Coronavirus update, April 9, 2021: Czech Republic drops to fourth place in EU for new Covid cases

O2 universum vaccination center to run tests today, court rules corporate Covid testing can continue, online memorial lets people remember loved ones. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 09.04.2021 09:47:00 (updated on 09.04.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Czech Republic drops to fourth place in EU for new Covid cases

There were 5,245 confirmed cases of covid-19 infection in the Czech Republic on Thursday, which is at least on a working day since mid-December and about 1,000 fewer than last Thursday. Hungary has had the most new cases in the EU in the past 14 days. The Czech Republic dropped to fourth place in the EU for new cases,. according to daily Mladá fronta Dnes. It had been the worst in the EU until recently. In the course of one week, the relative number of cases in the Czech Republic decreased by almost 30 percent.

Libraries can reopen as of Monday

Libraries will open in the Czech Republic on Monday, April 12. However, they will have to observe hygienic measures, such as the presence of a maximum of one reader per 15 square meters. Library staff should also actively prevent people who do not share the same household from approaching each other by less than 2 meters. Libraries are required to install disinfectants on frequently touched items. The Municipal Library in Prague has already informed about the reopening on Monday, though some services such as children’s reading corners and internet stations won’t be available.

O2 universum vaccination center to run tests today

A test of the large-capacity vaccination center at Prague’s O2 universum, which will be operated by the Central Military Hospital, will take place today. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Health Minister Petr Arenberger, and Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar will be present. Arenberger, who took office Wednesday, will also address the first press conference this afternoon. It was originally expected that the vaccination center at the O2 universum would start operating this week. However, according to representatives of the military hospital, its start will be postponed to the beginning of May due to a lack of vaccines. During today's trial operation, about 1,000 people should receive the vaccine, mainly members of the army, police, and paramedics. At full operation, the center could vaccinate up to 10,000 people a day.

Highest number of vaccinations in a single day

Paramedics in the Czech Republic administered 58,928 doses of Covid vaccine on Thursday. This is the most since the start of vaccination in December. However, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš had said in mid-March that the goal after Easter is to vaccinate 100,000 people a day. So far, 1,971,079 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 663,000 people have been vaccinated with two doses.

Court rules corporate Covid testing can continue

The Czech Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) ruled that mandatory corporate testing for Covid-19 launched in March arises from pandemic law, and the Health Ministry only sets its conditions and scope. The NSS dismissed the motion proposing cancellation of the on-site testing measure. The obligation to undergo the testing via nasopharyngeal swab does not represent such a violation of human integrity and dignity that would require the cancellation of the on-site testing of employees, the NSS decided. The motion was filed by an auto worker. Yesterday's hearing was the first of its kind as the NSS was empowered to investigate Health Ministry's epidemic measures guided by the pandemic law only recently.

Online Plague Column provides a space to remember loved ones

People can send the stories of loved ones to a new internet memorial launched by the Snow (Sníh) initiative, which brings together scientists and experts to fight the covid-19 pandemic. The website functions as a message board of stories and memories of the bereaved. It shows the number of deaths per day since the first victim of the Covid was in the Czech Republic last March.

“Tens of thousands of victims are not just a figure; each victim lived their own unique story, which the pandemic abruptly ended. It is now up to us to bear their memory as a reminder of human fragility and vulnerability,” project initiator Jan Eret said.

Stories can be sent via a form directly on the web page or via e-mail. According to the initiative, the e-memorial will be the first step toward making a lasting reminder of the memory of the victims of the pandemic, which should find its place in public space, following the example of centuries-old plague columns. As part of this effort, the Snow initiative is working with the Minute of Silence (Minuta ticha) challenge.

Hamáček to ask government for extra bonus for police, firefighters

Interior Minister Jan Hamáček will ask the government to release some CZK 770 million for an extra bonus for firefighters and police members over their help with tackling the coronavirus pandemic, Hamáček said after a meeting with trade unions. Members of these forces should receive up to CZK 20,000 per person, Hamáček added. As of the beginning of March, the Interior Ministry will also pay CZK 39 a day as a catering bonus to those who do not have meals provided at their work site.

"I am convinced that police members, firefighters, but also the others – customs officers and soldiers deployed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, deserve a reward, like we rewarded healthcare workers, staff of public health stations and social care workers," Hamáček said.

Only those who were deployed in the field will be eligible to the bonus. Altogether, Hamáček wants to give the bonus to some 28,000 people, but he will also negotiate with other ministries about bonuses for customs officers and soldiers.

Schools, shops to open in Zlín region

Schools and some shops will reopen in the Zlín region as of Monday, April 12, to the same extent like in the rest of the Czech Republic within the gradual relaxation of the anti-coronavirus restrictions, the region’s governor Radim Holiš told reporters. However, hospitals in the region are still full of Covid-19 patients and the epidemic is not subsiding there according to public health officers. The priority is to return children to schools. There is no point in keeping shops and services closed in one region if they reopen in the other, Holiš pointed out. Former health minister Jan Blatný, who was dismissed on Wednesday, had recommended that schools reopen a week later, that is on April 19, in the Zlín Region, as the epidemic was subsiding there more slowly than in the other parts of the country.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (April 9, 2021)

  • New cases 5,245
  • Deaths 27,617
  • Currently hospitalized 6 144
  • PCR tests performed 6,401,348
  • Antigen tests performed 7,637,143
  • Reported vaccinations 1,971,079
  • PES index 54
  • R number 0.74
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