As Health Ministry prepares to loosen restrictions, Blatny warns of moving too quickly

The Health Ministry is preparing a new system called "PES," which means dog in Czech. The system would act as a guard dog, protecting residents.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 10.11.2020 11:30 (updated on 10.11.2020) Time to read: 2 minutes

Prague, Nov 9 (CTK) - Coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic have started to decline thanks to anti-pandemic measures introduced weeks ago. In light of this news, Health Minister Jan Blatny wants to prepare controlled measures to loosen the pandemic restrictions, he told CTK.

On Monday, the Czech Republic reported 6,048 new COVID-19 cases. Monday's numbers were the latest in a steady decline of new coronavirus cases across the country. Sunday's numbers - 3,608 new cases - marked the lowest daily rise in cases in several weeks.

However, authorities have been conducting fewer tests. The Health Minister pointed out that had more tests been performed, the number of new cases would be higher. Blatny pointed out that 25 to 30 percent of the tests conducted came back positive in the last several days.

The Health Minister warned against rash conclusions based on fluctuations in the statistical data. Blatny said the pandemic measures have been successful so far in the country, but it would not be wise to jump to conclusions.

The Health Ministry is preparing a system to both loosen and tighten the current measures in place, depending on how the epidemiological situation develops. Officials have been working through the weekend to develop an appropriate situation.

"There were intensive talks during the whole weekend, both with a group of experts and with those who will be deciding on the setting on the measures," Blatny said.

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Blatny said the new system will be called PES, which is a Czech abbreviation of the anti-epidemic system. The word also means means "dog" in Czech, Blatny explained that the system would be like a guard dog, protecting the Czech people.

The system will have two levels: a nationwide level, and an individual level for areas and ministries. The Health Minister hopes to present the system on Friday.

Last week, however, Blatny told reporters that his system would have five risk levels connected with respective measures. The Health Ministry previously said the system would involve releasing a daily figure on a 0-100 scale for both the entire Czech Republic and particular regions. Risk level will also be indicated by color, ranging from green, through yellow to red, Blatný added. The chart will comprise five levels of measures to be taken, based on the new COVID-19 risk scores.

The COVID-19 risk scores would take into consideration the 14-day number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the spread of infection among the elderly elderly population, a simplified reproduction number (indicating the average number of people who get infected from one positive person), and the share of positive tests among all tests conducted, Blatný said.

On Monday, Blatny told reporters that the system will have to change as time goes on because the epidemiological situation in the Czech Republic will be developing. The goal, as it stands, is to use the current system until the end of the year.

"The aim is the maximum transparency and predictability, and this is why the criteria that each citizen can assess are included there. Our goal is that ordinary people could work with this score system," Blatny said.

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