Coronavirus update, Sept. 16, 2021: Czech Health Ministry has no plans to test the fully vaccinated

Plus: 8,000 eligible for third jab on Monday, Nový Smíchov walk-in center will close, Prague overtakes Karlovy Vary as worst-hit region. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 16.09.2021 09:56:00 (updated on 16.09.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Health minister: Covid testing of vaccinated people not planned

Mandatory testing for Covid-19 is not planned in the Czech Republic for those who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, because the chance they will spread the infection is very low, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told journalists Wednesday, in reaction to remarks made by Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) director Ladislav Dušek saying that compulsory blanket testing might be reintroduced if the epidemic worsens significantly. 

Epidemiologist and Ostrava Faculty of Medicines dean Rastislav Maďar shared his view. "This is a serious question. At the moment, the vaccinated really do not get tested, but it is a mere recommendation of the chief public health offices and expert panel of epidemiologists," Dušek said.

Tests show low Covid incidence at Czech schools

Three Covid testing rounds at Czech schools confirmed 438 positive cases, with 290 at primary schools and 148 at secondary schools, out of 3.2 million tests in total, according to data that Health Minister Adam Vojtěch and Education Minister Robert Plaga presented to journalists yesterday. The incidence rate of the infected per 100,000 population is 13.8 at schools. The tests showed the incidence rate of 11.8 at primary schools and 20.6 at secondary schools on average. The Health Ministry previously called an incidence number of 25 cases as risky.

However, in the Karlovy Vary region the incidence was more than 200 at secondary schools. The situation is improving even there, while this is "a game of small numbers" as the absolute number of infections is low, Vojtěch said. On the basis of the results of the Covid-19 testing at schools, the Health Ministry decided not to continue with the blanket testing there for the time being.

CategoryPrimary schoolsSecondary schoolTotal
Confirmed positive cases290148438
1st round6657123
2nd round12556181
3rd round9935134
Incidence (per 100,000 tests)11.820.613.8
Conducted tests2.459 million7190003.178 million

Two rounds of school Covid testing could occur in the fall

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said that the ministry might undertake general screening during the autumn, depending on developments. "It could be only two rounds," he added. The issue is still being discussed, he said. He noted that Covid testing at schools might be applied locally based on the epidemiological situation in particular areas where the regional public health station would recommend it. Both the Health and Education ministries are considering the possibility of ordering 1.6 million tests to be available in the event of resumption of testing.

Thousands of Czechs to be eligible for third Covid vaccine dose

Nearly 8,000 people in the Czech Republic may apply for the third Covid vaccine dose as of Monday, Sept. 20, while only eight were eligible for it yesterday as they received their second dose eight months ago, the Health Ministry's vaccination data showed. Starting Sept. 20, those concerned will receive a text message informing them on the possibility to get revaccinated. By the end of 2021, 1 million Czechs will be allowed to get the third dose. Since late December 2020 when the vaccination started, the Covid vaccine has been administered to more than 6 million Czechs. The extraordinary Health Ministry's regulation says that selected group of patients, such as those after organ transplants, may get the third dose earlier than eight months after the second dose.

Nový Smíchov walk-in center will close, Motol to open to public

The Motol Teaching Hospital currently vaccinates only its patients and minors aged 12 to 18, while as of Monday, it will open the vaccination center to the public, too, Ludmila Šimáčková from Motol’s PR section said. She added that the hospital can administer up to 300 doses a day. The walk-in vaccination center in the Nový Smíchov shopping mall run by the Motol hospital will remain open until the end of September only. The Westfield-Chodov and Hlavní nádraží centers remain open. Hlavní nádraží will not be giving out third doses, however. Other large centers are also closing. O2 universum closed Sept. 10, and the municipal vaccination center at the Prague Congress Center will close Sept. 17. 

Slovakia sees highest number of Covid cases in five months

Laboratories confirmed 760 new Covid-19 cases in Slovakia on Tuesday, the highest number in the past nearly five months, but the number of those hospitalized with the coronavirus infection grew only slightly, Slovak official data released yesterday showed. On Tuesday, tests for Coivid gave 760 positive results, out of the 5-million population of Slovakia, the highest figure since April 23. In the neighboring Czech Republic, with 10.7-million people, there were 553 new cases were confirmed on Tuesday. Slovakia lags behind the EU average in vaccination and especially opposition politicians refused to back the vaccination campaign.

EU promises 200 million more vaccine doses to poor countries

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged to accelerate the rate of Covid-19 vaccinations around the world. She promised another 200 million vaccine doses for low-income countries in her annual State of the European Union speech on Wednesday.

"Our first – and most urgent – priority is to speed up global vaccination. … We have already committed to share 250 million doses of vaccine. I can announce today that our mission will add a new donation of another 200 million doses until the middle of next year," she said.

She praised the EU’s vaccination efforts so far, saying that with 70 percent of its adult population fully vaccinated so far, the EU is among the world’s leaders in its pandemic response. But next year will test the EU’s character. "A pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint. Let's make sure that it does not turn into a pandemic of the non-vaccinated." she said.

Prague overtakes Karlovy Vary as worst-hit region

There were 524 new Covid cases reported in the Czech Republic for Wednesday, up from 327 a week ago. It was the third time the figure was over 500 since the end of May. Hospitalizations totaled 154, down from a revised 160 a day earlier, with 29 in serious condition, up from 26. A week ago, 101 people were hospitalized, with 15 in serious condition. One death was reported for Wednesday, and two were added for Tuesday. The toll for September is at 11. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 over seven days rose by one to 26. The R number dropped slightly to 1.10, still above the break-even point of 1.0. Prague, with a seven-day incidence number of 43, has overtaken Karlovy Vary, at 40, for the worst region in terms of the spread of Covid. Prague’s R number rose above 1.0 again to reach 1.07.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Sept. 16, 2021)

  • New cases 524
  • Deaths 30,422
  • Currently hospitalized 154
  • PCR tests performed 10,459,940
  • Antigen tests performed 26,671,861
  • Total vaccinations 11,674,395
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 11,238
  • People who have completed vaccination 5,870,297
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 26
  • PES index 47
  • R number 1.10
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