Coronavirus update, Aug. 9, 2021: Pandemic spreading exponentially again in Czech Republic for second day

Plus: Decision on Covid antibodies due by end of August, Babiš says more mobile vaccination teams will start, EU catches up with US in vaccinations.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 09.08.2021 09:38:00 (updated on 09.08.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

R number back over 1.0 for second day in a row

The reproduction number R for the Czech Republic hit 1.06 for Sunday, after hitting 1.02 for Saturday. This means coronavirus is now spreading exponentially again. The R number shows how many people each infected person spreads the virus to. The R number had been below the break even point of 1.0 since July 18, meaning the pandemic was receding in that time. The number varies in Czech region. It was below 1.0 in three regions: Plzeň, Pardubice, and Hradec Králové. It was at or above 1.0 in the 11 remaining regions. For Prague, the R number is at 1.12. It was highest in the Olomouc region, at 2.87, the only region where it was over 2.0. It was lowest in the Plzeň regions, at 0.52. Since the pandemic began there have been 1.6 million cases of Covid-19 in the Czech Republic, out of 10.65 million people.

Babiš: Decision on Covid antibodies due by end of August

The decisions of whether Covid-19 antibodies should be recognized in the Czech Republic as evidence that one is not infectious and whether a third vaccine dose should be applied to seniors will be made by the end of August, PM Andrej Babiš said in his video posted on social networks. A clinical study on the issues will be made in the regions Moravia-Silesia and Ústí nad Labem, and a round-table debate of experts will be held, with Babiš as the moderator, he said.

"We have to decide by the end of August on our position on re-vaccination and on the recognition or non-recognition of antibodies. Only Austria has introduced this for the time being," Babiš said.

He added that studies indicate that in the elderly persons, who were vaccinated five or six months ago, there is a significant decline in the antibodies level. On the other hand, the seniors who underwent it Covid-19, have a considerable antibody level. He said if the recognition of antibodies were introduced, it might motivate some people to get vaccinated after finding out that they have a low antibody level. In late July, Deputy Health Minister Martina Koziar Vašáková told journalists that experts do not recommend that Covid-19 antibodies be recognized as evidence that one is infection free. 

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Babiš says more mobile vaccination teams will start

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that the currently operating 12 mobile vaccination teams will be reinforced by another 10.They have operated well in Moravia-Silesia and the Karlovy Vary Region, and the new teams' operation is being prepared in the Ústí nad Labem and Olomouc regions, he said, asking employers to grant a short leave to their employees for them to get jabbed by a mobile vaccination team. Currently, 673,496 people are waiting for vaccination, including 43,354 for the first jab, Babiš said. Babiš also promoted the vaccination points for those turning up without previous registration, of which 88 operate in the country.

"Most often, their clients are the people who do not have the Internet or would not get registered, and they often have no general practitioner either. It is not true that they are people in material deprivation, however," he said.

Many people would not register for vaccination because they have no time to do it, he added.

Czech company offers online Covid-19 testing

Using a recognized home test kit and a video call with a healthcare professional, the Czech company Doktor na telefon s.r.o. now offers online Covid-19 testing that meets international requirements and can be used for travel within the EU. The online oesting website is currently available in Czech, English, and a number of other European languages. Those interested in online testing must first purchase a recognized home test kit (also sold through the website) and a voucher to access video testing with a healthcare professional. No prior registration is needed, but the test must be conducted within the company's operating hours. Read our full story here.

Epidemic rise could harm government parties in elections

A possible rise in the Covid-19 epidemic in September and early October could harm the Czech government parties, ANO and the Social Democrats (ČSSD), in the Oct. 8–9 general election, political analysts addressed by ČTK agreed. According to Lubomír Kopeček, from Brno's Masaryk University, a deterioration of the epidemiological situation could remind people of the situation during the second and third waves of coronavirus, and it could also discourage some elderly voters from turning up at polling stations to cast their ballot. "Both aspects might harm the ANO movement. Pensioners make up about a half of its voters," Kopeček said. Josef Mlejnek, from Charles University in Prague, also said the election result can be strongly influenced by the epidemiological situation in September and early October.

EU catches up with US in vaccinations

Despite a slow start, the countries of the European Union managed to catch up with the United States in the vaccination against covid-19. In the EU's 27 members, less than four percent of the population was vaccinated with at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine in mid-February, but 12 percent in the United States. Currently, in the EU, 60 percent of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, while in the US it is less than 58 percent, according to news agency AP.

Pandemic increasing again

There were 103 new Covid reported on Sunday, up from 77 a week ago. The week-on-week number of cases has been rising since Friday. The reproduction R is at 1.06, and is now above the break even point for two days in a row. The incidence number of newly infected people per 100,000 remained at 11. The PES number, which is still calculated but no longer used to set policy, has risen to 35. It was at 24 on Aug. 6. No deaths have been reported for two days in a row, and the total for August is at 5. There were just 17.950 vaccination on Sunday, the lowest number since early April. Of those, 15,019 were second doses or single-shot vaccine. For Prague, the incidence number was 23, up from 22 a day earlier. The R number was 1.12. In terms of the incidence number, Prague is once again the worst in the country.

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

  • New cases 103
  • Deaths 30,363
  • Currently hospitalized 48
  • PCR tests performed 9,298,413
  • Antigen tests performed 24,553,166
  • Total vaccinations 10,672,379
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 17,950
  • People who have completed vaccination 5,084,846
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 11
  • PES index 35
  • R number 1.06
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