New restrictions introduced as Czech Covid numbers rise

While the Czech Covid numbers had risen recently, this week they have skyrocketed.

In response, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch announced new measures on Wednesday afternoon, the first of which goes into effect early next week.

“From October 25, it will be mandatory to cover your nose and mouth, that is to say to wear respirators, in all interior spaces, including workplaces. Currently, there is an exception if a collective is stable and it is not required to wear respirators. But from October 25, this exception will no longer apply.

Respirators should also be worn during all mass events.

It is easy to understand why the Czech government acted.

As of Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 3,000 new cases were recorded, doubling the number recorded on the same days last week.

The coronavirus reproduction number has risen to 1.65 and hospitalizations are also increasing rapidly.

Adam Vojtitch |  Photo: Kateřina Šulová, ČTK

As of Wednesday, 726 Covid patients were receiving specialist care (114 reviews), the highest number seen since May.

Further acceleration is expected in the very near future, with the Czech Covid situation now corresponding to what officials call a “risk scenario”.

The Czech Republic introduced Covid certificates several months ago, when they were rolled out across Europe.

However, unlike some other countries, staff at restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other indoor facilities generally did not check certificates, which either indicate that the wearer has been vaccinated against Covid or has tested positive for Covid. in the past six months. .

But that will change from November 1, when customers will be required to produce Covid certificates on entry.

Minister Vojtěch said he believed the operators would not resist this plan.

“I think they understand why we are introducing this requirement. Because these are the places where community transmission can occur. It exists in other countries. Anyone who has recently stayed abroad – in Germany, Austria, France or Italy – knows this requirement is in place. There is therefore nothing extraordinary in the European context.

Additionally, health insurers will no longer cover Covid testing for non-medical purposes from the start of next month, a move that aims to encourage more Czechs to get vaccinated.

Currently, just over six million people are fully immunized out of a population of 10.7 million.

Some regional public health offices and regional governments have recommended that schools declare additional vacation early next week, extending the three-day fall vacation that begins Wednesday, given the Covid situation.

Berta D. Wells