Czech Republic coronavirus updates, Dec. 10: cases continue to rise, deaths reach 9,226

Got. extends state of emergency, medical students back at school, PES level could increase in coming days.

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro Published on 10.12.2020 08:51 (updated on 10.12.2020) Time to read: 3 minutes

The Czech government has extended the current state of emergency until Dec. 23 as the number of new coronavirus cases in the country hits another high.

The country reported 6,402 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, according to new data from the Health Ministry. This is the first time the number of new cases has crossed 6,000 in more than two weeks.

For the fourth day this week, the Czech Republic's PES anti-epidemic index score remained at 64. The score corresponds to the stricter fourth level of anti-COVID-19 measures; according to the PES system, if the score remains above 60 for multiple days, officials should put in place tighter measures.

Some measures were tightened this week. For example, restaurants and take-out windows must close at 8 p.m.

However, Minister of Health Jan Blatný said this week that the ministry does not plan on moving the country to the fourth level of restrictions just yet. The government will meet on Monday to decide how to progress.

"It is possible that a decision will be made on Monday, it would be level 4. If such a change took place, there would be enough time for everyone to prepare for it," said Blatný after the meeting last night. 

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The Health Minister added that the restrictions in the fourth degree would be adjusted so that small shops could remain open this time around, so they would not be at a disadvantage compared to larger supermarkets.

As a result of recent developments, the Czech government has extended the state of emergency until Dec. 23, just before Christmas. Officials say this 11-day extension will allow them to reassess the results of recent restrictions.

On Monday, the Ministry of Education will consider officially extending the Christmas holidays due to the pandemic. This would mean children would go to school for the last day before the holidays on Dec. 18.

The country has reported rising COVID-19 cases in recent days; on Tuesday, the country reported 5,852 new cases, the highest number in more than two weeks up until Wednesday's numbers were released.

The country's positivity rate, or the number of people testing positive daily in relation to how many tests are conducted, remains high as well. On Wednesday, nearly 29 percent of those tested, tested positive.

Since March, the Czech Republic has reported a total of 563,333 COVID-19 cases, the majority of which were reported in September and October. Of those, there have been 493,946 recoveries, with 60,161 known active cases.

The number of patients in hospitals has been steadily decreasing as well. There are currently 4,326 COVID-19 patients in Czech hospitals, with 533 of those in serious condition.

The country has reported 9,226 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The most-affected region in the Czech Republic over the past two weeks by far continues to be Havlíčkův Brod, which has reported about 549 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past week.

The Czech Republic is no longer the most affected state in the EU; the country now ranks far below countries like Lithuania, Slovenia and Croatia, with about 510 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

After some outrage on Wednesday, government officials amended a previous rule allowing people to take home alcohol in bottles from take-out windows and other establishments.

For example, at Christmas markets, you can buy drinks and alcohol at the market and carry it home. "It is not the goal for us to buy mulled wine at the Christmas markets and walk around the markets with it, but it will not be a problem to buy, for example, a gift bottle of plum brandy and take it home," Health Minister Jan Blatný reportedly said following the meeting last night.

He clarified the adjustment of rules for take-out windows as well. Previously, the government had said that residents could not take home alcohol through take-out windows.

"I ask the citizens very much not to try to circumvent the measures by buying alcohol through the window and walking around the city with it. But it is not a problem to buy beer in a container through it and take it home, for example in a mug or a PET bottle," the minister added.

General medicine students, who have been working in hospitals to assist with COVID-19 since October, can now return to school, according to a report. The fourth and fifth year students had been called to the hospitals, and required by law, to help assist during the peak of the second wave.

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