The Czech Health Ministry has today announced that they are re-instating a number of meaures related to the spread of the Coronavirus in the Czech Republic.
Despite these reintroduced rules, they have also stated that they assess the current epidemiological situation in the country as “stable.”
Based on the current available data, the government announced that masks will once again be required at any event with over 100 attendees – this includes both public and private events like weddings and funerals. This precaution goes into effect as of tomorrow (25.07). Oddly, non-organized events in which over 100 people are present – in a bar, for example – are not subject to the mask requirement.
Additionally, the maximum number of people allowed to attend events at indoor venues will be limited to 500 (beginning on Monday, 27.07).
Face masks will also be required at non-residential medical facilities – including pharmacies and waiting areas of doctors offices – but are not yet being applied to general public transport or supermarkets (though the requirement of mask on the Metro remains in effect).
Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib has nonetheless made a public request that people voluntarily wear masks in public spaces and on all public transport including trains, trams and buses.
Echoing this, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček broke from the general tone of health officials, and has also expressed concern about the current requirements.
Hamáček is advising people to return to wearing masks, saying, “I ask citizens not to wait for the Health Ministry to impose directives on them, but to wear face masks voluntarily when indoors and while on public transport. This is the simplest thing we can do to prevent damage similar to what the pandemic caused in the spring.”
“Our role,” said Health Minister Adam Vojtěch, “is to take steps to prevent the situation from getting worse. At the same time, however, we should not scare citizens, there is definitely no reason for that, the situation is not dramatic.”
Vojtěch went on to add, “the measures are clearly preventive in nature, and we are led to do so by the experience of recent weeks, when we meet dozens of people infected from mass internal events where people are close to each other. From the well-known case of infection in the Prague club, almost a hundred are already infected.”
The effect of these re-introduced measures will be tracked and evaluated over the next two weeks to determine if they will continue and for how long.
All of this follows on the announcement that Covid-19 cases in the US have now surpassed 4 million and fatalities have surpassed 146,000.