New quarantine rules

Contacts of people with suspected new coronavirus strains will be assessed individually, according to the Czech Chief Hygienist.

Hygienists can now order quarantine regardless of the use of face masks at the time of contact, if they suspect a new virus mutation is involved. From now on, home-made face masks or scarfs are no longer considered adequate protection - only surgical masks or respirators count.

Previously, a contact was considered not risky if it did not exceed 15 minutes. This condition also no longer applies. People who have been vaccinated are not exempt from quarantine rules, according to a methodological instruction issued by the Chief Hygienist on January 29.

This instruction came under scrutiny recently as Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) did not quarantine himself after the head of the government office, who accompanied him to a trip to Hungary last Friday, experienced Covid-19 symptoms on Monday and then tested positive.

According to Babiš, he did not have to quarantine because he already received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. However, the Chief Hygienist's document mentions this possibility only in the future after gaining further knowledge about the yet-unknown risk of spreading the virus by vaccinated people.

The instruction also states that people who tested positive for the coronavirus can then be vaccinated after 90 days at the earliest. It also orders vaccinated employees of social care facilities to continue wearing FFP2 respirators at work. However, they do not have to get regularly tested as their un-vaccinated colleagues.