,819. On Tuesday, another record high daily number of new cases, 5,741, was revealed in the capital. The best situation is in the Vysočina and Moravia-Silesia regions with 529 and 552, respectively.

16:00 Mandatory Covid vaccination abolished by new government

The new Czech government has abolished the previous regime's decree making Covid vaccination compulsory for over-60s and some professions. "Vaccination against Covid will not be mandatory in the Czech Republic," said Prime Minister Petr Fiala after a government meeting. Fiala stressed that the government still sees vaccination as the most effective weapon against the virus, but that it will not force citizens to comply. The compulsory vaccination decree introduced by the previous ANO-led government was due to take effect from March this year. New Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said that the paragraphs on compulsory vaccination will disappear, saying that mandatory vaccination was "nonsense from the start."

13:30 Govt. approves more school days off, online teaching

Czech school principals may be able to declare special time off or online instruction for up to 10 days if a high number of teachers were in Covid quarantine, as the government approved today the respective bill submitted by Education Minister Petr Gazdík. This would apply to primary, secondary, and vocational schools as well as elementary art schools and language schools. The Chamber of Deputies should debate the bill next week to enable its effect as soon as possible. Parents would be entitled to nursing benefits if their children have distance instruction or special days off.

Currently, the education law enables school principals to declare five days off during one school year for serious reasons. Most have already used or planned them for the current school year, the ministry noted.

12:20 SÚKL outage affects recording vaccinations and test results

Due to a system failure at the State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL), doctors are having problems entering Covid test results or recording Covid vaccinations. The malfunction has been confirmed by Health Ministry spokesman Ondřej Jakob. Doctors also cannot use the electronic prescription system or other connected systems. According to pharmacists, this is one of the biggest outages since the launch of e-prescriptions in 2018.

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Govt. to decide on compulsory vaccination today

The Czech government will decide today on the compulsory vaccination directive that was approved by the previous cabinet, making Covid vaccination mandatory for selected professions and seniors over 60, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said yesterday. The directive requires people 60 and over and selected professions to have their vaccination completed as of March 1. Fiala's cabinet originally wanted to decide on possible changes to the directive by mid-February. "We have decided to do it faster for people to be sure [about the result]," he said. Fiala said compulsory vaccination generally implies "a lot of social, legislative and other consequences," which must be always considered thoroughly beforehand.  

Govt. will discuss extending the pandemic law

An amendment extending the pandemic law will be discussed by the government at today's meeting. The pandemic law was prepared by the previous government to expand the possibilities of fighting the epidemic outside of a state of emergency. The amendment would extend the effectiveness of the regulation by a year and a half until the end of August 2023. The law makes it possible to limit the operation of all types of establishments, markets, sports grounds, and school or educational facilities for children from three years of age.  

Employers report over 9,000 positive tests

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, employers reported 9,098 positive self-tests. The total number of employees who have been tested in the first two days since the new obligation to test at work is not known. Companies report only positive results. The results of self-tests are not reflected in the daily statistics of those infected. In the case of a positive self-test result, a five-day quarantine follows for the employees. The quarantine can be terminated earlier by a negative PCR test.

ÚZIS: We’ll know in 10 days if hospitals will overload

The forecasts of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) say that the daily number of the infected may reach as many as 50,000 cases daily at the peak of the Omicron wave in late January. ÚZIS director Ladislav Dušek told Seznam TV on Tuesday that the real number of the Covid infected in the population would not be known due to the limited capacity of tests. "However, we will know within 10 days whether the Omicron will overload hospitals or not," he said.

Number of recurrent Covid infections increasing

Czechia has seen a growing number of recurrent Covid infections in recent weeks, and almost 4,000 such cases occurred in December, the National Health Institute (SZÚ) wrote in a press release. Recurrent Covid infections are defined as a Covid infection with symptoms that follow the previous infection after 60 days at the earliest. According to the SZÚ data, 12,207 recurrent Covid infections have appeared in the Czech Republic since the epidemic outbreak in March 2020.

The growth in numbers is also confirmed by the data from the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS), which records all repeated positive tests of people. Since the beginning of the epidemic, ÚZIS reported over 40,000 such cases. Out of them, there were almost 8,600 last December, some 14,500 in January, and 2,028 occurred on Monday alone.

Vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 is slow

Covid vaccination is so far significantly slower in children aged 5 to 11 in the first month than it was for children aged 12 to 15. The differences in vaccination coverage between some districts are up to tenfold. While in Prague, some parts of the South Bohemian, Central Bohemian and Vysočina regions, 6 to 7 percent of children aged 5 to 11 are vaccinated, in the Jeseník and Česká Lípa districts it is 0.6 and 0.8 percent of children, respectively, according to the Center for Modeling Social and Biological Processes (Bisop).

Health Ministry registry won’t allow five PCR tests

The official Health Ministry testing register currently does not allow more than two PCR tests a month for vaccinated people, while since Monday, they have had the right up to five PCR tests a month covered by health insurance, Czech Radio reported. Deputy Health Minister Josef Pavlovic said the technical issue would be fixed within several days. The data have not been updated on the website of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) either as the website reads that vaccinated people are eligible for up to two PCR tests for free a month.

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Virologist: Coronavirus should be treated as flu

The government should cancel the blanket testing in schools and approach the coronavirus as a flu epidemic, Hana Zelená, the head of the Virology Department of the Health Institute in Ostrava, said in an interview with ČTK. "I am afraid that the blanket testing in schools and at work does more harm than good. Besides, it is extremely expensive. This will mean high costs that might be spent in a more beneficial way," she said. The population's immunity is on quite a different level than at the start of the Covid pandemic because a large part of the population has been infected with the coronavirus, while others have been inoculated, Zelená said.  

January 18, 2022

OVERVIEW Over 20,000 new Covid cases reported for Monday

The number of new confirmed Covid cases soared to 20,270 on Monday, compared to 7,342 a week ago. It is the biggest number of new cases since Dec. 1, 2021. The number of new cases is increasing due to the spread of the more contagious Omicron variant. Last week, it accounted for over 50 percent of new cases and now it is 80 percent. Throughout the pandemic, the daily numbers of over 20,000 infected have occurred eight times. The record 27,937 confirmed cases occurred on Nov. 25, 2021.

Hospitalizations are still low. There are 1,660 patients with 276 in serious condition, compared to 1,593 patients and 295 serious cases a day earlier. A week earlier there were 2,471 patients and 438 serious cases. A preliminary 11 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 194 and the toll for January is 654.

On Monday, 51,515 people got vaccine jabs, which was 28,000 fewer than a week ago. Of them, over 44,500 Czechs received the booster dose. Almost 6.74 million Czechs have completed vaccination and over 3.32 million have received the booster dose.

The incidence rate of new cases per 100,000 over seven days is also surging. It reached 799, up from 678 a day earlier. In Prague, the incidence rate is 1,608. It is the lowest in the Vysočina Region, at 407.  

13:00 Employee testing reveals over 4,000 positive Covid cases in Czechia

On Monday, employers reported 4,509 positive employee Covid tests. The total number of people who tested on Monday, however, is not known because only positive cases were reported. All employees, including self-employed persons, who meet other colleagues in the workplace are obliged to test. A summary of the data will be released by the Ministry of Health next week.

Prague sees one-quarter of Czechia’s new Covid cases

About a quarter of Monday's nationwide increase in Covid cases is in Prague. Tests in Prague revealed a record 4,847 positives out of a total of 20,270 for the entire country. The previous daily record for new cases in Prague was 3,114 on Nov. 25.  

SZÚ: Omicron makes up 80 percent of new cases

The Omicron variant makes up 80 percent of all new coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic, the rest being Delta and its subvariants, the National Health Institute (SZÚ) said, citing results of over 40,000 tests performed last week. The current data about the Omicron spread are based on the results of discriminatory PCR tests. Definitive confirmation of Omicron in a sample can be only secured by the whole genome sequencing (WGS). "Even among the WGS data, where the results appear with a delay, the Omicron variant makes up 47 percent already," SZÚ spokesman Stěpánka Čechová wrote.

Deputy PM: Czechia not facing threat of overloaded hospitals

The Czech Republic is not facing the threat of overloaded health care facilities due to the Covid, despite the worsening epidemic situation, Interior Minister and Deputy PM Vít Rakušan said after a meeting of the Central Crisis Staff (ÚKS) that he chairs. The government will assess the situation on Wednesday and announce possible further steps to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Scientific studies show that Omicron is more infectious than the previous coronavirus variants, however, it causes a milder course of the illness. The number of Covid hospitalizations is the lowest since the end of last October.

Tests confirm further Covid spread at Czech schools

PCR tests confirmed 3,357 Covid cases in schools, with 3,016 positive students and 341 positive teachers and other school employees, at Czech primary and secondary schools after last Thursday’s antigen testing. It was a considerable week-on-week rise in the infection incidence, the Health Ministry said. There are still more infections detected at secondary schools than at primary schools. Antigen tests for coronavirus were conducted at schools last week and the week before on Mondays and Thursdays.

The more reliable PCR method confirmed their positive results in 59.4 percent of students and 52.4 percent of school employees who tested positive by antigen method. Prague, where the share of Omicron is the highest of all regions in the Czech Republic, sees the highest number of Covid cases as well as the highest rise in the confirmed positive cases at schools.

Covid cases between 18 and 65 to use self-tracking forms

Public health officers will preferentially track down the Covid-infected children under 18, seniors over 65, and personnel in social services due to the expected high number of infections caused by the Omicron variant spread, the Health Ministry said. Others will get a text message asking them to fill in a self-tracing form. According to the latest data on tracing the infected from Sunday, public health officers are now able to contact one-third of the new positive cases and three-quarters of risk contacts within 24 hours. However, the success rate varies in particular regions and is the lowest in Prague. Such a procedure is also in harmony with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Health Ministry states.

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Only one in four Czechs expect Covid situation to improve

Only about one-quarter of Czechs believe that the situation around Covid-19 will improve in Czechia in the coming months, according to a poll the CVVM agency conducted on 874 people in late 2021. It shows Czechs much more pessimistic than in mid-2021 when over three-fifths expected an improvement. People's apprehensions have increased in connection with all aspects of the pandemic. Over two-thirds of the respondents now fear the overcrowding of hospitals, compared with less than a half in June 2021. Four-fifths of Czechs fear for the health of their relatives and friends, and also fear a restriction of healthcare unrelated to Covid-19, the poll showed.

Masanta to supply 2 million Covid test kits to state offices

Two million antigen Covid test kits for testing the state offices' employees will be supplied by the firm Masanta at the price of nearly CZK 17 apiece, with the deal's total price reaching CZK 34 million, the State Material Reserves Administration (SSHR) announced. Individual offices each have to sign purchase contracts with Masanta, which is expected to provide the kits within a very short time, by Friday. The SSHR addressed 45 firms within the public procurement but obtained only two bids. As a result, the purchased test kits are more expensive than those bought previously, when the SSHR sought 14 million antigen test kits for schools.  

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January 17, 2022

OVERVIEW Highest number of Sunday cases reported since the end of October

Tests on Sunday confirmed 7,235 new Covid cases, the highest Sunday increase since the end of November. A week ago, there were 2,767 cases. Hospitalizations continue to drop, but slower than previously. The number of hospitalized is the lowest since the end of last October. There are 1,505 people hospitalized with 273 serious cases, down from 1,516 patients and 283 serious a day earlier. A week ago there were 2,348 patents and 430 serious cases.

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Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 65m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 65m2

Moravanská, Praha 9 - Vinoř

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 15m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 15m2

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Apartment for sale, 1+1 - Studio, 39m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 1+1 - Studio, 39m2

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Apartment for sale, 3+1 - 2 bedrooms, 118m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 3+1 - 2 bedrooms, 118m2

Pod Rapidem, Praha 10 - Strašnice

A preliminary 12 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 200 and the toll for January is 618. Some 12,228 vaccine doses were administered, including 11,225 booster shots. Vaccination was completed by 415 people, bringing the total of fully vaccinated to 6,732,166.

The reproduction number R is at 1.54. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 over the past seven days continues to rise. It reached 678, up from 636 a day earlier. In Prague, the incidence number is 1,373, up from 1,251 a day earlier. The pandemic is spreading the least in the Vysočina Region, at 362.

All employees, even those who are vaccinated, must be tested twice a week

From today, all employees, vaccinated or unvaccinated, including the self-employed and company executives, must be tested for Covid twice a week with antigen self-tests. Since November, testing had been mandatory once a week only for workers who had not completed vaccination or had not contracted Covid in the last six months.  

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Employees testing positive must quarantine for five days without needing to take a confirmatory PCR test, though an employee who opts to take a PCR test and gets a negative result may end quarantine earlier and return to work immediately. The new testing regimen should be valid for two to three weeks. Testing isn't mandatory for those who work from home or who do not meet anyone else in the workplace.

Employers pay for Covid testing of employees and will be reimbursed CZK 60 from the health insurance prevention fund for each test.

Employers are required to report employees who refuse to be tested to hygiene officials. Employees who refuse to test must wear a respirator during working hours, keep a distance of 1.5 meters from colleagues, and eat lunch in a separate place.

Five PCR tests per month for free

All those who have been vaccinated, including those who have only had a first or second dose and those who have a confirmed medical reason not to have had a vaccination, will be entitled to five PCR tests per month free of charge from today. Unvaccinated individuals must pay for the tests themselves if they do not have a positive antigen or symptoms and have not been requested to test by a doctor or health official. For testing in companies, only those who have Covid-19 symptoms in addition to a positive self-test result are entitled to a free confirmatory PCR test.

AGENCY PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 65m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 65m2

Moravanská, Praha 9 - Vinoř

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 15m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, Flatshare, 15m2

Mezitraťová, Praha 9 - Hrdlořezy

Apartment for sale, 1+1 - Studio, 39m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 1+1 - Studio, 39m2

Ortenovo náměstí, Praha 7 - Holešovice

Apartment for sale, 3+1 - 2 bedrooms, 118m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for sale, 3+1 - 2 bedrooms, 118m2

Pod Rapidem, Praha 10 - Strašnice

Czech schools to conduct Covid testing only once a week

Secondary and primary schools will drop the frequency of Covid testing for students and staff to once a week as of today, instead of twice-weekly.

All children, even those who have completed vaccination or have undergone Covid-19, will be tested. Positive antigen tests will be confirmed by the more accurate PCR tests. In the first two weeks after the Christmas holidays, students and employees of schools were tested twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays.

On the contrary, in kindergartens, higher vocational schools, and universities, testing will be conducted according to the rules of company testing (twice a week) without the automatic right to a confirmatory PCR test in the case of a positive test result.

Quarantine rules change today

From Monday, the quarantine rules are changing. The change in rules applies to those who have had at-risk contact with someone infected by a coronavirus. As of today, even those who have been vaccinated or had Covid within the past 180 days must also enter quarantine. Previously, the obligation to quarantine after a risky contact applied only to the unvaccinated. According to the Ministry of Health, these rules will be in place for at least two weeks.

Currently, the isolation period for those who have become infected with coronavirus, as well as the quarantine of their close contacts, is five calendar days for those with no Covid symptoms. People with Covid symptoms end isolation two days after symptoms clear up. 

New measures start on Prague and suburban trams and buses

As of today, passengers will not be able to enter city buses and older model trams through the front door. On city buses, it will not be possible to sit in the first seats behind the driver. Doors will open automatically so passengers won’t have to push buttons. People can enter by all the doors only on the latest tram models, where the driver's cab is completely separate. People will still have to signal for request stops. On suburban bus routes, passengers can enter by the front door but will not be able to use the seats immediately around the driver. They are also urged to buy tickets with a cashless method such as the PID Lítačka app.  

Romania turns high-risk red on latest Czech map

Conditions for traveling to the Czech Republic from Romania tighten today for those without proof of vaccination or recovery. Romania will turn from medium-risk orange to high-risk red on the latest Czech travel map, released by the Foreign Ministry on Friday. Other countries, including Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Bulgaria will also change color, going from red to very high-risk dark red. However, travel conditions from these countries to the Czech Republic will not change. read more in our travel update.

Culture Minister: Event rules shouldn’t tighten

Culture Minister Martin Baxa said cultural events should not be limited to people with a booster dose, Culture Minister of Martin Baxa said on Czech Television. He hopes that cultural measures will not have to be tightened because of Omicron. The current measures are sufficient because people comply with them at events, he said.

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