Development of events over time
In relation to the current COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Health is systematically monitoring the situation and is in close contact with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Ministry of Health has therefore prepared a regularly updated summary of information for citizens.
The government has declared a state of emergency in the Czech Republic due to health risks related to the proven incidence of coronavirus (identified as SARS CoV-2). The state of emergency was declared for 30 days starting from 12 March 2020. As a part of the state of emergency, the movement of people in the Czech Republic has been restricted as of 16 March 2020, presently until Saturday, 30 April 2020. The individual measures related to the state of emergency are also published on the website of the Office of the Czech Government.
The valid exemptions are available in the extraordinary measures of the CZ MoH.
On Monday, 6 April 2020, new measures were adopted in connection to the state of emergency.
- From 0:00 a.m. of 7 April 2020, it is permitted to conduct individual outdoor sports. Furthermore, it is permitted to conduct outdoor sporting activities without personal respiratory protection, if a safe distance of at least 2 meters is maintained between persons.
- From 0:00 a.m. of 7 April 2020, the exemption from the prohibition of retail sales and sales at establishments, stipulated on 12 March 2020, is extended to the collection of raw materials and buyback yards and composting yards.
- From 0:00 a.m. of 9 April 2020, the exemption from the prohibition of retail sales and sales at establishments, stipulated on 12 March 2020, is extended to hobby markets and bicycle stores and repair shops.
- From 0:00 a.m. of 9 April 2020, all establishments which are exempted from the prohibition of retail sales and sales at establishments, stipulated on 12 March 2020, are obliged to ensure disinfectant products and protective gloves at the entrance. This no longer applies only to grocery stores, but to all open establishments. All customers in the open establishments must maintain a hygienic distance of two meters between individual persons. The establishments are also obliged to post information flyers with the new extraordinary measures, which will be available for download on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
There will also be a change in the possibility of travelling from the Czech Republic. It will be possible for all persons to travel abroad for purposes of essential travel. When returning to the Czech Republic, this person will be ordered into quarantine at home for 14 days.
On Wednesday, 1 April 2020, the Ministry of Health issued emergency measures in relation to the state of emergency.
- With effect from Tuesday, 2 April 2020 at 6:00 am, the exemption from the ban on retail sales and sales in stores established on 12 March 2020 shall be expanded to include stores with household goods, insofar as protective respiratory equipment such as respirators, surgical masks, face masks, scarves, shawls or other means to prevent the spread of droplets, as well as gloves or disinfection, may be purchased at the store.
- With effect from 2 April 2020, the governors of the regions and the Lord Mayor of the City of Prague have been ordered to set aside premises at healthcare facilities in the territory of every region and in the City of Prague with a bed capacity for separating persons for whom social services are being provided and who have been proven to have contracted the COVID-19 disease, minimally in the scope of 60 beds per 100,000 inhabitants of the region or City of Prague, operatively as the need arises, caused by the current epidemiological situation, and to ensure that those premises are clearly labelled.
On Monday, 30 March 2020, the Ministry of Health issued emergency measures in relation to the state of emergency.
- With effect from 31 March 2020, from 12:00 am, all citizens of the Czech Republic and foreigners authorized to remain in the Czech Republic for more than 90 days will be compulsorily ordered a home quarantine for 14 days after returning to the Czech Republic regardless of the country which they are coming back from.
- With effect from 31 March 2020, from 12:00 am, the prohibition on movement in publicly accessible places without protective respiratory equipment shall not apply to children under two years of age and to drivers of motor vehicles if they are alone in that vehicle.
On Thursday, 26 March 2020, the government adopted additional extraordinary measures in connection with the state of emergency.
- From 6:00 a.m. on 27 March 2020, the exemption from the ban on retail sales and sales in stores, specified on 12 March 2020, is extended to locksmith shops and service shops for other household products, repairs, maintenance and installation of household machines and equipment, operation of burial sites and related services, and carwashes. Furthermore, the regime for hotels and bed&breakfasts is relaxed; they can now accept new clients who use accommodation for the purpose of their occupation or business.
- From 6:00 a.m. on 27 March 2020, the ban on the sale of accommodation services will not apply to the sale and provision of accommodation services to persons accommodated for the purpose of performing their occupation, business or other gainful activity, to foreigners until they leave the Czech Republic, and to foreigners with work permits.
- From 6:00 a.m. on 27 March 2020, the sale of unpackaged baked goods is only permitted under the condition that measures are taken to prevent the congregation of persons at the point of sale of the baked goods and the point of sale is equipped with personal hygiene aids. The valid exemptions are available in the extraordinary measures of the CZ MoH.
On Monday, 23 March 2020 the government adopted another extraordinary measure in the fight against the spreading of the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus.
- From 12:00 a.m. on 25 March 2020, all persons are prohibited from entering retail shops with an area larger than 500 m2 between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., except for persons over 65 years of age.
- From 6:00 a.m. on 24 March 2020, people are permitted to congregate in groups of at most two persons in public places, except for household members, the performance of an occupation, business or similar activities and attendance at funerals. When coming into contact with other persons, it is necessary to maintain a distance of at least 2 meters wherever possible.
The government regulation that declared the restriction of movement of persons in the Czech Republic has been extended until Wednesday, 1 April 2020, for the time being.
On Thursday 19 March 2020, the government adopted an extraordinary measure changing the time reserved for seniors’ grocery shopping and changed the time limits on the payments of child-care benefits for parents.
- As of 20 March 2020 at 00.00 hours, all people are newly prohibited from being present in selected retail outlets at times between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., with the exception of persons over the age 65 years, as well as persons over the age of 50 who hold a disability certificate (ZTP/P).
- Furthermore, the time limit on the payment of child-care benefits (ošetřovné) has been changed – extended for the duration of the ban on school attendance. Furthermore, the government has decided to raise the age of eligible children, from 10 to 13 years. Also, persons who are providing home care for disabled persons, following the closure of day care facilities, will be entitled to care benefits. The government decree will apply retroactively and those families that are already receiving care benefits will not need to request them again. A financial contribution has also been approved for sole proprietors who have stayed home to care for their children.
- From 20 March 2020, further exceptions from the ban on the retail sales of goods and services will apply: newly, the ban will not apply to the activities of real estate agencies and accounting and tax advisors.
- From 21 March 2020, cross-border commuters (known as pendleři) will newly have to present a special dedicated document when crossing the border, known as cross-border worker’s book, which will be stamped by the police upon departure and return, to show the frequency and regularity with which the border is being crossed. The form is available for downloading on the Ministry of the Interior website and will also be available from police officers at border crossings.
On Wednesday 18 March 2020, the government adopted further extraordinary measures in combating the spread of the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus. The government introduced the obligation to wear protective equipment and has reserved shopping hours for seniors. In line with its measures, operation on 39 long-haul train routes operated by České dráhy, a. s. has been restricted.
- From 19 March 2020 at 00:00 hours, according to a government resolution, all persons are prohibited from being present in any place outside of their home without equipment protecting their respiratory passages.
- From 19 March 2020 at 00:00 hours, all people are prohibited from being present in selected retail outlets at times between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon, with the exception of persons over the age of 65 years.
- From 19 March 2020 at 00:00 hours, cross-border commuters are ordered to restrict their movements about the territory of the Czech Republic, to the absolutely necessary cases, with the exception of:
- necessary trips to see family or persons within an arm’s length relationship;
- travel required to secure necessities for another person (e.g., volunteering, neighbourly help);
- visits to nature;
- travel to take care of urgent official matters.
Furthermore, the Minister of Health abolished the exemption from the ban on visits to medical facilities that had applied to fathers who want to accompany women during delivery. For the applicable exemptions see the Extraordinary Measure of the Ministry of Health.
On Tuesday 17 March 2020, the government approved a draft resolution prohibiting the distribution of pharmaceuticals in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 virus epidemic. Persons who have purchased pharmaceuticals are currently not permitted to resell them abroad.
On Monday 16 March 2020, haberdasheries and fabric shops were exempted by a government resolution from the ban on retail sales of goods and services. Furthermore, the government approved the COVID guarantee to support entrepreneurs and sole proprietors, and last but not least, it ordered mayors of municipalities to ensure assistance for persons over the age of 70 years in managing basic life necessities, including food and drug purchases. The government recommends that seniors do not leave their homes during the state of emergency, with the exception of visits to medical facilities in order to obtain urgent medical care. For more, see government resolutions of 16 March on the website of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic.
On Sunday 15 March 2020 the government decided to implement further extraordinary measures as prevention against the spread of the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus. Effective from 00:00 hours on 16 March through to 6:00 a.m. on 24 March, it has declared restrictions on the free movement of persons with the necessary exceptions. It has also extended the guarding of borders reintroduced earlier.
- From 16 March 2020 at 00:00 hours through to 24 March 2020 at 6:00 hours the free movement of persons in the Czech Republic is prohibited, with the exception of travel to work, to medical facilities, to see family, and other necessary travel.
- From 16 March 2020, all foreigners who do not have permanent residence or temporary residence in excess of 90 days are prohibited from entering the Czech Republic.
- From 16 March 2020, citizens of the Czech Republic and foreigners with permanent residence or temporary residence in excess of 90 are prohibited to travel out of the Czech Republic.
On Saturday 14 March 2020, the government adopted an Emergency Measure aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus infection in the Czech Republic. From Saturday 14 March 2020 at 6:00 hours through to 24 March 2020 at 6:00 hours, all shops shall be closed, with the exception of shops selling foodstuffs, hygiene products and druggist goods, pharmacies and points dispensing medicinal products, heating fuel and automotive fuel, and others. During the same period, the general public are prohibited from visiting dining service establishments with the exception of those which do not serve the general public, e.g., staff dining and dining for healthcare and social services providers, or at penal institutions.
On Friday 13 March 2020, at an extraordinary meeting, the government adopted further extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus: all persons coming from risk countries must go into quarantine. As of 00:00 hours on Monday 16 March, citizens of the Czech Republic and foreigners living in the country may not leave the country, with several exceptions. At the same time, a similar ban will start to apply to foreigners who would wish to come to the Czech Republic but do not have their permanent or long-term residence in the country. For more information about travel, see the website of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic.
The Ministry of Health has issued instructions for persons returning from risk territories, pertaining to the emergency government measure concerning quarantine for those persons. For advice and tips on home quarantine, see the website of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic.
On Thursday, 12 March 2020, the government of the Czech Republic declared a state of emergency throughout the Czech Republic due to the coronavirus. The state of emergency came into effect on 2 p.m. on 12 March 2020 and was declared in the interest of public health. A state of emergency is a government crisis measure declared in the event of serious widespread events which pose a risk to life, health or property or order and security within the state. A state of emergency may last up to 30 days, or longer with the consent of the Chamber of Parliament. In relation to the declaration of the state of emergency, the government of the Czech Republic also issued new extraordinary measures.
The National Security Council went into session again on Tuesday, 10 March 2020, and the decision to accept an additional two extraordinary measures (1, 2) in relation to the COVID-19 virus was made. All mass events expecting attendance of more than 100 people were prohibited and personal attendance in classes at primary schools, secondary schools, universities and higher vocational schools was suspended. Another extraordinary measure was also issued, ordering any person not subject to the extraordinary measure dated 7 March 2020 regarding mandatory quarantine, after crossing the national borders of the Czech Republic, to submit for examination for the symptoms of infectious diseases. Any person found with symptoms were also directed to cooperate with health workers.
The National Security Council went into session on Monday 9, March 2020. On the basis of a regular assessment of the situation, the Ministry of Health subsequently issued an extraordinary measure, which ordered all providers of in-patient healthcare services and social services facilities to prohibit visitors from entering the facilities, effective from 10 March 2020. An exception to this measure applies to in-patient care provided to minors, patients with limited legal capacity and pregnant women. The ban on visits does not apply to hospices or services for patients in the terminal stages of an incurable disease. The “Corona” operation was also launched at 7 a.m. in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport on the Czech Republic’s borders, where information leaflets concerning the coronavirus were distributed in four languages and travellers had their temperatures measured. Leaflets was also distributed on rail services.
On Sunday, 8 March 2020, the Ministry of Health issued an extraordinary measure ordering mandatory quarantine following contact with infected persons. Decisions regarding individual quarantine after contact with infected persons will now be made remotely by general practitioners. Hygiene Stations will inform general practitioners of all persons who have been in contact with an infected patient, and doctors will decide whether to issue a 14-day quarantine period remotely.
On Thursday, 5 March 2020, the Ministry of Health issued an extraordinary measure prohibiting any person, with the exception of manufacturers, from exporting personal hygiene products intended for disinfecting hands from the Czech Republic, except for a reasonable quantity for personal use, effective from Thursday, 5 March 2020, until stated otherwise.
The National Security Council went into session again on Wednesday, 4 March 2020, and the Ministry of Health subsequently adopted an extraordinary measure ordering all organisers of mass events within the territory of the Czech Republic to report any event with an expected attendance exceeding 5,000 people per day to the relevant Regional Hygiene Station.
On Tuesday, 3 March 2020, the Ministry of Health issued an extraordinary measure, which bans the export of all FFP3 class respirators from the Czech Republic and their sale to parties other than healthcare and social facilities, public health protection bodies, integrated rescue system units and other government administration bodies, effective from Wednesday, 4 March 2020. until stated otherwise.
The National Security Council went into session on Monday, 2 March 2020, and subsequently suspended all flights to regions in northern Italy and South Korea, effective from 5 March for a period of 14 days. Following this decision, the Minister of Health issued relevant protective measures: suspension of all flights from northern Italy and suspension of all flights from South Korea. The National Security Council also decided that the World Biathlon Championships in Nové Město na Moravě, held on 5–8 March 2020, will take place without spectators – protective measure for this event.
On Sunday, 1 March 2020, the Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch confirmed the first three cases of the COVID-19 virus in the Czech Republic. All three patients, two Czechs and one American student, were isolated at the infectious disease ward at Na Bulovce Hospital. The state of health of all the hospitalised patients was satisfactory, and the symptoms of infection at the time of their hospitalisation were mild.
On Thursday, 27 February 2020, the Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch convened a session of the Central Epidemiological Committee. The meeting discussed current developments regarding the coronavirus in Europe and the Czech Republic’s preparedness for the potential spread of the disease in its territory. At the end of the meeting, the Minister called on government administrative bodies to immediately draft a Standard Plan for extraordinary situations.
On Wednesday, 26 February 2020, the Ministry of Heath, with regard to the current epidemiological situation, issued recommendations to travellers who had visited the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto in the period since mid-January 2020 to monitor their state of health over the 14 days following their departure from the region, focusing on symptoms indicating the onset of respiratory disease (especially a fever above 38 °C and respiratory difficulties).
On Tuesday, 25 February 2020, the augmented board of the National Security Council went into session and recommended no travel to Lombardy and Veneto in Italy due to coronavirus. People should consider whether to travel abroad at all.
On Monday, 24 February 2020, following a government meeting, the Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch issued a statement regarding the current situation with regard to the spread of coronavirus in Italy. On Thursday, 27 February, the Minister convened the Central Epidemiological Committee. He also did not rule out possible further measures if Italy was not able to halt the spread of the virus. The Czech Republic is also increasing government material reserves of medical supplies.
On Thursday, 13 February 2020, the Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch attended an extraordinary meeting of health ministers in Brussels in relation to the spread of coronavirus in Europe. The Minister emphasised the responsible approach by the Czech Republic, which has adopted measures since the end of January corresponding to WHO recommendations and also as a result of close communication between EU countries. He also emphasised the need for Europe to be self-sufficient in producing medication.
On Friday, 7 February 2020, the Hygiene Station of the Capital City of Prague, as the local body with jurisdiction for protecting public health in Prague, issued a general directive to 31 universities in Prague requiring them to take extraordinary measures during the risk of an epidemic, in the interests of preliminary caution.
On Monday, 3 February 2020, theMinister of Health Adam Vojtěch signed protective measures under which all direct flights from China to all international airports in the Czech Republic were suspended from Sunday, 9 February 2020, until further notice.
On Friday, 31 January 2020, the Ministry of Health issued a protective measure under which it ordered another four airports in the Czech Republic to provide relevant information issued by the State Health Institute to travellers concerning the risk of infection by coronavirus.
On Thursday, 30 January 2020, immediately after the WHO declared a global state of emergency, the Ministry of Health issued a statement in a press report regarding subsequent planned steps.
On Monday, 27 January 2020, the Ministry of Health ordered protective measures applying to employees of Václav Havel Airport in Prague.
On Sunday, 26 January 2020, an extraordinary press conference was convened at Václav Havel Airport in Prague. The conference was attended by experts involved in protecting the Czech population in relation to coronavirus. Before the press conference, the issue of security of the Czech population and the measures adopted were jointly addressed. A video-recording of the press conference is available on the YouTube channel of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic.