Office of the Government
On Sunday, at 24:00, the state of emergency will end in the Czech Republic. At its meeting on Monday, 6 April 2021, Andrej Babiš’s government approved a series of extraordinary measures which will be introduced by the Ministry of Health as epidemic control based on the Pandemic Act. Many changes will be made to the current measures – children obligated with pre-school education and pupils of lower primary schools can return to schools under the condition of regular testing, free movement restrictions will end and the rules for retail and services will be changed partially.
On Monday, 12 April, children can return to their obligatory pre-school education and preparatory classes, pupils can return to lower primary schools and to one- and two-year courses of secondary practical schools for pupils with special educational needs. Schools with maximum 75 pupils in the lower primary level, which have a separate building including the school canteen for that school level, will operate in a standard way, all other schools will teach a half of the classes on-site and a half on-line and the halves will rotate every week.
Group consultations will be permitted for upper primary school pupils at risk of school failure or for the last grade pupils based on their needs assessed by the school in subjects needed for secondary school entrance exams, with one group not exceeding six pupils. Individual consultations and one-to-one on-site teaching will be allowed in basic art schools, language schools providing state language exams pursuant to the Education Act, and educational institutions providing full-time one-year courses of foreign languages.
The practical training in driving motor vehicles will be renewed for pupils and students who are to obtain a driving licence for certain groups as part of their vocational training according to the Framework Education Programme or a specific School Education Programme. Information on the website of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (in Czech language).
The presence of children in schools will be conditioned by a non-invasive COVID-19 antigen test taken twice a week, with the first test to be made on the first day of entering the educational establishment. The testing will apply also to educational establishment employees – those who come into contact with children will be tested twice a week, the others only once. A negative COVID-19 test must be produced, according to another measure, also by pupils sitting entrance exams or artistic talent tests. The second condition for attending classroom learning will be the absence of COVID-19 symptoms. Testing is not obligatory for those who recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days, those who show a valid test result from an official testing centre, or those who are fully vaccinated.
The government decided on earmarking an adequate number of antigen test kits for schools and educational establishments. Up to the end of the school year, the school testing will require more than 21.9 million test kits. At present, more than 7.5 million test kits are available or contracted and the fire rescue service distributes them to contact points in the regions. The government approved the purchase of 5,633,000 antigen test kits for the period until the end of May 2021. The purchase will be carried out by the State Reserve Bureau.
Moreover, the government decided on a free provision of more than 12.6 million medical face masks for pupils in schools and educational establishments from the emergency stocks of the State Reserve Bureau. The medical face masks will be obligatory for children at schools, the government wants to use the stocks to address situations where a child does not have the correct face mask because it is from a socially weaker group or has lost the mask and does not have another one.
The government also discussed extending other anti-epidemic measures after 11 April. A part of the measures tied explicitly to the Crisis Act will be lifted on Sunday midnight, for example, the curfew or the prohibition to leave the district without a reason. But most measures will be newly announced on 12 April on the basis of the Pandemic Act, with several partial changes.
Those include an end to the ban on visits in prisons. Newly, the convicts and inmates in detention can be visited by up to two persons. The measures that require wearing breathing protection have been extended with rules for wearing face masks by pupils and students. Already from 7 April on, the ministry has mitigated the current prohibition of providing planned care in acute care inpatient facilities and in follow-up and long-term care inpatient facilities. Healthcare facilities will be able again to receive patients for planned interventions but must continue to have the option of operatively converting the bed capacities to COVID-19 care.
Greater changes will be made to the measure restricting retail and services. Shops selling children’s clothes and shoes, stationary, religious goods, or laundries and dry-cleaners or locksmith shops can open on Monday. The ban on night sale is moved to 22:00. At that hour, hotel restaurants must stop serving the accommodated guests and dispensing windows must close.
Stands and mobile shops of market traders will be allowed to open under strict hygienic conditions. But they will be permitted to sell only fruit and vegetables, flowers and other plants, their fruit, seeds, milk and milk products, meat and meat products including live fish, eggs, bakery and patisserie goods, honey and honey products. The public will be able to visit zoological and botanical gardens. But there will be no entry in indoor pavilions and only a fifth of the capacity will be let on the premises. Permission will be granted to traditional, dancing and similar events and other gatherings, celebrations, feasts, fairs, parades, tasting etc., if they are attended by no more than 20 people outdoors and 10 people indoors. Weddings and funerals will be limited to 15 persons. The right of assembly will be restricted to a hundred persons.
The Ministry of Health decided on postponing the application of the second vaccine dose to 38 to 42 days following the first dose of the Pfizer/BIONTECH and Moderna vaccines, and to 84 to 91 days following the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The change will concern only the newly vaccinated and will come into effect on 10 April.
The government discussed the parliamentary proposal for an amendment to the Act on the Chamber of Deputies Rules of Procedure and the related proposal for an amendment to the Offences Act. It gave consent, with some reservations, with the proposal that should enable stricter and more effective punishment of inappropriate behaviour of legislators during sessions. On the contrary, the cabinet rejected the application of the company Minth Automotive Technology Research & Development Co., Ltd., for an investment incentive to start the production of battery boxes for electric vehicles in Kralupy nad Vltavou. According to the government, the investment of more than CZK 836 million does not meet the conditions for receiving an incentive.
Autor: Office of the Government