Coronavirus update, July 28, 2021: Large event organizers should check status of ticket buyers

Plus: Health Ministry to revise respirator rules, need for third dose should be clear by end of August, R number under 1.0 for 10 days in a row.

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Written by Expats.cz
Published on 28.07.2021 09:31 (updated on 28.07.2021)

Large event organizers should monitor ticket sales

The organizers of mass events for which higher attendance limits will be valid as of Aug. 1 should watch that they will sell tickets only to the fully vaccinated people or those who had Covid in past 180 days if the attendance is over 3,000, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told reporters after a meeting with Health and Social Care Workers' Trade Union leader Dagmar Zitnikova. Under the measure the government approved on Monday, up to 7,000 people outside and 3,000 inside will be allowed to attend sports and cultural events as of Aug.1, instead of the current 5,000 and 2,000, respectively, if they are seated. Indoors, the limit of 3,000 seated spectators can be exceeded up to the full capacity if all above the limit are fully vaccinated or underwent Covid-19 in the past 180 days. The same rule is valid for outdoor events. The first 3,000 visitors who buy tickets can also present a negative test for coronavirus. Vojtěch said this can be regulated only for the events to which tickets are sold.

Health Ministry will revise measure on mandatory respirators

The Czech Health Ministry will complete its measure concerning mandatory wearing of respirators indoors following the requirements of the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS), Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told reporters. He said he cannot imagine the measure not being in place in the Czech Republic. The Health Ministry measures about wearing respirators in interiors is not sufficiently justified, the NSS said. The court canceled the requirement, but with a three-day grace period. Thanks to this, the Health Ministry has enough time to add the justification. Vojtěch said this restriction is not exceptional on a global level, adding that the question is how detailed explanation will be sufficient for the court.

"I asked my colleagues to analyses it for the justification that we have to complete in three days to truly match previous rulings," Vojtěch said.

He added that the court did not contest the measure as such, only said the ministry must complete the justification. The ministry wrote on Twitter that it respects the NSS decision, adding that it is crucial that people cover their mouth and nose indoors and in the public transport, because the Czech Republic has not managed to create herd immunity by vaccination yet and more contagious Covid variants are spreading in the country. Vojtěch said he did not know yet whether the completion would require a special government meeting, adding that this has to be consulted with legal experts. Read our story on the court ruling here.

Vojtěch justifies stricter dancing rule

As of Aug. 1, it will also be permitted to dance in clubs, dance halls and at other events for the persons who are either fully inoculated or have fewer than 180 days after they underwent the Covid-19 disease or present a negative test not older than 24 hours. However, for a mere entry to a club, the condition of a negative test that is not older than 72 hours is still valid. Health Minister Adam Vojtěch justified the difference, saying public health officers considered dance a stronger infection risk than sitting at a table.

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NSS: Ministry ignoring court decisions

The Czech Health Ministry systematically ignores decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS), the NSS ruled yesterday, adding that next time it may cancel its measures immediately, without delay. The currently valid measure of the Health Ministry about the wearing of respirators in internal spaces is not sufficiently justified, the NSS said. This is why the court canceled them.

"It is impossible in the state with the rule of law that the executive power disrespects a clearly expressed view of a court, hampering the efforts of the judicial power to observe the principles of a democratic rule of law, based on respect to rights and freedoms of man and citizen," Judge Petr Mikeš said.

"The court only wants the Health Ministry to meet the demand and provide a justification clearly set down by the pandemic law. Despite this, the Health Ministry has been unable to meet this demand," he added. Opposition politicians commented on the verdict by the NSS, saying this was the consequence of the government's dilettantism and ignoring the rule of law. They called on the Health Ministry to modify the measure in harmony with the court verdict.

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Third dose for vulnerable groups should be clear at the end of August

At the latest before the start of the school year, it should be clear whether the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will be given in the Czech Republic to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly or those with reduced immunity. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told reporters during a visit to the walk-in vaccination center in Ústí nad Labem.

"The clinical group has some ideas about it, but it has not been decided. We point out that probably people after transplants or chronic patients or elderly people could be vaccinated, but it is not decided, so it will take some time," Babiš said.

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According to Babiš, it is also necessary to deal with antibodies. Although Czechs can be examined for antibodies, they are not yet recognized as evidence of non-infectiousness such as vaccinations or illness. He said there is no consensus among experts on this issue.  So far, the only country in Europe that recognizes antibodies is Austria, Babiš said.

Coronavirus pandemic has negative effect on romantic relationships

The challenging coronavirus epidemic had a negative effect on romantic relationships as a pilot study in the Contemporary Czech Family research project suggests that their quality assessment dropped from 8.3 in December 2020 to 7.8 in April, Brno's Masaryk University (MUNI) spokesman Pavel Žára told ČTK. The research is run jointly by experts from MUNI and Charles University in Prague. The study shows a causality between the assessment of the relationship and worries about a potential job loss. Most polled who said it is likely or very likely that they lose their job within the next 12 months expressed a lower satisfaction with their relationship, too, while this link is stronger in men. The stress from economic threats and problems provoked by the coronavirus pandemic affect romantic relationships, too, sociologists Martin Kreidl said. However, the low satisfaction level did not result in a higher number of break-ups yet, the study says, adding that this might still come.

R number under 1.0 for 10 days in a row

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There were 252 new Covid cases reported for Tuesday, down from 301 a week earlier. The index number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days remained steady at 12. The reproduction number R remained fell slightly to 0.86. It has been below the break-even point of 1.0 for10 days in a row. The number of hospitalized people was at 52, down from a revised figure of 56 for the previous day. The number of people in serious condition rose by two to reach eight. No deaths were reported for the sixth day in a row. In total, 12 Covid-related deaths have been reported for July. For Prague, where the pandemic situation is worst in the Czech Republic, the index number was at 27, down from 31, and the R number was 0.73, down from 0.78.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (July 28, 2021)

  • New cases 252
  • Deaths 30,362
  • Currently hospitalized 53
  • PCR tests performed 8,867,529
  • Antigen tests performed 23,703,529
  • Total vaccinations 10,129,344
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 62,632
  • People who have completed vaccination 4,690,458
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 12
  • PES index 20
  • R number 0.86
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