Rapid test device for COVID-19 virus with a positive result macro

COVID-19 To Be Removed From Official List of Infectious Diseases

The Czech Health Ministry is waiting for this change to be able to cancel the seven-day mandatory isolation period after a positive test for COVID-19. Photo credit: Freepik.

Prague, March 7 (CTK) – The Czech Justice Ministry has proposed that COVID-19 be removed from the list of infectious diseases from July. The spreading of diseases on this list is categorised as a criminal offence.

The Czech Health Ministry is waiting for this change to be able to cancel the seven-day mandatory isolation period after a positive test for COVID-19.

Health Ministry spokesman Ondrej Jakob said the ministry had already proposed an earlier date for this change.

The Justice Ministry explained the effective date of 1 July 2023 on the basis of the “anticipated length of the legislative process.” It said the draft had been prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Health Minister Vlastimil Valek (TOP 09) previously speculated that the change could apply as early as April.

The previous government of Andrej Babis (ANO) included COVID-19 on the list of contagious diseases in the spring of 2020.

The Justice Ministry noted in its report justifying the change that there had been very little relevant information about COVID-19 then, in particular about its health impacts and consequences for public health. “Neither an effective treatment of the disease nor appropriate preventive measures were available at that time,” the ministry wrote.

However, the situation is now different, said the authors of the proposal, as we have established sufficient knowledge of the disease, its effective treatment, and prevention of its serious life-threatening conditions. They therefore argue that the spread of COVID-19 does not cause such harm to society as the other contagious diseases listed on the register.

The Health Ministry wants people who test positive for COVID-19 to no longer be automatically sent to isolation for seven days, but that doctors and public health officers decide on appropriate measures based on case-by-case risk assessment.

Jakob has said earlier that the Health Ministry wanted this change to take effect in April. The ministry argued that this reflected the practice in other countries, and that the experts Valek had consulted agreed. Valek declared in late February that the change may be implemented within a matter of days.

The conditions for isolation and quarantine in the Czech Republic changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first infected cases were strictly isolated in hospitals. Initially, the isolation period lasted 14 days and all contacts of the infected person also had to be quarantined.

At present, a person with a positive result for COVID-19, either from a PCR or antigen test carried out by healthcare staff, must self-isolate for seven days. Quarantine for those in contact with the infected was cancelled about a year ago.

Spreading of a contagious disease is qualified as a criminal offence, punishable by a prison sentence from six months up to three years.

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