Coronavirus update, Aug. 3, 2021: Delta variant in 90 percent of samples, experts warn of autumn surge

Plus: One-third of Covid patients caught it at work, more aid set aside for cultural event organizers, some regions won't give employees two days off. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 03.08.2021 09:27:00 (updated on 03.08.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Delta variant suspected in 90 percent of July Covid samples

Some 90 percent of the samples that test positive for Covid-19 in the Czech Republic contain the suspected Delta variant, the State Health Institute (SZÚ) wrote in a press release yesterday, adding that the Delta plus variant was detected in two of the 189 samples sequenced in July. The Delta variant was uncovered in India this spring. Its first two cases appeared in the Czech Republic before the summer holiday. Instead of the loss of smell, typically caused by the previous mutations, those infected with Delta have different symptoms such as a cold and fatigue, which are easy to mistake for another disease.

"In the autumn, the season of respiratory diseases is ahead of us, which is why it is still crucially important to observe the valid sanitary rules, not to underestimate control testing and also, if required by the situation, to observe quarantine on return from holiday," SZÚ director Barbora Macková wrote.

Over 2,300 discriminatory PCR tests, which are carried out by 65 laboratories and focus on detecting samples with suspected virus variants, were performed in the last week of July. Out of the total of 189 samples sequenced in July, the Delta variant was detected in 168 and Delta plus in two. World Health Organisation (WHO) experts say Delta plus can influence antibodies' capability of eliminating the virus. That is why this variant is feared as potentially more lethal and more resistant to medicines and vaccines.

One-third of Covid patients caught it at work last year


Up to one-third of the Czechs who had Covid-19 last year caught it probably at workplace, most often healthcare workers and teachers, Charles University's Public Health and Epidemiology Institute wrote in a press release, citing its head physician Milan Tuček. Over 730,000 people got infected with novel coronavirus in the Czech Republic from March 1, 2020, when the first cases appeared, to the end of 2020, and almost 1.7 million have got infected up to now. Apart from doctors, nurses, teachers and social care workers, the professions with the highest number of those infected at work were also machine operators, clerks, and miners in 2020. Out of last year's 732,000 cases of Coivd-19 infection, about 9 percent (64,587) figure as "probable infection at workplace" by the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS). Another 184,000 cases, pr one quarter of all, figure in the "work contact" category that involves the patients who got in contact with coronavirus at the workplace but their direct infection there cannot be taken for sure.

More aid set aside for cultural event organizers

Organizers of cultural events that have a revenue drop of at least 50 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic will be eligible for support money from the new Covid Culture call. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is preparing the program with the Ministry of Culture. Organizers can start apply from Aug. 3 to Sept. 22, Some CZK 300 million has been set aside for the program, and each applicant can get up to CZK 5 million.

"The cultural sector was one of the most affected sectors during the pandemic. Some restrictions still remain in this sector, for example for large concerts or festivals. That is why we have decided to announce a new call in which we want to support the implementers of cultural events who demonstrate a drop in income of at least 50%," Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček said.

Zlín region to close its large vaccination centers

Large vaccination centers in the Zlín region will be closed by the end of the holidays. Covid vaccination will be moved back to hospitals at the beginning of the school year at the latest, Soňa Ličková, a spokeswoman for the governor's office, said in a press release on Monday. Representatives of the region discussed the future of vaccination centers with hospital management.

Some regions will not give public employees two days off

Regional and municipal authorities are still analyzing how to respond to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s call for local governments to motivate their employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 through two days off. However, some regional governments, such as South Moravia, Liberec, and Central Bohemia, have already announced that they will not take this step. They justify this by saying that it is wrong for others or that their employees already have several days of sick or social leave to take after vaccination. This resulted from a survey among local government representatives.

July death toll updated to 14

There were 152 new Covid cases reported for Monday, down from 199 a week earlier. The index number of new cases per 100,000 over seven days remained at 11. The reproduction number R dropped slightly to 0.92. It has been below the break-even point of 1.0 for 16 days in a row. The number of hospitalized people rose from 42 to 49, and the number of people in serious condition rose by one to 11. Updated figures now show one death for Aug. 2, one for Aug. 1, and two for July 31, but then no deaths for nine days in a row. The death toll for July increased to 14. In Prague, the index number fell by one to 20. The R number was 0.77. The worst situation in the Czech Republic is currently in the Plzeň region, with an index number of 29 and an R number of 1.1.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Aug. 3, 2021)

  • New cases 152
  • Deaths 30,378
  • Currently hospitalized 49
  • PCR tests performed 9,077,486
  • Antigen tests performed 24,159,798
  • Total vaccinations 10,417,451
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 50,945
  • People who have completed vaccination 4,892,610
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 11
  • PES index 26
  • R number 0.92
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