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PRAGUE (AP) — The new Czech government will allow some workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus to stay on the job, in an extraordinary measure to ease possible staff shortages caused by an anticipated surge of the omicron variant.

Health Minister Vlastimil Valek said Friday the measure, which was also used during previous coronavirus surges, would only apply to workers in health care and nursing homes who have no symptoms of COVID-19.

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

New infections in the Czech Republic had been declining since a record high in late November, but started increasing again last week. The highly infectious omicron variant is now dominant in the country.

The Health Ministry has said daily infections could reach 50,000 later this month, far exceeding a record of almost 28,000 on Nov 25.

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


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