Coronavirus update, July 1, 2021: Covid spreading mainly among young people in Prague

Plus: Children aged 12 to 15 can register for Covid vaccination, a new app can carry your certificates, Covid second-most frequent death cause last year.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff
Published on 01.07.2021 09:44 (updated on 01.07.2021)

Covid spreads mainly among young Czechs in Prague

The Czech Republic has recently seen the coronavirus spread mainly in Prague among young people aged from 16 to 29, Health Information and Statistics Institute (ÚZIS) head Ladislav Dušek told a press conference, adding that like last summer, Prague is the forerunner of the future development. Dušek said the infection does not spread by community transfer across the country at present. The situation is calm in most of the 14 regions, some of them detecting merely several new cases a day, despite a high number of tested samples.

"In a crushing majority of regions, the epidemic's slowdown is complete for now," he said.

He described the situation in Prague as anomalous. The epidemic decline stopped a few days ago and the epidemic is starting to rise slowly. The reproduction number was 1.38 in Prague on Tuesday. "In Prague, the viral burden has been gradually rising in young people aged 16–19 and 20–29. This definitely has a relation to the lifestyle and the number of risk contacts, which is logically the highest on the part of this [age] group," Dušek said.

Cabinet to discuss preventing spread of Delta variant

On departure for the Visegrad Four (V4) summit in Poland, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told media that the Czech cabinet will discuss ways to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the Delta variant at its meeting on Thursday. Babiš would not detail the planned measures that are being prepared by the Health Ministry together with the chief public health officer. Health Information and Statistics Institute (ÚZIS) head Ladislav Dušek said the Delta variant that is 1.6 times more infectious than the previous one and will gradually prevail. In the beginning, the process may take the form of stagnation, since the old variant is slowing down and the new one is only taking on force before finally predominating. This may take up to weeks, Dušek said, adding that a high risk exists that this is happening in Prague now and that the trend will be boosted by people's summer traveling, he said.

Children aged 12 to 15 can register for Covid vaccination

From today, children aged 12 to 15 can also register for vaccination against Covid-19. According to data from the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) , there are approximately 456,500 of them in the Czech Republic. The child will need to be accompanied by at least one legal representative for vaccination. Children will be vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech, which has been approved by the EMA for that age group. Registration and subsequent reservation of the date are possible through the Central Registration System.  

New app sufficient to prove past Covid vaccination, test, disease

Czechs can prove that they underwent Covid-19, were vaccinated against it, or tested by a mobile application the Smart Quarantine project has tweeted. The Tečka application is accessible for both iOS and Android systems. According to the data from the App Store, one can register the certificates for several people at the same time in the application. The app also shows how much time remains till the validity of the Covid-19 tests expires. Czechs must present the certificate that they are not infected when visiting some events or traveling. So far, Czechs could download the certificate on having been vaccinated, a negative Covid-19 test or the time the infection appeared in them from the Citizen's Vaccination Portal. To use the app, you can scan the QR code on your digital certificate or register via e-identity. The app then displays a green check mark next to your name if you have a valid certificate, and also carries the corresponding QR code.

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Covid second-most frequent death cause last year

Covid-19 was the second-most frequent main death cause in the Czech Republic last year when 10,539 died of it, more than 8 percent of all deaths, while coronary heart disease remained number one, causing 19,171 deaths, Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) reported. When it comes to the Covid-19 disease, in another 6,696 cases, the people who died with Covid also suffered from other chronic diseases, while Covid-19 considerably sped up their death.Moreover, Covid-19 considerably deteriorated the health conditions of many people and led to their earlier death, he added. In total, 129,000 people died in the 10.7-million Czech Republic last year, which was 15 percent more than the year before. The rise in mortality was the steepest in the last three months of 2020. The highest monthly death toll of over 16,000 was last November.

NSS: Health Ministry discriminated against people with antibodies

The Health Ministry discriminated against people with antibodies against the Covid-19 disease confirmed by a laboratory, the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) has ruled, and stated that the ministry’s measures issued in May was unlawful. The measure demanded that people visiting some events and interior premises produce their vaccination certificate, negative coronavirus test. or certificate on their recovery from the infection. It did not recognize certificates that people have antibodies against Covid-19. The court said the ministry did not include the antibodies certificate among the possible conditions for entry without any proper explanation, which was a discriminatory and arbitrary step. The ministry disagreed with the court verdict. It said it is not known whether the levels of antibodies after recovery from coronavirus provide sufficient protection against the infection.

"A positive result of the test for antibodies cannot give an absolute evidence that the person is and for some time will continue to be protected against a new infection and that the person cannot transfer the virus further," Health Ministry’s spokeswoman Gabriela Štěpanyová said, referring to the stance of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Hungary to hand over 100,000 vaccine doses

The Czech Republic today will receive 100,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 from Hungary. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó will hand them over to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at the O2 universum vaccination center in Prague. At the beginning of June, the Prime Minister received 40,950 doses of vaccine from the Hungarian minister.

One-third of students struggled with distance learning

During distance learning in the past school year, about a third of the pupils did not manage to learn the subject matter. This was especially the case for children from families with lower education or those raised by only one parent. Around 57 percent of students enjoyed distance learning less than regular classes, and two-fifths had less desire to learn. Approximately 38 percent of parents would welcome tutoring for their child in the next year., according to research by PAQ Research and Kalibro.

EU Digital Covid Certificates now valid across EU

The European Covid pass, officially called the EU Digital Covid Certificate, which is to facilitate traveling in the EU, took effect today. It includes data to prove its holder is vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested negative for the virus. All EU 27 members must accept the Covid passes, but they will be able to set their own restrictions for their holders, for instance, obligatory quarantine if the number of the COVID infected starts rising again.

Reproduction number rises to 1.2

The reproduction number R standing for the number of people infected by one Covid-positive person has been rising in the Czech Republic for five days and equals 1.2 today, and higher values were recorded last time in late February, Health Ministry data shows. The R number returned above one on Wednesday more than 10 weeks, which implies that the epidemic speeds up again. The number of new confirmed coronavirus cases started growing more considerably in a week-over-week comparison this week. Om Wednesday, there were 151 new cases, almost 50 percent more than last week. The incidence rate per 100,000 population in the past seven days increased from 7.1 to 7.6 today. Out of the 14 regions of the Czech Republic, Prague is currently the most coronavirus afflicted with 25 cases per 100,000 population in the past week, up from 21 the day before. In contrast, other regions report incidence rate below 10.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (July 1, 2021)

  • New cases 151
  • Deaths 30,304
  • Currently hospitalized 59
  • PCR tests performed 8,042,979
  • Antigen tests performed 21,832,550
  • Total vaccinations 8,237,527
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 112,244
  • People who have completed vaccination 3,275,974
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 8
  • PES index 41
  • R number 1.18
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