Coronavirus update, May 19, 2021: Czech Republic opens its first drive-in vaccination site

Plus: The health ministry has dismissed its Covid advisory body, school clubs can take place indoors, and Czech Republic may not reach vaccination goals. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 19.05.2021 09:39:00 (updated on 19.05.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Drive-through vaccination center opens in Plzeň

A hospital in Plzeň launched drive-in vaccination site in its parking lot. It is the first in the Czech Republic to allow people to get vaccinated directly from the car. Similar drive-ins work abroad, the site at Plzeň’s Primaved hospital should be able to vaccinate up to 1,200 people a day at full capacity. People park their car, pull down the window, sign the informed consent and adjust the arm for injecting the vaccine. reported. For those who come on foot there is a tent with a waiting room. The hospital moved the vaccination outside its main building to prevent mixing of patients.

MeSES experts to keep working, under different office

The Inter-Disciplinary Group for Epidemiological Situations (MeSES) will keep working, but not under the Czech Health Ministry, epidemiologist Rastislav Maďar told journalists after it was dissolved by the Health Ministry yesterday. Group members agreed on this at their evening meeting. The experts want to prepare a long-term plan for the fight with pandemics. The Health Ministry said this afternoon that it had ended cooperation with the MeSES.

"We go on! But not under the Health Ministry. This means as the group was originally founded," Maďar said.

The experts want to draw up a strategy for the fight against coronavirus as well as other, future pandemics. The MeSES group was formed in mid-March as an advisory body of the Health Ministry in connection with the rapid spread of the coronavirus epidemic. It was also releasing its positions online. Along with epidemiologists, there are experts in economy, sociology and law. The Health Ministry has confirmed the dissolution to the group. "Due to the improving epidemic situation and sufficient personnel capacities of the Health Ministry, we decided to move the agenda under the ministry. Many thanks to all MeSES members for cooperation," Deputy Health Minister Martina Vašáková said.

Principals and teachers oppose extending the school year

The Association of Primary School Principals and the Teachers' Platform Association are against the possibility of extending this school year to the summer holidays. According to them, distance learning for pupils, parents, and teachers themselves was significantly more demanding than a school in a normal regime. Due to the Covid-19 epidemic and distance learning, the possibility of extending the school year to the holidays was discussed last year, but the school year ended as usual at the end of June. In the current school year, the debate has reopened. Education Minister Robert Plaga said his office wants to support the organization of summer tutoring camps, which should help reduce inequalities in access to education and promote the mental health of schoolchildren.

 Czech Republic probably won’t reach 75 percent vaccination

The amount of the Czech population that has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine will soon exceed 30 percent but at least 75 percent of the population must be vaccinated to effectively stop the spread of the virus.

"My private estimate is that we will not get to 75 percent, that it will not be so optimistic. But we could get to a number approaching 70 percent and I would already consider it a relatively good success," Health Ministry epidemiological group jead Roman Chlíbek told

He added that if 60 percent of the population were vaccinated, as some surveys show so far, it would be enough to prevent the disease from spreading dramatically. Younger people and those with lower levels of education also are less to voluntarily get vaccinated than older and educated people.

 Children’s school clubs can return indoors

The possibility of meeting children in groups of up to 10 without tests for Covid-19 will allow school clubs called “krouzky” to return indoors from May 24, Libor Bezděk, chairman of the Association of Workers of Children and Youth Homes (DDM) and director of the DDM of the capital city of Prague. According to him, so far up to 60 percent of enrolled children have returned to the krouzky in person. The vast majority of activities could only take place outdoors due to anti-coronavirus measures. He expects participation to increase as the rings return to the buildings.

Entrepreneurs received CZK 52.5 billion from Covid programs

Entrepreneurs received CZK 52.5 billion from the Covid II, III, and Covid Prague guarantee programs, according to data from the Czech National Bank (ČNB). Banks approved applications for loans with a state guarantee for CZK 60.5 billion. Drawings increased by CZK 1.4 billion from April 15, while the volume of approved applications increased by approximately CZK 1.1 billion from the middle to the end of April. The Covid III program is still open to entrepreneurs and companies with up to 500 employees. The government recently approved an amendment called Covid Invest. Thanks to this, companies will be able to obtain a loan of up to CZK 90 million for investments. The capacity of the program is CZK 500 billion.

No region over 100 new cases per 100,000 in seven days

In the last seven days, there have been 63 cases of coronavirus infection in the Czech Republic per 100,000 inhabitants, which is four fewer than on Tuesday. There is no longer any of the regions above the 100, which is key for the government in dismantling. The South Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia and Zlín regions are above 75. On Tuesday, tests confirmed 1,191 positive cases of Covid-19, the smallest Tuesday increase since September. The number of people who have died since the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic last year reached 29,948. In the last five days, statistics show less than 20 deaths per day, while in March, around 200 people died daily. The reproduction number, R dropped to 0.79 compared to Tuesday. It has been below one since mid-April.

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

  • New cases 1,191
  • Deaths 29,948
  • Total vaccinations 4,298,947
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 78,317
  • People who have completed vaccination 1,124,922
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 63
  • PES index 44
  • R number 0.79
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