Czech Ministry of Health issues 11 safety tips for the holiday season

Without proper precautions, the holiday season could reverse the recent progress in reducing new Covid cases, the ministry warns.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 10.12.2021 13:18:00 (updated on 10.12.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Health Minister Adam Vojtech tweeted a leaflet of 11 suggestions for a healthy holiday season in the midst of the pandemic. While many indicator numbers have improved over the past week, the situation is still far from ideal.

The Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) has already stated that holiday parties and gatherings will likely lead to another uptick in case numbers in January and February.

The leaflet urges people to avoid big groups, keep social distancing, postpone parties, and meet outdoors if possible.

“If you do not feel fit or have Covid-19 symptoms, stay at home. All the vaccinated have two preventive PCR tests available (for free) and those in the vaccination process even five. Use them," the Health Ministry’s leaflet states.

People should use phone calls or videoconferencing to greet friends and family until they get results.

The Health Ministry also wants people to urge others to get vaccinated if they are not already. “Everyone you can persuade counts because this reduces the risk of filling hospitals. It is naive to think that this wave of infections is the last. We need to learn to live with coronavirus, but this will only be possible if we are vaccinated. Please help us. And if you can, get a booster dose,” the ministry said.

Meetings with the family and loved ones should be outdoors rather than indoors. If people do meet indoors, rooms should be properly ventilated with windows opened for at least five minutes every 20 minutes.

People should also consider limiting physical contact such as hugs and handshakes. “In Israel, it is not uncommon that guests themselves show a certificate of vaccination or a negative test. If you are in a room with seniors, we recommend wearing respirators,” the ministry said.

When it comes to Christmas shopping, the ministry suggests buying gifts and food online. “But remember that almost every store today has its own e-shop,” the ministry says.

People should use hand sanitizers, keep distance, and wear respirators in bricks-and-mortar shops. “If you go shopping directly to the store, try to plan it so that there aren't many people in the store at that time. The whole family shouldn’t go together, ideally just one person at a time, and if you can, buy for your grandparents. Don't stay in the store for too long!” the ministry states.

The ministry also suggests postponing Christmas parties until safer times from the epidemiological point of view.

“The time of Christmas parties is coming. I would really like to ask you to put them aside. … There is too much risk that someone will become infected at such an event. And it's not just parties in restaurants, but also celebrations in companies. It's an unnecessary risk that for many can mean a spoiled Christmas in isolation, or worse, in a hospital,” the ministry stated.

Recommendations are not just for Christmas but also for New Year’s Eve. “Be careful when celebrating the New Year. In terms of coronavirus spread, this is one of the riskiest periods ever. Avoid larger groups of people and endure it this time without exuberant parties. If you are already targeting people, watch spacing and wear a respirator,” the Health Ministry said.

Prague has already canceled plans for a large public videomapping, drone, or fireworks show due to the potential health risks.  

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