An overview of current coronavirus countermeasures in Czech Republic

11-03-2020

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the country is the “most active” when it comes to combating the coronavirus COVID-19 in Europe. The State Security Council has certainly issued many executive orders in recent weeks to help fight the sickness. Here is a rundown of what is in place in some key areas as of Wednesday, March 11.

Photo: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay / CC0Photo: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay / CC0

Flights

Bus line 119, photo: ŠJů, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0Bus line 119, photo: ŠJů, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0 Flight connections between the Czech Republic and Northern Italy (Milan, Bergamo, Venice, Bologna) as well as South Korea have been cancelled for two weeks since March 5. Furthermore all direct flights from China to international airports in the Czech Republic have been cancelled for an indefinite period since early February. Targeted screenings of passengers are in progress at airports. The frequency of Prague‘s bus line 119, which connects commuters to the country’s main airport is set to be limited, as well as the lines 107 and 143. Prague City Hall has also announced that disinfections of the city’s public transport carriages will increase.

Roads and public transport

Photo: ČTK / Slavomír KubešPhoto: ČTK / Slavomír Kubeš Random temperature checks are in progress on ten of the country’s road border crossings for an indefinite period. They are conducted by teams made up of police, firefighters and border guards. Quarantine measures are put in place for those whose temperatures measure at 38 degrees Celsius or above. Authorities have said that limitations on public transport, or even the quarantining of cities could be put in place if necessary, but such measures are not warranted in the present situation.

Schools

All primary and secondary schools, as well as trade schools and universities have been closed in the country starting Wednesday for an indefinite period. The measure could be in place for at least a month, Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula said in a Tuesday interview with online channel DVTV. Some schools have announced that they will continue teaching over the internet. Meanwhile, kindergartens remain open.

Illustrative photo: skeeze, Pixabay / CC0Illustrative photo: skeeze, Pixabay / CC0 Parents of school children who are under the age of ten will be able to take nursing care leave (ošetřovné) from work for a period of 9 days, provided that they ask the school to give them the document confirming that they are eligible and send it on to their employer. Single parents have the right to take 16 days of leave. Those on leave will receive 60 percent of their salary as compensation.

Public events

Events hosting 100 people or more have been banned as of Tuesday evening. Many large public and private events, such as Prague’s International Film Festival, have therefore been cancelled. Some cinemas have limited the capacity of their screenings to 99 people in order to fulfil the criteria. The general ban on events also applies to major sporting events. Whether individual tournaments continue to be played without an audience depends on the respective associations.

Ban on visits

Illustrative photo: ČT24Illustrative photo: ČT24 Visiting old people's homes and inpatient departments in hospitals has been banned to protect groups most at risk. Exceptions are in place for children departments, those in terminal stages of incurable diseases and those with limited legal capacity.

Employers

The Ministry of Health has published a manual of recommendations for employers on how to minimize risk of infection and the spread of COVID-19 in the work environment. Businesses are advised to establish an emergency plan about what to do in case one of their employees gets infected, or is traveling abroad. According to the Health Ministry guidelines, “home office arrangements should be in place for employees to the largest extent possible“.

Getting tested for COVID-19

Photo: leo2014, Pixabay / CC0Photo: leo2014, Pixabay / CC0 If you are showing signs of the COVID-19 coronavirus you need to call, skype or email either your registered doctor, the Medical Emergency Service, or your respective regional hygienic station. It is necessary the contact is made impersonally so that infection risk is limited. If the relevant professional establishes that your symptoms meet the COVID-19 criteria a suited medical team is sent to your house where a sample is taken and later tested. Those individuals who have arrived to the Czech Republic from Italy from March 7 onwards are required to immediately inform their doctor.

Arriving from abroad

Those individuals who have arrived to the Czech Republic from Italy from March 7 onwards are required to immediately inform their doctor via phone or other means that do not include physical contact. The doctor will subsequently decide if you need to be tested or undergo two week quarantine. Travel to Italy and Iran is not recommended. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends all Czechs abroad register in its DROZD database, which enables better orientation for authorities regarding possible carrier risks.

Information

Aside from media channels, many of which have created special pages for minute by minute updates on the situation, the Ministry of Health website contains a special “Citizens Information” page, which lists a timeline of measures that have been put in place, answers to the most common questions about COVID-19 and links to PDF documents containing related information for businesses and employees. Furthermore, an official information phone line has been set up that people can call for coronavirus related advice (724 810 106 and 725 191 367).

11-03-2020