Shops, services will not close if pandemic worsens, says Czech Health Minister

While Covid-19 cases are expected to rise this autumn, the Czech Republic will not close shops and services, according Adam Vojtěch.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 29.08.2021 16:25 (updated on 29.08.2021) Reading time: 1 minute

The Czech government does not plan on closing shops and services even if the worst predictions for the development of the Covid-19 epidemic came true this autumn, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told CNN Prima today.

However, Vojtěch said he did not expect the situation to become serious. He added that this would become apparent after the results of blanket Covid-19 testing of children at schools in early September.

Vojtěch said that scenarios for further epidemic development were being drafted, partly based on the vaccination rate. In the worst-case scenario, anti-epidemic measures such as the wearing of respirators and social distancing would remain valid and mass events may be restricted, but shops and services would remain open, he noted.

According to the most pessimistic predictions from the Institute of Health Information and Statistics, about 500 people with coronavirus may be hospitalized in the second half of September and 100 would need intensive care. The epidemic is expected to rise, but not overburden hospitals.

At the height of the previous Covid-19 epidemic wave in the Czech Republic in March, more than 9,000 people were hospitalized, hundreds of them in a serious condition, and hospitals were running out of capacity.

Opposition MP Vlastimil Válek, a physician by profession, said in the TV debate that if tests at schools revealed only a small number of infections among children, the government should decide that children need not wear face masks at school or get tested for group activities.

Currently, people must wear respirators or nano face masks in public transport vehicles, shops, and the interiors of all public buildings. Asked how long respirators will remain mandatory, Vojtěch estimated that the situation will be re-assessed in October.

Válek stated that the government should make a decision about face masks in mid-September. In his opinion, wearing face masks makes sense in public transport vehicles, but otherwise this measure should be relaxed.

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