Summer period


Czechia was praised for its swift respond to COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. In late June, most restrictions were lifted and borders fully reopened. Nevertheless, on July 1, OKD (a major mining company in the Czech Republic) suspended mining in Karviná district following new COVID-19 outbreaks. More than 3.000 employees in mines were tested, resulting in 704 positive covid cases. This could probably be marked as a turning point that proved almost fatal in the future. Another outbreak followed in a music club in Prague and resulted in another almost hundred new positive cases, including footballers from several cities. Later, the Czech Republic reported almost 250 new cases, the highest number since the outbreak in Karviná. Czech Government hesitated to reintroduce at least some measures against COVID-19 for a long time and to this day, they are still criticized for their inaction at the time. On the other hand, it is fair to add that any restrictions became highly unpopular, and many believe that this passivity was caused by the upcoming Czech regional elections. It even came to the point where PM Babiš refused to talk about COVID-19 preventive measures on the possible upcoming second wave in the Chamber of Deputies and rather focused on passing a new Gardening Act. During the second half of summer period, Institute of Health Information and Statistics presented the Czech regional traffic light rating system consisting of four different levels.

Alert Level Epidemiological Criterion Characteristics Early Warning Level
0 Zero or Negligible risk ·        Official expert sources (the WHO etc.) inform about the fact that disease contagion has been reported abroad 0
I Occurrence of Infection in CZ without Community Transmission ·        Sporadic cases occur

·        Local clusters occur

·        Local epidemics occur

·        Combinations occur

II Incipient Community Transmission in CZ ·        Occasional cases with an unclear source of contagion, which start to spread in an as-yet-unaffected community – among persons who did not visit an affected area or were not in contact with a known source 4-7
III Growing of Persisting Community Transmission in CZ ·        Daily incidence of cases within community transmission has a consistent rising or persisting trend 8-10


“The aim is to give the public an anticipatable plan as to which steps may be taken in relation to the specific epidemiological situation in their region. People will know which measures to expect. For the public health authorities and local government, this concerns methodology which gives them instructions on how to proceed. We are thus consolidating the procedure across the entire Czech Republic…”

                                                                                      Adam Vojtěch, Minister of Health


Measures adopted in relation to individual alert levels were supposed to be discussed continuously on the level of the regional public health authorities and local government. A decisive factor in the choice of the traffic light colour was an evaluation of the situation by epidemiologists at the public health authorities in the given region. Our government relied on them to know the local epidemiological situation best.


Situation was, however, still getting worse and at the end of August the Czech Republic was removed from the list of green countries by the UK. The Ministry of Health announced the preventive face mask regulations, which were supposed to come in place when the school holidays would come to an end, but our Prime Minister Babiš nixed it because of dissenting public opinion of some Czech citizens. This was yet again later criticized as a populist intervention in view of the upcoming elections.


September 2020 – March 2021


On 1 September, schools reopened across the whole country. Compulsory wearing of face masks on public transport and public indoor areas was eventually and inevitably reintroduced as well. As we got to the middle of September, the situation was still getting worse and over 1.000 new cases were reported. Therefore, face masks were required in all indoor spaces throughout the Czech Republic. Other countries put the Czech Republic on its list of risk zones. On 18 September, the Czech Republic reported more than 3.000 cases in a single day for the first time and face masks were suddenly required in all interior spaces of universities. Primary schools and kindergartens remained opened.


On 21 September, an unexpected event happened. During his press conference, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch announced his resignation as he wanted to give opportunity to someone else to present a new strategy against COVID-19 pandemic. New Minister of Health became Roman Prymula, Deputy Health Minister, epidemiologist and colonel. Prymula immediately predicted that the daily number of COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic would soon reach 6.000 to 8.000. COVID-19 spread very quickly among teachers and nurses. The number of infected healthcare professionals also increased significantly. Prymula was known for his tendency to very strict measures against COVID-19 and became soon rather unpopular. On 5 October, our republic came under a State of Emergency again. Indoor events with over 10 participants as well as outdoor events with over 20 participants were prohibited. Most discussed and controversial measure became a prohibition of concerts, theatre performances, and other artistic performances and festivals involving a significant amount of singing. Precedent minister Vojtěch used to be a singer at his young age, and he did not get along with Prymula very well at the end of his term. Therefore, many people satirically referred to this measure as an act of revenge.


The introduced Czech regional traffic light system failed miserably and new record with 5.335 new COVID-19 cases was reported in the Czech Republic. We became Europe’s most affected country. Secondary schools, universities and all indoor sports facilities were closed once again. Restaurants had to close at 8:00 pm every day and shopping centres switched off their Wi-Fi to prevent kids and younger people from gathering there. On 13 October, the government announced very strict measures with a duration of 14 upcoming days. Part of these measures was also obligation to switch all primary and secondary schools to distance learning.


“If the nuclear power plant does not explode soon, first-graders will return to school after the autumn holidays.”

Roman Prymula, October 15


Number of positive cases still increased each day and got up to nearly 10.000. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced the government will start increasing the number of beds outside hospitals. Location the government was looking at was a field hospital, to be built by the army, at the Letňany Exhibition Center. Just for your interest, I have to say that this field hospital cost us a huge amount of money and even though our standard hospitals have been and still are overloaded, it was never used due to lack of medical workers. Strict measures combined with chaos resulted in a 2.000 demonstration against the Czech Government’s restrictions, which ended in dramatic clashes between protesters and the police after the rally was officially terminated.


On October 23, another unexpected event occurred. Health Minister Prymula was invited to discuss unspecified matters at closed Prague restaurant by a Member of Parliament Faltýnek, close party colleague of Prime Minister Babiš. Journalists were already waiting in front of the restaurant and took a series of pictures of Heath Minister Prymula while breaking his own regulations on mandatory face cover and banned restaurant visits. PM Babiš immediately expressed his outrage over Prymula’s behaviour and announced that Prymula must leave office as soon as possible. Very soon, a conspiracy theory emerged about Prymula’s resignation. Some people pointed to the fact that the journalists knew exactly where Prymula would be and were waiting fully prepared. They also claimed that Prymula became unmanageable for PM’s political party and therefore had to go. Nevertheless, there is no evidence, and it is just a conspiracy theory after all. Prymula’s last measure against COVID-19 was a curfew (10 pm – 5 am), which came into effect on October 28, a week earlier than originally planned.


On October 29, Jan Blatný, hematologist and pediatric oncologist, became the third Minister of Health during COVID-19 pandemic. On 4 November, nearly 16.000 new positive cases were reported. Freshly appointed Health Minister Blatný soon presented new anti-epidemic system of the Czech Republic – “PES”. 


“Let me just warn you. You are moving from the park to the jungle, I admire your courage and I appreciate it.”

President Miloš Zeman to Jan Blatný, October 29


The regions were assigned to the respective levels based on epidemiological indicators, such as the 14-day incidence per 100.000 inhabitants, a simplified calculation of the reproduction number, test positivity and the 14-day incidence per 100.000 inhabitants focused on seniors.



“The main goal of the new PES evaluation is to improve the legibility and predictability of the current epidemiological situation. We want the public to get an idea of the situation in their region and whether they should prepare for the easing or tightening of the implemented measures. The score will include only those parameters which each citizen can evaluate and calculate using available data…”

Jan Blatný, Minister of Health

Number of positive cases was getting lower and first-graders were able to come back to schools. According to PES, the risk score decreased throughout the country and we entered its third level and lifted more restrictions. On December 10, government announced extension of the State of Emergency. Later, Czechia banned all flights from the UK due to a new coronavirus mutation spread in the United Kingdom. The situation in Czechia was again getting worse after lifting some of the anti-covid measures. We moved from the third level of PES to the fourth one and had the biggest daily increase of positive cases ever with more than 17.000 of them. On December 27, the Czech Republic started coronavirus vaccine rollout and Prime Minister Babiš became the first person in the country to be given a vaccine against COVID-19. In the Czech Republic, the seven-day average of the daily increase in positive cases was 932, which was the worst balance of all countries in the world per one million population.


The Ministry of Health presented the central reservation system and new anti-epidemic system 2.0. The central reservation system offers those interested the option of registering and reserving a vaccination. The registration is an online registration form for persons indicating their interest and consent to the vaccination, and it requires the completion of data for prioritization. A point score is calculated based on the registration and, together with the vaccine delivery plan, determines when the person will be invited to book a specific date. On January 15, people from 80 years up were able to register for vaccinations, however, the system failed during the first hour as many people were unable to finish the registration due to an error message. PM Babiš later blamed MNOs because a SMS confirmation was mandatory in order to book a vaccination date.  MNOs, however, opposed as the system was incomplete and no one had warned them about the increased burden in advance. A fight broke out during a Czech parliament debate over coronavirus restrictions. Lawmaker Volný who refused to wear a mandatory face mask became aggravated after another lawmaker turned off his microphone. During the debate, Volný also ridiculed the coronavirus vaccines.


On January 23, Minister of Health Jan Blatný announced that COVID-19 was the direct cause of death in only 30 % of the number of registered pandemic victims. In 10 % of cases, no association was demonstrated. As for the rest, the cause of death was the combination of COVID-19 with other serious diseases. This statement was extremely criticized by PM Babiš, Minister of the Interior Hamáček and Czech Medical Chamber President Kubek. Another affair appeared the next day. This time many politicians such as Members of Parliament Hnilička (also the head of National Sport Agency and former hockey player) and Šlégr, Liberec police chief Husák and former Prime Minister Paroubek were caught throwing an illegal party despite the measures in Prince de Ligne Hotel. Husák was dismissed and Hnilička resigned as an MP (but kept his seat in the Agency).


On February 11, government sought extension of the State of Emergency. The Chamber of Deputies refused to extend the current State of Emergency once more. Chamber explained its statement and announced that government does not need the State of Emergency anymore because its members are only using it as an excuse for not having to properly justify their legal actions. The Czech Government alone could not circumvent the Chamber of Deputies and declare another state of emergency. There was only one possible but not certain solution. Regional governors were supposed to ask the government to declare a new state of emergency, which they did. The government steps have already been challenged at the Constitutional Court by senators who asked for the cancellation of the current new state of emergency.


On 22 February, respirators became mandatory instead of surgical masks, which were found to be insufficient. Pandemic situation was getting way worse. New South African mutation appeared in the Czech Republic and hard lockdown was announced. The government banned movement within the district of one’s residence for at least three weeks. All schools and kindergartens were closed in March. Right now, we are in the middle of the so-called hard lockdown, only allowed to leave house when working, purchasing basic necessities or walking a dog. Based on a comparison of coronavirus deaths in 200 countries relative to their population, Czechia had the most losses to COVID-19 up until March 8, 2021.


Czech Constitutional Court


On 22 February 2021, the Czech Constitutional Court ruled in favour of 63 senators who petitioned against the Czech government closure of retail sales and services. The measures applied from January 28th to February 14th, but the petition follows on from an appeal made by the senators in November. Governmental Decree, adopted on 28 January 2021, implemented a general prohibition on all sales and services outside of 36 expressly specified categories of essential goods and services. The ruling emphasized the government’s responsibility not to make political decisions at will, but to substantiate any decision with rational justification based on expert recommendations and as much knowledge about coronavirus and how it spreads as possible. The Constitutional Court did not question the legitimacy of the government’s intentions when implementing the ban, but whether the treatment of different establishments was reasonable and proportionate. The court also questioned whether the government could not have pursued its intentions in a way which did not infringe on the fundamental rights of individuals. Nonetheless, even crisis measures must be based on objective and reasonable rationale, said the Court. Accordingly, the government failed to provide a convincing justification for the necessity and suitability of such highly disruptive blanket measures. The Court also cast doubt on the constitutionality of a blanket restriction of fundamental rights which only offers limited exceptions. The ruling added that even though the regulations were brought in during a state of emergency and not in ‘‘calm weather’’, it did not excuse the government from providing a formal explanation for the decisions. Some of the exceptions to retail restrictions were viewed as reasonable, such as the sale of medicine, food and fuel, but several others lacked a convincing explanation, such as the sale of arms, ammunition, or flowers, while shoe stores were closed. It is essential that the government be able to justify any measures rationally. Otherwise, they lack legitimacy. As the crisis measures lacked a clear explanation as to why certain goods and services were considered essential – and therefore not subject to restriction – the government’s emergency measures were found to be at odds with non-discrimination principles.


COVID-19 Statistics

Daily number of new confirmed cases

Daily number of new deaths

Number of COVID-19 cases in hospital: Hospitalized/Critical condition


Number of COVID-19 tests performed

COVID-19 numbers in total: cured/infected/dead


Reference list

  • Measures adopted by the Czech Government. Government of the Czech Republic[online]. ČR. Dostupné z:
  • COVID‑19: Přehled aktuální situace v ČR. Onemocnění aktuálně (Ministerstvo zdravotnictví) [online]. ČR. Dostupné z:
  • Jak se šíří Covid v Česku: Čerstvá data, semafor PES, mapy okresů a obcí. Každý den aktualizované grafy. cz[online]. ČR, 2021. Dostupné z:
  • Czech Constitutional Court overturns COVID-19-related store closures. Kinstellar[online]. ČR, 2021. Dostupné z:
  • plans next steps after Constitutional Court throws out part of the ban on[online]. ČR, 2021. Dostupné z: