The government discusses new changes in Covid-19 tests

Ondřej Hájek, ČTK

The government’s Health Risks Council may curtail coronavirus tests. The quarantine time might be shortened if a PCR test is completed, according to the chief of the public health office, Pavla Svrčinová’s announcement on Thursday. Unvaccinated people could be restricted from accessing some events if the epidemic situation worsens, she added.

Currently, the antigen test is valid for 72 hours and the PCR test for a week. The quarantine now lasts 14 days. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) suggested that the validity of the PCR test should be limited to 72 hours and the antigen test to one day. He briefed reporters at the Central Military Hospital, where he received his third vaccine dose against Covid-19.

Svrčinová said the validity of the tests could be reduced to the level of neighbouring countries. “We want to be closer to our neighbors; all of them have tests that are valid for a considerably shorter amount of time than in the Czech Republic,” the health official stated

If the situation becomes worse, antigen tests could stop being considered acceptable. Alternatively, there could be even tighter restrictions on entry for those unvaccinated to some events. Svrčinová stressed once more that vaccination is the key. According to specialists, the overall vaccination rate of the population is not even 60 percent yet, while a vaccination rate of around 80 percent would be desirable.

Babiš said that the current opposition, which will form the next governing coalition, will be informed of any new measures. The Minister, Adam Vojtěch (ANO), will meet with Vlastimil Válek, his potential successor (TOP 09).