Coronavirus update, March 4, 2021: Death toll crosses 21,000 as Czech Republic requests Chinese vaccine

As new cases surpass 15,000, EU allots 100,000 extra vaccines to the Czech Republic and President Zeman requests Sinopharm vaccine from China.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 04.03.2021 09:40 (updated on 04.03.2021) Time to read: 4 minutes

Zeman asks China for its anti-COVID vaccine

President Miloš Zeman, at Prime Minister Andrej Babiš's suggestion, has asked China for a supply of the Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19, and Beijing will meet his request immediately, Zeman's spokesman Jiří Ovčáček tweeted. Previously, Zeman asked Russia for its Sputnik V vaccine. Neither Sinopharm nor Sputnik has yet been approved for use in the European Union. If an EU member state wants to apply a vaccine not approved, it can do so temporarily in an emergency regime. The Czech Republic is the second EU country to request the vaccine after Hungary.

Ivermektin being sent to more hospitals

The Czech Health Ministry and the State Drug Control Institute (SÚKL) allowed Brno's St Anne Teaching Hospital to distribute the COVID treatment drug of ivermektin to other hospitals, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told reporters after the government meeting. Babiš added that he expected the ministry and the SÚKL to soon approve the drug distribution to GPs as well. Ivermektin doses for 20,000 patients arrived in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, Babiš said. Some 30 hospitals have expressed interest in it, he added. The Brno hospital applied it to 30 COVID-19 patients until the end of February. The condition of most of them improved to such extent that they could be released home.

People over the age of 60 can register for vaccination from April

People over the age of 60 could register for vaccination against COVID from April 1, Health Minister Jan Blatný told deputies. People over 70 began registering March 1, with over 200,000 registering the first day. Teachers began registering a few days earlier. Blatný says there will be sufficient supplies of vaccines. "By June, 10.3 million doses for 5.3 million people will come to the Czech Republic, and by the end of August, 16 million doses for 8.5 million people," the minister said.

EU allots 100,000 extra vaccine doses to the Czech Republic

EU member states agreed to allot 100,000 additional doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine preferentially to the Czech Republic. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš tweeted that the vaccines would arrive next week. The EU will get the extra vaccines doses from Pfizer in addition to the previously promised supplies, now that the company has sped up vaccine production. The EU members approved that a part of the additional supplies will not be divided among all EU states depending on their number of inhabitants, but will preferentially go to the countries that have asked for them in face of a severe domestic epidemiological situation.

Karlovy Vary region hospitals exhaust capacities

Hospitals in the Karlovy Vary region have run out of their capacities over the COVID-19 epidemic and from now on will only provide acute care based on available resources, regional governor Petr Kulhánek said after the crisis staff's meeting. Currently, just 8 percent of oxygen beds are vacant in this region, while 26 beds are left for COVID-19 patients. Five percent of the capacity of intensive care units is vacant, but no intensive care bed is currently available to COVID-19 patients. So far, COVID patients from the Karlovy Vary Region have been transported to other regions all over the Czech Republic. However, it is difficult to seek vacant beds in other hospitals now.

Germany offering dozens of hospital beds

The Czech Republic has agreed with Germany on receiving 19 hospital beds for Czech COVID patients, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček said after a meeting of the Central Crisis Staff (ÚKŠ). Switzerland is offering 20 hospital beds including transport by its own aircraft and talks with Poland are underway, Hamáček said. In all, Germany is offering several dozen places for Czech COVID patients. Foreign Minsiter Tomáš Petříček tweeted that Poland had offered aid to the patients with a serious course of the COVID-19 illness and that his ministry would take steps to allow for using this offer as soon as possible.

Testing of civil servants may start March 10

The Czech cabinet will discuss the introduction of compulsory testing of civil servants for COVID-19 at its extraordinary meeting on Friday, Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček said after the cabinet meeting. "In view of our success in smoothly launching the huge logistic operation and having companies joined the compulsory testing … I discussed the issue with the prime minister, who supports my plan to propose compulsory testing of civil servants as of March 10," Havlíček said. At least 9.9 million self-testing kits certified for the use in the Czech Republic are to arrive in the country next week and some 20,000 in two weeks, Havlíček said.

Up to 500 health officers to check corporate testing

Some 400 to 500 public health officers will be checking the mandatory testing for COVID-19 in firms, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček told reporters after a meeting of the Central Crisis Staff (ÚKŠ). Police may help public health officers with the checks if need be, he added. The firms' reports on the testing will be checked to see whether the number of positive tests in them corresponds to the average figures in the respective locality. Firms with over 250 employees had to launch the COVID testing of their employees yesterday and complete the testing of all employees by March 12. The public health officers to check corporate testing are not in charge of tracking down contacts of the infected, Hamáček said.

Coronavirus death toll now exceeds 21,000

The number of deaths of COVID-19 patients in the Czech Republic has exceeded 21,000 to reach 21,128. The last 1.000 occurred in six days, the Health Ministry's data show today. A total of 9,188 COVID patients have died this year alone, including 4,739 v in January, 3,991 in February and 458 in March so far.

Wednesday's number of the newly detected cases, at 15,088, is the 10th highest since the epidemic outbreak one year ago. The reproduction number R dropped to 1.06 from Tuesday's 1.09. It fell for the fifth day in a row. The PES index was at 76 for the second day in a row,

Latest COVID-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (March 4, 2021)

  • Active cases 158,568
  • New cases 15,088
  • Deaths 21,128
  • Currently hospitalized 8,231
  • PCR tests performed 5,482,458
  • Antigen tests performed 2,907,364
  • Reported vaccinations 735,131

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