Corporate COVID testing twice a week should not be rushed

The corporate testing for COVID-19 should be first assessed and only then it should be decided whether the testing will be mandatory twice a week per employee, the Czech Confederation of Industry vice president Jan Rafaj told a press conference. For now, it is not necessary to impose more duties on businesses, he added.

Czech Food Chamber also sharply opposes mandatory testing twice a week as it considers it pointless, its representatives told CTK. The Czech Agrarian Chamber is against more frequent testing, too. During a government meeting today, the cabinet should discuss an increased on-site testing frequency, Trade and Industry Minister Karel Havlicek (for ANO) said.

Now, companies have to test their staff once a week. During the Duel TV programme broadcast on the Prima TV on Sunday, Havlicek noted that only a more frequent testing makes sense. After many struggles, Czechia succeeded in the mass corporate testing and the data from it are being analysed, Rafaj said, adding that further data will come this week. They should show how much on-site testing in firms helps to curb the current coronavirus spread and only then, the current system may be changed, he stressed.

"Given the minimum detection which is around 0.5 percent, more frequent testing is not justifiable," Food Chamber head Dana Vecerova said. Moreover, enough tests are not available on the market, she added. Agrarian Chamber head Jan Dolezal said farmers have been facing increased expenses since last spring. As work in agricultural companies cannot be suspended or order people to work from home, it would mean to test all the workers. The state contribution for testing covers only a part of the costs, Dolezal said.

The Confederation of Industry wants to lead further debates on the conditions related to the testing. Especially large companies running in several shifts would need more flexibility in home self-testing. According to Rafaj, the Health Ministry does not want to permit this in fear that people may cheat in the tests.

The companies with more than 250 employees started testing their staff on March 3. They had to accomplish the first testing round by Friday.

The share of positive tests was 0.77 percent, the SP CR says, referring to its data. Medium-size firms launched testing on March 5 and have to finish it today. So far, 1.24 percent of their tests returned positive, the SP CR reported. The government considers imposing the mandatory testing on businesses with fewer than 50 employees, Havlicek said.

Public authorities and institutions with more than 50 people started testing their staff on March 10. They are to finish the first round of the testing for COVID-19 by Wednesday.

Source: ČTK

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