New Czech government presents its strategy against Covid

One of the last acts of the previous Czech government was to order Covid vaccination for staff in hospitals and nursing homes, police officers, soldiers, people in certain other professions – and all citizens aged from 60 years or older.

Even though this decree is due to come into force in March, Petr Fiala’s new coalition government plans to revise it before then.

Newly installed health minister Vlastimil Válek said the decree would not include any reference to age as part of the amendments to be introduced in mid-February.

Mr. Válek discussed the government’s intentions on CNN Prima News on Sunday.

“The decree must be revised. The first reason is the rapidity of the mutation of the virus. The decree must respond to the data we receive regarding omicron. The second thing is that, technically, compulsory vaccinations for adults are a clear break with the methodology of the WHO. There must be a clear agreement between countries – at least in the EU – on how to proceed with compulsory vaccinations. “

Vlastimil Valek |  Photo: René Volfík, Czech Radio

One of the first acts of the new coalition government was to announce that it would not seek to extend the state of emergency which is to last until December 25.

Instead, it puts a lot of emphasis on PCR testing, which Minister Válek said would be scaled up significantly.

He said on Sunday that 140,000 PCR tests are currently carried out every day in the Czech Republic.

That is expected to rise to 200,000 per day by mid-January and reach 600,000 by mid-2022, but even that may not be enough, he said.

In any case, the health chief says vaccinations still represent the wisest approach of Covid.

Mr Válek also said it was crucial to ensure that children remained in school and did not have to return to distance education.

Discussing his approach more broadly, the new health chief told CNN Prima News he was not in favor of directive-type measures and would emphasize “explanation and understanding.”

He said he would announce new measures, after weighing the latest data, on December 27.

Mr Válek said he would rather call on the public to moderate their behavior on Christmas rather than introduce new restrictions.

When CNN Prima News host asked what would happen if those calls failed, he replied that things “would end well.”

Meanwhile, the National Council for Health Risks created by the last Czech government is abolished; Vlastimil Válek and his Home Office counterpart Vít Rakušan will now be the main public faces in the state’s battle against the coronavirus.

Berta D. Wells