Coronavirus update, Jan. 15, 2021: Czech Republic sees half as many new cases on Thursday than a week ago

The vaccination registration system launched today; the reconfiguring of the PES to allow more businesses to remain open will be discussed next week.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 15.01.2021 09:30 (updated on 15.01.2021)

The COVID-19 risk index of the anti-epidemic system (PES) continued to fall yesterday, dropping from 75 to 72 points on the 0-100 scale. The morning data released by the Health Ministry reflects a decrease for the third day in a row, with the PES remaining at the fourth of five alert degrees.

The reproduction number also took a downward turn. On Thursday it was at 0.82 while on Friday it is calculated at 0.72. This means the virus spread is slowing down in the Czech Republic with one infected person infecting fewer than one person on average.

The three other parameters on which the index is based decreased as well, all of them slightly: the average number of the infected per 100,000 inhabitants, the number of infected seniors over 65 per 100,000 in the past 14 days, and the share of hospitalized COVID patients whose infection was determined only in the hospital.

However, the country remains at the fifth, highest alert degree and restrictions correspond to this level and will be effective until Jan. 22 at least. The falling risk index doesn't automatically mean a loosening of restrictions; the index must remain at the lower degree for at lease seven days in order for the health ministry to reassess.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said at a press conference yesterday that he is not satisfied with the current speed of the vaccination against COVID-19 in the Czech Republic and wants all vaccine doses to be applied before new ones arrive. The vaccination registration opened to people over 80 at 8 am today.

Health Minister Jan Blatny objected that the vaccination speed cannot be assessed until the real data on the vaccinated were available from the centres. 

According to the official data, the country has been supplied with some 169,000 vaccine doses. As of 18:00 on Wednesday, 70,680 people were inoculated. The vaccine supplier, Pfizer, delivers the vaccine to 31 centres, including 16 organisations administered by the Health Ministry. 

"Some regions have already demanded further vaccine doses, though they have just used one-tenth of them," Babis said, adding that it is up to the health minister to make his directors fulfill their duties.

According to the data comparing the vaccination speed in various countries, the EU average as of January 12 was 0.76 vaccinations per 100,000 inhabitants.

The situation in Czech hospitals continues to be tense due to the number of patients with coronavirus and the weakened health personnel, another reason the government has said it is not considering loosening of the restrictions.

Last week saw the highest ever daily increases in new coronavirus cases, with a record 17,700 on Wednesday, Jan. 6. Test positivity rates were also high, reaching almost 43 percent, taking not only PCR but also antigen test results into account.

Out of the country's 76 districts, the worst coronavirus-hit is Trutnov, east Bohemia, with 1,130 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past week. 

Latest COVID data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Jan. 15, 2021)

  • Active cases 143,007
  • New cases 8,032
  • Deaths 14,029
  • Currently hospitalized 7,031
  • PCR tests performed 4,206,596
  • Antigen tests performed 1,172,147
  • Reported vaccinations 70,680 (* a cumulative number of all reported vaccine doses as of Jan. 13, 2021, at 6 pm. Updated every Thursday).