Czech Republic coronavirus updates, Dec. 2: Slight increase in cases, vaccines may be ready soon

Vaccine weeks away says Health Minister – students back at school, most shops, restaurants and services to reopen tomorrow.

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro Published on 02.12.2020 10:15:00 (updated on 02.12.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic continues to fall, and officials say a vaccine may be ready for distribution in January or February. 

The country reported 5,176 new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily increase in the past seven days. On Tuesday, the country reported a 3,573 new cases.

However, the Czech Republic continues to conduct fewer and fewer tests, especially on weekends. On Monday, the country conducted 19,984 tests, fewer tests than the previous week and far less than the usual number of tests performed during the weeks when the country experienced the peak of the second wave. The number of tests performed on Tuesday will be revealed tomorrow.

Since March, the Czech Republic has now reported a total of 528,474 COVID-19 cases, the majority of which were reported in September and October. Of those, there have been 455,177 recoveries, with 64,890 known active cases.

The number of patients in hospitals has been steadily decreasing as well. There are currently 4,741 COVID-19 patients in Czech hospitals, with 675 of those in serious condition.

The most-affected locality in the Czech Republic over the past two weeks continues to be Havlíčkův Brod, which has reported about 545 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 Austria, Poland and Croatia, with about 542 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Luxembourg has the worst COVID-19 situation in the EU right now with more than 1,200 cases per 100,000 in the past 14 days; Croatia is not far behind.

In vaccine news, the first deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine may be available at the end of January or beginning of February in the Czech Republic, Health Minister Jan Blatny (ANO) told the Chamber of Deputies health committee.

On Monday, the American company Pfizer along with the German company BioNTech and the U.S. company Moderna applied for approval to have their vaccines on the European market. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) should approve the vaccine in the coming weeks.

"The nearest time when the EMA may decide on this is December 15," Blatny said, adding that this early date was highly unlikely.

"We'd better reckon with this happening somewhere in the first half of January, if everything runs smoothly. The vaccines may be available at the end of January and beginning of February," Blatny said.

He repeated that the vaccine would be covered by public health insurance and that the vaccination would not be mandatory.

The Czech Republic has preliminarily ordered the vaccines from five manufacturers, including the two which have already asked for the registration with the EMA.

Tomorrow, a number of shops and services will reopen under strict guidelines. Find the full list right here.

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