Coronavirus update, Sept. 9, 2021: Testing and mask rules may tighten, but no lockdown on the horizon

Plus: Covid hospitalizations approach 100, blanket Covid testing of schoolchildren to end, ÚZIS head wants more young people must be vaccinated. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 09.09.2021 09:46:00 (updated on 09.09.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Vojtěch says no lockdowns planned but mask and testing rules may tighten

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said there is no risk of further tightening of anti-epidemic measures. If the situation worsens, the measures will only be regime measures. Vojtěch said that even in the worst of the three current scenarios the government does not count on further general closures of operations and schools. Some lockdown measures such as corporate testing and wearing respirators could return. The size of mass events might be reduced, too, he added.

"We are in a different situation, which is why we are not as drastic in action as we were last year. The immunity of society – especially vaccination – is at a different level," Vojtěch said.

"We do not anticipate lockdown-type measures. Measures in the worst variants will be regime-based – more general wearing of respiratory protection, more general requirement of a vaccination, recovery, or testing document, perhaps some restriction of mass actions in the worse scenario. But certainly not the closure of establishments, shops and so on. That is what I said, so it applies and it will not change," Vojtěch said.

 ÚZIS: Number of Covid hospitalized may surge soon

Perhaps over 500 Covid patients may be hospitalized in the second half of September, the director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS), Ladislav Dušek, told the Chamber of Deputies health committee. Today, there are 96 hospitalized, with 14 in serious condition. Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said this was the riskiest out of the three possible scenarios and now the epidemic was developing according to the medium one. In mid-March, there were almost 9,500 hospitalized Covid patients or 19 times more than presumed for the second half of September. Intensive care was provided to about 2,000 people, while the latest forecasts envisions 100–200 patients in a serious condition.

"In the long run, unvaccinated people account for over 90 percent of the new arrivals in hospital," Dušek said.

Blanket Covid testing of schoolchildren to to end

The blanket Covid testing of pupils and students at schools will end in the Czech Republic as of next week, as the previous tests results show that the situation is not worsening at schools for now, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said. The first testing on Sept. 1 detected 116 cases of the infection, and the data from the second testing carried out on Monday, Sept. 6, indicate that the situation is not worsening. Students will be still obliged to wear a face mask at the school premises where children from more classes meet, such as corridors, canteens, cloakrooms etc, Vojtěch said at the session of the lower house health committee. He did not rule out that tests may be reintroduced at schools on local level.

ÚZIS head: Young people must be vaccinated to slow virus spread

Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS) director Ladislav Dušek said in order to slow down the spread of Covid-19, it is necessary to increase not only the vaccination coverage of seniors and risk groups, but also young people. According to him, pan-European statistics confirm that the virus is spreading especially among younger people. If they have small children and are not vaccinated, they can become more easily infected and then spread the virus, Dušek told a meeting of the parliamentary school committee. According to him, the goal should be to achieve a vaccination rate of 75 percent in each age category, not just the average population. In September, about 30 percent of new Covid cases are schoolchildren. Another large group is young people under 30 years of age and unvaccinated people aged 30 to 40 years.

Opposition insisting on coronavirus antibodies

The Czech opposition coalition Together, comprised of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and TOP 09, again called on the government to start detecting the level of antibodies for coronavirus in people. The other opposition coalition, comprised of the Pirates and Mayors and Independents (STAN), is also insisting on the recognition of antibodies as evidence of not being infected. On Sunday, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (for ANO) told Czech Television he would like to finish the debate on the issue in September.  

Court lifts duty of Covid test before returning

The Prague Municipal Court has canceled the duty for travelers to undergo a test for Covid-19 before returning to the Czech Republic from selected Covid-risk countries, server Česká justice wrote, adding that the measure will take effect as of Sept. 11. The court said that it is not clear from the Health Ministry's formulation of the duty what medical facilities can carry out the tests and why the ministry ruled out their performance by Czech facilities. The court admitted that the requirement for people to produce a negative test result on return from selected countries with the highest infection risk is legitimate. The problem, however, is that the ministry failed to explain the reasons for the exclusion of Czech health services providers from the testing practice in June.  

Covid hospitalizations approaching 100, R number drops slightly

There were 376 more confirmed cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, up from 262 a week earlier, but substantially lower than the 583 cases reported for Tuesday. Hospitalized patients increased by two to reach 96, with 14 were in serious condition, two fewer than a day earlier, according to Health Ministry data. The death toll rose to 30 413, with one death for Wednesday and late reports of two for Tuesday and one for Monday. The September toll is now six. The incidence number of new cases per 100,000 over seven days is at 22, up two from a day earlier. The reproduction number R dropped slightly to 1.43, but has been over 1.0 for 15 days. The worst hit area is the Karlovy Vary region, with an incidence number of 42, up from 39 a day earlier, and an R number of 1.45. In Prague, the incidence number is 38, up from 36 a day earlier, and an R number of 1.42.

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (Sept. 9, 2021)

  • New cases 376
  • Deaths 30,413
  • Currently hospitalized 96
  • PCR tests performed 10,307,420
  • Antigen tests performed 26,343,509
  • Total vaccinations 11,593,540
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 13,135
  • People who have completed vaccination 5,813,570
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 22
  • PES index 56
  • R number 1.43
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