Facemask requirement eased but new restrictions for area hit by spike in Covid-19 cases

Photo: Lenka Žižková

From Wednesday it will only be compulsory to wear facemasks at health facilities in most parts of the Czech Republic. However, coronavirus measures will be intensified rather than eased in an area in the east of the country hit by a spike in new cases in recent days.

Photo: HM Treasury,  Flickr,  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sunday saw the continuation of days of marked rises in Covid-19 cases in the Czech Republic, with 305 detected. That was the highest one-day jump since early April.

Most of these cases were recorded in Karviná in the Moravian-Silesian Region, where over 2,000 tests were carried out in one day following an outbreak centred on a coal mine.

The minister of health, Adam Vojtěch, discussed the situation at a news briefing on Monday.

“In the latest data from recent days the situation is not satisfactory. There has been community spread of the disease, so we will impose stricter restrictions from Tuesday. The increase has mainly been generated by mass testing of miners, and those in contact with them, at the mining company OKD. Unfortunately, however, it is also because of the indiscipline of some of our fellow citizens.”

Adam Vojtěch,  photo: ČTK/Šulová Kateřina

The fresh measures imposed on Karviná and the adjacent Frýdek-Místek area include a ban on visiting hospitals or social care facilities.

The maximum attendance at public events will be 100. Pubs and restaurants will again have to close at 11 pm.

In the entire Moravian-Silesian Region facemasks must be worn on public transport, in enclosed spaces and at events for over 100.

By contrast, most of the Czech Republic can look forward to the option of setting aside their face masks on July 1.

From Wednesday it will only be compulsory to cover one’s mouth and nose at hospitals or other healthcare facilities.

However, Prague is still one of the parts of the country with the highest incidence of the coronavirus, so some special provisions will remain in place in the capital, Minister Vojtěch told journalists.

Photo: Lenka Žižková

“It will be compulsory to wear facemasks at indoor events attended by over 100 people. They will also be compulsory on underground public transport, meaning on the Metro. However, it must be said that the situation in Prague is more or less stable. It’s not escalating, though we do still see 10, 15, 20 cases a day.”

The reproduction number in Prague is around 1.0, national health statistics chief Ladislav Dušek told journalists. In the Moravian-Silesian Region it is 1.5, he said.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic’s “traffic light” system for allowing in visitors from other countries has been amended.

The United Kingdom and the Silesian Voivodeship in Poland have been moved to “green” category, meaning their citizens may now enter Czech territory without a Covid-free certificate or entering quarantine.