Due to record daily numbers of new COVID-19 cases, the Czech government has extended the duration of the current restrictions until January 22. It is the same date when the state of emergency should supposedly end as well. Originally, the countermeasures should have been in place until January 10.
Record Numbers of New Daily Cases
Given the fact that the number of new daily cases has been rapidly increasing again, on Thursday, January 7, the government decided to extend the duration of the current countermeasures until January 22. They were originally supposed to remain in effect until January 10 but in the last few days, it was obvious their duration would have to be extended. Health Minister Jan Blatný believes that the restrictions will take effect on the epidemiological situation within the next week. However, if nothing changes and the situation doesn’t start getting better, not only will the duration of the restrictions be extended even further, but the restrictions may in fact tighten, as the Health Minister revealed. He will likely introduce his colleagues to the countermeasures that have been put into effect in the neighbouring countries where the situation is much better than in the Czech Republic.
The Minister also warned that without countermeasures the situation in Czechia would be even worse than it was in Italy during the first wave in spring of 2020. According to him, if the number of new cases – and thus also the number of hospitalized people – continues increasing at the same rate as it has until now, doctors may not be able to attend even to people injured in serious car accidents or assist in with difficult births where the life of the mother and child are threatened.
This, of course, also means that ski resorts, hotels and restaurants will remain closed even though many hotel, restaurant and ski resort owners demanded that the government allows them to reopen. This proposal was, however, rejected.
Currently, the Czech Republic remains on level 5 of the PES system. Because of this, there are restrictions on the free movement and gatherings of people, night curfew and most shops and services also have to remain closed, as mentioned before. Besides that, employers must allow their employees to work from home if possible, wearing face masks is mandatory in all public spaces, and only one person per 15 square metres can be present in a store at one time.
One of the most important aspects of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is, of course, immunization of the global population. So far, 20 000 people have been vaccinated in the Czech Republic. The only vaccine that is currently available in the country is the one from Pfizer and BioNTech. This Wednesday the EU approved also the vaccine developed by Moderna and about 20 000 doses of this vaccine should be available in the Czech Republic in January, though the number of ordered doses that was originally higher.