Coronavirus update, April 19, 2021: Czech PM says relaxation of more restrictions possible this month

If vaccinations continue on track and Covid spread slows, relaxation of restrictions could take place April 26, with sports and children a priority. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 19.04.2021 09:50:00 (updated on 19.04.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Babiš: life could return to normal by the end of July

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said the Czech Republic should receive vaccine doses for more than 5.6 million people by the end of June, if the suppliers are reliable. If vaccinations continue on track and progress against Covid continues, more relaxation of restrictions could occur April 26, with sports and children as priorities, Babiš said in his weekly YouTube address.

"I firmly hope that we will manage it and reach normalcy at the end of July perhaps, but I don't want to promise anything," he said.

He also drew attention to a survey by the STEM agency, according to which the interest of Czechs in vaccination has increased. "69 percent of our fellow citizens want to be vaccinated. We started at 39 percent in December," Babiš said. The country is getting vaccines from three suppliers: Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna, which each require two doses. Supplies of a single-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson have been delayed.

Vaccination may open to 60–64 age category next week

Vaccination against Covid-19 may open to people over 60 late next week, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said in his YouTube video, adding that the cabinet will discuss the step on Monday.

"I hope, being an optimist, that this may happen at the end of next week already," Babiš said, referring to the opening to the vaccination reservation system to people aged 60 to 64.

Vaccination started in the Czech Republic in late December, with healthcare workers and social care facility clients and staff being the first prioritized group. Vaccination of people over 80 started in mid-January, of those over 70 in early March and of those aged 65 to 69 earlier this week. Further priority groups are the employees from sectors indispensable for the state operation and younger people with selected chronic diseases. Registration for may open to people over 40 by the end of June, Czech Health Minister Petr Arenberger told reporters at the end of last week.

Class groups rotate between school and home learning

Today, the second group of pupils in the first stage of primary schools and the last year of kindergartens will sit in classes in a rotating teaching regime, in which classes alternate in teaching at home and at school. In the Děčín district in North Bohemia, teaching in schools will resume today after a week's delay. Final year high school students and high school students at risk of school failure will be able to begin group consultations for up to six people. Rotational teaching began a week ago. It was up to the schools to decide which grades would go first. On Mondays and Thursdays, schools are required to test with non-invasive antigenic self-tests for Covid-19. Of the 610,000 tests performed last week, 302 were positive, or about 0.6 per thousand.

Last chance to apply for February nursing care allowance

Self-employed persons have the last opportunity to apply for the nursing care allowance for February. The program closes tonight at 11:59 p.m. Self-employed persons, who had to reduce their business due to the care of a child under 10 years of age or a disabled person due to the closure of schools and social facilities, could apply for the allowance for February from March 19. Some CZK 250 million are ready for support. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is preparing a call for March.

Entrepreneurs can apply for more aid

Entrepreneurs can apply for support from the Covid Uncovered Costs program as of 9 a.m. today. Applications can be made on the Ministry of Industry and Trade's online information system . The subsidy can be claimed by those who recorded a drop in turnover of at least 50 percent in January to March compared to the same period last year or the year before. Some CZK 6 billion are available in the program.

Government support programs may be extended

At today’s government meeting, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Jana Maláčová (ČSSD) will propose the continuation of the Antivirus program in its current form until the end of June. The bonus for sick people in coronavirus quarantine or isolation could be paid by mid-year or by the end of the year, she suggests. Both measures are now in force until the end of April. From Antivirus, the state pays wage contributions to companies that have been affected by the restrictions imposed due to the epidemic and the coronavirus crisis. The program is due to end at the end of April. Its extension until the end of June was requested by employers and trade unions at a tripartite meeting last Monday.

Lowest number of new cases since mid September

There were 823 newly confirmed Covid-19 cases on Sunday, the lowest daily increase since Sept. 13, 2020, Health Ministry data released today show. The daily numbers of the newly infected have been gradually decreasing in the country since early March. Six weeks ago there were close to 17,000 new cases per day. More than 1.6 million people have caught coronavirus since the epidemic outbreak in March 2020, 1.5 million have recovered and 28,532 have died. The reproduction number R remains 0.73, same as on Sunday, and shows that the epidemic spread is subsiding. The PES index was at 53 for the second day in a row.

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

  • New cases 823
  • Deaths 28,532
  • Currently hospitalized 3,913
  • PCR tests performed 6,560,921
  • Antigen tests performed 9,157,276
  • Reported vaccinations 2,448,898 (not updated from April 17)
  • PES index 53
  • R number 0.73
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