Czech government plans to reduce Covid quarantine periods
Countries like the United States, United Kingdom and Spain have reduced quarantine periods for those who test positive for Covid-19.
This is seen as the only way to avoid critical labor shortages as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus increases.
Unlike many other states, Omicron has yet to cause a record infection rate in the Czech Republic.
But the government is already considering reducing periods of isolation from the current 14 days, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said in an interview with CNN Prima News.
“We are discussing shortening the isolation and quarantine periods. The debate is currently taking place in our expert groups, and we will take a decision on the basis of their recommendations.
“Some states, like the United States, have cut isolation and other countries are discussing it. For example, there is an intense debate in Germany over the length of the period.
“Our discussions will end in a few days and then we will make a political decision.”
Mr Fiala’s government, which was appointed last month, has emphasized freedom and accountability in its messages on Covid.
The Ensemble coalition, which Mr. Fiala led in last year’s elections, has no longer made confinement one of its commitments to voters.
The Prime Minister presented his cabinet’s philosophy, based on large-scale testing, to CNN Prima News.
“Our whole approach is this: let’s do massive testing, do all the things that the experts always recommend, but previously weren’t done to a sufficient degree.
“Then we won’t need to have blockages. It will not only be, say, socially bearable – it will also be more economically bearable. “
The tests have just been intensified for two weeks in Czech schools with the return of pupils and students after the holidays.
In addition, mandatory tests as frequent as every three days should take place at all workplaces within a fortnight.
The prime minister said employers would not have to bear the costs of the intensified testing.
“When it comes to tests, of course we are prepared to pay for them, through health insurance. A decision on this will be taken in the coming days.
“But of course, testing with the frequency that we described in our government proposal will be covered.
“So if we say everyone should be tested twice a week, or every three to five days, then that will, of course, be covered.”
The new testing regime is expected to be approved soon after talks between Mr Fiala’s government, employers and unions.
The Prime Minister reiterated in the CNN Prima News interview that he was cold about the idea of compulsory vaccinations of certain groups of the population.
His government will overturn an ordinance dealing such blows – which is due to take effect from March – issued by the last Czech government.