Czech government presents new crisis plan: “Working quarantine”

One of the Czech Republic’s leading testing companies, DIANA Biotech, said on Monday that the Omicron variant now accounts for more than half of Covid cases in the country, with an average of seven days. Some labs are reporting an 80% share of Omicron, he said.

The country has yet to see the record for positive tests recorded elsewhere. However, experts have warned of up to 50,000 cases per day, more or less doubling previous highs.

In anticipation of this, the Czech government has stepped up testing in schools.

Massive workplace testing will begin within a week’s time, while from Tuesday the quarantine period will be reduced from two weeks to five days, to avoid a potential labor shortage if Omicron puts in a big deal. part of the out-of-service workforce.

On top of that, the Czech government unveiled another new measure, the counterintuitive sounding “quarantine”.

Vlastimil Valek |  Photo: TOP 09

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek explained the concept at a press conference.

“Instead of quarantining themselves at home, a staff member will quarantine themselves at work. We are looking for a way to ensure that someone whose profession is essential to the functioning of the state does not stay at home but – under certain conditions – has his quarantine at work. “

Mr Válek said the government had sought a model whereby drastic measures would not be necessary if unprecedented numbers from Covid did indeed hit the country.

The “work quarantine” will apply to people in jobs in social services, education and health care, as well as key suppliers, such as hospital laundries, wholesale food delivery services and people looking after livestock.

Staff in these areas will go into “working quarantine” if they test positive on a lateral flow test.

Speaking on CNN Prima News on Sunday, Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said he would discuss the emergency plan with leaders of the country’s regional governments.

“The governors want it to be defined in such a way that it includes water managers, people providing energy, bus drivers, and so on. We will submit this to the central crisis unit, then the government will define the people essential to the functioning of the state services and allow them to use what is called the “working quarantine”.

Minister Rakušan also said the coalition will release by the middle of next month its planned review of a previous government decree introducing mandatory Covid jabs for those over 60 and those in certain professions from March.

The current cabinet aims to cancel mandatory vaccinations, but says the wording of the revised decree could also address new challenges posed by Omicron.

Berta D. Wells