COVID-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic
The factual accuracy of parts of this article (those related to the new wave of infections in October) may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (October 2020)
This article is a rough translation from Czech. It may have been generated by a computer or by a translator without dual proficiency.
|COVID-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic|
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Arrival date||1 March 2020|
(1 year, 3 months, 2 weeks and 3 days ago)
The COVID-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first three confirmed cases in the Czech Republic were reported on 1 March 2020. On 12 March, the government declared a state of emergency, for the first time in the country's modern history for the area of the entire country. On 16 March, the country closed its borders, forbade the entry of foreigners without residence permits, and issued a nationwide curfew. While originally planned to be in effect until 24 March, the measures were later extended until 1 April and then again until the end of State of Emergency which was extended by the Chamber of Deputies until 30 April 2020 and then again until 17 May 2020.
Some measures undertaken by the Czech Republic differed in key aspects from other countries. A general curfew was in place between 16 March and 24 April, although with numerous exemptions. Apart from the permitting essential shopping and going to and from work, as in other countries, it also permitted visiting relatives and allowed for unrestricted movement in parks and open countryside. A general closure of services and retail sale was in place from 14 March until 11 May; however, all shops could conduct socially-distances sales with delivery through makeshift takeout windows and the gradual opening of selected shops started in several waves from 24 March onwards. Fear, anger, and hopelessness were the most frequent traumatic emotional responses in the general public during the first COVID-19 outbreak in the Czech Republic. The four most frequent categories of fear were determined: fear of the negative impact on household finances, fear of the negative impact on the household finances of significant others, fear of the unavailability of health care, and fear of an insufficient food supply. The government did not order the closure of manufacturing plants, but many did so voluntarily during the second half of March, with Hyundai spearheading a gradual reopening from 14 April.
The Czech Republic was the first European country to make the wearing of face masks mandatory from 19 March onwards. COVID-19 testing was made widely available with drive-through locations from 14 March, and from 27 March anyone with a fever, dry cough or shortness of breath was eligible for a free test. From 13 April onwards, COVID-19 testing capacity significantly surpassed demand. Contact tracing in the country also included voluntary disclosure of mobile phone position and debit card payments data for previous days and the quarantining of identified contacts. By 1 May 2020, altogether 257 COVID-19-related deaths were identified in the Czech Republic compared to 2,719 in similarly populous Sweden, which did not impose a full lockdown. However, Belgium, also with a similar population, had suffered 7,866 deaths at that time, despite having implemented an early and strict lockdown. The Czech Republic started gradually easing measures from 7 April 2020 onwards, with most restrictions being lifted by 11 May 2020. However, by 17 November 2020, the Czech Republic had recorded a total of 6,416 COVID-19-related deaths compared to 6,344 in Sweden, surpassing Sweden's deaths count.
By April 2021, the Czech Republic has recorded the highest confirmed death rate in the world after Hungary. There are some root causes speculated. The first one is the success of the early lockdown in March 2020. The people felt like nothing bad had happened and that the measures, which came at a huge cost, were not necessary. This is known as "paradox of success". Then, during the October 2020 elections, politics did not prevent the population from violating restrictions. A lockdown was decided on November 2020.
On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.
Timeline January–July 2020
As of 28 January 2020, suspected cases were tested with negative results.
Week 9 (24 February – 1 March)
28 February – As of 28 February 170 suspected cases were tested with negative results. 307 people were in home quarantine imposed by a regional health authority, 77 of them were in South Bohemian Region.
1 March – The Minister of Health, Adam Vojtěch, reported that three cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed by the National Reference Laboratory. The three cases are treated at the Bulovka Hospital in Prague; one of the cases had been found in Ústí nad Labem, but was transported to the Bulovka Hospital. All cases were connected with northern Italy. One case was a man who returned from a conference in Udine, the second case was a woman (tourist, U.S. citizen) studying in Milan and the third case was a man who returned from a skiing holiday in Auronzo di Cadore.
Week 10 (2–8 March)
2 March – Another case was confirmed, a woman who was on skiing holiday in Auronzo di Cadore and was staying in the same hotel as the man from a previous case.
3 March – Another case was reported, a woman from Ecuador studying in Milano, a friend of the U.S. tourist who tested positive several days prior. Government started taking active measures (see policies section below).
5 March – Four new cases were identified a Czech and an Italian who returned from Italy by the end of February, third was related to case No. 3 and fourth was related to case No. 6.
6 March – Obligatory 14 days' quarantine for people returning from selected parts of Italy announced (see policies section below). As of 6 March 1,011 people were already in home quarantine imposed by regional health authority, 341 of them in Prague, 160 in South Bohemian Region and 63 in Central Bohemian Region. As of 6 March, some 16,500 Czechs were in Italy; spring break falls between early February and the middle of March 2020.
Week 11 (9–15 March)
10 March – Positive cases were being identified in ever increasing number of regions.
11 March – Schools closed.
Week 12 (16–22 March)
16 March – Starting at midnight, an hour after the nationwide quarantine declaration was approved the previous day, nearly 11 million Czech residents were placed under quarantine (see policies section below). The Czech Republic became one of the first countries in the EU to completely close its borders (with exemptions including international freight transport, see policies section below). First three people were reported recovered.
21 March – Deliveries of protective gear purchased by Czech Government in China started: a heavy cargo plane Antonov An-124 Ruslan provided through NATO Support and Procurement Agency brought 100 tons of masks, respirators and coronavirus tests from China, while a China Eastern plane brought 7 million face masks. This helped to alleviate the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the Czech Republic. According to Security Information Service, the shortage happened after Chinese embassy conducted massive purchases of respirators available on Czech market during January and February and transferred them to China.
22 March – First death reported: a 95-year-old man. While COVID-19 positive, at the time of death, the man was not at ICU and did not suffer from pneumonia that is a COVID-19 specific type of death. The man suffered from chronic heart issues and had also a pacemaker. The cause of death was formally established as a "complete exhaustion of organism".
Week 13 (23–29 March)
23 March – The local health authority in the Moravian-Silesian Region announced that 80% of COVID-19 examinations that were conducted in the region in the previous days with use of fast-test kits that government procured and airlifted from China (altogether 300,000 kits bought by the Czech Government for total price of CZK 54 m—approximately US$2.1 m) came out wrong when double-checked through standard testing. It was later confirmed the cause was an incorrect use where the fast-test react to an immune response and are not suitable for new patient screenings.
24 March – A second death was reported: a 45-year-old man died after six days in a hospital in Havířov. The patient was suffering from advanced cancer with metastases to multiple organs. The cause of death was established as multiple organ failure due to cancer but COVID-19 infection accelerated the patient's death.
A third death was reported: a 71-year-old woman died in Všeobecná fakultní nemocnice in Prague. The woman suffered from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as well as other illnesses, so it wasn't immediately clear that she may be COVID-19 positive. Only after being hospitalised the woman informed doctors that her relative recently returned from Italy and was then tested for COVID-19. The woman was connected to a ventilator but died three days after start of hospitalisation.
Apart from the Uber driver on ECMO, there were 19 other patients in hospitals in serious condition, all of them connected to ventilators.
25 March – The fourth and fifth deaths were reported: The fourth victim of the disease is an 82-year-old from Prague with long-term chronic health problems. The fifth patient is an 88-year-old man from the Central Bohemian Region who was at home getting treatment and was suffering from a chronic disease.
A sixth patient died at Thomayer Hospital. The 75-year-old patient suffered from diabetes and Parkinson's disease and also had advanced heart problems. The patient had been in the hospital since January and got infected while in post-operative care. After this patient tested positive for COVID-19, the hospital tested all 29 other patients in the same ward on 22 March, all negative. The test was repeated again on 25 March, this time with positive outcomes for 13 patients. Several of the hospital's staff had become infected earlier, probably while taking care of the Uber driver who would later become the first remdesivir receiver in the country. This patient was originally admitted with simple pneumonia without initial indication of COVID-19. Two of the infected nurses were hospitalised at the local pulmonary ward at the time of the sixth patient's death.
The government was planning to evacuate Czechs from Australia and New Zealand by the end of the week. Hundreds of Czechs still remained abroad, mainly in Oceania and Southeast Asia.
An Antonov An-124 Ruslan provided through the NATO Support and Procurement Agency arrived again with 24 tons of medical products purchased by the Czech government in China. The shipment included 52,600 protective suits, 70,900 protective glasses, 250,000 gloves, 1.16 million respirators and eight million masks. Further government purchased personal protection equipment shipments were planned for delivery with use of planes by the companies Smartwings and China Eastern Airlines, which were contracted for nine flights per week for six weeks in advance.
26 March – A Taiwanese student in her twenties, who recently returned to Taiwan from the Czech Republic tested positive for coronavirus. She left the Czech Republic after 8 months in the country on 19 March 2020, announced symptoms (fever, diarrhoea) to Taiwanese authorities on 24 March and was diagnosed COVID-19 positive on 26 March 2020. Thirty-four patients were in severe condition.
27 March – Despite having been quarantined already for two weeks, at least six retirement homes were hit by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Authorities noted also the rising number of COVID-19 positive healthcare workers. As the capacity for COVID-19 testing increased, authorities eased requirements for free testing. Anyone with a fever, dry cough or shortness of breath may be eligible for a free COVID-19 test.
29 March – Five people died. Among the victims was a 45-year-old nurse from Thomayer Hospital, an elderly woman from a senior home in Michle and an elderly woman from a senior home in Břevnice. There were 227 patients in hospitals, 45 of them in severe condition.
Week 14 (30 March – 5 April)
30 March – In South Moravia, testing of the so-called "smart quarantine" was started: local travel history of infected persons were to be tracked using data from mobile phones and bank cards. Three hundred military personnel were deployed to reinforce local health authority for the purpose of tracing patients' contacts and collecting samples. If this approach is deemed successful by the authorities for diminishing the pandemic, the "smart quarantine" method is planned to replace the existing nationwide curfew policy. The city of Uherský Brod started thorough disinfection of all common areas of apartment buildings and public areas after a significant increase in COVID-19 infections. Health authority registered thirty new cases in the town. The Government also issued a decree for citizens to make cloth face masks for the nation.
31 March – In a community of 72 people living in a retirement home in Litoměřice, 52 positive tests were confirmed. Employees of the retirement home in Česká Kamenice decided to stay with their clients 24 hours a day until 15 April, to avoid the seniors getting COVID-19.
1 April – One month ago the Czech Republic reported the first coronavirus case. A second senior from the Litoměřice retirement home died, as well as seniors from Prague and Moravia-Silesia. The Department of Infectious Diseases of the Central Military Hospital in Prague has treated COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine. Eight of them have already been released for home quarantine. The evaluation of preliminary results of this therapy will be carried out in April. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were originally used to treat malaria, but at present they also help patients with autoimmune diseases—rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers these substances as one of the options to treat COVID-19.
Supreme Administrative Court ruled that Government decision to postpone the Senate district 32 by-election due to COVID-19 pandemic was illegal. According to the court, the Government lacked the authority to make such a decision, as that can only be done by an Act of Parliament. The by-election to fill a seat after Jaroslav Kubera, who died of heart attack, was originally planned on 27 March and would take place on 5 June.
2 April – One victim died at the General University Hospital in Prague (VFN); another victim was a 79-year-old patient hospitalised at the Hradec Králové University Hospital. The government decided to extend the border control by 20 days. Border checks with Germany and Austria will last until midnight Friday, 24 April.
3 April – A public controversy has arisen around shipments of personal protective equipment that the Czech Government purchased and airlifted from China. On 31 March, Mayor of Prague Zdeněk Hřib publicly praised Government of Taiwan for donating ICU ventilators to the Czech Republic, while pointing out that all of the equipment from China was purchased, none was donated. Representatives of China's business interest in the Czech Republic countered by claiming that China donated personal protective equipment that was to be handed over to Czech hospitals on 1 April. According to the media, Czech authorities received a promise of donation of PPE; however, none have reached the country by 3 April 2020.
4 April – There were 29 infected police officers in the Czech Republic, 343 more were in preventive quarantine.
Week 15 (6–12 April)
6 April – Government eased a number of restrictive measures, e.g. by opening outside sporting grounds (including skiing, shooting ranges, etc.), movement in parks and nature without face masks and opening of more shops and services (see policies section below).
7 April – Government sought extension of the State of Emergency for 30 days, i.e. until 12 May 2020. Chamber of Deputies of Parliament granted extension until 30 April 2020.
12 April – Government announced that it was preparing a plan for gradual lifting of remaining restrictions. Government aimed at reaching maximum of 400 newly infected people a day to prevent overburdening the healthcare system. Instead of general restrictions, the intended maximum number should be reached through contact tracing of positive cases (see policies section below).
Week 16 (13–19 April)
13 April – Number of COVID-19 tests sank from 8,000 a day to mere 3,200 a day during Easter weekend which included also Friday and Monday as state holidays. According to health authority, testing capacity during Easter weekend significantly surpassed demand for testing from potential patients. Health authority expected the demand to rise again in the following week.
14 April – A month-long complete border closure ended (see policies section below). A large number of Czech Romanis started returning from particularly hit United Kingdom, where many lived for over 15 years, leading to fear of possible increase of COVID-19 infection.
Hyundai factory in Nošovice, which makes 1,500 cars a day including Kona Electric, restarted production after three weeks' pause. Ten days later, Government exempted Korean Hyundai "specialists and key workers" needed for ramp up of electric vehicle production from cross-border and quarantine restrictions. Manufacturing plants were unaffected by Government restrictions; however, many had decided to close voluntarily.
The Czech government outlines a five-step plan for re-opening shops, restaurants and other businesses. Each subsequent step will be triggered as planned only if the previous step has not resulted in a total of 400 new COVID-19 patients per day.
- 20 April: Farmers markets, tradesmen with shops, car shops and showrooms, outdoor athletic areas for professionals, without spectators, Weddings of up to 10 people following hygiene rules
- 27 April: Shops under 200 square metres in size, except for those in shopping centers over 5,000 square metres and those specified to open at a later date.
- 11 May: Shops under 1,000 square metres in size, except for those in shopping centers over 5,000 square metres and those specified to open at a later date, Driving schools, Gyms and fitness centers (but not changing rooms or showers)
- 25 May: Outdoor areas of restaurants, cafes, pubs, buffets, wineries and beer shops with outdoor sales and garden seating areas, barbershops, hairdressers, nail salons, tanning salons, cosmetic salons, massage parlors, museums, galleries, and art halls, zoos (outdoor areas only)
- 8 June: All shops in shopping centers, shops over 1,000 square metres in size outside of shopping centers, indoor areas of restaurants, cafes, pubs, buffets, wineries and beer shops, hotels and other accommodation providers (and their restaurants and cafes), taxi services, tattoo and piercing studios, theatres, castles, chateaux and other cultural activities according to the current regulations, mass events for a specified number of people, cultural, business, and sports events for less than 50 people, weddings following specific hygienic protocol, indoor areas of zoos
The aforementioned timeline was not kept as government significantly accelerated lifting of restrictions in the following weeks, with most being lifted by 11 May.
Week 17 (20–26 April)
22 April – Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced that the Government will not request the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament to extend the State of Emergency beyond 30 April. Meanwhile, Minister of Interior announced that he will seek further discussion of the topic, claiming that State of Emergency is crucial for Government's ability to fast procure and distribute personal protection equipment outside of standard lawful procurement process.
The court determined that the fact that measures were not adopted by the Government under the Crisis Act powers, but by Ministry of Health under the Protection of Public Health Act, leads to violation of constitutional guarantees of separation of powers. When adopting measures under the Crisis Act, the Government is continually under the supervision of the Chamber of Deputies of Parliament. Under Art 5(4) of the Constitutional Act on the Security of the Czech Republic, the Chamber of Deputies can revoke the State of Emergency at any moment. Thus taking away Government's power to adopt crisis measures under the Crisis Act, including those that violate basic rights. Adoption of the measures by Ministry of Health under the Act on Protection of Public Health frustrated this control by the Chamber of Deputies. In effect, the respondent impermissibly restricted constitutional powers of the Chamber of Deputies.— Judgement of the Municipal Court in Prague No. 14 A 41/2020, section 152, from 23 April 2020
23 April – The Municipal Court in Prague invalidated some of the restrictions adopted to battle the COVID-19 spread. In particular, the court invalidated Ministry of Health Protection Measures that introduced curfew, banned hospital visits and banned selected retail sale and services. The court held that such wide restrictions of basic rights may be adopted only under the Crisis Act by the Government as whole and not under Protection of Public Health Act by the Ministry of Health alone. Both the curfew and retail sale ban were originally adopted by Government Resolutions on 14 and 15 March, respectively; however, then they were replaced by Ministry of Health Protection Measures from 24 March onwards. The court invalidated these measures from 27 April onwards, giving the Government three days to remedy the situation. The Ministry of Health may lodge an appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court. On the day of court's decision, there were suits against 17 other measures still pending.
While Ministry of Health Protection Measures may be adopted indefinitely, Government Measures under Crisis Act may be adopted only for period of State of Emergency. Government may declare State of Emergency for period of 30 days, any prolongation requires assent of the Chamber of Deputies.
24 April – In line with the decision of the Municipal Court of Prague, the Government announced that it would seek Chamber of Deputies' consent to extend the State of Emergency until 25 May. At the same time the Government announced a faster roadmap for the lifting of restrictions.
Week 18 (27 April – 3 May)
28 April – The Government sought an extension of the State of Emergency until 25 May 2020. The Chamber of Deputies of Parliament granted an extension until 17 May 2020.
Week 19 (4–10 May)
6 May – The Ministry of Health presented the outcome of the COVID-19 prevalence study conducted over the previous weeks. Out of 26,549 people (volunteers and vulnerable groups with chronic diseases) tested for the presence of anti-bodies, the countrywide testing identified only 107 people with antibodies who were previously undetected. This showed a high success rate of contact tracing and quarantine measures and a very low rate of virus presence in the general population.
Week 20 (11–17 May)
State of Emergency ended on 17 May. Extraordinary measures either ended or were extended beyond the State of Emergency with lesser restrictions. According to Ministry of Health, the main aim going forward was to achieve three main objectives:
- Prevent hospital overcapacity in order to be able to provide necessary care to all patients with COVID-19, including non-hospitalised. The main aim is to preserve Czech COVID-19 mortality at 2–3% as before and to prevent its rise to worldwide average of 7% or French mortality of 18%.
- Prevent "explosive spread" of COVID-19 that would (a) include spread of more aggressive types of COVID-19 or (b) higher concentration of COVID-19 in body, as those lead to more dangerous development of illness.
- Further lower mortality as better knowledge about COVID-19 and use of promising experimental drugs like remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine becomes available.
A court ordered pre-trial detention of a first person charged with spreading of COVID-19. A 32-year-old woman was arrested for movement at a public space without a face mask, although she had been personally ordered to remain in quarantine. Despite quarantine order, the woman used a taxi and visited a shopping mall. The woman was jailed at a hospital ward of Brno prison. If convicted, she may be sentenced to up to 8 years' imprisonment.
Week 21 (18–25 May)
A new major COVID-19 hotspot emerged in the city of Karviná. Over 150 workers became infected at a black coal mine where miners work in tight shafts as deep as 1,000 metres underground. Authorities expected the number to significantly rise further as the workers' family members were likely to become positive later. Among those infected were also many foreign workers from Poland, where coal mines became hotspots in previous weeks. Health authority planned to conduct testing of all 2,400 workers within three days. Czech Army deployed six medical teams to assist local authority in collection of samples and contact tracing. As of 22 May, up to 40% of infected miners had no symptoms with many others reporting tiredness as the only symptom. Meanwhile, a school was temporarily closed down in nearby city of Havířov after a child of one of the miners tested positive. Apart from the coal mining hotspot, authorities deemed situation in the rest of the country as stable, except for Prague where they identified several small clusters with community spread.
Week 23 (1–8 June): Further lifting of restrictions, opening of borders
Week 27 (27 Jun – 5 Jul)
1 July – OKD suspends mining in Karviná area following COVID-19 outbreaks. In the ČSM mines, 704 of the 3,403 employees tested were positive for COVID-19. That equates to 20.7 per cent, but the vast majority of them had no or only very mild symptoms of the disease.
Week 30 (20–26 Jul)
23 July – An outbreak of coronavirus linked to a music club in Prague has increased to 98 cases, including footballers from several of the city's clubs. Czech Republic reported 247 new cases on Wednesday, the highest number since a spike in late June in Karvina.
To combat an uptick in coronavirus cases in the country, Institute of Health Information and Statistics presented the Czech regional traffic light rating system, which has four levels.
Timeline August–October 2020
Week 35 (24–30 Aug)
27 August – UK removes Czech Republic from list of "green" countries. Travellers arriving from the Czech Republic will have to quarantine from 0400 hrs on Saturday, the UK Government has announced.
The Czech PM Andrej Babiš nixes the preventive face mask regulations established by Health Ministry, which were supposed to come in place when children return to school after the holidays on 1 September. Masks will now no longer be needed anywhere in schools, with the exception of schools that make it to the "orange" level of medium-risk for COVID-19 in the Czech Republic's regional health map. Masks will need to be worn on public transport, inside healthcare environments, and polling stations.
Week 36 (31 Aug – 6 Sep)
1 September – 257 new cases reported. Mandatory to wear face masks on public transport, public indoor areas (such as shopping malls, offices, post offices, offices) and indoor public events, regardless of the number of visitors. Schools are excluded from the restrictions.
Schools re-open across the country
Week 37 (7–14 Sep)
10 September – 1,161 new cases. Number of new cases has now exceeded 1,000 for the past two days. face masks will be required in all indoor spaces throughout the Czech Republic from today. There are a total of 25 exceptions to that requirement, including when eating or drinking in restaurants, exercising in gyms, or working in an office at least two meters away from others. Schools, kindergartens and playgrounds are excluded from restrictions
Belgium has placed Prague on its list of "red" risk zones, requiring a mandatory two-week quarantine on arrival for incoming travellers from the Czech capital.
Week 38 (14–20 Sep)
18 September – The Czech Republic reported more than 3,000 cases in a single day for the first time
The wearing of face masks is now mandatory in all interior spaces of universities. Kindergartens and primary schools and playgrounds remain regularly open, where no face masks will be needed.
Week 39 (21–27 Sep)
21 September – Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch has unexpectedly announced his resignation. Roman Prymula will become new Czech Health Minister. Prymula predicted that the daily number of COVID-19 cases in Czech Republic will soon reach 6,000–8,000, after hitting a high of over 3,000 cases in the previous week.
25 September Ladislav Dušek, director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS), announced that in the first two weeks of September, almost 400 teachers in Czech schools became infected with COVID-19. Dušek also stated that from the beginning of the epidemic until mid-September, workers in administration and engineering, the unemployed, and the self-employed were the groups that got infected most often. The number of infected healthcare professionals has also grown significantly recently. According to data published by the Czech Medical Chamber, 259 physicians became infected up until 19 September. However, just a month earlier it was four people. Among nurses, the number of people infected increased from three to 433 from 20 August.
Week 41 (5–11 Oct)
5 October – The Czech Republic comes under a state of emergency. Indoor events with over 10 participants will be prohibited, the same applies to outdoor events with over 20 participants. Professional sport matches will be without spectators and can be attended by a maximum of 130 athletes, coaches, and other members of the staff. Concerts, theatre performances, and other artistic performances and festivals involving a significant amount of singing, including rehearsals are prohibited. There is a 100-person limit on the attendance of religious services, at which singing is also prohibited. Limit of 30 people for weddings and funerals Restrictions will also apply to the number of people sharing one table at restaurants and other catering facilities as only six people at most will be allowed to sit at one table. Educational facilities would follow the instructions of their regional public health authorities, which will issue measures depending on the situation in the region and in line with the epidemiological traffic light system. A restriction on tuition in the form of a switch to distance learning is to apply to secondary and higher vocational schools and universities in regions with a red or amber. Kindergartens and first stage primary schools remain regularly open, where no face masks will be needed. The wearing of face masks is mandatory in all interior spaces of universities. No restrictions on travelling were introduced
8 October – New record with 5,335 new COVID-19 cases reported in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic overtook Spain as Europe's most-affected country.
The percentage of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalisation rose above 4% for the first time in three months.
Secondary schools and universities have switched to distance learning but only in high-risk areas of the Czech Republic. Visits and tours to zoos and all organised hobby, recreational and other clubs for children from 6 to 18 years old are banned. Kindergartens and primary schools remain regularly open, where no face masks will be needed.
9 October – The Czech government announced new restrictions. Indoor sports facilities and culture venues will have to close for 2 weeks. Restaurants and other catering facilities will have to close as early as 8 pm. Dining establishments will be limited to 4 people at one table, and pupils in the upper level of elementary schools will alternate in-class and distance learning.
A group of shopping centers in Prague have decided to temporarily switch off their wifi in an attempt to stop students from gathering there. Lower levels of elementary schools, kindergartens and playgrounds are not effected by the new restrictions and remain open, without face masks needed.
Week 42 (12–18 Oct)
12 October – The presence of students at universities will be prohibited, with the exception of clinical and practical teaching as well internships in study programmes for general medicine, dentistry, pharmacology and other healthcare study programmes. Measures were also taken on 12 October that were intended for elementary and secondary schools, but they were substantially changed the following day.
13 October – Czech government unveiled very strict anti-COVID measures. They will be valid for 14 days, starting from 14 October. The new measures include the closure of pubs and restaurants and a ban on public alcohol consumption. Pubs and restaurants may still operate on a delivery and takeaway basis. Takeaway windows can only operate until 8 pm. Additional measures are aimed at preventing people from gathering in public. They include a limit on group sizes to a maximum of six people. The requirement to wear a face mask in all train, tram, and bus stations is mandatory. All primary and secondary schools will switch to distance learning. The measures regarding schools will last through 1 November. Playgrounds and kindergartens remain open without any restrictions.
Police from the 11th General Crime Department of the First Police District in Prague uncovered an underground venue on Vodičková Street in central Prague operating after 8 pm, with around 35 guests packed into a cellar bar, who were drinking, dancing, and consuming drugs in late hours of the night.
15 October – A record 9,500 COVID cases out of a record amount of 30,894 performed tests. Czech Railways restricts connections and will adjust the operation of long-distance trains beyond rush hours. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced the government will start increasing the number of beds outside hospitals this weekend. Around 3,000 beds plus an additional 1,000 for specialised treatment. Locations the government is looking at are spa facilities around the country and a field hospital, to be built by the army, at the Letňany Exhibition Center.
18 October – A Sunday-afternoon demonstration against the Czech government's anti-coronavirus restrictions ended in dramatic clashes between protesters and the police after the rally was officially terminated. There were roughly 2,000 people at the rally. Several protesters were football fans who attempted to break through the police cordon. Resulting in 144 arrests and dozens of injuries
Week 43 (19–25 Oct)
20 October – Face masks again become mandatory at outdoor locations in cities, towns and villages where people are less than two meters apart. Within the Czech Republic, the highest rates of COVID-19 infection are now being reported in Zlín (798 cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days), Plzeň-North (725 cases), and Prostějov (720 cases). In Prague, there have been 501 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past week.
21 October – Government have announced a new series of lockdown measures that will close most shops and services from the 22nd. With the exception of grocery stores, drugstores, pharmacies, and other shops providing essential goods all retail stores in the Czech Republic must close as of 6:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, 22 October. The same applies to hairdressers, nail salons, and other venues providing similar services. Outside groups will be limited to a maximum of two, with the exception of family members from the same household. Only necessary travel should be undertaken, such as travelling to work or to buy food. The new measures will last until the end of the current state of emergency in the Czech Republic, on 3 November. The new measures do not affect the operation of nurseries and kindergartens, which may remain open. All other schools in the Czech Republic have switched to distance learning.
23 October – The health minister Roman Prymula has been under fire to resign after a media report that he broke strict government restrictions and visited a Prague restaurant, which should have been closed following the restrictions set by his ministry. In the photographs, Prymula also didn't wear a mandatory mask.
*Active cases – hospital and home quarantine
**Current severe conditions including UPV/ECMO – UPV: Artificial lung ventilation ECMO: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (advanced method of life support)
* Laboratory-proven COVID-19 disease as reported by regional hygiene stations and laboratories
*The reproduction number (R ratio) is a way of rating coronavirus or any disease's ability to spread. If the reproduction number is higher than one (1,0), then the number of cases increases exponentially if the number is lower the disease will eventually stop spreading, as not enough new people are being infected to sustain the outbreak.[circular reference]
|All||314,997 (47.7 %)||345,261 (52.3 %)||660,240 (100%)||277,485 (47.5 %)||306,110 (52.5 %)||583,595 (100%)||6,314 (56.1 %)||4,944 (43.9 %)||11,258 (100%)||2 %||1.43 %||1.71 %|
|Age||0–14||30,180||28,708||58,888||26,598 (9.6%)||25,250 (8.2%)||51,848 (8.9%)||0 (0.0%)||0 (0.0%)||0 (0.0%)||0.00%||0.00%||0.00%|
|15–24||33,061||33,372||66,433||30,427 (11.0%)||30,647 (10.0%)||61,074 (10.5%)||2 (0.0%)||0 (0.0%)||2 (0.0%)||0.01 %||0.00%||0 %|
|25–34||48,281||45,733||94,014||44,480 (16.0%)||41,571 (13.6%)||86,051 (14.7%)||12 (0.2%)||7 (0.1%)||19 (0.2%)||0.02 %||0.02 %||0.02 %|
|35–44||55,454||62,034||117,488||50,016 (18.0%)||55,725 (18.2%)||105,741 (18.1%)||40 (0.6%)||25 (0.5%)||65 (0.6%)||0.07 %||0.04 %||0.06 %|
|45–54||58,329||69,582||127,911||52,597 (19.0%)||63,137 (20.6%)||115,734 (19.8%)||107 (1.7%)||64 (1.3%)||171 (1.5%)||0.18 %||0.09 %||0.13 %|
|55–64||42,854||45,217||88,071||37,997 (13.7%)||40,338 (13.2%)||78,385 (13.4%)||462 (7.3%)||196 (4.0%)||658 (5.8%)||1.08 %||0.43 %||0.75 %|
|65–74||27,270||27,716||54,986||21,976 (7.9%)||23,443 (7.7%)||45,419 (7.8%)||1,729 (27.4%)||814 (16.5%)||2,543 (22.6%)||6.34 %||2.94 %||4.62 %|
|75–84||14,351||19,675||34,026||10,097 (3.6%)||15,758 (5.1%)||25,855 (4.4%)||2,473 (39.2%)||1,804 (36.5%)||4,277 (38.0%)||17.23 %||9.17 %||12.57 %|
|85+||5,199||13,224||18,426||3,297 (1.2%)||10,191 (3.3%)||13,488 (2.3%)||1,489 (24.3%)||2,034 (41.7%)||3,523 (31.5%)||28.64 %||15.38 %||19.12 %|
This section needs to be updated.(October 2020)
Flattening the curve
Governments of different countries take different approaches to flatten the epidemic curve. Beside travel bans and isolation of complete communities, citizens are also often requested to stay at home and keep social distance.
Research indicates that measures must be applied rigorously and immediately to be effective. Also, the national community's commitment to supporting/tolerating the restrictions and following the advice of health authorities plays an important role in the success of flattening the epidemic curve and limiting the spread of the virus.
For example, in South Korea mass testing efforts were successful. The South Korean national testing capacity reached 15,000 tests per day. Compared to population size, the Czech Republic reached the same rate of testing on 23 March 2020. The Ministry of Interior in South Korea also rolled out a smartphone app that can track the quarantined and collect data on symptoms, so scientists are able to see more epidemiological data.
Comparing cumulative numbers of confirmed cases in selected countries, including the Czech Republic, shows the different curves of the epidemic in different countries. The chart shows the number of known cases and the pace at which the number increases on a logarithmic scale. The actual number of people infected may be and likely is, significantly higher, as only cases where the virus was confirmed by laboratory testing are shown. Many cases may only have an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic course of the disease and never seek treatment. In yet others, the infection may still be in the incubation period, when it is asymptomatic and may not yet be detectable even by testing.
COVID-19 Epidemic curve selected countries per 1M pop. (Linear scale / from the 100th case)
Czech restriction actions:/ Day 0: Schools closed / Day 2: State of Emergency: close of sport facilities & close restaurants & bars at 8pm, border control, travel restrictions, ban 30+ events /Day 3: Criminalize spreading virus on purpose/Day 4: Complete closure all shops restaurants & bars excl. food shops, petrol, pharmacies/Day 5: Nationwide quarantine excl. shopping, employment need/ Day 6: Borders closed&closure municipalities in Olomouc region/ Day 8: Mandatory nose&mouth cover/ Day 9: Special 7–9 shop-opening hours for seniors/ Day 10: Changed special 8–10 shop-opening hours for seniors.
Czech eased restriction actions:/Day 20: Lifted closure municipalities in Olomouc region/ Day 27: Ease movement rule in parks & nature without face mask and opening some outside sporting grounds/ Day 35: Eased conditions of entry to the territory of the Czech Republic/Day 40: reopening farmers markets & small stores
Detailed information was reported regarding most of the first 99 cases, up to 12 March 2020:
Policies to fight the contagion