Corporate, school COVID testing to continue until May at least

Corporate and school antigen testing for COVID-19 will remain mandatory at least by the end of May and the Health Ministry wants to discuss its possible further extension until June, Health Minister Petr Arenberger (for ANO) told journalists.

The ministry wants to assess the further extension by May 7, he said. Possible ending of testing was discussed at the lower house healthcare committee as the supplier of antigen tests for schools was not chosen and consequently, schools will run out of tests in two weeks.

Chief public health officer Pavla Svrcinova said the testing will certainly run through the end of May, Arenberger said. Therefore, he proposes that schools buy only the number of tests necessary to cover their need by the end of May. Simultaneously, the ministry wants to start with laboratory-treated PCR testing. However, this implies higher costs and more complicate logistics than antigen school testing, he added.

According to CTK information, there was a proposition to terminate corporate and school testing as of the end of May. Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek (ANO) previously said the firms need the government to decide by the end of April. The cabinet might debate the proposition at its Thursday's meeting.

On Monday, State Material Reserves Administration (SSHR) director Pavel Svagr announced that the SSHR cancelled its public tender for the delivery of 5.6 million antigen tests for schools because none of the four applicants met the requirements, although the deadline for it was postponed.

At the same time, he added that the SSHR did not have any further supplies of antigen or PCR tests for COVID-19 for Czech schools. In all Czech regions, students of lower grades of primary schools (aged 7-11) have been rotating between online instruction and regular school attendance since April 12. Pupils are tested twice a week with antigen self-test kits. The first week of testing revealed 302 positive tests out of the 610,000 conducted.

As for companies, the Health Ministry ordered in mid-March that companies with more than 250 employees test their staff for COVID once a week if they could not provide a negative test result from elsewhere. Later on, the testing became compulsory for medium-sized and small companies, as well as for the self-employed meeting other people during their work. The testing does not concern those who recovered from COVID-19 fewer than 90 days ago, the inoculated and those working remotely.

According to the Confederation of Industry, the positivity rate of corporate tests has been progressively falling from 0.77 percent in mid-March to 0.17 percent in mid-April.

Source: ČTK

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