Czech Republic to let some workers stay on after testing positive

The new Czech government will allow some workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus to remain on the job, in an exceptional measure to alleviate a potential staff shortage due to the expected rise of the Omicron variant.

Health Minister Vlastimil Valek said Friday that the measure, which has also been used during previous waves of coronavirus outbreaks, will only apply to workers in health care homes and nursing homes who do not show symptoms of COVID-19.

It will only be used when absolutely necessary, Valek said, amid strict safeguards to prevent such workers from infecting other people. Other conditions will be set by health authorities.

New infections in the Czech Republic have been on the decline since a record low in late November, but started rising again last week. The highly contagious Omicron variant is now prevalent in the country.

The health ministry said daily infections could reach 50,000 later this month, far exceeding the record 28,000 set on November 25.

The Czech Republic has reported nearly 2.6 million confirmed infections and 36,799 deaths.

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