Change for refugees: masks to be compulsory for children based on the age

Jan Handrejch

The Ministry of Health is proposing an amendment to the regulation on the wearing of respirators and masks by children, which the government will discuss on Wednesday. The obligation to wear a respirator will now start for children at six.

The reason is to make the obligation apply to child refugees from Ukraine. Ondřej Jakob, a spokesman for the ministry, said on Tuesday. Respirators have been compulsory since mid-March only on public transport, health care, and social service facilities. Children up to 15 years old can also wear respirators.

In addition to preschool children, people with intellectual or mental disabilities, hospitalized people, clients of residential social services, or public transport drivers are also exempt from wearing respirators. People who have been certified by a physician that their medical condition does not allow them to wear them do not have to wear them either. Nor are they required during mealtimes.

Refugee children are exempt from compulsory schooling in the Czech Republic for three months after arrival, so most must start school in September if necessary. Respirators protect others against other respiratory diseases in addition to COVID-19, for which they were introduced in the Czech Republic. These, along with intestinal problems, are the most common acute health problems refugees currently seek medical care.

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09) said last week that he would also bring a proposal to Wednesday’s cabinet meeting to simplify the recognition of professional qualifications of health workers coming from Ukraine. Currently, they can take up internships in facilities that have accreditation for training and then work under supervision. They would most likely be able to treat at least some more Ukrainians now that they have a new facility.