Coronavirus update, May 20, 2021: Serbia ready to donate 100,000 vaccines to the Czech Republic

New Covid cases fell below 1,000 on a weekday for the first time since Sept. 7, the number of tests covered by insurance may drop to two per month.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 20.05.2021 10:34 (updated on 20.05.2021)

Serbia ready to donate vaccines to the Czech Republic

Serbia is ready to donate 100,000 anti-Covid vaccine doses from Pfizer/BioNTech to the Czech Republic, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš tweeted after meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in the Villa Kramar, seat of Czech prime ministers. Babiš said the gift would speed up the vaccination. Vaccination in the Czech Republic has been slowing down. On Tuesday, 78,317 doses of vaccine were applied, almost 3,500 fewer than a week ago. Monday, too, saw a similar slowdown.

People could be entitled to two Covid tests per month

Chief Hygienist Pavla Svrčinová will propose that people see only two PCR or antigen COVID tests a month covered by public health insurance in July and August, she told Czech Television on Wednesday. Currently, people are eligible for a free antigen test once in three days. Health Minister Petr Arenberger said the price of a PCR tests should fall to CZK 640. The price of one antigen test for self-payers is CZK 300 to CZK 400. A negative test for coronavirus is one way people can prove that they are not spreading Covid. The other ways are a certificate about complete vaccination 14 days ago at least or about a recovery from the COVID-19 disease 90 days ago at the most. People are obliged to use one of the three ways when going, for example, to a hairdresser's shop, fitness center, or visiting restaurant outdoor premises. After the accommodation facilities and restaurant indoor premises are reopened, and concerts and theater performances are permitted, visitors will be bound to prove their non-infectiousness. Vaccination or a negative test, mostly a PCR test, is also necessary for those returning from vacation. 

Babiš asks MeSES group to cooperate with government

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš offered to the Inter-Disciplinary Group for Epidemiological Situations (MeSES) headed by Petr Smejkal, with which the Health Ministry ended cooperation on Tuesday, to cooperate directly with the Government Council for Health Risks, he said on Twitter

"I highly respect the expert knowledge and hard work of the MeSES members. They helped our country. And though the situation has markedly improved, we must not underestimate anything in the forthcoming weeks and months," Babis tweeted.

Babis is the head of the Government Council for Health Risks. On his request, the epidemiologist Smejkal has been a member of the council since February. The MeSES was one of the official consulting bodies of the Health Ministry. The ministry said it ended the cooperation as the epidemic was developing favorably. The ministry’s clinical group for Covid-19 headed by Deputy Health Minister Martina Vašáková will do the MeSES agenda now.

Four-fifths of people worry about the health of their loved ones

With regard to the spread of Covid-19, most people, four-fifths, continue to worry about the health of their loved ones and the limitations of health care for patients with diseases other than coronavirus. This was according to the April findings of the Center for Public Opinion Research (CVVM). Compared to his February survey, the number of people worried about relatives has not changed. At the same time, fears of insufficient hospital capacity have decreased among people. In April, 57 percent of the public shared them, compared to 67 percent two months earlier. As in February, half of people are worried about their own health due to the spread of coronavirus.

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High interest in Covid Uncovered program

The Ministry of Industry and Trade currently registers 3,711 applications for the Covid Uncovered Costs program for approximately CZK 4 billion. Entrepreneurs have so far completed and submitted 1,679 applications in the amount of CZK 1.7 billion, and other applications have been processed. Support from the first call of the program, which covers the period from Jan. 1 to March 31, may be requested until July 19. In another call, which will be published by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the state will also provide compensation for the period from April 1 to the end of May.

The number of new cases below 1,000 on a weekday

The number of positive tests for coronavirus fell below 1,000 on a weekday. On Wednesday, the laboratories confirmed 777 cases, the fewest on a weekdays since Sept. 7. It is about 500 fewer than a week ago, and compared to Tuesday a drop of about 400. The number of Covid-related deaths reached 29,967 since the beginning of the epidemic, according to data from the Health Ministry. The number of new Covid cases per 100,000 population in the last seven days dropped to 58, which is five fewer than on Wednesday. The reproduction number R remains at 0.79 the next day. A value below one indicates slowing of the pandemic. It has been below one continuously since mid-April.

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Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (May 20, 2021)

  • New cases 777
  • Deaths 29,967
  • Currently hospitalized 1 141
  • PCR tests performed 7,088,371
  • Antigen tests performed 15,184,065
  • Total vaccinations 4,298,947 (not updated)
  • Daily increase in vaccinations -
  • People who have completed vaccination 1,124,922 (not updated)
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 58
  • PES index 44
  • R number 0.79
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