Press Advisories

10. 3. 202015:22

Due to the spread of the coronavirus, visits to hospitals and social care institutions will be prohibited, with some exceptions

At an emergency meeting on Monday, 9 March 2020, the State Security Council again discussed the situation regarding the spread of the COVID-19 infection. It discussed further preventive measures being prepared by the Ministry of Health, this time affecting in-patient wards of hospitals and social care institutions. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš again urged Czech citizens to reconsider their travel plans to high-risk areas with an increased incidence of SARS-CoV-2.

On the basis of the State Security Council meeting the Ministry of Health will announce with effect from Tuesday 10 March emergency measures for all providers of in-patient health services (in Czech language), in which visits to patients are prohibited with the exception of those to minors, patients with limited legal capacity, nursing mothers and patients in the terminal stage of an incurable disease or in hospices. The same measure will apply in social care institutions with residential services.

“First of all, I would like to thank all our citizens for their understanding for the measures taken by the State Security Council, but mainly by the Ministry of Health. We are proceeding in accordance with the Act on the Protection of Public Health and the health of our fellow citizens is of course our priority. And I would like in particular to thank the hygienists, because they really have a very demanding job now, and all the healthcare professionals involved in sampling and conducting tests. There have been 928 of these so far, and we still have, as far as I am aware, only 32 positive cases, with most of these in domestic quarantine,” said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš after the meeting.

According to Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch, the prohibition on visits is aimed at groups of the population where there is a risk of infection and a threat to their lives. “These are mainly senior citizens, multi-morbid patients, people who are basically in vulnerable groups; if they were infected it could have fatal consequences for them. We need to protect these people as a priority,” Minister Vojtěch explained. The Ministry of Health is also preparing recommendations for field social service providers so that their employees are provided with at least protective masks when visiting clients at home.

In view of the rapid spread of coronavirus, particularly in Europe, the State Security Council, by agreement with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has recommended that people re-consider their travel plans to areas with the highest incidence of the coronavirus. “To this end, we recommend that you monitor the data on the areas of highest incidence, published regularly on the website of the Ministry of Health. For example, we strongly recommend not travelling to Iran,” said the Prime Minister. At its afternoon session the government will probably also ban foreign business trips by state officials. "Exceptions will be granted only by the competent Minister," Mr Babiš added.

The State Security Council also discussed the issue of providing in-patient care for patients in need of intensive care due to their medical condition as well as beds equipped with assisted breathing apparatus. The Ministry of Health has reviewed the situation; at present the Czech Republic has enough ventilators, about 20 per 100,000 inhabitants. However, for preventive reasons, the ministry has agreed to purchase an additional 150 lung ventilators. The government will also send another 190,000 respirators out to Czech healthcare this week.

The Ministry of Health will also receive from travel agencies a list of those staying in affected areas to ensure that regional hygiene stations have an overview of persons at risk and can have them prophylactically examined upon their return.

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