Press Advisories

13. 10. 2020 0:19

Government to tighten preventative measures from Wednesday and send protective equipment to disabled pensioners

At a press conference, the government announced new measures against coronavirus, 12 October 2020.
At a press conference, the government announced new measures against coronavirus, 12 October 2020.
There will be a further tightening of the anti-epidemic measures in the Czech Republic from Wednesday, 14 October. Their scope was approved by the government of Andrej Babiš at the meeting on Monday, 12 October 2020. It also decided to release 190 000 FFP2 respirators and a million masks from the state reserves for severely handicapped persons and it also approved the release of up to 205 million crowns for the purchase of remdesivir.

After an all-day meeting with experts, social partners and representatives of the opposition, the government approved new crisis measures, with which it wants to reverse the unfavourable development of the Covid-19 disease. “Since the morning, we have essentially been discussing those measures we decided on and we are aware that we only have one shot at this. One shot that has to be successful. Successful so that we manage to handle the growth in the epidemic this time as well,” stated Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

From Wednesday it will not be possible  for more than six people to congregate in one place, either inside or outside, organised or not, except for precisely specified exceptions. Patrons will not be able to go to restaurants, bars and similar catering establishments. They can only be served through a dispensing window, though only until 8 p.m. The only exception will be hotel restaurants for hotel guests and wedding and funeral receptions. All music, dance, gaming and other social clubs and discotheques must also close. It will be entirely prohibited to consume alcoholic beverages in public.

There will also be changes in the operation of school facilities. Following the drastic reductions of theoretical instruction at universities and high schools, elementary schools, after-school activities and school clubs will also be completely closed from 14 October. “What is important and positive is that today we already know when we will be opening these schools, and that will be on 2 November, and of course there are also holidays for one week from 26 October. So, we are actually talking about two weeks,” the Prime Minister stated. “We also decided and agreed within the coalition that we will change the care-giver’s allowance, which should stay at 60 per cent, but with a minimum of 400 crowns a day,” added Andrej Babiš.

The regional governors and Prague Mayor, however, were tasked by the government to ensure care for children aged 3-10 of employees in law enforcement, the armed forces and other branches of the integrated emergency services, hygienic stations and also providers of health and social services, so that the operation of critical infrastructure and health and social facilities is not endangered.

University dormitories, youth homes and boarding schools will be prohibited to accommodate students, with the exception of those on whom the government imposed a work obligation. The work obligation applies to students of selected years of medical faculties, pharmacy, dentistry and higher vocational and secondary medical schools.

Starting from 13 October, people will newly have to wear masks or other protective breathing equipment at mass transit stops, platforms and waiting rooms“We want to ask the public and citizens for their understanding. It is very important because we do not want to risk a scenario here like in Israel or what Italy went through in the spring. Of course, it was a hard decision, but I think that we have a clear vision of how to return to normal and I am convinced that we will succeed together with you and that we will defeat the virus like we managed to do in the first wave. We have experience, we have a clear plan, but now the priority is for our hospitals to manage the onslaught of people that are hospitalised with Covid-19,” the Prime Minister urged.

The government also renewed the restriction of operations of social services and the ban on leaving the building or complex of the facilities for the clients of social services (in Czech language), as was the case in the spring, and it adopted measures so that citizens who apply for the provisioning of non-insurance social benefits do not have to go submit their application in person, but for the offices to accept the requests electronically (in Czech language) or to automatically extend them.

The government also decided to release 190 000 FFP2 respirators and 1 000 000 masks from the state material reserves in order to provide them free of charge to people benefiting from a disability pension for a third-degree disability and people younger than 18 who were granted a disability card for a severe health disability (ZTP) or severe health disability requiring special assistance (ZTP/P). The distribution is arranged by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs through the Czech Social Security Administration or through the Labour Office of the Czech Republic, which will distribute them in cooperation with the Czech Post Office. For this purpose, the government has released 5.95 million crowns from the government budget reserves. You can find more information in the press release of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in Czech language).

The state will also provide personal protective equipment for employees of facilities for children requiring immediate help and vulnerable children, to whom care is also provided during the state of emergency. Up to 26 580 FFP2 respirators, 186 000 masks, 49 500 protective gloves and 2 475 protective shields will be available for these facilities from the state material reserves for the duration of the state of emergency. More in the press release of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in Czech language).

The government also approved the release of up to 205 million crowns to arrange for the purchase of the medicine Veklury from Gilead Sciences, which contains the active substance remdesivir. The purchase will take place through the European Union, which has contracted a volume of deliveries with the American producer. Due to its limited production capacity and the huge demand, the company does not negotiate with individual countries, but only with multinational units. The Czech Republic currently has a supply of 10 000 vials promised for the month of October, i.e. treatment for about 1 650 patients, and increasing supplies for the following months. The amount that the government has released from the budget reserve represents the expenses for the payment of deliveries for two months.

The government has also approved a draft amendment to a law for some measures to ease the effects of the epidemic of the coronavirus designated as SARS-CoV-2 in the area of cultural events. The amendment extends the effect of the act, which enables organisers to defer until 30 September 2021 the return of the entrance fees for events that were supposed to have been held during the effect of the amendment, but due to the ongoing epidemic had to be cancelled.

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