Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Jan. 10, 2021

40,000 now vaccinated against COVID-19 in Czech Republic, skiers cause road closures in mountains, and more top stories for this morning

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 10.01.2021 07:00 (updated on 10.01.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

COVID risk index remains at 87, 8,406 new cases Saturday

The Czech Republic's PES COVID-19 risk index score remained at 87 points on Sunday morning, according to the latest data released by the Health Ministry released today. in The country has been within the highest alert degree level for the past 12 days.

There were 8,406 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, from a total of 20,896 tests were carried out. It was the lowest number of new cases so far this week, but about 3,400 higher than previous Saturday. However, the daily number of PCR tests performed were also nearly two times higher earlier this week and markedly lower the previous Saturday.

There are 160,546 known active COVID-19 cases in the country. Since the epidemic outbreak in March, 831,165 people have tested positive for coronavirus and roughly three fourths of them have already recovered. There are 6,741 patients with COVID-19 in Czech hospitals as of Saturday, which is about 600 fewer than on Friday; 1,072 of these patients are in serious condition. The COVID-19-related death toll in the country has risen to 12,115, with 69 deaths reported on Saturday.

About 40,000 Czechs have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, says PM

Roughly 40,000 people in the Czech Republic have been vaccinated against COVID-19, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) told Novinky.cz on Saturday. Previously, the Czech Health Ministry announced on Thursday that about 20,000 people had been vaccinated as of January 6.

Babiš confirmed that the priority groups that are being vaccinated now are health workers, people aged over 80 and ill persons. Vaccinations began in the Czech Republic on December 27. The current vaccination strategy counts with 30 vaccination centers in hospitals to start, while general practitioners should gradually participate in the vaccination as well.

The Pfizer vaccine is now being regularly delivered to the Czech Republic, and the first doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive at the end of January. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is also expected to soon approve a vaccine from Astra Zeneca.

Czech police close roads to the Bedřichov mountain resort due to heavy traffic

Czech police closed all roads to Bedřichov in the Jizera Mountains after they were overcrowded by vehicles from cross-country skiers, police spokesman Vojtěch Robovský told CTK on Saturday. The roads were closed for several hours. It started snowing in nearly all parts of the Czech Republic over the past three days.

Bedřichov Mayor Petr Holub said that some cross-country skiers were undisciplined and wanted to park near the skiing grounds even though the parking lot was full. He said traffic police and parking service staff were dealing with the situation and managed to unblock the roads.

Holub said people did not violate any anti-epidemic rules. Most people came by themselves, and bigger groups were members of the same family. One of the skiers told CTK that there were thousands of cross-country skiers in the area, and they formed a line from Bedřichov to Hřebínek, which would be about five kilometers long.

Austrian border controls not causing delays

Vehicles coming from the Czech Republic are able to enter Austria without delay despite border controls introduced by Austria as of this weekend, South Bohemia police spokesman Jiří Matzner has told CTK.

Matzner said there were no traffic jams at the border. South Moravia border crossings have not reported any problems either, according to South Moravian police spokesman Petr Vala said. He noted that markedly fewer Czechs than usual have recently traveled abroad.

Both Austria and the Czech Republic have introduced strict lockdown measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. As of next week, the number of open Austrian-Czech border crossings will be limited. People entering Austria from the Czech Republic and Slovakia must sign a written statement saying they will stay in quarantine. Commuters do not have to go into quarantine nor do they need a negative test for COVID-19, but they must prove that their employer is in Austria.

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Doctors transplanted 765 organs in the Czech Republic last year

Doctors transplanted 765 organs in the Czech Republic in 2020, the lowest number since 2013, according to data from the Transplant Coordination Centre (KST), which has been coordinating transplants since 2003. There were 277 organ donors last year, including 28 living donors. Like in the previous years, kidneys were the most commonly transplanted organs, accounting for more than half the transplants in 2020.

The number of organs transplanted at the Institute of Clinic and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) in Prague decreased by one tenth to 495 compared to 2019, IKEM said in a press release. However, 46 hearts were transplanted there last year, the highest number since 2017. IKEM is the biggest transplant center in the country.

At the Prague-Motol hospital, lungs were transplanted to 35 patients. Jan Havlín, who heads the Motol hospital transplant team, said these people are one of the groups most threatened by COVID-19 because they must use medicine suppressing their immunity after the transplant.

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