Following a party at a club in Prague 2, more than 60 people – including players from the Bohemka, Sparta and Dukla sports teams – have become infected with Covid-19 stoking fears that the city will soon see a larger spike.
As of this writing (23.07) there are some 5062 infected people country-wide according to the Health Ministry, though the total number of fatalities is still less than 400. Compared to that of the US (2.6+ million active cases and more than 145,000 fatalities), the UK (250,876 active cases and over 45,000 fatalities), or even Italy (12,322 active cases and just over 35,000 fatalities), the Czech Republic has been handling the virus relatively well.
The Ministry has stated that the majority of cases in the country have been comparitvely mild, however nearly 200 people are currently hospitalized in the country – an increase from the start of the week – and of those, 22 are listed in serious or critical condition and two died on Wednesday. In Prague alone there were 600 new cases reported this week with 247 new cases announced in the country overall as of yesterday.
The total numbers of infected had fallen in May, but with the slow rollout re-opening of the country and it’s borders, the numbers began to rise again in June and on Tuesday saw the highest number of reportyed cases since the start of the infection.
In our previous article on the spread of the virus, we noted that there was a hot spot in the Moravia region amongst a mining colony (that region reported more than 60 new cases this week) but in truth, there are new spikes in virtually every section of the country now and some areas are now beginning to rollback their loosened restrictions. The Liberec region, for example, has now once again made the wearing of face masks mandatory.
While the borders, for now, remain open officials are unsure whether that will remain the case if the numbers continue to climb as a number of the new cases came from people who had travelled abroad (France) and some who had travelled into regions with a higher infection rate.
If you’ve travelled around the city recently, you may have noticed advertisments for COVIDPASS. COVIDPASS is an app you can install on your phone that will allow you to schedule trips, request testing, and have the results of your latest test available. The site (covidpass.cz) is available in Czech, English, and Spanish and you need to create an account to use it. The Health Ministry is recommending people sign up as the app may be useful in the future even for attending local events.
Roman Prymula, Czech Commissioner for Health Research, believes the application will be a valuable tool going forward as it could be used to prove the results of a negative PCR test given that access to the app from the medical side will only be allowed by trusted labs and hospitals. He also believes that the necessity of showing a negative test will increase.
Still, while the app would be useful for travel, the recent spike has already caused Health Minister Adam Vojtěch to consider reintroducing a number of the measures which were initially used to limit the spread. Vojtěch, who met with PM Andrej Babiš has stated that, were such a decision to be made, it would likely not be as severe as the initial closures as they do not believe the spike the country is currently seeing is the “second wave” many are fearing.
Babiš has stated (in an interview with Czech News outlet iDnes) that a small rise in cases was to be expected after re-opening but stressed that the actions they are currently considering (and will consider moving forward) will be based on limiting a full-scale spread. “We must not get into the situation they are facing in Israel, where they have 2,000 people infected every day, we must act quickly,” Babiš said.
Personally, I haven’t stopped wearing a mask (and sometimes gloves) when out in public, but how are you feeling about the current situation in Prague and surrounding environs? Are you concerned? Are you still wearing a mask? Not too worried? Going about business as usual?
Let us know in the comments.