Coronavirus update, March 30, 2021: Second doses of Moderna and Pfizer to be given after 42 days

In other Covid-related news, all shops will close on Good Friday, and the Czech Republic reports its lowest number of new weekday cases since December. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 30.03.2021 09:47:00 (updated on 30.03.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Moderna and Pfizer vaccine second dose moved to 42 days

The second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will be given after 42 days, the Health Ministry of Health wrote on Twitter. The Government Council for Health Risks supported postponing the second dose, which had previously been announced by the Health Minister Jan Blatný and was also promoted by council member and epidemiologist Petr Smejkal. "From a professional point of view, it's perfectly fine, no need to worry. But for all of us, this change will allow us to protect more people in less time," the ministry said. So far, the second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been after 21 days and Moderna after 28 days. The interval for the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine remains at 12 weeks.

All store to close on Good Friday in the Czech Republic

All shops will close on April 2, which is Good Friday, the government decided at its Monday meeting. Normally, stores over 200 square meters would not be in operation only on Easter Monday, according to the law on retail sales. The regulation follows from a valid government resolution in the fight against coronavirus, where only petrol stations, pharmacies or shops at airports or railway stations can operate on public holidays. Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism (SOČR) President Tomáš Prouza said the ban on sales on Good Friday is meaningless and will only lead to a greater concentration of people in shops on Thursdays and Saturdays.

"Minister [Jan] Blatný refused any reasonable procedure. So it is true that the shops must be closed on Friday," Prouza said.

Retail chains had expected to be open on Good Friday, chain spokesmen said earlier.  

Decision on more frequent testing postponed

The Health Ministry wants to increase the frequency of corporate testing and test once in five days instead of once in seven, but the cabinet did not discuss the issue at its Monday meeting. Testing frequency will not be raised sooner than as of April 12, Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček said, adding that the increased frequency still is not definitive. Some companies would not be able to manage it, Havlíček said. He discussed the issue with Health Minister Jan Blatný before the cabinet meeting. He said the effectiveness of the recent third round of testing is still being evaluated for the cabinet to see how the system works.


Share of positive Covid tests revealed in corporate testing falls

The share of positive cases of Covid-19 revealed in corporate testing has been on the decline as it was 0.77 percent in the first round, 0.62 percent in the second and 0.44 percent in the third round, the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (SPČR) reported. The findings indicate the longer the testing lasts, accompanied with a series of further sanitary and safety measures, the lower the share of positive tests, SPČR head Jan Rafaj said. The on-site testing in firms with more than 50 employees and 2.8 million tested people revealed up to 20,000 asymptomatic people in the first week of the corporate testing as against 17,000 in the second round and 13,000 in the third one.

Czechs are most bothered by closed schools, reduced contacts

After having spent a year with Covid-19, 28 percent of Czechs are mostly bothered by closed schools and limited contacts with their close ones, while more than a quarter of the population is generally fed up with the situation, a poll conducted for Fair Credit showed. When it comes to the relaxation of the anti-epidemic measures, nearly one-third of people are looking forward to free traveling within the country and to opening of shops. While the restricted operation of schools is bothering mostly for the interviewed between 36 and 53, mainly for parents and more likely women, reduced social contact are more frustrating for those over 55 (38 percent) and citizens of smaller municipalities. One fifth of respondents, mainly the young under 35, are significantly affected by suspended cultural events.

Movement between districts shrinks

People's movement between Czech districts has shrunk considerably, by up to 70 percent in the case of Prague and the adjacent districts, mainly at weekends, as a result of the ban the government imposed within its Covid lockdown measures in early March, the Health Ministry said. People's movement has shrunk also elsewhere in March, by about one fourth in parks, the ministry wrote in a report based on data from mobile operators and Google Mobility Report.

"The goal of the measures reducing people's mobility is a reduction of the number of risk contacts mainly through mass gatherings of people across regions. Crucial is mainly the restriction of mobility during leisure time at weekends and mass gatherings of people in popular countryside destinations, recreation resorts and other attractive places," the ministry wrote.

People's observance of such restrictions have contributed to a 30-percent slowdown of the epidemic, according to epidemic models, the ministry said.

Compensation bonus extended to the end of April

The compensation bonus has been extended to the end of April, Finance Minister Alena Schillerová announced on Twitter. "We have estimated the impact on public budgets at CZK 9.9 billion," she said. It will be possible on April 1 to apply for another up to CZK 30,000. Under the new law, the bonus is no longer linked to an emergency and can be extended by government regulation if restrictive measures continue. Entitlement to the bonus applies if the income falls by at least 50 percent compared to the selected comparison period.

Lowest weekday number of new cases since mid-December

There were 6,865 new Covid cases in the Czech Republic on Monday, some 1,400 fewer thanlast Monday and the lowest weekday figure since Dec. 14 . The total number of Covid-related deaths has risen to 26,222, the Health Ministry's data show this morning. The PES index was at 50 for the third day in a row, and the reproduction number R was at rose from 0.83 to 0.85

Some 1.146 million Czechs have received at least their first dose of Covid vaccine, while 464,836 have had two doses. Health Minister Jan Blatný said 2 million people should get at least the first vaccine dose by the end of April. On Monday, healthcare workers administered roughly 36,600 vaccine doses, some 400 more than a week ago.

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

  • New cases 6,865
  • Deaths 26,222
  • Currently hospitalized 7,624
  • PCR tests performed 6,206,832
  • Antigen tests performed 6,058,353
  • Reported vaccinations 1,611,172
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