Czech Health Ministry to release plan for relaxing Covid measures in mid-February

A regularly updated article with all the latest developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic for Jan. 31–Feb. 6.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 31.01.2022 10:02:00 (updated on 06.02.2022) Reading time: 24 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 18:28:02 06.07.2022
Source: https://onemocneni-aktualne.mzcr.cz

Feb. 6, 2022

overview Number of new Covid-19 cases on Saturday hits weekend high

The Czech Republic reported 23,964 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, according to the latest data published by the Czech Health Ministry. The number of cases on Saturday represents a week-on-week rise of 5,700 cases over the previous Saturday, and the highest weekend tally since the start of the pandemic. Saturday's total includes 3,992 suspected reinfections, about 850 more than a week ago.

Despite the high number of cases, however, the number of patients with Covid-19 in Czech hospitals fell under 3,000 for the first time in four days on Saturday. There are currently 2,952 Covid-19 patients being treated in Czech hospitals, with 196 of them considered to be in serious condition. In early December, Czech hospitals were treating around 7,000 patients, with more than 1,000 in serious condition.

While the number of Covid-19 cases rose on Saturday compared to the previous week, the number of tests performed was fell to 75,000, about 35,000 fewer than last Saturday. The rate of positive tests rose to around 27 percent yesterday, markedly higher than a week ago. Most people (around 55 percent) get tested due to the appearance of symptoms, while about 27 percent test due to contact with a risk contact.

Feb. 5, 2022

Overview Week-on-week number of Covid cases down on Friday

The Czech Republic reported 28,658 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the lowest number this week and about 18,600 fewer cases than last Friday, according to the latest information provided by the Czech Health Ministry. There are currently 3,120 patients with Covid-19 in Czech hospitals, and 202 of them are in serious condition. The number of hospitalizations has risen by about 800 people over the past week.

Czech labs reported 5,150 suspected cases of reinfection on Friday, about 3,000 fewer than the previous Friday. During the workweek from January 31-February 4, there were 196,426 reported Covid cases in the Czech Republic, about 10,000 fewer than the previous workweek. The omicron variant has been reported in the vast majority of new cases, but appears to be less severe than previous strains.

There have 2,230 new Covid cases per 100,000 people in the Czech Republic over the past seven days, down from 2,404 last week. The incidence rate is highest in the Hradec Králové Region, at 2,397 cases per 100,000 people over the past week, and lowest in the Karlovy Vary Region at 1,830 cases.

Feb. 4, 2022

OVERVIEW Covid cases and hospitalizations still rising week-on-week

On Thursday, tests revealed 37,662 new Covid cases, which is 2,857 more than a week ago. Another 6,550 people contracted coronavirus again while last Thursday labs reported a record 16,202 relapses. The total number of positive tests was almost 6,800 cases lower last week.

The number of Covid cases in hospitals reached 2,998, or 807 more than last week. The number of serious cases rose by two to 196. A preliminary 14 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 198 and the toll for February is 93. Daily deaths have fallen below 30 in the past two weeks. This week, however, they cross this line, and on Tuesday there were 42 deaths. Interest in vaccination continues to fall. Some 25,466 vaccine doses were given out, including 19,944 booster shots. Vaccination was completed by 4,302 people.

The reproduction number R is at 1.08. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days rose to 2,404 from 2,377 a day earlier. The incidence number was at its maximum on Tuesday, when it was 2,483, a week ago it was 2030. It is now the highest in the Hradec Králové and Zlín regions, both over 2,580. Prague is fourth, at 2,534. Karlovy Vary has the lowest at 1,913.

15:15 Zeman signs law allowing school closings, distance learning

School principals will be able to declare up to 10 days of special leave or introduce distance learning from next week, if necessary due to the lack of teachers due to coronavirus quarantine or isolation. The law was signed by President Miloš Zeman today. It takes effect on the day following its publication in the Collection of Laws. Parents of pupils under the age of 10 would be entitled to a nursing allowance at a distance of 80 percent of the earnings base. School principals will be able to declare time off as needed and will not have to use all 10 days at once.

12:28 Vaccination ends at Prague’s main train station

Vaccination will end at the walk-in center at Prague’s main train station, Hlavní nádraží, on Feb. 5, according to the city’s vaccination info page. Over 58,000 doses have been administered there. The site now administers Spikevax from Moderna, which is suitable for booster shots. Self-payers must pay by card.  

Ministry to release plan for Covid relaxation in mid-February

The Health Ministry will release a plan guiding the relaxation of anti-epidemic measures issued in harmony with the pandemic law in the second half of February, ministry representatives tweeted today. They added that the decision will be made according to the data from Feb. 15 and the outlook from the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS). The ministry announced that following the epidemiological data and the predictions of the UZIS, The Health Ministry will decide when the government will ask the Chamber of Deputies to put an end to the pandemic alert. The lower house will then decide the matter.

Experts call lifting of Covid restrictions premature

Some experts consider the Czech cabinet's decision to lift pubs, hotels, and mass event organizers' duty to check clients' Covid certificates as of Feb. 9 premature and say the cabinet may have given up the effort because the duty has often been ignored by those responsible. Epidemiologist Rastislav Maďar said the Health Ministry's section National Institute for Tackling the Epidemic (NIZP) advised the cabinet to reintroduce a negative Covid test, in addition to vaccination or recovery from Covid. Maďar learned about the planned changes from the media, he said.

Other experts also expressed dismay. A warning against the lifting of certificate checks has been posted on Twitter by Srdan Matic, the World Health Organization's (WHO) representative in the Czech Republic. "We should not underestimate nature. We do not know in which direction these mutations may go, but we have not yet seen the end of the pandemic," he wrote.

Insurer VZP spent over CZK 23 billion on Covid hospitalizations

Due to Covid, each Czech person costs the state budget or health insurance about CZK 6,500, according to news server iDnes. This counts the direct costs of tests, hospitalizations, drugs, and vaccines. Since March 2020, the largest expense was hospitalizing patients. Main insurance company Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna (VZP) paid a total of CZK 23.2 billion for hospitalization by the end of 2021. Smaller insurance companies also report billions of crowns in expenses.

Tečka app will continue to function

The Tečka and čTečka apps for storing and reading Covid certificates will continue to be developed, the Ministry of Health told daily Echo24. People will no longer have to show certificates after Feb. 9 to enter hospitality and entertainment establishments. But the certificates are still needed for travel and in other countries. "Of course, it will continue, citizens will be able to prove [vaccination or recovery] further abroad, or where it will continue to be relevant," ministry spokesman Ondřej Jakob told Echo24.

WHO Europe director optimistic for a period of tranquility

 WHO Europe director Hans Kluge said there was hope Europe was entering a long period of tranquility regarding the coronavirus due to high vaccination rates, the milder effects of the Omicron variant, and winter coming to an end. He added that the pandemic was not over but there was an opportunity to take control of the virus’s transmission. “Even with a more virulent variant [than Omicron] it is possible to respond to new variants that will inevitably emerge without reinstalling the kind of disruptive measures we needed before,” Kluge said. Countries have to continue with vaccination and efforts to detect new variants, he added.

Feb. 3, 2022

OVERVIEW Covid cases drop compared to last week

Laboratories confirmed 43,307 new Covid cases on Wednesday, compared to 54,692 a week ago. There were 7,367 recurrent infections, 2,500 more than last Wednesday. The combined figure was 8,860 fewer new and recurrent cases than in a week-over-week comparison.

The number of people hospitalized increased to 2,865, about 800 more than a week ago, but the number of those in serious condition remains stable, rising from 199 to 203. A preliminary 18 deaths were reported, and the seven-day toll is 188. The toll for February is 58. Some 24,935 vaccine doses were administered, including 19,249 booster shots. Initial vaccination was completed by 4,312 people.

The reproduction number R is 1.07. The incidence rate of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days is 2,377, down from 2,483 a day earlier. In Prague, the incidence rate is 2,587. It is lowest in the Karlovy Vary region, at 1,967.

12:45 Senate approves school days off, online teaching

Czech school principals will be able to declare special time off for up to 10 days if a high number of teachers were in Covid quarantine, or declare distance instruction under the government bill that the Senate approved in summary procedure today. Parents of schoolchildren under 10 would be entitled to nursing benefits of up to 80 percent of their pay if their children had distance instruction or special days off. The bill will be sent to President Miloš Zeman to sign it into law.  

12:15 Senate likely to discuss the pandemic amendment on Feb. 10

The Senate will probably discuss the amendment to the pandemic law on Feb. 10, when its February meeting continues. The upper house decided on this at the beginning of today's meeting on the proposal of its chairman, Miloš Vystrčil. The Senate is expected to approve the government's amendment without any problems, as the Senate has no representative of Freedom and Democracy (SPD), whose deputies obstructed the adoption of the amendment in the lower house.

Govt. to cancel entry rules for all facilities next week

The government will cancel the duty to prove Covid vaccination or recovery from disease for people who enter cultural, sports, or other events and use various services as of Feb. 9, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told journalists. The Czech Supreme Administrative Court yesterday canceled the duty to prove the vaccination or recovery when entering restaurants, clubs, and casinos or when getting a hotel room. Fiala said the government did not make the decision under the pressure of the court verdict but based on recommendations from experts. He said people would still be obliged to wear respirators in indoor public areas. The upper limit for the number of participants in mass events will stay in force, he added.

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said anybody will be allowed to enter any facility without a Covid certificate as of Feb. 9. "I said I would announce relaxing of measures in early March at the latest and finally we concluded together with experts that we can do it much sooner in a gradual regime. The first step is the canceling of certificates, another one is the end of blanket testing," he said.  

Lower house passes amendment to pandemic law

 Anti-epidemic measures issued based on the pandemic law probably will concern a wider range of activities than now as the Chamber of Deputies passed an amendment to the law last night. The lower house dealt with the amendment in the state of legislative emergency and it passed it after 35 hours. Seventy out of the 122 MPs present supported the bill. The Senate will deal with the draft amendment now. The Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement said it will challenge the amendment with the Constitutional Court if it takes effect.

The draft extends the validity of part of the law on issuing extraordinary anti-coronavirus measures by the Ministry of Health and regional hygienic stations from the end of February to the end of November. Authorities will be able to order mandatory coronavirus testing for entrepreneurs, students, pupils, and preschoolers, not just employees and other staff as is the case now. The upper level of fines that authorities may impose for the violation of the special measures will be lowered.

At the suggestion of the coalition, the Chamber of Deputies deleted a provision that would have given the Ministries of Defense and Interior the power to issue anti-epidemic measures. Contrary to the current wording of the Pandemic Act and the amendment, the authorities will not be able to completely ban private and public events, as well as the operation of music, dance, or gaming clubs or discos and casinos. They will only be able to limit their operation.

Govt. plans to cancel pandemic alert

The cabinet expects to propose the abolition of the pandemic alert at the February meeting of the Chamber of Deputies. The exact date the alert will end will be determined based on the development of the epidemic, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told reporters in the Chamber of Deputies yesterday.

Covid testing at schools, firms to end on Feb. 18

The blanket testing for Covid at schools and firms in the Czech Republic will end on Feb. 18 in view of the epidemic development, the government decided. Prime Minister Petr Fiala confirmed the decision. He added that the testing had undoubtedly helped slow down the epidemic's spread.

Children at primary and secondary schools as well as conservatories have been obliged to undergo Covid tests since January, first twice a week, and since Jan. 17, once a week. This duty has also applied to students of higher vocational schools and colleges, but for a shorter time. Consequently, pupils and students will be tested for coronavirus at schools last time on Monday, Feb. 14. Since Jan. 17, employers have been obliged to secure testing of their employees at work with antigen self-tests twice a week.

Govt. plans to provide CZK 3 billion for entrepreneurs

Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela said the government wants to set aside up to CZK 3 billion for compensation for entrepreneurs. It is intended to cover about 11,000 entrepreneurs who have been restricted by anti-epidemic restrictions in force from Nov. 26 to Dec. 26. Those who recorded a drop in sales of 50 percent compared to the second half of 2019 will be able to draw assistance. At most, they will be able to receive from CZK 500,000 to CZK 1.5 million, depending on the industry. The government has not yet approved the support and wants to discuss it with trade unions. The final decision should be made next week.

Feb. 2, 2022

OVERVIEW Record 57,195 new cases plus 9,775 recurrent infections

A new record for the daily increase in coronavirus cases was set on Tuesday, with tests confirming 57,195, up from 39,630 a week ago. The previous record was last Wednesday, with 54,692. There were also 9,775 recurrent infections, which are not counted as new cases. According to ourworldindata.org, the Czech Republic is the eighth most affected country in terms of the number of coronavirus infections per million inhabitants on Tuesday. Most cases are in Sweden, Denmark, and Israel.

The number of people hospitalized with Covid rose to 2,653 from 1,958 a week ago, while the number of serious cases fell by one to 211. A preliminary 17 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 163 and the toll for February is 48.

On Tuesday, health professionals administered 24,922 doses, while a week ago, it was over 37,000. Interest in vaccination has been falling in the past weeks. Of yesterday’s shots, 19,722 were boosters and 3,799 completed the initial vaccination. Since the start of vaccination in December 2020, over 17 million doses have been administered in the Czech Republic. Almost 6.8 million people were fully vaccinated, and almost 3.8 million people received a booster dose.

The reproduction number R is at 1.22. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days reached 2,483 from 2,319 a day earlier. One week ago, the incidence number was 1,690. In Prague, the incidence number is 2,875. It is lowest in the Karlovy Vary region at 1,998.

15:14 Health Minister expects Covid restrictions to end by March

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek believes that most of the current Covid restrictions may be loosened in Czechia as of March, he told MPs when defending the government's draft amendment to the pandemic law in the lower house Wednesday. Due to obstructions and filibustering on the part of mainly the junior opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), the Chamber of Deputies began to debate the draft 26 hours after the special session government MPs had initiated to deal with the bill. A further long debate is expected to precede the final vote, with some 20 MPs planning to address the plenum for the moment. Válek said he expects the number of the Covid-infected to continue rising in the next two weeks. "I believe that we will be able to maximally loosen all measures in March," he said, referring to the development of the epidemic.

14:18 Covid testing at schools, firms to end on Feb.18

Blanket testing for Covid-19 at Czech schools and firms in the Czech Republic will end on Feb. 18 in view of the epidemic development, the government and health ministry decided Wednesday at the lower house plenary session. PM Petr Fiala confirmed the decision. He added that the testing had undoubtedly helped slow down the epidemic's spread. Children at primary and secondary schools, as well as conservatories, have been obliged to undergo Covid tests since January, first twice a week, and since Jan.17, once a week only. This duty has also applied to students of higher vocational schools and colleges. Pupils and students will be tested for coronavirus at schools last time on Monday, Feb. 14.

12:45 Court overturns requirement to show proof of vaccination at restaurants, hotels

The Supreme Administrative Court has canceled the requirement for patrons to prove they are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid before entering restaurants, clubs, pubs, or casinos, or when staying in hotels. The court’s ruling won’t take effect for seven days so the Health Ministry has time to respond. If the ministry does not find a way around the verdict by the deadline, then anyone who does not currently show signs of the disease will be able to use the establishments without having to show proof.

Judge Petr Mikeš said the pandemic law does not allow this type of regulation of restaurants and hotels. The law on the protection of public health could apply, but the conditions haven’t been met. The ministry now must either prove to the court that the pandemic situation is bad enough to merit the requirements, or the government would have to declare another state of emergency to allow regulation of restaurants and hotels, the judge said.

SPD continues to obstruction pandemic bill

After 23 hours of obstruction by the opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement, the Chamber of Deputies approved the agenda for the meeting to approve the pandemic amendment. Deputies rejected all but one of the changes proposed by the SPD. The SPD filibustered the law all day Tuesday and into Wednesday morning. SPD leader SPD deputies wanted the session agenda to be extended to include a debate on some bills proposed by the SPD. The lower house will now continue to discuss passing the bill. the SPD has said it intends to delay the vote as much as possible.

In a four-hour speech, Okamura said he wants the Chamber of Deputies to discuss that the pandemic bill is anti-constitutional and introduces a Covid dictatorship. Debate should be held about Covid testing and about proposals to tackle inflation, he said. He also mentioned the need for a referendum law. Other SPD members gave long speeches as well.

Almost 5,000 register for Novavax jab

Registration for Nuvaxovid vaccine from Novavaxopened for adults over 18 on the vaccination portal in the Czech Republic yesterday, with almost 5,000 people registering for it by the evening. The first registered people may get inoculated with this vaccine at the end of February, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek tweeted. The Health Ministry says people who fear the more modern mRNA vaccines might get inoculated with Nuvaxovid. A key part is made near Prague. Up to half a million are expected to get the vaccine in Czechia.  

Revised decree on compulsory vaccination published

A revised decree on compulsory vaccination has been published in the Collection of Laws and is valid from yesterday. The Health Ministry excluded the obligation to vaccinate against Covid-19, which was to apply from March to all persons over the age of 60 and selected professions, such as paramedics, police officers, or firefighters. The government originally promised to amend the decree by mid-February, but eventually announced on Jan. 19 that vaccination would not be mandatory in the Czech Republic.

The decree is issued in accordance with the Public Health Protection Act and also regulates other compulsory vaccinations of children or professions against certain diseases. In the Czech Republic, people are still compulsorily vaccinated against 11 diseases, most vaccines are given in childhood. These are, for example, substances against measles, rubella, tetanus, or diphtheria. According to data from the State Institute of Public Health, not a single case of these diseases was detected in 2021.

South Bohemia governor wants to abolish testing

 South Bohemia Governor Martin Kuba, who is also chairman of the Association of Czech Regions, wants to end comprehensive coronavirus testing and lift some restrictions. According to Kuba, widespread testing and a number of measures are meaningless. "Apparently, we are getting into a situation similar to coronavirus as we once did with the Spanish flu," he said. The Spanish flu raged between 1918 and 1920 but then mutated over time to become less dangerous. Kuba said compliance with restrictions will no longer force other people to undergo vaccinations, as anyone who wanted vaccination has already had it.

WHO: BA.2 variant does not cause more serious course of illness

The new type of coronavirus variant called BA.2 probably does not cause a more serious course of Covid, World Health Organization (WHO) representatives said at a press conference. BA.2 already dominates in Denmark, Sweden, and India. It has also appeared in the Czech Republic. Boris Pavlin of the WHO said data from Denmark, where, as in the first country in the world, subvariant BA.2 has become dominant, the new variant causes similar symptoms as the original BA.1 variant of Omicron. "Looking at other countries where BA.2 is now overtaking, we're not seeing any higher bumps in hospitalization than expected," Pavlin said. The new strain, however, is more transmissible than the more common BA.1 variant.

Feb. 1, 2022

OVERVIEW Recurrent cases and hospitalizations increasing

There were 29,514 newly confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, down from 30,386 a week ago. However, there were more recurrent infections, some 5,073 while last Monday saw 3,126. The total number of people infected this Monday rose by more than 1,000 cases in a week-on-week comparison.

The number of hospitalizations increased to 2,430 from 1,914 a week earlier. However, the number of patients in severe condition has decreased to 196 from 215 last Monday. A preliminary 11 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 136 and the toll of January was 978. Interest in vaccinations has been declining in recent weeks. Some 28,782 vaccine doses were administered, including 23,747 booster shots, and 3,685 people completed their initial vaccination.

The reproduction number R is at 1.18. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 over the past seven days fell to 2,318 from 2,326 a day earlier. One week ago, the incidence number was 1,585. In Prague, where the pandemic is worst, the incidence number fell to 2,807 from 2,953 a day earlier. In the Vysočina region, where the incidence is lowest, it rose to 1,834 from 1,824 a day earlier.

12:45 Czechia saw record number of deaths in 2021 due to Covid

Last year, 139,600 people died in the Czech Republic, which was the largest number in postwar history and over 10,000 more than in 2020, the Czech Statistical Office (CSÚ) said. The life expectancy fell in both men and women, CSU president Marek Rojíček said. "After the 15-percent rise in the number of deaths in 2020, the number increased by another 8 percent in 2021," he added. As a result, the life expectancy decreased by 0.8 years to 80.6 years for women and by 1.1 years to 74.2 years for men. The CSÚ does not elaborate on the causes of death. However, Health Ministry statistics say the Covid death toll was 24,249 last year.

The largest number of people died in the first three months of 2021. The most tragic month was March with 16,800 deaths, followed by January and February. In 2020, there were 89 days with the number of deaths at least one-quarter higher than the five-year average in 2015–19. In 2021, there were 168 such days.

Spread of BA.2 variant increasing

Eighty-eight of 6,500 or 1.4 percent Covid samples that Czech laboratories reported to the National Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) are the BA.2 variant, which has recently become dominant in Denmark and Sweden, the SZÚ said in a press release today. The BA.2 variant was confirmed by sequencing in five cases. Experts originally thought BA.2 was an Omicron subvariant, but it seems to be unrelated to Omicron. Scientists do not have sufficient information on this new variant yet.  Currently, more than 90 percent of new Covid infections in Czechia are caused by the Omicron variant.

Danish medical authorities announced that BA.2 seemed to be 1.5 times more contagious than the original Omicron, but probably does not cause a serious course of the disease. Though the number of Covid infections was a record high in Denmark last week, the Danish government relaxed nearly all anti-epidemic measures as of February.

Lower house to discuss pandemic amendment

Deputies in the lower house will meet today to discuss the amendment to the pandemic law. Last week, members of the right-wing Freedom and Democracy (SPD) blocked the discussion. The opposition ANO movement also has reservations about the amendment. Petr Fiala's cabinet wants the lower house to approve the amendment quickly in a state of legislative emergency. Parts of the law on issuing anti-coronavirus restrictions expire at the end of February. The governing coalition has agreed to limit the validity of the pandemic law to this year. The government originally proposed that anti-coronavirus emergency measures could be issued indefinitely.  

Registration for Novavax vaccine starts today

It will be possible to register for vaccination with the Nuvaxovid vaccine from Novavax as of today. Vaccination will probably start in the first week of March, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said previously. Nuvaxovid is the fifth vaccine recommended in the EU for preventing Covid. It is given two doses 21 days apart. So far the country has ordered hundreds of thousands of doses.

The vaccine, which uses a more traditional protein-based methodology, is approved for people 18 and over. A key component of the vaccine is produced near Prague. Health officials hope it will appeal to people who have reservations over mRNA vaccines like the ones from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

January had most cases since the start of the pandemic

Since March 2020, Covid has been detected in 3,043,084 people. The worst situation was in January of this year when the total number of positive tests reached 560,000. November 2021 saw over 400,000, and there were over 300,000 cases in March and December 2021. Over 200,000 infected people were reported in another four months: October and December 2020, and January and February 2021. The worst days in terms of new diseases are the three January days of last week: Jan. 26 with 54,690, Jan. 28 with 47,252, and Jan. 25 with 39,629.

Covid testing at school won’t change in next two weeks

The regime for Covid testing at schools will not change in the next two weeks. The Health and Education ministries are discussing testing after mid-February and the regime after the regular testing ends, Czech Education Minister Petr Gazdík said. The Health Ministry is collecting the data from the testing to help set its future policy. Gazdík added that he could not tell whether the testing will stop in mid-February or later.

Slovakia eases rules for travelers

Slovakia as of Friday will no longer require quarantine even from the arriving travelers who had Covid in the past 180 days, while the unvaccinated will see their period of isolation cut to five days unless they have symptoms of infection. The five-day quarantine will not include the day of the person's arrival in Slovakia. Until now, those unvaccinated had to stay in isolation for 10 days following their entry into Slovakia. People will be able to terminate their quarantine early with a negative PCR test.

Currently, quarantine duty on arrival or return to Slovakia does not apply to the travelers who are fully vaccinated against Covid and to people from selected professions and other exempt groups. In accordance with the EU rules, the period of the vaccination certificate's validity will be newly shortened to nine months from the last jab. Slovakia is also going to lift the special restrictions for those arriving from some selected states, which it previously introduced in connection with Omicron.

Jan. 31, 2022

OVERVIEW Most Sunday cases since start of the pandemic

There were another 23,914 coronavirus cases on Sunday, the biggest number on a weekend day since the epidemic outbreak. Another 3,849 people have been reinfected. They are reported separately from newly proven positive tests. A week ago, there were 12,895 new cases.

The number of people hospitalized with Covid is at 2,066, with 181 serious cases, compared to 1,620 with 202 serious cases a week ago. A preliminary 12 deaths were reported. The seven-day toll is 124 and the toll for January is 944. Some 4,629 vaccine doses were applied, including 3,748 booster shots; 765 people completed their initial vaccination.

The reproduction number R is at 1.38. The number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days rose to 2,326 from 2,223 a day earlier. The incidence rate for Prague is 2,926. It is lowest in Vysočina at 1,824.

No testing for 30 days after a positive PCR test

Changes to the protocol for testing at work and school take effect today. After a positive PCR test for Covid, people will not have to take another test for 30 days at work or school or go to quarantine. (People still must follow the rules for isolation and quarantine following the initial positive result.) The regulation also is valid for everyone who is currently in isolation. Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said that from the date of the positive test, there are 30 days with little or no risk of a person becoming reinfected and no risk that they will have a serious course.

Covid cases top 3 million since start of pandemic

Since the beginning of the epidemic in the Czech Republic in March 2020, some 3,013,454 people have been infected with coronavirus. Of these, almost 2,678,662 have recovered from the disease, 37,209 have died, and 2,066 are currently hospitalized, according to the Ministry of Health. Hygienists suspect reinfection in 102,435 cases. These are not included in the figure for new cases. Recently, reinfections have been increasing due to the spread of Omicron, which more often breaks through the immunity acquired from previous variants. the disease.

Poland, Romania go very high-risk dark red on latest Czech map

Poland and Romania will move from high-risk red to very high-risk dark red on the latest Czech Covid-19 travel map as of Monday, the Health Ministry stated in a press release this weekend. Requirements for Czech residents coming from these countries to the Czech Republic will remain unchanged. Stricter conditions for foreigners entering the Czech Republic from all countries remain in effect. Read more in our full story.

Ex-minister: Widespread testing no longer makes sense

Epidemiologist and former health minister Roman Prymula said widespread testing in the Czech Republic no longer makes sense during the spread of Omicron and should be abolished. He told CNN Prima that he believes that the Czech Republic could return to normal life without restrictions in March. He added that this is not a change of opinion, but the situation has changed. "The virus behaves differently," he said. Omicron is more contagious but the number of serious cases is lower. The Health Ministry has previously stated that testing in companies and schools will take place at least until mid-February.

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