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H.E. Tomáš KUCHTA, Ambassador of Czech Republic

Czech Republic Introduced “Intelligent Quarantine” Approach

To detect COVID-19 the so-called PCR tests are used, which confirm the rapid increase of sections of DNA. This method is recommended by the WHO. Testing is prescribed by epidemiologist and physician. Only those with symptoms are being tested. In some testing locations, however, the population can ask for the test without a specific recommendation from physician/epidemiologist.
Tomaš Kuhta ambasador

Blood samples and swaps are done in 36 spots all over the country. At least one testing spot per province is guaranteed. Mainly those are hospitals but also labs or specifically permitted testing sites. Testing as such is done in 62 laboratories in various locations all over the country.

All citizens in public areas (public transport, public places, offices, meeting places, etc.) are obliged to wear a face mask or a respirator covering nose and mouth. Onto individual regions protective cloth, disinfection, blood testing kits are distributed. The distribution to concrete establishments is done on a regional level.

“Intelligent quarantine” approach enables tracking contact history using patients cell phones

When quarantine indicated the citizen must stay home. The only exception is to visit physician or hospital, in which case however the visit must be consulted in advance over the telephone. The person is forbidden to use public transport or stay in public places. The quarantined person should be separated from the rest of the family. Shopping of groceries should be done by another member of the family. In case of more severe symptoms, the patient is transferred to a hospital.

There is no medicine available to treat COVID-19 as such. MH (Ministry of Health) recommends patients to use at least medicaments to suppress pain and symptoms, mainly medicine containing ibuprophen (ibalgin, brufen, nurofen), paracetamol (Panadol) and medicaments containing acetylsalic acid (Aspirin, Acylpirin). MH is the regulator for distribution of Plaqenil with the aim to ensure sufficient amounts for those infected with the coronavirus. Plaqenil us used to treat malaria, skin diseases or arthritis and it seem as having an effect on COVID-19. The government wants to make sure that the medicine is available for patients. The MH permitted distribution and application of non-registered Remdesivir for patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection, which are hospitalized and their condition requires assisted breathing.

All citizens are obliged to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth. Free movement has been limited until 1 April 2020. A person can move outside only to go to work, visit family or relatives and to shop basic groceries, medicine and food for animals, visit physician or visit services in cases where there it is impossible to postpone (recently, some bans were lifted, see following text). Individual visits to parks and nature are permitted. Staying on public places and contact with other citizens must be however limited to a minimum. With the exception of citizens over 65 years of age and persons with special needs over 50 years of age, it is forbidden to enter shops bigger than 500 sq.metres from 8:00 to 10:00.

Shops were closed with the exception to groceries, hygiene and detergent stores (including optics, cosmetics, and laundries), pharmacies, petrol stations (including repairs and spare parts shops), textile shops, real estate offices, accountancy offices and tax advisory services.

Visits to hospitals and other health care institutions/social care institutions were forbidden. The exception is given to visits of children, patients with limited legal responsibility, and patients in terminal care establishment. Special measures are taken to protect nursing home inhabitants (seniors). Any establishment providing accommodation must reserve capacity of 10% to isolate clients who have been tested positive (and do not need acute care in the hospital). There is a general recommendation for all citizens that persons 70+ should stay home.

Regular health care services were limited to the minimum needed in order to allow for a bigger capacity of hospitals. Health care workers are forbidden to take leave. Restaurants for the public were closed (with the exception to e.g. company employee-only restaurants).
Czech citizens and citizens on the permanent permit are forbidden to leave the country. Foreigners are not allowed to enter the country. In this context, the border regime has been revoked. Persons coming from risk countries are obliged to inform their physician, who will decide about quarantine.

Personal transport of people with more than 9 passengers over borders is forbidden. Same applies for railroad and waterway transport means. Air cargo is permitted only on the main international airport in Prague. Until further notice, no trucks over 7,5 tons are allowed to enter roads during the weekends.

All sport and cultural events are cancelled. Primary, secondary and universities are closed. Regional governments are obliged to provide so-called “children groups” to look after children aged 3 – 10 years of age who are children of members of the emergency, public security and or health/social care employees. Secondary school leaving tests will take place 3 weeks after the schools will open (if this will happen until 1st of June). If not, the final results will be the average of the last 3 yearly grades in given subjects.

Export of respirators type FFP3 and medicine is forbidden. The sale can be done only to health care and social establishments, units of the integrated emergency system (police, fire brigades, and emergency) and other state organization. All business establishment producing disinfection were forbidden to export the items abroad. The working obligation was given to students of higher grades of medical faculties and faculties which prepare its students to become health care/emergency worker.

Telephone information portals, internet portal and mobile application were created to inform about the actual situation, measures and recommendations.

Starting from the beginning of April 2020 the Czech Government will be testing the so-called “intelligent quarantine” approach, which will enable to track contact history using patients cell phones to determine all contacts the quarantined person have had during the incubation period and implement testing/preventive measures to minimize the spread of infection. It is currently planned to mainstream the approach mid-April to cover the whole of the Czech Republic.

For the moment (17 April) The Czech Republic is relatively successful: 154 307 tested persons, 6437 positive, 170 died.


25 April 2020

UPDATE

The Government of the Czech Republic has taken the following measures due to coronavirus proliferation during its meeting on 23 April 2020:

1) As of Friday 24 April, the measure concerning the free movement in public has been changed. Free movement of people outside and during sports activities will be possible for groups of up to 10 people (specified hygienic conditions have to be followed, e.g. keeping a safe distance),

2) the speeded-up plan to release business and other activities have been introduced:
• as of 20 April – craft workshops, farmers’ markets, car dealers, outdoor training activities of professional athletes, weddings of up to 10 people,
• as of 27 April – business premises up to 2 500 m2, only if they are not in shopping malls over 5 000 m2), driving schools, gyms and fitness facilities without the possibility of using locker rooms and showers, church services of up to 15 people, libraries, outdoor expositions of zoological gardens,
• as of 11 May – shopping centres, business premises over 2 500 m2, restaurants can open their gardens while serving food there, beauty services, museums, galleries, outdoor premises of castles and chateaus, activities of professional athletes without public,
• as of 25 May – restaurants, accommodation services, taxi services, tattoo salons, theatres, cultural and sporting events (limit of participants TBC), weddings, outdoor expositions of zoological gardens,

3) as of Monday 27 April, the rules for crossing state borders have been changed. EU citizens arriving in the Czech Republic for business purposes or university students from EU countries can now arrive in the Czech Republic. Czech citizens are able to travel abroad, however, on their return, they have to submit to a 14 days quarantine or undergo a test with a negative result on COVID-19,

4) the ban on receiving patients to spa rehabilitation care centres has been abolished. These will have to follow stricter hygienic conditions,

5) the requirements for the allocation of beds for clients of social services with a proven Covid-19 disease have been lowered. Newly, the regions and the capital city of Prague have to allocate 10 beds per 100,000 inhabitants,

6) the bill on certain measures to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus epidemic in sport has been adopted. The proposal provides the extension of the powers of the National sports agency, so it is able to prepare the relevant grant programs,

7) the Government took note of the information on the implementation of the Covid-19 Collective Immunity Study,

8) as of Monday 27 April, new measures apply in education. All university students are now able to take part in personal individual consultations.


The Government of the Czech Republic has taken the following measures due to coronavirus proliferation during its meeting on 24 April 2020:

1) The request for extension of the state of emergency until 25 May has been approved,

2) the proposal for an extraordinary contribution of CZK 4 billion to the Export Guarantee and Insurance Company (EGAP) fund has been approved. The money is intended to cover liabilities from guarantees that EGAP will provide primarily for loans to large companies,

3) the regulation on the implementation of certain provisions of the Act on Insurance and Financing of Exports with State Aid has been approved. This regulates, for example, the purpose and scope of guarantees, the conditions for their provision, the amount of coverage of the outstanding loan principal sum or the procedure for the payment of all funds from the state budget to the export insurance company,

4) the plan of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to gradually release measures in social services has been approved:
• as of 27 April – social services will be functional online and via telephone,
• as of 11 May – social services will be working in the field and outings of clients of social accommodating services are permitted,
• as of 25 May – social services for families with kids will be working in the field, families with kids can use outpatient operation and daycare centres for kids will be reopened,
• as of 8 June – daycare centres, social services for handicapped persons and permission to visit social accommodating services,

5) the new crisis measure, which allows experts and other key employees from the Republic of Korea to come to the Czech Republic for the needs of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech in Nošovice, has been approved. This concerns the total of 786 professionals, whose stay in the Czech Republic will be conditioned by following strict hygienic measures.

Useful links:

English version of the information portal of the MH
English version of the measures taken on the Czech Government portal
List of measures listed on the website of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in the USA

Tomáš KUCHTA Ambassador

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