Coronavirus update, Aug. 27, 2021: Czech Republic now has fourth fewest new Covid cases in EU

Plus: Slovenia extends exemption for transiting Czechs, Brno researchers try to detect Covid with speech recognition, R number over 1.0 for second day.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 27.08.2021 09:52:00 (updated on 27.08.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Czech Republic has fourth fewest new Covid cases in EU

The highest number of Covid cases over the past 14 days among EU countries was recorded in Cyprus, currently with 603 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (a week ago it was 749, according to data from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The second-most affected country is now Ireland with 497 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. A week ago it was fourth with 457 cases. In the Czech Republic, the number of cases is stagnating. With 24 cases it is now in 24th place out of 27, or conversely fourth-least affected in the EU. A week ago it was in 23rd place with approximately 23 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. Poland has the fewest cases, with a two-week incidence of seven cases, followed by Hungary with 11 cases and Slovakia with 23 cases.

Slovenia extends exemption for transiting Czech tourists

Czech tourists can cross Slovenia without confirmation of non-infectiousness until Sept. 5, Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek said. An exception for Czechs, which had previously been negotiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was to apply until this Sunday, Aug. 29.

"Good news before the last holiday weekend. We managed to negotiate that the free passage through Slovenia will be extended until Sept. 5. You will not need a PCR test on the way to the sea," Kulhánek said on Twitter.

Slovenia's general exemption for transit of less than 12 hours ended last week. Czech diplomats negotiated an extension of the deadline by a week and now by another seven days. Czech tourists pass through Slovenia mostly when traveling to Croatia and back.

Prague hygienist: Schools won’t close again

Prague hygienist Zdeňka Jágrová told daily Mladá fronta Dnes that schools would not close again, but anti-pandemic measures must continue.

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"It is possible that the children will not go to the cinema, and there will be no school sports competitions. ... But I dare say that the schools will not close anymore," she said.

She also said that the pandemic will become worse in the autumn, but so far the development has been indicating that it won’t be extreme. Mask mandates will likely continue indoors as the Delta variation is more contagious, she added.  

Covid vaccination raises general willingness to get inoculated

The Covid vaccination increases people's willingness to get vaccinated against other diseases, too, which should be used to increase the share of the vaccinated against influenza, pneumococcus, and tick-borne encephalitis, experts attending a conference on vaccination in the Czech Republic said. Many people do not remember against what diseases they are vaccinated, thus an electronic vaccination card would help. Public health insurer VZP wants to encourage their clients to get optional vaccinations.

"This is a great starting point for us to increase the share of the inoculated against other diseases, too," Dr. Milan Trojánek from the Bulovka Teaching Hospital said.

In the autumn, the Covid vaccination will move from large-capacity vaccination centers to general practitioners’ offices. Furthermore, GPs plan to administer over 1 million vaccine doses against flu.

Several people already have third vaccine dose

Several people from Covid risk groups in the Czech Republic have had a third dose of vaccine, Czech Radio (ČRo) said. Third-dose vaccinations have been confirmed by Prague's Motol University Hospital (FNM) since two Pfizer/BioNTech jabs did develop enough antibodies in some high-risk patients who had undergone transplant surgeries. Another person with a third jab is in Central Bohemia.

"These were a few individual cases and the doctors considered everything thoroughly. For this second application [third jab], they used a type of vaccine different from the previous one," FNM spokeswoman Ludmila Šimáčková told Czech Radio.

Last week, expert medical groups said 40 to 60 percent of patients after a transplant surgery develop no antibodies after getting two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The experts recommended that a third dose after transplants.

Brno researchers trying to detect Covid with speech recognition

Recognition of coronavirus infection from recording a cough is a possible application of speech technologies. Experts from Brno companies and universities have been researching the topic. With the help of machine learning, audio recordings can be used to analyze a patient's health condition or mental state. Before the pandemic, they analyzed various forms of cough to diagnose chronic lung disease, tuberculosis, or asthma, and in the last two years focused on the sound effects of coronavirus. Recognizing the infection from the recording could save money on testing and speed up diagnostics. Thanks to this research, the Czech Republic will be hosting the international conference Interspeech next week for the first time. Over 350 scientists will visit Brno, and almost 1,400 others will virtually join the event.

R number stays above 1.0 for second day

There were 211 new Covid cases reported for Thursday, up from 166 a week earlier. The number of hospitalized people dropped by four from a day earlier to reach 65, with 13 in serious condition, one fewer than previously. No deaths were reported for Thursday, but two were retroactively reported for Aug. 25 and one for Aug. 24. The cumulative toll has been revised to 30,399 and the toll for August is now 22. The incidence number of cases per 100,000 for the past seven days stayed at 12, but the reproduction number R rose to 1.05, above the break-even point of 1.0 for a second day. For Prague, the incidence number is at 31, up one from a day earlier, and the R number is at 1.11, above the break-even point for a third day.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Aug. 27, 2021)

  • New cases 211
  • Deaths 30,399
  • Currently hospitalized 65
  • PCR tests performed 9,903,501
  • Antigen tests performed 25,711,024
  • Total vaccinations 11,372,277
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 31,107
  • People who have completed vaccination 5,651,364
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 12
  • PES index 29
  • R number 1.05
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