I’d like to give you another update on the Coronavirus outbreak in the Czech Republic.
The Results Continue to be Positive
As I reported in my last post, the strict measures that were enacted by the Czech government when it realized that: a) Italy’s infection rates were exploding and its hospitals were overwhelmed, and b) lots of Czechs were in Italy on skiing holidays for the winter school break have been paying off.
From our first three cases diagnosed on March 2nd to March 30th, we now have 3,001 confirmed cases of COVID in the Czech Republic. Although that's a big increase, we've not seen exponential growth, and our hospitals still have the capacity to treat the sick.
Sadly, since my last post, we’ve now had our first deaths – the number is now 23. Almost all deaths were people over 70 and/or with underlying health issues. Twenty-five people have recovered from the disease.
Quarantine Extended a Second Time
On March 30th, the government decided to extend the “lockdown” of the country until April 11th, at least, including mandatory masks in public. At that time the government will again re-evaluate the situation and decide if some businesses can re-open. For now, restaurants and other non-essential businesses are still closed.
It remains to be seen how long the borders will be closed, but I expect them to stay closed for some time even after the restrictions on free movement are lifted. Currently, all Czech residents returning to the country from abroad have to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
Masks are a Sign of Solidarity
The other day I switched on the TV and took a look at Czech news. Even the news anchors were are wearing masks on set. The wearing of masks in public – and even on TV! – is not only a big help in preventing the spread of the virus, but It’s also a powerful sign of solidarity. And it has the added benefit of reminding all of us that this pandemic is something to be taken seriously – for ourselves and for others.
As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, even musicians giving performances on empty stages in empty concert halls wear masks. That was a shot of my TV screen showing a broadcast of a performance in the Rudolfinum that was raising money for PPE for healthcare workers here.
Keep checking here for updates. I certainly hope that we will be able to welcome you here in the Czech Republic again soon!
In the meantime, the main thing is to stay safe!
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I am an American who has been living in Prague for two decades. After a long career in international finance, I left the business world to pursue other interests. I now work as a writer, mentor and guide to the city.