Winter swimming is not just a passing trend, even though it might seem so when we see photos of half-naked celebrities filling their Instagram showing their frozen smiles with the winter landscape in the background. Winter swimming has a long history starting when its beneficial effects on the human immune system have been confirmed.
During the Christmas holidays, the Czech Republic returned to level 5 of the so-called PES system. Since level 5 is the highest level, the strictest countermeasures possible system are currently in effect. These restrictions apply mostly to stores, some services, freedom of movement, or studying, for example. They should supposedly remain in place until January 10 but there is a chance their validity will be further extended.
The government announced that the Czech Republic will move back to the highest 5th level of the anti-epidemic PES system from Sunday, December 27. Due to the increased number of infected people by Covid-19, the Minister of Health Jan Blatný decided to announce new measures, that will last until 10 January 2021.
On Friday, December 18, the Czech Republic will once again return to level 4 of the PES system, which means that restrictions will be tightened. This was decided by the House of Commons on December 14; shortly after the restrictions were initially released. Despite that, stores will remain open. Some politicians and experts are worried that Czechs will actually have to spend this Christmas on level 5 of the PES system.
The Czech Republic will not raise its PES score despite the number of new COVID-19 cases slowly growing again, which would lead to the reintroduction of some countermeasures. The only changes that the Czech Republic will see as a result of the epidemiological situation getting worse, are the restrictions on opening hours of restaurants as well as some other minor measures.
On Thursday, December 3 more of the COVID-19 restrictions will be released in accordance with the PES system as decided by the Czech government on Sunday, November 29. Possibly the biggest changes relate to opening stores and restaurants, though the limit on the number of people at stores remains in place. At the same time, the Minister of Health suggested another extension of the state of emergency.
The Czech government decided to extend the state of emergency up until December 12. The state of emergency was already extended on October 30 until November 20 to continue reducing the rate at which COVID-19 is spreading. At the same time, the government approved releasing some of the previously introduced restrictions.
From Wednesday, November 18, the government introduced a limit on the number of people present in stores at the same time to further decrease the number of new COVID-19 cases. This was decided by the government on Monday, November 16, after photos of stores like Lidl being packed with people started circulating on social media. At the same time, opening hours of stores were extended to 9:00 PM so everyone would be able to do their grocery shopping.
The Czech government has introduced a so-called PES system (“Protiepidemický systém” for long and also “dog” in Czech) – a guide for releasing the restrictions introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic. This plan uses five different levels and a score ranging from 1 to 100 to describe the current epidemiological situation in Czechia. In accordance with the levels and the score, the current restrictions will be either released or – if the situation starts getting worse again – tightened.