Questions and answers in relation to the coronavirus in the Czech Republic

Nonstop hotline of the National Institute of Public Health:
+420 724 810 106  and  +420 725 191 367

Which groups of people are most at risk?

Vulnerable groups in particular include senior citizens, children, the chronically ill and people with a weakened immune system.

Does a vaccine exist for the COVID-19?
No vaccine currently exists to provide protection against this novel coronavirus.  

So, what does treatment of this disease involve?
No specific antiviral treatment is recommended for infection with COVID-19. People infected with the coronavirus should start supportive treatment to alleviate the symptoms of the infection. Treatment is always individual and based on the specific requirements of the patient. Regularly available medicines are used for supportive treatment and many symptoms of the COVID-19 disease can be successfully treated. The high effectiveness of treatment has also been confirmed by the World Health Organization on its website.

Is the Czech Republic prepared for a potential COVID-19 epidemic?
The Czech Republic has introduced a wide range of preventative measures which rank among the strictest of those imposed by EU countries in this regard. This means that we are well prepared for infection by COVID-19. All the authorities responsible for public health protection, the National Reference Laboratory, hospitals, the emergency medical services and others are fully at the ready. Medical facilities are also prepared and the ministry has issued recommendations for doctors. The situation regarding the coronavirus has been addressed by the National Security Council and the Central Epidemiological Commission. A Pandemic Plan has also been prepared for the Czech Republic.

How many beds for infectious diseases does the Czech Republic have?
A total of over 1,000 beds are available for use in infectious disease wards all over the Czech Republic. These include a specialised site at Na Bulovce Hospital. A specialised military hospital in Těchonín can also be activated if necessary. If this capacity were to be exhausted, facilities which do not primarily provide care for infectious patients would be activated and adapted to suit this purpose.

Who can I consult if I need advice?
If you need any advice in relation to the current outbreak of the COVID-19 disease, whether you are an individual or a healthcare worker, a hotline is available at the National Institute of Public Health. Information is also available from the hygiene station responsible for your region (contact details can be found here), or from your GP or the infectious disease ward of any hospital. 

What should I do if I have symptoms of the disease?
It is certainly not the case that anyone who has a fever and respiratory problems is infected with COVID-19! Each and every case of infection with the coronavirus must be characterised by certain epidemiological criteria – i.e. the given individual was present in the location of an outbreak of the infection, and also clinical criteria – i.e. the person in question exhibits symptoms characteristic for the given disease.

What should I do if I am returning from a region affected by the coronavirus?
The Ministry of Health recommends that travellers monitor their state of health over the 14 days following their departure from the region, focusing on symptoms of incipient respiratory diseases (above all a fever with a temperature of over 38°C and difficulty breathing). If you experience such respiratory disease symptoms, stay at home, restrict contact with others and contact your doctor (the medical emergency services or the infectious disease ward at a hospital) or the regional hygiene station by telephone.

Can I travel to Italy?
Monitor the latest information on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. At the moment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends that citizens of the Czech Republic do not travel to Italy, this being on the basis of decision by the National Security Council of 6 March 2020. 

Are tests able to establish infection even during the incubation period?
Tests are available at the National Reference Laboratory of the National Institute of Public Health – these are PCR nucleic acid tests. This is not a preventative test, but a test which unambiguously proves whether the given individual is infected, i.e. whether he or she has the virus in his or her blood, or for example in a swab from the respiratory tract. The National Reference Laboratory has precise methodology at its disposal from the World Health Organization describing how to perform the examination. 

Is it possible to become infected with the coronavirus if I order goods from Chinese shops to be sent to me by post?
No. The COVID-19 disease is transferred in the same way as other respiratory diseases, i.e. transfer from person to person, most easily via droplet infection. The virus cannot survive for more than a few hours outside the human body.

How specifically is the Ministry of Health monitoring the current situation?
The Ministry of Health uses a so-called Early Warning and Response System for situations like this. This is a closed system which can be used for continuous communication with other countries on a daily basis. The Ministry of Health also participates in regular conferences calls with the Health Security Committee (HSC) during which information is shared. We also obtain specific information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Can I have myself tested for the coronavirus just to be certain?
No preventative tests exist for the coronavirus, only diagnostic tests. This is why tests are only performed subject to indication by a doctor and subject to agreement with the hygiene office in cases when infection is suspected. Otherwise, a negative result of an examination to ascertain the presence of the virus in people without any clinical symptoms could lead to an incorrect conclusion, because it only tells us about the situation in that person’s body at the moment the sample was taken. It cannot for example be used as proof of “non-infectiousness”. Information about testing can also be found here.


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Published: 06.03.2020

Last change: 09.03.2020, 17:25