- At a special government meeting on Sunday, March 15, 2020, Andrej Babiš's government decided to take extraordinary measures as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. From March 16 until April 1 (6:00 a.m.), it declared restrictions on the free movement of persons with the necessary exceptions. It also extended the reintroduction of border surveillance. Resolutions are available on the government's website in Czech and on this website in English. These measures can be prolonged as the official state of emergency lasts until April 12.
- The described state means that you are only allowed to travel outside of your home to work place and back with a number of exceptions: necessary trips to visit family or loved ones, the purchase of food, drugstores, medicines, medical devices or animal food, use of necessary financial and postal services, getting fuel, providing services for another person, such as neighborhood assistance or volunteering, necessary escort of relatives, urgent official affairs, the pursuit of a profession by police, paramedics or social care, individual spiritual care and services, supply and distribution services, veterinary care, stays in nature and parks (but not in groups), visiting funerals.
- Starting March 17, you will only be allowed to enter public transportation (tram, bus, metro) wearing a face mask, be it the professional one, home-made mask or simply a scarf around your face to protect yourself and other passengers.
- The government gathers all information about the pandemic including its new decisions at the Government’s website dedicated to coronavirus (Czech) and general information in English (with a delay).
Ministry of Health
- Official information about the coronavirus pandemic concerning the Czech republic can be found on a special Coronavirus website by the Ministry of Health. It includes important links and contacts, government’s announcements, development of events, press releases and other key information. Please, check it for guidelines and other detailed instructions that we briefly outline below. We highly recommend the well prepared FAQ section that will give you the best overview of the topic and answers to the majority of questions you might be having.
What is coronavirus and how is it transmitted
- The term coronavirus is used for any virus belonging to the subfamily Coronaviridae. It is a collective term for the four families of viruses that cause illness with varying degrees of severity. The new type, known as the “new coronavirus” or SARS-CoV-2 (formerly designated 2019-nCoV), or Wuhan coronavirus, first appeared in early December 2019 in China’s Hubei Province, where the city of Wuhan, with 11 million inhabitants, is located. The disease caused by this coronavirus has been designated COVID-19.
- The symptoms are similar to the flu: high temperature, difficulty breathing, coughing, muscle aches and fatigue. It can lead in some patients to the development of viral pneumonia, which can cause respiratory failure. These symptoms are similar to ordinary flu or allergies. Check how to determine what is your case (flu/allergy/covid).
- The coronavirus is transmitted from person to person by close contact. It is an airborne droplet infection. It most often affects the mucous membranes of the upper and lower airways and the conjunctiva, and its incubation period can be up to fourteen days. A week after infection, the disease manifests itself with a continuous fever that may be accompanied by discomfort, joint and muscle pain, and coughing.
Prevention - How to protect yourself
Follow the basic protective measures shared by the World Health Organization (WHO) that issues official information and recommendations about the virus and how to avoid it. Their team regularly publishes new information on the WHO website and creates educating videos on how to protect yourself including a general video on protection.
Use face masks
- Population-wide use of face masks could make an important contribution in delaying an influenza pandemic. Mask use also reduces the reproduction number, possibly even to levels sufficient for containing an influenza outbreak.
- If you purchased a mask, wear it! You can protect yourself and the others around you. Sometimes you hear that the basic face masks do not protect you 100% against the virus but since the government did not provide a sufficient number of the professional respiratory masks, anything is better because it creates a physical barrier. If you do not have a mask, follow a number of videos (here is one in Czech or in English) and create your own at home!
- While creating your own mask, keep in mind that cotton is not the only option. You would be surprised that for example vacuum filters are extremely effective according to a Cambridge research and could be used as filling between two layers of the cotton mask.
- Note that you have to wear the face mask to use public transportation (be it the professional one, home-made mask or simply a scarf around your face to protect yourself and other passengers).
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. There are again many videos on how to do it properly, watch at least one video because there are some handwashing tricks you are surely not aware of!
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. There is a shortage on the market, so if you have any chemistry skills, you can make a DIY sanitizer at home following the WHO guide.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Maintain social distancing
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone.
- Why? To stay safe in case someone coughs or sneezes. Through that action they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
- Follow our project FreMEn contra COVID!
Practice respiratory hygiene
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- If you used your hands, you could be spreading the virus via touching other people, objects or yourself.
Work from home
- The best precaution is staying at home and working remotely. If it is not absolutely needed (eg. you have to pick up some equipment from the university or you need to access certain data), stay at home and do not come to the office!
- Reach out to your team leader to set up the best remote-working cooperation that will work for you personally. Contact him/her if you have any questions about your assignments, wish to discuss something or struggle with how to organize your workload. Use e-mail, Slack, phone or set up a video conference via Google Hangouts or other services (Jitsi, Zoom, Skype…).
- Working from home is different than staying in the office and it requires a different approach. The internet is full of tips on how to overcome the struggles. Read one or two articles from professionals who are skilled in remote working. Or this great one at Harward Business Review.
- How to survive at home? There are a number of services you can use to have groceries and other products delivered. Use them to avoid contact in the crowded spaces and to stay safe at home. We previously had good experience with the following services: Rohlík.cz and Košík.cz for buying supplies and DámeJídlo.cz, Wolt.cz or UberEats.com for lunch delivery. Check your favorite restaurant’s website or social media because many places are delivering food on their own to stay in business.
- Staying at home can have a positive impact as well. Each day you will save approx. 1 hour of travelling. That is about 5 hours per week, 20 hours per month. What will you do with this extra time? Set new goals, take Ivy League online courses or relax and share our open positions. ;)
- Currently the courses for students are organized distantly meaning that the students are not allowed to enter the school premises and most of the classes should be executed online via a recorded video lecture or live course. If you have any questions about how to proceed with this, contact Petr Benda (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- All students have been informed about this issue via e-mail meaning that they know that they should attend the online lectures as part of their university duties. Each course can have a different form of executing the lecture, therefore all the information should be clearly stated on the CW/Moodle course site.
Adapt to the “new-normal” (recommendations by our professor M. Pěchouček)
- Assume that this is not short-term-temporary, but rather new-normal and we need to learn how to operate in such a setup, even if we hope it will change back to what we were used to as soon as possible.
- Try to perform your work to our best standards, without any compromise in quality, expect from your students what you would expect without the lock-down.
- Do your research and produce results as you would otherwise, do not delay any deliverables.
- Try to find out how to be more focused and self organised so that you can see this as an opportunity to get more done, keep your working rhythm.
- Schedule more Google-Meet/Zoom/Skype/Webex/Blue-Jeans calls so that you keep your social interaction, minimise calls without your camera on.
- Share your learnings about how to operate in this new-normal.
Treatment - What to do if you might be affected
- Do you have one of the following symptoms which are similar to the flu: high temperature, difficulty breathing, coughing, muscle aches and fatigue? Or have you been incontact with someone suffering from COVID-19? Stay calm and contact your doctor (GP - general practitioner) to find out what to do. If you are worried about what will happen, this is the most likely scenario: you will be asked to stay at home in quarantine for some time (2 weeks if lacking the symptoms, less if struggling with them) until getting tested in a hospital and proceed with hospitalization if needed (in an institution or at home if only mild manifestations of the disease).
- Let us know (Katarína at email@example.com) if any of the above mentioned happens! We need to stay safe and take measures if needed to prevent the spread. We also want to support you in any way we can so we have to find out from you that you might be in danger.
- Anyone who has a temperature or respiratory problem is not necessarily suffering from COVID-19. Each case of the coronavirus infection must meet epidemiological criteria (the individual has been in contact with someone who is infected) and clinical criteria (symptoms which are characteristic of the disease). Therefore contact your doctor to find out exactly what your case is.
- All emergency contacts (hotlines and sanitary stations) are listed on the Ministry of Health website, but they are only operated in Czech. You are asked to contact your embassy if you don't speak Czech. We can also recommend someone speaking Czech calling the numbers for you to get advice or reaching out to Katarína (firstname.lastname@example.org) to give you advice on how to proceed in case of emergency.
Well-being is just as important as good hygiene in case of emergency like this and especially recent lock down. Don't drop your mind and focus on exercising at home, meditating, or self-development. There are plenty of projects that offer their services online. For example, you can practice yoga through an online course that is broadcasted live by a studio in Prague 7, you can take any of the 450 free Ivy League university courses, or follow some of the tips on this page full of recommendations, such as online museum tours, volunteering for seniors or mental hygiene (in Czech only).