Coronavirus update, Aug. 12, 2021: New Covid cases on the rise in all but three Czech regions

Plus: Schools must decide if they plan to do PCR testing on students by Aug. 18 and over 200 Covid drugs and 60 vaccines under development.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 12.08.2021 09:36 (updated on 18.08.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Schools wishing to use PCR tests must report this by Aug. 18

Schools that want to test their students in September using PCR tests will have to report this by Aug. 18, according information published yesterday in the Education Ministry gazette. As before the holidays, schools will be able to receive a contribution of CZK 200 for one test; the money will come from the EU Solidarity Fund. The government has previously approved that children be tested three times in the first days after the start of the school year by antigen tests provided by the state. If the school decides to replace them with more accurate PCR tests, it will have to arrange the testing itself. Schools set up by churches or religious societies can also apply for a grant. The government has set aside up to CZK 237 million for testing pupils, of which CZK 210 million for antigen and CZK 27 million for PCR tests. Expenditures of schools for testing will first be covered from the budget of the Ministry of Education, then it will be possible to apply for reimbursement from the Solidarity Fund. Testing in schools may be extended in the event of an adverse epidemiological situation.

No need for a European hygienist

According to Chief Hygienist Pavla Svrčinová, there is no need to establish an office of the Chief European Hygienist for a possible future health crisis in the EU, as the existing bodies are sufficient. She said this on Wednesday at a meeting of the Senate Health Committee during the discussion of the European Commission's document Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic. It proposes 10 points that the European Union should focus on in the future in order to be more resilient to future health threats.

"In our opinion, it is not necessary to set up a new office headed by the EU's Chief Hygienist. We believe that the existing structures, especially the ECDC, are sufficient to deal with the epidemic," Svrčinová said.

ECDC is the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. According to the material, the EU should appoint a chief hygienist by the end of this year.

Over 200 drugs and 60 vaccines under development

About 60 types of vaccines for Covid-19 and over 200 drugs are under development. Information from European agenda documents was heard at a meeting of the Czech Senate's Committee on Health on Wednesday. According to Deputy Minister of Health Martina Vašáková, not every drug may succeed in a clinical trial. She would still prefer preventive vaccination to medication. According to Vašáková, the complication is caused by the reaction of the immune system to the virus, so no antiviral drugs have yet succeeded, including the initially very promising ones. According to representatives of the ministry, medicines for other diseases that are already approved, but for other diseases, such as Ivermectin for skin inflammation or Favipiravir for influenza, did not have great therapeutic success.

Vaccination pace slows down in Slovakia, people show low interest

The pace of the Covid-19 vaccination with the first dose has sharply slowed down in Slovakia due to people's low interest in it, according to data from the National Health Information Center, which operates the vaccination system. Slovakia lags behind the EU average in this respect, which is why local authorities have taken measures to encourage people to get jabbed. Still in the first half of July, the daily number of those receiving the first dose of vaccine exceeded 10,000 for the five-million people of Slovakia, but it was only about 5,000 in earlier in August, and only 3,306 this Tuesday. According to the ourworldindata.org server, at least one dose has been applied to 42 percent of Slovaks so far, compared with the EU average of 61 percent and with the 54 percent reached by the Czech Republic. As of next week, a new anti-epidemic system will take effect, counting, for example, with mass events being accessible to no one but fully vaccinated people if the epidemiological situation deteriorated. Furthermore, the Slovak state has prepared a lottery contesting financial prizes for the vaccinated.

Nurse in Germany accused of injecting salt instead of vaccine

In the northern German district of Friesland, more than 2,000 people have applied for revaccination against Covid-19. One nurse who was critical of vaccination, according to investigators, possibly gave thousands of people saline solution instead of an anti-Covid vaccine, news agency DPA reported, The Lower Saxony Ministry of Health announced that more than 8,500 people vaccinated in the district between March 5 and April 20 may not have acquired immunity against Covid-19. The Ministry therefore called on the persons concerned to have another dose of the vaccine given as soon as possible. The nurse claims that she only gave saline solution to six people because she wanted to cover up breaking a vaccine ampule. The case is still under investigation.

Incidence number improves in only three Czech regions

For the whole of the Czech Republic, there are now 12 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days, one more than a week ago. In all but three regions – Plzeň, Hradec Králové, and Pardubice – the incidence for the week worsened. Currently, it is best in the Hradec Králové and Zlín regions with five and the Ústí nad Labem region with six cases. On the contrary, the highest number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days is reported by Prague with 26, compared to 20 a week ago. The largest increase in the week was recorded in the South Bohemian region, with an increase of seven cases per 100,000 inhabitants. It is at 15, and a week ago was at eight.

R number drops slightly but still over 1.0

There were 223 new Covid cases reported for Wednesday, up from 206 a week ago. The number of newly infected per 100,000 over seven days rose to 12, from 11 a day earlier. The reproduction number R dropped slightly to 1.11 from 1.12, but is has been over the break-even point of 1.0 for five days in row. The number of people hospitalized rose to 53, up one from a day earlier, with 15 serious cases, up from 13. No deaths were reported for the second day in a row, and the August death toll is at six. For Prague, the incidence number is 26, up by one from a day earlier. The R number was 1.21, down from 1.23 a day earlier.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Aug. 12, 2021)

  • New cases 223
  • Deaths 30,372
  • Currently hospitalized 53
  • PCR tests performed 9,403,837
  • Antigen tests performed 24,747,165
  • Total vaccinations 10,833,018
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 49,966
  • People who have completed vaccination 5,213,839
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 12
  • PES index 43
  • R number 1.11
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