Regular COVID-19 testing could begin in Czech companies this month

Blanket testing carried out by company doctors and paid from health insurance may begin in large companies in the upcoming weeks.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 07.02.2021 09:47 (updated on 07.02.2021)

Regular COVID-19 testing of employees may begin in Czech businesses in February and health insurance companies would cover the costs of the tests, Confederation of Industry Vice President Jan Rafaj tells CTK.

According to Rafaj, representatives from the employers have agreed on this with the Czech Health Ministry.

"If a decision is made next week, massive testing in companies might begin already in February," Rafaj said.

The tests would be carried out by company doctors or general practitioners hired for this purpose. Health insurance companies would compensate the doctors for the tests and their services.

Rafaj said the date when testing for COVID-19 would be launched in companies would depend on when the Health Ministry finalizes establishing conditions for the test.

Currently, Czech residents may undergo antigen tests for free at testing points once every three days.

The Czech Republic has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 cases in Europe over the past two weeks. A state of emergency has been valid in the country since October 5. In mid-October, the government closed schools, restaurants, sport and cultural facilities, and most shops and services.

The restrictions were loosened in early December, but again tightened after Christmas. The government is now considering tightening of the lockdown measures further.

Companies have been operating during this time at their own discretion. According to some experts, the virus has spread mostly within families and at work.

Some companies have already been testing their employees, but they have covered the cost of testing themselves. Employers asked the state to support COVID-19 testing in companies last summer, and have since negotiated with the Health Ministry about it.

According to experts, more testing and more contact tracing is needed until the vaccination against COVID-19 is completed. Unless this is done, the epidemic will get out of control.

At least 200,000 tests a day should be made in a country with 10.7 million inhabitants, experts say, while about 60,000 antigen and PCR tests are currently carried out per day.