Czechia has lifted all remaining Covid restrictions: Now what?

The lower house of Parliament voted unanimously Wednesday to end the pandemic state of alert.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 05.05.2022 09:58:00 (updated on 06.05.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Czech parliament, Wednesday evening approved ending the state of a pandemic alert that had been in effect since February. The resolution was passed unanimously by all MPs present.

This means the last of the Covid pandemic restrictions have ended across the Czech Republic. Respirators are no longer required in healthcare facilities, while other restrictions, like the requirement to wear masks on public transport, ended last month.

The end of the state of pandemic alert means the end of all blanket anti-Coronavirus measures, irrespective of whether they were issued based on the pandemic law or the public health protection law.

The pandemic alert allowed the government to implement protective measures without declaring a state of emergency. The possibility to declare an alert was one of the provisions of the Pandemic Act, which was passed in April 2021 and amended in January 2022.

This marks the end of measures that began in March 2020 to combat the spread of coronavirus. So what does the end of these measures mean for daily life in Czechia?

Masks haven't been necessary for public transport since April, however, now they are no longer required in places such as doctor's offices, dentists, pharmacies, and retirement homes.

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek Válek said that even though respirators will no longer be mandatory in these places wearing them in outpatient facilities still makes sense.

The Czech Medical Chamber said that healthcare facilities can still require respirators or face masks if signs are clearly visible.

With the end of the pandemic alert, coverage of Covid testing by health insurance companies will also come to end.

The option of taking one preventive PCR coronavirus test a month for free, covered by public health insurance will no longer be available. From now on, health insurers will only cover PCR tests prescribed by a doctor (or antigen tests taken at the doctor's office).

PCR tests may still be required in some instances of international travel.

In addition, a positive antigen test combined with symptoms is now considered a confirmed Covid case.

The pandemic has been receding since early February, except for a brief uptick around Easter. On Feb. 1, over 57,000 new cases were confirmed, the highest daily rise since the epidemic outbreak in the country in March 2020. The number of new cases per day has been under 2,000 for the past week, and at its lowest level since early October 2021.

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The Czech health minister told yesterday's lower house session that due to the current development of the coronavirus epidemic, there was no longer any reason for blanket restrictions.

While the alert is over, for now, it could be reintroduced if the situation deteriorates.

The cabinet said that a state of pandemic alert could be redeclared due to a significant worsening of the epidemiological situation, such as an increase in new Covid infections, new virus variants, or the failure of the protective effect of vaccination.

The Pandemic Law will expire in early December. After that, a new version of the law will need to be passed to allow for future pandemic alerts, or restrictions will have to be set as part of a state of emergency.

Currently, there is still a state of emergency in the Czech Republic. Declared on March 4 it will be in effect until May 31, unless it is extended. The emergency state was introduced due to the migrant wave from the war-stricken Ukraine as a step to help the cabinet care for the refugees more effectively.

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