Liberec, North Bohemia, July 21 (CTK) – The compulsory wearing of face masks in health and social care facilities, pharmacies and other selected premises has been reintroduced in the Liberec Region over the rising number of new COVID-19 cases as of Friday, the regional public health authority (KHS) announced today.
The measure is to prevent the infection from spreading, KHS director Vladimir Valenta told journalists.
There are about 100 patients with coronavirus in the region now, including two in a serious condition in the hospital. A sharp increase in their numbers has been mainly recorded in the Jablonec nad Nisou district and its central town, where there are several clusters and almost 40 COVID-19 patients.
The district reported more than 24 patients per 100,000 inhabitants in the past week, according to the data the Health Ministry released this afternoon.
The situation is even worse only in Karvina and Frydek-Mistek, two districts in the Moravia-Silesia Region, with 62 and 38 patients per 100,000 inhabitants.
“We have decided to reintroduce [the face mask duty] in health and social care facilities because these are the places with both vulnerable groups of people and the risk of the staff’s infection. Other measures, such as the face masks wearing in public transport and everywhere indoors…, would fall into consideration if the situation further escalated,” Valenta said.
He said no restriction of mass events is being planned for now.
To the staff of many hospitals and seniors’ homes in the Liberec Region, the face masks reintroduction means no big change, because they have been wearing them since early July already, and some have also required this from the visitors, they told CTK.
In the second half of June, the Liberec Region saw the number of COVID-19 patients rise mainly in the industrial plants in the regional capital Liberec and in connection with foreign workforce.
At present, the situation in Liberec, a town with some 100,000 inhabitants, is calming down, but new clusters have appeared in the Ceska Lipa and Jablonec nad Nisou districts.
About 150 cases of coronavirus were registered in the Liberec Region in the past month and a total of 356 since the early March coronavirus outburst in Czechia. About 70 percent of the patients have recovered and five died, all of them being old people.
The new cases have been linked not only to foreign workers but also include Czechs who returned from France or caught the infection from business contacts in Central Bohemia.
Liberec Region Governor Martin Puta (Mayors for the Liberec Region) said the region will open more coronavirus testing points, since there has been only one, in the Liberec hospital, in the past weeks. “A new testing point will open in the Jablonec nad Nisou hospital, probably as of Friday, and another will be prepared by the Ceska Lipa hospital in case of need,” Puta told CTK.
Apart from the current testing point, samples have been taken from people by paramedics at home, and some local companies organized the testing of their staff at the workplace.