Czech weekend news in brief: top stories for Feb. 21, 2021

PES scores remains at 75, Babiš challenges plan to return students to schools, some Prague districts to distribute free respirators, and more weekend news


Written by ČTK Published on 21.02.2021 09:31:00 (updated on 21.02.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

COVID-19 risk index stays at 75, reproduction number 1.19

The Czech PES COVID-19 risk index has remained at 75 points out of 100 today, narrowly within the second highest degree (61-75) data from the Health Ministry shows this morning. The reproduction number has remained at 1.19.

Out of the four indicators the risk index is calculated from, three have been rising recently. Apart from the reproduction number, they are the average number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks, and the average number of new cases among seniors. The average number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks rose to 1,103 today, up from 1,086 on Saturday.

Czech PM challenges return of students to school in March

Czech PM Andrej Babiš wants the tender for the supply of antigen COVID-19 tests to schools to be cancelled due to controversy surrounding it, he said on Saturday. He also challenged the plan for students to return to schools in March.

One of the conditions for the students' going back to schools is a favorable epidemiological situation, which is not the case now, he told local media. As for the tests for schools, Babiš wants to task the State Material Reserves Administration (SSHR) with their purchase.

Chcípl PES stages demonstration outside Interior Minister's house

The Chcípl PES protest group against the government's COVID-19 lockdown staged a demonstration outside the house of Interior Minister and Central Crisis Staff head Jan Hamáček in Mratin on Saturday. A week ago, a similar demonstration took place outside the house of Education Minister Robert Plaga in Brno, and in mid-January the demonstrators protested outside the house of Health Minister Jan Blatný near Brno.

They plan to hold another demonstration in Prague's Old Town Square on Sunday, March 7. Saturday's protest in Mratin started at five minutes to 12:00, with the demonstrators bringing in a cooler in an allusion to Hamáček's previous remark that without a lockdown, there would be coolers full of corpses.

State Material Reserves has 8 million syringes in depot, needles to arrive in March

The Czech State Material Reserves Administration (SSHR) has eight million syringes in its depository in Sedlčany, bought as a reserve for COVID-19 vaccination, according to SSHR head Pavel Švagr. It is waiting for needles, the first supply of which is expected in March.

The SSHR plans to buy a total of 11 million needles and 11 million syringes, Švagr told reporters, adding that this would be a reserve in case the country faced a shortage of material. In early March, the SSHR will receive about two million needles, and another nine million by the beginning of May.

Some Prague districts to distribute respirators for free

The Prague 10 and Prague 7 District Town Halls will distribute respirators for free in reaction to the Health Ministry's plan to require a respirator, nano mask, or double surgical mask at places with high concentration of people as of Tuesday.

The free respirators will be designated for low-income citizens and those who are unable to buy respirators near their place of residence. The respirators can be picked up at the Prague 10 town hall from 8:00 to 17:30, and at the Prague 7 town hall from 8:00 to 12:00 on Monday and Tuesday.

Stats: teachers, police, firefighters among riskiest professions for COVID-19

Rescuers, teachers, and social care workers are those who most often catch COVID-19 at work, according to figures issued by the Institute of Health Information and Statistics this weekend.

Apart from healthcare facilities, the highest share of those infected at work are among firefighters and rescuers, police, school staff, soldiers, and social care workers.

ProfessionInfections per 100,000 employees
Social care worker145.9
Storekeeper, logistics126.7
Prison employees106.8
Administration worker96.1
Other food profession86.3
Sport activities81.1
Industrial production59.3
Cleaning services53.7
Post officer40.1
IT worker35.5
Theatre, music, dance34.5
Shop assistant33.3
Veterinary working with animals10.6
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