Czech weekend news in brief: top stories for Feb. 28, 2021

Teachers begin registering for vaccination, Putin promises to deliver Sputnik vaccine to Czech Republic, and more headlines from this weekend

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 28.02.2021 09:57 (updated on 28.02.2021)

Czech Republic sees highest Saturday rise in COVID-19 cases since January 9

There were 7,798 new COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic on Saturday, according to data released by the Health Ministry this morning. The number is about 1,000 more than a week ago, and the highest Saturday rise since January 9.

More than 1,500 COVID-19 patients are still in serious condition and nearly 150,000 are currently infected. Since the start of the epidemic last March, the have been a total of 1,235,480 COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic; 1,067,557 of those have recovered, while 20,339 have died.

Czech COVID-19 death toll crosses 20,000

The COVID-19 death toll in the Czech Republic has now crossed 20,000, according to the Health Ministry. A total of 20,194 COVID-19 patients have now died since last March, while the last 1,000 deaths were reported in the past eight days. The death toll was 4,000 lower a month ago.

Czech hospitals remain overburdened. On Friday, 7,266 COVID patients were hospitalized; that number has remained over 7,000 during the past five days. A record high of more than 1,500 patients in serious condition has been reported over the past two days.

Teachers in the Czech Republic begin registering for COVID vaccination

Teachers and other school staff in the Czech Republic began registering for COVID-19 vaccination on Saturday. Around 93,000 of them have registered in the central system so far. School principals have selected teachers and other school employees over the age of 55 for the first phase of the vaccination. Another phase should follow in two to three weeks.

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According to the Education Ministry estimates, around 330,000 people are employed at Czech public schools. The first supply of antigen COVID tests for schools also arrived in the Czech Republic on Saturday. Within the tightened anti-coronavirus restrictions valid as of Monday, all schools, including kindergartens, will be closed for the next three weeks. There is one exception, for schools at healthcare facilities and for children of Integrated Rescue System members.

CNN Prima: Putin promises to deliver Sputnik vaccine to Czech Republic

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised a supply of the Sputnik vaccine against COVID-19 to his Czech counterpart Miloš Zeman, who wrote to him after an agreement with PM Andrej Babis (ANO), CNN Prima News has reported. A certification from the Czech State Drug Control Institute (SUKL) for the Russian vaccine would be sufficient for Zeman, according to CNN.

"If I am well informed, this request will be met, but we will naturally need a certification," Zeman said. Sputnik has not yet been approved either by the SUKL or by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Over 90 percent of COVID-19 victims in the Czech Republic are senior citizens

More than 90 percent of COVID-19 victims in the Czech Republic are over 65 years old, according to data provided by the Czech Health Ministry. Their proportion among the total number of those infected is very low, however. Since March 1, 2020, when the first COVID-19 cases appeared in the Czech Republic, some 1.18 million infections have been confirmed. Just 16 percent of them are people over 65 years, yet 92 percent of all COVID-19 victims are in this age group.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, more than 129,000 people died in the Czech Republic last year. That's around 15 percent more than in 2019, and the last time such a rise was reported was in 1945 at the end of WWII. The steepest rise in mortality was among the group aged 75 to 84.