The Czech Health Minister Jan Blatny announced on Sunday, November 29, that certain coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions will be removed from Thursday, December 3, amid a recent decrease in the number of new infections. From Thursday, the government will reduce the country down a notch to level 3 on a 5-level scale, which will allow for the reopening of nonessential businesses, including restaurants and retail stores. Capacity restrictions will be enforced to allow for social distancing of a minimum of 6ft (2m). Furthermore, a previously imposed nighttime curfew will be lifted and limited sports activities will be allowed to resume.
Previously, the lower house of parliament approved the extension of the state of emergency, introduced on October 5, until December 12.
As of November 29, there have been 518,649 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 8,054 associated fatalities in the Czech Republic. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on the skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.