Coronavirus update, July 30, 2021: Prague launches vaccination bus that will stop at popular locales

Plus: People who can’t wear masks need a doctor’s certificate, children won’t need pre-entry Covid tests when returning from risk countries. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 30.07.2021 09:25:00 (updated on 31.07.2021) Reading time: 6 minutes

Prague launching vaccination bus that will also take self-payers

Prague City Hall is launching a vaccination bus will start operations July 31 and run till the middle of September. It will gradually go around the frequently visited places around the city. People, including children from the age of 12, will be able to easily register and be vaccinated immediately. Foreigners including self-payers can also be vaccinated here according to the conditions set by the Health Ministry.

"Campaign buses are already out, we are now sending a vaccination bus in Prague. This is far more important at the moment. For people who, for various reasons, have not yet been vaccinated, we will offer the possibility of vaccination directly on board or the choice of a later date in a stone vaccination site. But education is also an important part of our roadshow. It turns out that unfortunately some groups of people still do not believe in vaccination and the spread of misinformation also plays a role in this," Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said.

The bus can accommodate up to 300 clients a day. It offers BioNTech/Pfizer and the Janssen single-dose vaccine. In most sites, it will be possible to give the vaccine to children aged 12 to 15 years. This will be the first place without registration where this age group will be vaccinated. In these cases, a pediatrician will always be present. Those interested in the second dose of vaccination can arrive, but in this case they must observe a minimum time interval between vaccination doses of 21 days. On the very first weekend at the end of July, the mobile vaccination center will head to the Prague Zoo in Troja and in the middle of next week it will be located on the embankment at Hořejší nábřeží. The current route of the bus and other information about the project are available on the bus website.

Vojtěch: People who can’t wear masks need a doctor’s certificate

People who cannot wear a respirator for health reasons will not have to wear it. But thye must have a doctor's certificate, according to Health Minister Adam Vojtěch. The amendment is part of a new emergency measure on wearing mouth and nose protection approved by the government. The previous measure was annulled this week by the Supreme Administrative Court. Vojtěch said that the ministry adjusted the measure to reflect the court's ruling. Wearing nose and mouth protection is now necessary, for example, in public buildings or public transport. According to Vojtěch, wearing respirators and masks is a basic measure recommended by international institutions. According to Vojtěch, people who cannot wear a respirator for health reasons should have a lower degree of protection, such as masks. If they can't even wear veils, then they don't have to have anything. But they must have a doctor's certificate.

Vaccinated civil servants will be entitled to two days off

Civil servants vaccinated against Covid-19 this year will be entitled to two days of paid leave. This was approved by the government at today's meeting. People can take time off until the end of the year, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said.

"My proposal is based on information I obtained from the private sector," Babiš said.

The government has also called on regions and local governments to similarly motivate people to be vaccinated. Babiš signed an amendment to the higher-level collective agreement with the union representatives, where the aforementioned paid leave is incorporated. Ministries, authorities and their contributory organizations employ 482,270 people this year. According to Lukáš Kovanda, the chief economist of Trinity Bank, two days off will deprive the Czech economy of CZK 21.4 billion. Babiš called it nonsense. "There is no impact on the state budget," he said.

Children won’t need pre-entry Covid tests when returning from risk countries

Children aged six to 12 will need not to get tested for Covid before their arrival from countries with a high or a very high risk country according to the Czech traveler's map, Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek tweeted.

"The government has just approved: From Saturday, children between the ages of 6 and 12 will not have to take a pre-return test from either red or dark red countries. At the same time, it will be possible to perform a PCR test on these children as soon as they return, so they will not have to self-isolate at all.," Kulhánek wrote.

Some adults will still have to follow the pre-arrival testing rules. The arrival requirements do not apply to the people who saw their Covid vaccination completed at least 14 days ago, those who recovered from Covid-19 in the past 180 days, and the children under six. They have to fill in the arrival form, though. If the parents are vaccinated, the arrival requirements do not apply to them.

Govt. extends no-travel recommendation for extreme risk countires

The government has extended the validity of the measure, which contains a strong non-recommendation to travel to countries with an extreme risk of coronavirus infection, until Aug 31, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch announced. The so-called black countries with extreme risk of infection include Botswana, Brazil, India, South Africa, Colombia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. When returning from these countries, fully vaccinated tourists or those who have suffered Covid-19 in the last 180 days do not need to test and self-insulate. Others must undergo a PCR test before the trip, after returning they remain in self-isolation for 10 days, ending with a negative PCR test. The government has allowed long-term stays for university students from countries at extreme risk of spreading coronavirus. Otherwise, for example, medical students would lose another academic year, Vojtěch said.

Chamber of Commerce: Vaccination in firms started too late

State officials made an essential mistake when they did not launch coronavirus vaccination in firms, Czech Chamber of Commerce health and social services section head Ivo Hlaváč told ČTK. He said not only employees but also their whole families could have been rapidly vaccinated. The system would have worked like a snowball, he said. He said another problem is the several-month delay in the vaccination of foreigners who have a long-term residence in Czech Republic, work here and pay taxes.

"Let’s hope that this situation won’t be repeated in case of revaccination at the beginning of next year," Hlaváč said.

He said employers were ready to support vaccination also by various benefits, especially in the economically active population and younger age groups. He said the Chamber of Commerce repeatedly gathered data showing that many firms would get involved in the vaccination and its promotion.

Czech Republic in 21st place for Covid cases in EU

According to the number of coronavirus infections in the last 14 days, the worst situation in the European Union remains in Cyprus (1,514 cases per 100,000 population, 1,484 a week ago). The second most affected country is now Spain (784 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, third a week ago with 624), followed by the Netherlands (634 cases, 670 cases a week ago and second place). In the Czech Republic, the number of cases is stagnating, with about 27 cases. The country remains in 21st place (a week ago there were approximately 28 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the Czech Republic in 14 days), according to data from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).

New cases, R number rise slightly

The number of new Covid cases reported for Thursday was 203, up slightly from last week’s 193. The index number of new cases per 100,000 over the past seven days was steady at 12, but the reproduction number R rose to 0.90, its highest level in six days. It has been under the break-even point of 1.0 for 12 days in a row. The number of hospitalized people rose to from 49 to 51. the number of serious cases rose from seven to nine. No deaths were reported for the eighth day in a row. The death toll for July remains at 12. For Prague, the index number dropped by two to reach 24. The R number was at 0.73.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (July 30, 2021)

  • New cases 203
  • Deaths 30,363
  • Currently hospitalized 51
  • PCR tests performed 8,939,010
  • Antigen tests performed 23,765,704
  • Total vaccinations 10,252,027
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 56,306
  • People who have completed vaccination 4,777,035
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 12
  • PES index 26
  • R number 0.90
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