The gradual easing of anti-coronavirus restrictions in the Czech Republic has not had an impact on either the number of new COVID-19 cases or the mortality rate, Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told journalists at a press conference this morning.
He spoke to journalists today before the final and largest step in the government’s plan to lift restrictions, which will include the opening of restaurants, pubs, and swimming pools, will take place on Monday, May 25.
“There were no major fluctuations last week, and now we are at the end of 14 days from the last wave of [lifting restrictions] on May 11,” said Vojtěch.
“The epidemiological situation does not show any negative trends, and the Czech Republic has managed the whole situation well, above average compared to other countries.”
On Thursday, the percentage of new coronavirus cases versus the number of tests performed dipped to .46%, the lowest this month. From more than 7,000 tests, only 33 new cases were reported.
The number of COVID-19 recoveries is also rising faster than the number of new cases being reported.
“Today, we already have over 66% of patients who have recovered from COVID-19, and the number of deaths is stagnating,” Vojtěch added.
It’s not all good news, however, as Vojtěch pointed to two problematic areas: the recent COVID-19 breakout in the Darkov coal mine, where 150 workers have now tested positive for COVID-19, and the general prevalence of COVID-19 cases in the capital city of Prague.
“At one time it was Domažlice, Cheb. Now we have the biggest problem in the Karviná region within OKD and the Darkov mine. There, the situation is perhaps a little more complicated.”
“The second locality, which is a bit more problematic, is in Prague, where we have several smaller outbreaks of the disease. It is simply something we must keep watching. It is a local spread.”
According to Vojtěch, the focus will now be on monitoring workers in potentially risky professions, which will include not only health professionals but also staff at venues that are set to re-open from May 25. Waiters and others within the service industry are likely to come into contact with a greater number of people, increasing their risk of exposure, Vojtěch said.
While the mandatory requirement to wear face masks in public areas outdoors will be lifted as of May 25, they are still recommended, and required in public transportation and at shops and restaurants, when not eating or drinking.
Vojtěch appeared at the conference without epidemiologist and Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula, who has been one of the most prominent figures from the Czech government during the coronavirus crisis.
A falling out has been reported between the two in Czech media, with Prymula set to leave his post at the end of May.