White protective sterile face masks via iStock / mihalec

Too early to say when people may leave face masks home, says Czech Health Minister

It is still too early to set any date for the lifting of the duty to wear a face mask if people are in public space, according to Adam Vojtěch

Prague, April 14 (CTK) – It is still too early to set any date for the lifting of the duty to wear a face mask if people are in public space, Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (for ANO) told journalists today after a cabinet meeting that presented a plan for reopening shops and loosening restrictions.

“We agreed that we would not set any date for the lifting of the duty. From our point of view, the face masks have proved to be a very important measure,” Vojtěch said about one of the rules introduced to curb the new coronavirus epidemic.

Wearing a face mask will remain obligatory, except for individual sports such as running or cycling and for drivers in motor vehicles, with which the government and the Health Ministry agreed already before.

Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula said it is necessary to monitor the development of the epidemic and secure that the number of infected people does not radically increase.

Prymula said earlier today that the latest data on the number of reported infections showed that the country has control over the coronavirus spread and it would be possible to loosen some restrictive measures. But if the number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases steeply increased, the government would stop loosening the measures, he added.

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He said he would consider the increase steep if there were 400 new cases a day in the country. He nevertheless added that this number is not the only criterion as the numbers of patients at intensive care units and those put on ventilators would have to be monitored.

On Monday and last week, the daily number of confirmed infections was always under 300. On Friday and Saturday, it was under 200, and on Sunday and Monday under 100. The number of patients with COVID-19 demanding intensive care was 92 and the total number of those who died in Czechia was 161.

Vojtěch said the government would be considering whether to prolong the state of emergency shortly before its possible expiration based on the latest data on the development of the epidemic.

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Last week, the lower house of parliament approved the proposed prolongation of the state of emergency and the government prolonged it until April 30. The state of emergency was declared on March 12.

Vojtěch said the measures limiting the free movement of people in the country are related to the state of emergency.

At present, maximally two people should be together in public, except for those living in the same household. Restrictions have also been imposed on travelling – people are allowed to go to work or go shopping.

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