Czech government tightens Covid restrictions amidst surge of new cases

The Czech Ministry of Health has announced a tightening of restrictions amidst an upsurge of new Covid-19 cases. Starting next Friday, Czechs who are not fully vaccinated will have to undergo a test for the coronavirus when returning from abroad, since a single Covid vaccine will no longer be considered sufficient protection.

Over the past week, Covid numbers in the Czech Republic have considerable worsened. On Thursday, the Covid reproduction number, the average number of people infected by one person with the virus, climbed to 1.2.

That is the highest level since the end of February, when the situation in the country was at its worst, and signifies an accelerated spread of the virus.

More positive tests have also been recorded in the past week, with daily figures in some cases being almost 50 percent higher than the week before.

Adam Vojtěch | Photo: archive of the Office of Czech Government

In an attempt to curb the spread of the more infectious Delta variant, health minister Adam Vojtěch on Thursday announced a tightening of measures regarding foreign travel:

“We have been seeing an import of the delta variant. With the start of the tourist season the danger is greater. Many people are bringing this mutation home when returning from holidays abroad.”

Under the new regulations, due to come into force next Friday, Czechs who are not fully vaccinated will have to undergo a test for the coronavirus on their return from a foreign country.

According to Mr Vojtěch, hygienists will carry out more frequent checks to see if people are complying with self-isolation after returning from high-risk countries.

He also said employers may not allow staff to return after a foreign trip if they do not produce a negative test.

People who have recovered from Covid-19 within the past 180 days will  not be required to have a test when they come back from abroad.

Vaccination certificate | Photo: ÚZIS ČR

The government has also moved to tighten the rules at home. A single dose of the covid-19 vaccine will no longer be a pass to restaurants or  concerts. Under the new rules, which come into force next Friday, people will have to produce a negative test, a certificate of full vaccination or post-Covid immunity.

Prague has seen the biggest upsurge in coronavirus cases, but for the time being the ministry is not planning to introduce measures on a regional scale.

“The fact is that the situation in hospitals is not getting worse at the moment. To the contrary, the number of hospitalised patients is decreasing. So I think there is no reason to adopt any restrictive measures in Prague at the present time.”

Mr Vojěch also said that while Czechs will no longer be banned from visiting countries with extreme risk of contracting the coronavirus infection, such trips are strictly non-recommended.