Coronavirus update, June 24, 2021: Health Minister warns that the pandemic is on the rise in Prague

The head of the Health Information and Statistics Institute compares the pattern to last summer, calling it déjà vu. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 24.06.2021 09:32:00 (updated on 24.06.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Covid epidemic in Prague stagnates, mildly rises

The coronavirus epidemic in Prague is stagnating or mildly rising, while it has been on the decline in other 13 regions of the Czech Republic, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (for ANO) said at lower house health committee meeting. There are 17.2 new Covid cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days in Prague as against the national average of 7.5 cases. Besides Prague, the Liberec and South Bohemia Regions report the highest Covid incidence rate of nine cases per 100,000 population in the past week. Vojtěch said no crucial conclusions will be drawn from these figures, but the situation must be improved. The decrease in Covid incidence has stopped in Prague. In contrast, there was a 40 percent week-over-week fall in early June, while there was 27 percent more cases afterwards. The reproduction number R, standing for the people infected by one positive person, is estimated at 1.22 in Prague.

Health Information and Statistics Institute (ÚZIS) head Ladislav Dušek said mostly young people are responsible for the increase of the figures in Prague. Covid incidence among young people from 16 to 19, equals 31.5 in Prague and 12.9 nationwide, while it is 59.9 in Prague and 15.6 nationwide for people from 20 to 29.

"It is a sort of déjà vu. This is how Prague behaved last summer, too, Dušek said.

In a long-term view, the viral load in all 14 regions is low, Dušek said. Many districts report only a few positive cases a day. No further slump can be expected, because the figures are very low, he added. "Be ready for the fact that the virus will not disappear. It will remain present in the population, thus we will see some local infection clusters. We only need to monitor it so that it does not become a potential problem of an uncontrollable disease spread by the autumn," Dušek warned.

SÚKL: Not enough data for combining different Covid vaccines

The Czech State Drug Control Institute (SÚKL) said there is not yet enough data allowing for a combination of two different Covid vaccines, but it is possible to administer the second dose from another producer than the first one if the previous vaccine is not available, the institute wrote. The media reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel got two different vaccines, the first from AstraZeneca, the second from Moderna. The data on safety and efficiency of these combinations are only indicative as there has been a very limited sample of these cases, the SÚKL wrote in its press release. The findings imply that combinations of vaccines might be probably possible, but further data must be provided, SÚKL head Irena Storová said. She added that that available studies show no safety risks. The AstraZeneca product is a vector vaccine, while Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are based on the mRNA principle.  

Prague City Hall wants to keep respirators on public transit

Prague City Hall’s Security Council is asking the government to maintain the obligation to wear respirators or nanomasks in public transport. They are particularly concerned about the more contagious mutations of the coronavirus delta and also about the more frequent travel of people during the summer holidays, Prague City Hall spokesman Vít Hofman. In an interview with TN Live, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES) said that the cabinet should decide on wearing masks instead of respirators on Monday.

Delta variant expected to be dominant by end of summer

By the end of August, the particularly contagious delta variant will account for 90 percent of new cases of coronavirus infection in the European Union, accordign to the The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).

"It is very likely that the Delta variant will circulate extensively during the summer, particularly among younger individuals who are not targeted for vaccination. This could cause a risk for the more vulnerable individuals to be infected," ECDC Director Andrea Ammon said.

Although the alpha variant originally detected in Britain now still predominates in the region, the center's models predict that the delta variant, first discovered in India, will account for 70 percent of new infections in the EU in early August and 90 percent in late August. "Unfortunately, preliminary data shows that [the Delta strain] can also infect individuals who have received only one dose of the currently available vaccines," Ammon said.

Covid data delayed

Due to technical problems, full reports and data sets will be updated later in the day, the Ministry of Health wrote on its website. Preliminary data shows the reproduction number R has risen to 0.90, from 0.83 the previous day. It had been as slow as 0.66 on June 12. If it is over 1.0 it means the virus is spreading.  

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (June 24, 2021)

  • New cases 161
  • Deaths 30,291
  • Currently hospitalized 75
  • PCR tests performed 7,847,862
  • Antigen tests performed 20,618,116
  • Total vaccinations 7,570,988
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 110,008
  • People who have completed vaccination 2,779,741
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 8
  • PES index – not available
  • R number 0.90
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