Coronavirus update, Feb 5, 2021: One in three Czechs violated rules of quarantine in January

Czech health minister gives speech encouraging resilience, respirators, and ahderance to restrictions; today's numbers remain largely unchanged.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 05.02.2021 09:58 (updated on 05.02.2021)

When the Health Ministry introduced the PES index last year, it said the government would consider softening the measures if the index stayed on a lower level for at least seven days in a row.

Instead, the first months of 2021 have seen the Czech Republic hit record numbers in cases and deaths, its hospitals dangerously full, the spread of a new mutation, complications with vaccine distribution efforts, and the tightening, not loosening of measures.

On Thursday, Health Minister Blatný addressed the country with a plea to say home and adhere to restrictions, calling the flouting of measures "ruthless."

"Let us hold on. I know that this disease has been here for a long time, but it is a simple fact that without the vaccination and the observance of the current measures, we will not overcome it," Blatný said during yesterday's public address.

In a press statement issued on Thursday, the Health Ministry wrote that public health authorities have found that Czechs quarantined over COVID-19 tend to increasingly breach the quarantine rules. Health officials checked 518 people in quarantine in January and found that one in three had violated the rules.

While health officials blame the worsening situation and subsequent tightening of measures on people not adhering to restrictions and continuing to visit families and take trips, the opposition argues that the government's handling of the epidemic has been inconsistent and politically motivated, and has killed tourism, hospitality, and other vital sectors.

During his speech, Blatný maintained that "We will not influence the pandemic with politics, but only by our behavior," and encouraged people to "Change our steps, change our approach. Not because of me, not because of the government, not because of the opposition, but because of families, friends, companies. Because of our nation."

He said that without the change, the Czech Republic will continue to implement minor or even major restrictions for months to come.

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As Blatný points to the failing of anti-epidemic measures to curb the virus spread, the Health Ministry's morning data show the number of the COVID-hospitalized is one-quarter lower than in early Jan. and 30 percent lower than last Nov., when it was a record high.

The infection stagnated in the Czech Republic on Thursday when 8,032 new infections were registered, the same as a week ago, while the number of coronavirus hospitalized dropped to 5,753.

The daily death toll has been declining in the past few days. While in early Jan., up to 180 infected died a day, and in mid-January about 150, in the past few days, it was 110-130 deaths a day.

The PES anti-epidemic system's COVID risk index stays at 71 points in the Czech Republic today, which still means the fourth risk degree out of five, and the reproduction R number has not changed considerably since Thursday.

Government officials will meet on Monday to discuss the extension of the emergency state; the state of emergency expires on Feb. 14 and is necessary to secure military aid to hospitals. They will also meet to discuss the limiting of movement and restriction of travel between regions.

Latest COVID-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Feb. 5, 2021)

  • Active cases 95,196
  • New cases 8,032
  • Deaths 16,826
  • Currently hospitalized 5,753
  • PCR tests performed 4,716,100
  • Antigen tests performed 1,731,915
  • Reported vaccinations 327,759
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