Government extends force of emergency measures to 22 January; antigen tests also to continue to be provided free of charge

The Government’s emergency measures corresponding to Level 5 of the anti-epidemic system will be in force until 22 January. The Andrej Babiš administration decided to extend them by twelve days at an extraordinary session held on Thursday, 7 January 2021.

All emergency measures will be extended until 22 January, inclusive.  They had been scheduled to end on 10 January. This means restriction of free movement, restriction of sales and provision of services, restriction of the operations of public administration and implementation of emergency measures ensuring childcare for employees of certain professions.

The emergency measure of restriction of operations of educational facilities has been specified further. Now it is possible to arrange individual consultations even in the case of university students, hold university entrance exams in groups of no more than ten people and hold higher vocational school entrance exams also in groups of no more than ten people.

Until further notice, the Ministry of Health, in agreement with the Government, has extended the possibility for clients of health insurance providers to be tested for coronavirus with an antigen POC test free of charge. Therefore, all policyholders can be tested preventively once every five days even after 15 January.

The government also issued new emergency measures regulating visits to healthcare facilities and social care facilities. The changes apply to acute in-hospital care, where it will now be possible to visit a patient in a hospital provided that at least FFP2 or KN95 class respirators are used (this does not apply to children up to two years old; a simple face mask is sufficient for children up to 15 years old). The length of a visit may not exceed 30 minutes and may only comprise two people at once. In the case of visits to long-term care facilities and social care facilities, visitors must at least take an antigen test and wear a respirator for the duration of the visit. This measure also applies until 22 January.

The government also discussed tax relief. The government tasked the Minister of Finance with issuing a decision that will waive, under certain conditions, fines for late filing of road tax returns for the 2020 taxation period, interest on late payment of road tax for the 2020 taxation period and fines for late filing of real estate tax returns – full and partial – for the 2021 taxation period. It was also decided that the arrears allowed by the decision of the Minister of Finance will not be looked upon in assessments of applications for inclusion in any of the Government’s Covid-related subsidy programmes.