Coronavirus update, June 17, 2021: No Covid-related deaths for first time since September

Plus: Czechs can newly travel to Bulgaria without restrictions, Health Ministry changes rules for testing at summer camps again. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.06.2021 09:42:00 (updated on 17.06.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

No Covid-related deaths confirmed on June 14

The Health Ministry confirmed that Monday, June 14, was the first day in the Czech Republic with no registered coronavirus-related fatalities in nine months. The figure was confirmed on Wednesday morning. The last time there were no deaths was Sept. 2, 2020. So far in June, 52 people have died from the coronavirus. The trend did not last, as there was one recorded death on June 15. Deaths have been in single digits since May 28, and first fell below 100 on April 10. In March, deaths often topped 200 per day.

Czechs can newly travel to Bulgaria without restrictions

Czechs can enter Bulgaria without any restrictions as of today, but on return they must submit a negative Covid-19 test or a certificate confirming either their first dose of vaccine or that they underwent Covid, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek tweeted. Originally, it was planned that Czechs would be able to enter Bulgaria unrestricted 22 days following their first dose of vaccine against Covid-19, as is the case of Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovenia and Hungary. "The Bulgarians have taken an accommodating approach to us beyond the Foreign Ministry's request and granted the entry not even conditional on the first vaccination dose," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Eva Davidová told ČTK. The Czech Republic is going to enable the entry of the travelers from Bulgaria who have received one dose of vaccine at least as of Monday, June 21, based on the cabinet's recent decision. Bulgaria, along with Greece and Croatia, rank among the tourist destinations that are the most popular with Czechs.

Health Ministry agrees on easier testing at camps

The Health Ministry has agreed with representatives of the Czech Council of Children and Youth (ČRDM) to further adjust the conditions for testing for Covid-19 at summer camps. Children who prove themselves by a negative PCR test before departure will not have to be tested at summer camps every seven days. To avoid repeated testing, it will not be necessary for a PCR test from all participants in the camp, as approved by the government on Monday. Retesting will be mandatory after seven days only for children who have undergone an antigen test or a self-test on site before departure. This follows from a joint press release from the Ministry of Health and ČRDM. The conditions agreed to yesterday are the same as those previously announced by Minister Vojtěch last week, before the government changed them.

Covid test not needed from high-risk countries by private transport

Arrival of citizens by individual transport from Covid high-risk (red) countries will no longer be linked with a previous negative coronavirus test as of Thursday. However, the people returning from the countries within the dark red category will have to undergo a PCR test by two weeks upon return to the Czech Republic at the latest. They will be subjected to the limitation of free movement until they present negative results of the tests. On Monday, the Municipal Court in Prague canceled the original measure with the validity as of June 17. The court ruled that the measure limited the citizens' right to return to the Czech Republic, safeguarded by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. The ministry is considering filing a cassation complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS). Rules for people arriving by public transport such as planes, buses, or trains.

 Chamber won’t discuss end of pandemic emergency state

The right-wing opposition Civic Democrats (ODS), supported by their allies, TOP 09 and the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) failed with its proposal to deal with the canceling of the state of pandemic emergency at the lower house session in the afternoon. The deputies for the government parties, the ANO movement and the Social Democrats (ČSSD), and the Communists (KSČM) vetoed the proposal. Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (ANO) was against the canceling of the state of the pandemic emergency. The opposition Pirates took a reserved stance on the proposal and asked for further data related to this change."When we look at the figures, it is the right time for the Chamber of Deputies to cancel the state of pandemic emergency," ODS deputies group head Zbyněk Stanjura said. Vojtěch recalled the calls for the lifting of restrictions one year ago and the subsequent worsening of the epidemic situation in the autumn.

"Please, let’s not do the same mistakes again," he said.

Vojtech pointed to the situation in the United Kingdom where the delta variant-driven cases continue to rise. "We must maintain the regime measures," he said.

National Health Institute confirms 59 Beta, 27 Delta variants

The National Health Institute (SZÚ) has confirmed 27 cases of Delta (Indian variant), 59 cases of Beta (South African variant) and seven cases of Gama (Brazilian variant), Czech Radio (ČRo) reported. About 4,200 Czech samples of coronavirus have been sequenced in order to identify possible new virus variants, including 800 in June. The SZÚ National Reference Laboratory aims to sequence 5 percent of the samples. It wants to select them randomly, but at the same time focus on those positive cases concerning re-infection, vaccination failure, serious condition of people aged under 50 or bigger clusters occurred. The Czech government approved the sequencing of about 4,000 samples a month. Experts warn that the imports and spreading of virus with new variants seems to be the biggest risk now. Some variants can overcome the antibodies created after infection or after vaccination, especially if only one of the two necessary doses was applied.

NSS: May order for mandatory face masks was unlawful

The Czech Health Ministry's measure ordering mandatory protection of airways valid in early May to curb the Covid epidemic was unlawful due to its insufficient justification and a missing analysis of risks, the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) has ruled, based on a complaint filed by a man from Brno. It was not possible to cancel this measure as it was replaced by other regulations long time ago. The NSS previously pointed to the unlawful character of many other anti-coronavirus measures, including the duty to wear face masks or respirators in another period, and it used the same argumentation as well. The court generally considers such a restriction possible if it is properly justified, which was not the case of the measure valid from May 3 to 9. There was no clear formulation of the risks connected with the virus on the one hand and the long-term wearing of respirators and face masks on the other in the ministry's measure, the court argues.

New cases per 100,000 over a week drops below 10

The pandemic continues to recede with 134 new cases of Covid reported for Wednesday, down from 250 a week earlier. The number of new cases per 100,000 people over seven days dropped to nine. The reproduction number R also dropped, reaching 0.65. It has been below 0.7 for almost a week. Vaccinations again topped 100,000 on Wednesday, with 2.3 million people now fully vaccinated. There are 134 people hospitalized for Covid, with 14 in serious condition.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (June 17, 2021)

  • New cases 134
  • Deaths 30,257
  • Currently hospitalized 113
  • PCR tests performed 7,663,234
  • Antigen tests performed 19,768,134
  • Total vaccinations 6,897,135
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 113,301
  • People who have completed vaccination 2,316,375
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 9
  • PES index 28
  • R number 0.65
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