From Thursday, April 14, it will no longer be obligatory to wear a respirator on public transport in the Czech Republic.
“The National Institute (for Pandemic Management) agreed on this decision, although not 100% unanimously,” said the minister of health, Vlastimil Válek.
However, Válek still recommends that people continue to use respirators if surrounded by strangers or in poorly ventilated rooms, because of both Covid-19 and other respiratory illnesses.
“For example, in Japan, respirators have never been mandatory, and yet every citizen wears a respirator when there is a risk of getting infected,” added the minister.
The obligation to wear respirators in medical facilities and social services should be also abolished at the end of April and the end of May. “We are still waiting, the situation is not quite ideal yet. (…) We will see how it develops,” he added.
2,251 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the Czech Republic on Saturday, a fall of around 350 on the same day a week earlier.
The seven-day case incidence rate on Saturday was 295 per 100,000 inhabitants, the lowest figure since the end of October.
The number of people hospitalised on Saturday, 1,258, was also the least since October.
The first case of XE
The first case of XE, a more transmittable Covid-19 variant, has been detected in the Czech Republic, the State Institute of Health announced on Thursday.
The sample was identified by the National Reference Laboratory.
Early indications suggest it could be around 10 per cent more transmissible than other Omicron mutations, but there is no evidence that XE is any more serious in disease severity, with all Omicron variants so far shown to be less severe.