Prague remains on the orange alert level, hygienists adopt further measures

Based on an evaluation of the COVID-19 epidemiological situation, the Ministry of Health has updated the map of alert levels for public health protection. The most significant local outbreak remains in Prague, which is on the orange level, meaning incipient community transmission. As a result, Prague will adopt further anti-epidemic measures. The Hodonín, Beroun, Kladno, Mělník, Praha-východ, Praha-západ, Kolín, Příbram, Třebíč and Blansko districts have been added to the green level.

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“It is incredibly important for everybody to be as responsible as possible. The daily increments in new cases clearly indicate that the coronavirus is and will remain among us. I ask citizens to observe basic hygienic rules, such as washing their hands with soap and water, maintaining distances from others and wearing masks where there are many people in a small space. The coronavirus is no trivial matter, we must not underestimate the situation. If somebody feels unwell, they should stay home and contact their general practitioner,” stated Minister of Health, Adam Vojtěch, appealing to the public.

“The daily detection of positively diagnosed patients with COVID-19 is high across the country and is increasing over time, exceeding 500 on weekdays. The high number of diagnoses is linked to the large numbers of tests performed and naturally reflects the spread of the disease in the population. Detected cases are sporadic and rare in the vast majority of Czech districts, and are not generating dangerous and inter-regional clusters,” stated Jarmila Rážová, Chief Hygienist, evaluating the epidemiological situation in the Czech Republic.

The good news is that the vulnerable population groups have largely not been affected, e.g. the share of newly-diagnosed persons over the age of 65 is about 10% of the total increment and 5% in the category of over 75. “In the last week, we have seen a daily rise in the number of hospitalisations, which must make us more cautious,” added Rážová. However, mortality is very low and most newly diagnosed cases are asymptomatic or very mild. There is no uncontrolled mass spread on an inter-regional scope.

The most significant local outbreak in the past week was in Prague, which has an average daily increment of more than 100 (about 7.8/100,000 inhabitants). The current situation already shows signs of community transmission. The risk of spreading the disease here is increasing over time; compared to the previous week the increase is 38%. The number of cases reported in Prague in 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants is close to 100.

“Cases without links to a known source of contagion in the monitored period are around 30% of the total number of reported cases. However, given the rise in cases, the number of cases without a known source of contagion is higher than in the previous evaluated period. Given the high number of diagnosed cases and the related indications for laboratory testing, we expect the daily increments to rise again in the coming days,” explained Zdeňka Jágrová, Director of the Prague Public Health Authority, evaluating the situation in Prague.

It still applies that cases are largely confined to the younger and middle-aged generations and are mostly asymptomatic or with a mild course of the disease. However, there has been an apparent rise of 7% in vulnerable population groups compared to the previous period. Cases where the source of contagion has been confirmed are most often related to incidence in the family or workplace or from visiting social and sporting events. Furthermore, a significant incidence has been detected among foreign workers and foreign tourists (indendent) or persons returning from abroad.

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Given the current epidemiological situation in Prague, the Prague Public Health Authority will adopt further anti-epidemic measures.

From 9 September 2020, the presence of the general public in establishments offering dining services will be restricted between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., with the exception of those that do not serve the general public (e.g., staff dining, dining for healthcare services and social service providers, or at penal institutions). The measure does not apply to sales for consumption outside of the dining establishment (e.g. fast-food establishments with dispensing windows or take-out foods where the customer does not enter the establishment).

As of the same date, it will be mandatory to wear face masks at indoor establishments for the sale of goods and in the indoor premises of buildings functionally related to them (e.g. corridors at shopping centres) designated for the presence of customers, during the hours in which they serve this purpose.

From 14 September, it will be mandatory to wear face masks in the indoor premises of schools (primary and secondary schools and universities), e.g. in the corridors, except at preschool. The obligation to wear face masks does not apply to classrooms, lecture halls, gyms and studies.

Furthermore, the previously implemented mandatory protection of the nose and mouth on all underground metro premises (the paid area of the metro accessible to passengers), all indoor premises of station buildings accessible to the public and all indoor premises of the Vaclav Havel Airport, will remain in effect.

The entire text of the measure, including exemptions, is available on our website here (in Czech only).