Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Dec. 24, 2020

More vaccines heading to Czech Republic, lockdown measures tighten Sunday, Czech PM wishes people "good health" and encourages fairy-tale viewing.


Written by ČTK
Published on 24.12.2020 09:52 (updated on 24.12.2020)

320,000 more COVID vaccines to arrive in Czech Republic in January

The Czech Republic has negotiated a further 50,000 vaccines against COVID-19; some 320,000 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses should arrive in the country in January, Health Minister Jan Blatny announced during yesterday's government meeting. The first supply of some 9,750 doses should be delivered on Dec. 26, said Blatny. Healthcare professionals and elderly who are either hospitalised, or living in retirement homes, will be vaccinated first. Another 20,000-dose delivery is expected before the end of the year. On Saturday, the Prague-Motol University Hospital will receive the first supply and distribute it to other three hospitals in Prague and two in Brno. Vaccinations will be conducted at General University Hospital (VFN), Motol and Bulovka Hospitals, Military University Hospital (UVN) in Prague as well as University Hospital and St Anna Hospital, both in Brno.

COVID risk holds at 81points, R number rises to 1.34

The PES epidemic system's COVID-19 risk index has stayed at 81 points, putting the Czech Republic at the worst, fifth level for the seventh day in a row, while the reproduction number rose to 1.34, according to the Health Ministry's data released this morning. Tests confirmed 14,054 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily number since Nov. 4 and 5,700 more than a week ago. On Wednesday, 4,836 patients were hospitalised with COVID-19 and another 112 COVID-infected died with the total death toll reaching 10,776. Anti-COVID measures will be tightened in the Czech Republic as of Dec. 27. All shops, except for those offerings essential goods or services will close. Curfew will be from 21:00 and maximum of two people from different households can meet.

Union, agency want individual indoor sports ban lifted

The Czech Union of Sport (CUS) and the National Sports Agency (NSA) have proposed an amendment to the PES anti-epidemic system that would permit individual indoor sports even if the country faced the highest, fifth coronavirus infection risk degree. As a result, amateur players would be able to use tennis halls, badminton centers, and similar sport venues. On the PES fourth and fifth coronavirus risk and alert levels, amateur sports are practically banned. "Even under the worst [epidemiological] situation, people should be given the chance to do sports indoors. Reactions from all over the country show that people wish this very much," said CUS chairman Miroslav Jansta.

Christmas Eve will see temps drop, possibly even snow

While temperatures were above average on Wednesday with records broken in many places, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute does not expect similarly high temperatures on Christmas Day as it cools down in the afternoon. Rain could give way to snow in the mountains and gradually in the lowlands. Over the weekend, afternoon temperatures will be around zero and it will freeze at night.

Czech PM encourages people to "watch fairytales, focus on health"

In a Christmas address Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš called on citizens to drive away the clouds and spend the Christmas holidays with their loved ones. In a YouTube video, he said he was looking forward to ending this year's "crazy, abnormal year." In closing, he wished people good health. "Try to enjoy the Christmas holidays by looking at family photos or watching fairy tales or comedies. Simply enjoy life. Just try to have fun and throw the clouds, anger or grief this year behind your head," he said.