Press Advisories

25. 2. 202110:44

The government will ask the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of emergency until the end of March

At an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, 24 February 2021, the government of Andrej Babiš approved a request proposal to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic to extend the state of emergency declared for the territory of the Czech Republic until 31 March. The government also dealt with the proposal for antigenic self-testing of employees in companies and self-employed persons with the financial support of health insurance companies.

Due to the very unfavourable epidemic situation, the government came to the conclusion that the current crisis cannot be solved only with the help of the forthcoming pandemic law. It does not give the Ministry of Health the power to declare sufficiently effective measures aimed primarily at restricting the mobility of citizens or the possibility of imposing a work duty, for example, to help overloaded hospitals. The government therefore decided to ask the Chamber of Deputies to revoke its resolution of 18 February 2021, No. 1530 on the abolition of the state of emergency, and at the same time to agree to extend the state of emergency declared for the territory of the Czech Republic until 31 March.

The government is convinced that the reasons for the continuation of the state of emergency in the Czech Republic persist. The epidemic development in the country is not improving, on the contrary, it has worsened due to the rapid spread of the British variant of the virus and the number of both newly infected and serious cases is increasing, which leads to the overload of Czech hospitals.

At the same time, the Cabinet also dealt with how to most effectively prevent the spread of the disease in one of the most common locations – companies, without the need to restrict their operation. The government therefore approved the proposal of the Ministry of Health to introduce comprehensive antigenic self-testing of employees and self-employed persons, which will be partially covered by public health insurance. Health insurance companies will pay for self-tests from their prevention funds, which are intended specifically to cover health services for which there is a demonstrable preventive, diagnostic or therapeutic effect and which are provided to insured persons in connection with their existing or imminent illness.

The Ministry of Health has published a list of suitable test kits (in Czech language) that have been granted an exemption for layman's use and will keep it up to date. It will also prepare an amendment to the laws governing the creation of prevention funds of health insurance companies in order to ensure sufficient funding for a contribution to companies. The contribution will be based on the actual costs of obtaining a self-test, but not more than four times 60 crowns per employee per month. From 1 March, employers will be able to purchase selected tests.

In addition, employees continue to have the opportunity to undergo regular antigenic testing organised by healthcare professionals, such as company physicians, covered by public health insurance. Health insurance companies already pay one antigenic test every three days for their clients.

The government also discussed new protective measure of the Ministry of Health, which responds to the threat of the spread of more aggressive coronavirus variants – Brazilian and South African – in the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Health therefore banned Czech citizens and other persons residing in the Czech Republic from entering countries with an extreme risk of these variants, with urgent exceptions, from February 26 to April 11. These include Botswana, Brazil, Eswatini (Swaziland), South Africa, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania (including Zanzibar and Pemba), Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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