Coronavirus update, June 16, 2021: Experts say Covid passes are crucial for domestic tourism

Plus: Covid testing rules for summer camps change again, and a new app is being launched to check the validity of Covid certificates. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 16.06.2021 09:51:00 (updated on 16.06.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Experts: Covid passes are crucial for domestic tourism

The introduction of European Covid passes that will enable foreigners to freely travel to the Czech Republic again is crucial for domestic tourism as many firms and business people in this branch have no chance to survive without them, experts agreed in a debate. It is important that particular EU member states launch the certificates in time and apply them in as much uniform way as possible, they also said. Last week, the European Parliament definitively approved the introduction of Covid-19 passes or the certificates on Covid vaccination, testing, or the recent infection, officially called the EU Digital Covid Certificate, to be issued free of charge to facilitate traveling abroad as of early July. All EU countries will be obliged to issue and recognize the certificates. According to the MEPs, their introduction will become a crucial step to restore free movement and it will help not only tourists but also cross-border commuters and students.

"It is extremely important that Czechs should be able to travel abroad and foreigners travel to the Czech Republic and thus support domestic tourism," Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism (SOCR) President Tomáš Prouza said.

He said that the firms active in tourism in the Czech Republic had paid more than CZK 130 billion to the state budget in 2019 and employed over 250,000 people.

App being launched to check validity of certificates

A new ČTečka application will be launched this week to check certificates. The application will display a green or red bar depending on whether the certificate is valid and complies with the currently valid rules, Lukáš Trnka, spokesman for the National Agency for Communication and Information Technology (NAKIT), told news server The app will scan the QR code on the Covid vaccination or testing document that people download. Data on the app will be updated daily, so an internet connection will not be needed to scan documents.

Summer camp organizers unhappy with change to testing rules

Repeated testing for Covid-19 at summer camps will not be mandatory provided that all participants prove themselves by a negative PCR test before leaving for the event. In case some will only have an antigen test, testing of everyone at the camp will have to be repeated every seven days, the Health Ministry announced. According to the Czech Council of Children and Youth (ČRDM), the variant with PCR test of all before departure is not feasible. Representatives of the Health Ministry want to meet with summer camp organizers to find a solution for testing that would enable a smooth event.

"The capacities of public test sites are insufficient and often already completely filled. If even one child does not find a place for a PCR test, all participants in the camp must repeat the test after seven days," the organization Junák-český skaut said.

The organization pointed out that there are only two weeks left until the start of the camp season. The announcement of conditions in such a short time is a failure of the government to manage anti-epidemic measures, they added.

Confederation of Industry wants long-term Covid strategy

the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic at its general assembly called on the government to present a clear and long-term testing and vaccination strategy in companies and society as a whole in case further waves of the Covid-19 epidemic recur. The union announced this in a press release on Tuesday. According to the union, all constitutional officials, deputies and senators, should postpone pre-election, election and post-election disputes and prepare the country for the coming period after the pandemic.

Globsec conference: World needs fair Covid vaccine distribution

The world has to get ready for the coronavirus epidemic lasting long, and a fairer distribution of Covid vaccine is needed, former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said at the Globsec international conference. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš could not attend over health issues, so Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček represented the Czech Republic. Bildt said that 85 percent of the vaccines have been administered in rich countries, while 0.2 percent of population in the poorest countries have been inoculated. Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová said the pandemic showed the importance of the partnership among EU and NATO member states. She added the pandemic underlined strengths and weaknesses of all countries and they should draw a lesson from that. 

Study: Pandemic affected the eyesight of children who went less out

Pandemic restrictions, due to which children did not go to school and often not even to play with friends, also contributed to the deterioration of their eyesight. The lack of sunshine caused greater myopia in children observed for several months last year in Argentina and China. This follows from two scientific studies reported today by the daily El País. "When children don't go out and have enough sunlight, the retina does not produce dopamine, which contributes to myopia," said Argentine pediatric ophthalmologist Carolina Picotti, lead author of a study published in the scientific journal The Lancet. To stop the progression of myopia, children should be in the sunlight for at least two hours a day. David Musch, a professor at the University of Michigan, reached a similar conclusion in a study published in the professional medical server JAMA Network.

New cases per 100,000 over seven days drops to 11 

There were 213 new cases of Covid on Tuesday. The seven-day incidence has dropped by one and is around 11 cases per 100,000 population. There are currently 136 patients in the hospitals, according to Health Ministry data. Healthcare professionals gave 109,640 doses of the vaccine on Tuesday, down slightly from the previous week. The reproduction number R dropped slightly to 0.67, meaning the pandemic is continuing to recede.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (June 16, 2021)

  • New cases 213
  • Deaths 30,254
  • Currently hospitalized 136
  • PCR tests performed 7,641,972
  • Antigen tests performed 19,621,584
  • Total vaccinations 6,661,039
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 109,640
  • People who have completed vaccination 2,166,731
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 11
  • PES index 26
  • R number 0.67


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