Loosening lockdown? 'Doesn't look good', says PM

The COVID-19 numbers are not improving as the government had wanted, lifting of lockdown still up in the air.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 26.11.2020 15:50 (updated on 26.11.2020)

The COVID-19 numbers are not improving as the government would have wanted, and since the situation is not ideal, loosening lockdown 'doesn't look good', Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) told journalists on Thursday.

As previously reported, government officials plan to meet on Sunday to decide on whether or not to allow shops and some services to reopen come Monday.

"The situation is still not good. The figures have fallen, but not as much as we imagined. One has to loosen the lockdown cautiously," said Babiš.

He did not elaborate on whether this new information would impact the possible reopening on some shops come Monday.

The new daily COVID-19 cases have not been improving as dramatically as officials hoped. On Monday, the country reported more than 4,300 new cases, on Tuesday, the country reported more than 5,800 new cases, and Wednesday, the country reported more than 4,900 cases.

The PES score, evaluating the latest state of the epidemic, remained at 57 points today, being on the third out of the five alert degrees for the fourth day in a row.

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However, the reproduction (R) number, one of the criteria in PES, rose to 0.96. If it surpasses 1.0, the PES score would increase by five points, which would mean a relapse to the fourth degree.

Babiš said the Czech Republic is preparing the option of voluntary coronavirus testing by antigen tests. The testing strategy will be unveiled by Health Minister Jan Blatny (ANO) at a meeting of the Government Council for Health Risks on Friday.

In his comments, Babiš said that the PES system had only been prepared by the Health Ministry, and the system was not approved by others.

"The government did not approve the PES and it was only informed about it. It is good that it is finally predictable," he added.

"We have never changed the draft of the Health Ministry, I do not think this is good. At first, Prague posed the biggest problem. Now it fares relatively well, while the problem lies in the country," Babis said.

The director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (UZIS), Ladislav Dusek, spoke about large regional differences on radio on Thursday.

The discrepancies between regions are alarming, due to which the score ranges between 47 and 77 in the PES system, which is bad, Dusek said.

"At the moment, the state of affairs is certainly not satisfactory. The slowdown is on, but it has relatively stopped and in some regions, it is oscillating on the verge of a potential risk," Dusek said, mentioning the Vysocina, Pardubice, Hradec Kralove and Karlovy Vary regions as problematic.