Coronavirus update, Oct. 22, 2021: Czech schools to test unvaccinated pupils in worst-hit districts

Plus: Unvaccinated teachers to wear respirators, renewed interest in walk-in vaccination, European Council calls for increased efforts to stop pandemic. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 22.10.2021 09:55:00 (updated on 22.10.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Unvaccinated students to be tested for Covid

Unvaccinated pupils will be tested for Covid-19 in the districts with the highest incidence of infection. Czech Education Minister Robert Plaga and Health Minister Adam Vojtěch agreed that the testing of pupils will be launched after next week's autumn holidays in districts with over 300 Covid cases per 100,000 population within a seven-day period. Testing of unvaccinated pupils will take place in districts with an incidence rate exceeding 300, Plaga said. Vojtěch tweeted that pupils will be tested on Nov. 1 and Nov. 8, and that the ministry will soon decide which districts will undergo testing.

Unvaccinated teachers to wear respirators

Unvaccinated teachers will have to wear a respirator during school lessons, a duty that will not apply to pupils.

"We agreed with Adam Vojtěch that pupils will not need to wear respirators in classrooms. At the same time, we agreed that unvaccinated teachers will have to wear a respirator when teaching their lessons," Plaga wrote on Twitter.

Pupils will not have to wear a face mask or respirator during lessons because it is impossible to stop them taking their mask off at some point, as when eating or doing physical exercises. In addition, the wearing of face masks would make the teaching of foreign languages difficult.

Renewed interest in walk-in vaccination

Interest in vaccination without prior registration has been growing. According to vaccine representatives, the increased interest is related to shortening the third dose revaccination period to six months and to new government measures, such as shortening the validity of negative Covid-19 tests or charging for preventive tests. Lines formed on Thursday in the Olympia shopping centers in Brno and the Forum Nová Karolina in Ostrava, in Pardubice by a vaccination truck, and at vaccination points in the Liberec region.  

Third dose found to be 95.6 percent effective

The third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is 95.6 percent effective, according to a report released by the pharmaceutical companies yesterday. The third phase of clinical trials examined the response of over 10,000 participants over the age of 16. According to pharmaceutical companies, the vaccine is also effective against the Delta variant, which was the most common at the time of testing and still prevails now.

European Council calls for increased efforts to stop pandemic

The European Union must increase its efforts to stop the Covid-19 pandemic. At the European Council summit yesterday, the presidents and prime ministers of member states agreed to this. At the same time, they called for steps to enable EU countries to speed up vaccine donations to poorer countries.

“In order to further increase vaccination rates throughout the Union, efforts to overcome vaccine hesitancy should be stepped up, including by tackling disinformation, notably on social media platforms. It is necessary to remain vigilant regarding the emergence and spread of possible new variants,” the European Council said in a statement.

Czech Republic is tenth least affected in EU

Based on the number of coronavirus infections in the last 14 days, the worst Covid situation in the EU is currently in Latvia, with 1,257 cases per 100,000 people. A week ago the country was second, with 864 cases per 100,000. The second most affected country is Lithuania with 1,163 cases per 100,000. A week ago it was first, with 972 cases per 100,000. The third most affected country is Estonia, which had 1,087 cases per 100,000. Its position has remained unchanged since a week ago, when it recorded 859 cases per 100,000. In the Czech Republic, the number of cases is growing, with 146 cases per 100,000 making it now only the tenth least affected EU country. A week ago it was the ninth, with 98 cases per 100,000, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

New Covid cases continue to increase

The number of new Covid cases jumped again on Thursday, with 3,638 reported up from 1,536 a week earlier. This is the highest number seen since April 20. Covid hospitalizations rose to 771, with 119 serious cases, compared to 487 hospitalized and 95 serious cases a week earlier. There were three deaths reported, bringing the October toll to 114, compared to 44 for the whole of September.

The incidence number of cases per 100,000 over a seven day period rose to 154 from 134 a day earlier. Last week it was at 74. The reproduction number R has risen to 1.79. Some 25,920 vaccine doses were administered, the most since Aug. 30. In Prague, the incidence number is 179 per 100,000 people, up from 153 a day earlier. For the Moravia-Silesia region, where the pandemic is worst, the incidence number is 248.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Oct. 22, 2021)

  • New cases 3,638
  • Deaths to date 30,593
  • Currently hospitalized 771
  • Daily increase in PCR tests 37,724
  • Daily increase in antigen tests 52,738
  • Total vaccinations 12,029,836
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 25,920
  • Vaccinations completed 6,043,821
  • Total booster shots 90,610
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 154
  • R number 1.79
  • PES number 53
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