Czech Republic coronavirus updates, July 24: 235 new cases, nationwide anti-COVID measures put into place

The Czech government is re-introducing a number of measures to help curb the spread of coronavirus across the nation

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro Published on 24.07.2020 09:02:26 (updated on 24.07.2020) Reading time: 4 minutes

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The number of new coronavirus cases in Czech Republic dipped slightly on Thursday, though more people than ever remain infected with the virus, according to the latest data released by the Czech Health Ministry this morning. New nationwide anti-coronavirus measures will be put into place starting at midnight tomorrow.

There were 235 newly confirmed positive cases on Thursday. That’s one of the highest daily numbers since June, and a small decrease from Wednesday’s numbers. This week’s daily numbers of new cases have ranged from 169 on Monday to 247 on Wednesday.

More than 5,100 people remain actively infected with the virus, the most since the start of the pandemic in the country.

Health officials performed 6,609 tests on Thursday. More than 9,300 people have recovered from the virus, and 365 have died, one of which died on Thursday, according to official data. In most patients, the virus is mild. However, 141 people are now hospitalized with the virus, and 22 are in serious condition.

In light of the growing number of cases, the Czech government is re-introducing a number of measures to help curb the spread of coronavirus across the nation.

Starting at midnight on Saturday, Czech residents across the country will be required to wear masks at indoor events with more than 100 people, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said at a press conference Thursday.

In addition, the government will restrict the amount of people allowed to gather to a maximum of 500 people starting on Monday, Vojtěch said. At these indoor events, up to five structurally separated sectors for 500 visitors should be created, each with its own entrance for individual groups not to mingle with each other, he said.

Vojtěch added that the measure will also apply to nightclubs, in light of the outbreak at a nightclub in Prague 2 following a party.

“The measure does not apply to shops and restaurants, only sports and culture events,” Vojtěch added.

Many of the new cases originate in one of the worst regions affected, the Moravia-Silesia’s Karvina region, where the situation has continued to worsen. Nearly 68 people per 100,000 people are infected with the virus, one of the highest number among the country’s 76 districts.

Though the outbreak in the region started at the OKD mining company, the virus has now spread to other areas, like elderly homes and a local hospital. Vojtěch said the outbreak among employees of the OKD mining company has calmed down significantly. During the last blanket testing of 2,700 samples, only 60 of them were positive. All of them were from the CSM mine, none from the CSA mine. The people with positive results are now in quarantine.

In the first round of blanket testing, roughly one-fifth of the samples showed positive. “In practical terms, the OKD outbreak has thus been solved,” Vojtěch said.

In the neighboring Frýdek-Místek region, there are approximately 45 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a number that keeps growing.

There are several other regions with growing clusters of coronavirus cases, including the Mělník region north of Prague, Ústí nad Labem, Vlčnov in the Uherské Hradiště region, Jihlava in the Vysocina Region and parts of Moravia, like Znojmo. In addition, the greater Prague region has seen a growing number of coronavirus cases as well.

Many of the new cases in the Jihlava region originate at the Jihlava Alzheimer’s Center. In Jihlava, there are a growing 31 new cases per 100,000 people.

Local measures are being put into place to fight some of these outbreaks. In the Ústí nad Labem region and Liberec regions, face masks are now mandatory again indoors at places like pharmacies and social facilities. In contrast, some strict measures in the Moravia-Silesia region are being relaxed, though they will be affected by nationwide measures.

Prague reported 52 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Thursday, the highest daily increase since the start of April, according to iDnes. Many of the cases remain connected to the outbreak at the Techtle Mechtle nightclub, responsible for a growing number of COVID-19 cases. Nearly 100 people have been infected and more than 270 have been placed into quarantine.

Due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases, Latvia and Estonia are reportedly considering removing Czech Republic from their list of safe countries, according to Novinky.cz.

“We received an update from our embassy in Latvia that we were probably in danger of returning to the yellow list of less safe countries again. This is related to fluctuations in the increase in new cases in the Czech Republic, ”said Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told Novinky, later adding that Estonia is considering similar measures. This would mean Czechs would need to quarantine upon arrival. 

The European Union will reimburse Czech Republic with 77 million Crowns for repatriation flights, which helped bring Czech citizens home from other EU countries and abroad, according to iDnes. The nation paid 111 million Crowns for flights in the spring during the height of COVID-19.

The planes helped bring more than 5,000 Czech residents home. In addition, th planes brought home nearly 1,000 citizens of other EU countries and 68 citizens of non-EU countries to Prague.

In response to controversy over voting rights for people in quarantine, the Ministry of the Interior has an idea to allow people in quarantine to vote, according to Lidovky.cz. Officials are considering creating 13 mobile teams in protective suits to pick up ballots, count the votes and then dispose of the ballots.

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