Coronavirus update, April 14, 2021: Czech police say they won't enforce two-person rule

Covid continues to recede in the Czech Republic, vaccination starts for people over 65 today, Russia offers initial shipment of 300,000 Sputnik doses.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 14.04.2021 09:48 (updated on 14.04.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Police won’t enforce two-person rule

The Czech Police said on Twitter that Health Ministry directive limiting gatherings both in public and in people's homes to two people only applies to “mass events.” It does not apply to the movement of people on the street, chance meetings, or unorganized meetings.

“Neither the Pandemic Act nor the Public Health Protection Act can comprehensively regulate and restrict the free movement of persons, ie their number. Police officers cannot and will not orient their control activities in this direction,” the police stated.

The number of people allowed to gather at home or in public had been limited under the state of emergency, which expired at midnight on April 11. The Health Ministry, though, extended the rule limiting gatherings and the government agreed to it at is April 12 meeting. According to some lawyers, such a restriction without a state of emergency is unconstitutional and cannot be declared under a pandemic law.

Russia offered 300,000 Sputnik doses at once, then 150,000 a month

Russia has offered to sell Czechs 300,000 doses of its Sputnik V anti-Covid vaccine at once and then further 150,000 doses every month, new Health Minister Petr Arenberger told Czech Radio. The vaccine is not registered in the EU. Arenberger said any vaccine used in the Czech Republic must meet certain conditions such as the clinical data about its effectiveness and safety, and its correct manufacturing process must be proved.

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"The offer for the Czech Republic was made by Russia a few weeks ago. We could immediately buy about 300,000 doses and then about 150,000 a month. I haven't registered any withdrawal of it, and it is probably still valid. We have not verified it for the time being," Arenberger said.

On Monday, Deputy PM Jan Hamáček said it would be reasonable to order a Sputnik supply in advance so that it is at the disposal of Czechs as soon as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approves its EU use.

Johnson & Johnson delays vaccine rollout in Europe

Johnson & Johnson will delay the launch of its Covid vaccine in Europe due to reports that six women in the U.S. developed blood clots after vaccination. Some 6.8 million doses were administered in the U.S. Health officials there have paused the use of the vaccine out of an "abundance of caution" over the reports. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved for use in the European Union but has not yet been distributed there yet. The Czech Republic had expected to receive thousands of doses later in April. Unlike other vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one jab and it has less stringent storage conditions.

Brazilian Covid variant in Dečin might not be from abroad

The Brazilian variant of Covid-19 that occurs in the Dečin district in north Bohemia, may not have come from abroad and might have developed in the Czech Republic, virologist Ruth Tachezy from the expert Snow (Sníh) team has told ČTK. The mutation might not have been imported as it could be a convergent evolution variant that the response of the immune system created in the Czech Republic, Tachezy said. The reported mutation resembles the Brazilian variant from last April, Helena Jiřincová, head of the National Reference Laboratory for Influenza of the National Health Institute, said. Experts say there is not much known about the effectiveness of vaccination against this variant.

Vaccination starts for people over 65

Vaccination starts today for people over 65. Health Minister Petr Arenberger said on Friday that there are about 670,000 people of this age in the Czech Republic, but some of them had registered for vaccination earlier, being chronic patients. As a result, Arenberger expects about 400,000 seniors over 65 to apply for vaccination as of Wednesday, he said. Since the autumn epidemic wave outbreak, those over 65 have made up 15 to 20 percent of all detected Covid cases.

Few students test positive for Covid at schools

The low number of infections revealed in the testing of children for Covid-19 at schools, which started on Monday, has been expected, Health Minister Petr Arenberger told journalists in the Chamber of Deputies. Arenberger said the low incidence is similar to the low percentage of infected persons revealed within the preventive testing of the public. "We have the results only from the first day, and so no major conclusions can be made from the statistical point of view," he said. Arenberger said he is checking the possible use of more reliable PCR tests that would be carried out in laboratories instead of the antigen testing done at schools. Children would not have to undergo PCR testing twice a week, he said.

Several hundred GPs did not receive any Covid vaccine

Several hundred general practitioners in the Czech Republic have not received any vaccine against Covid-19 they could administer to their patients, Association of General Practitioners (SPL) head Petr Šonka told reporters. GPs could register their patients for the vaccination as of the beginning of March. They say the distribution of the vaccines did not run smoothly in the beginning and the allocation of the vaccine to the GPs' surgeries and vaccination centers is still uneven. Out of the total 5,000 general practitioners, 3,614 register their patients for the inoculation and 2,900 surgeries have received at least some vaccine. On average, one GP's surgery received 75 vaccine doses. So far, 510,000 people have registered for the anti-Covid vaccine with their GPs and roughly 218,000 doses have been administered so far.

Vaccine shipments less than expected

The Czech Republic ordered a supply of 2.6 million doses for April, but will receive only 1.56 million of them due to the supply restrictions, mainly by the AstraZeneca firm, which was originally supposed to supply 500,000 doses this month.

Share of hospitalized, Covid-19 deaths in patients over 80 shrinking

The share of people over 80 among Covid-19 hospitalized patients and victims decreased in the Czech Republic from November to March, from one third to one fifth and from 50.5 percent to 36 percent, respectively, Health Information and Statistics Institute (ÚZIS) data show. The share of people over 80 among the newly detected Covid cases has also lowered. As a priority group, people of this age category have been eligible for vaccination since mid-January. For the time being, the vaccination of people aged from 65 to 80, which started later or is to start soon, has not influenced the statistical data about their share among those diagnosed with Covid-19, hospitalized and those who died with the disease.

Covid keeps receding in the Czech Republic

There were another 5,033 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, which was 546 fewer than a week ago, in the Czech Republic, according to the data the Health Ministry released this morning. The reproduction number R, showing the spread of the epidemic, slightly rose to 1.07, staying above one for the second day in a row. The R number gives the number of the persons infected by one positively tested person. After a month, the number rose for the first time above 1.0. However, experts say this is just a a short-time oscillation caused by a lower number of people tested during the four-day Easter holiday. Judging by other indicators, the epidemic is receding in the Czech Republic.  

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (April 14, 2021)

  • New cases 5,033
  • Deaths 28,124
  • Currently hospitalized 5,129
  • PCR tests performed 6,484,439
  • Antigen tests performed 8,387,728
  • Reported vaccinations 2,209,859
  • PES index 65
  • R number 1.07

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