Approved Novavax vaccine set to arrive in Czechia in January

This is a weekly snapshot of the latest coronavirus news for Prague and the Czech Republic. Here you will find important developments, organized by date and updated daily by Expats.cz, as well as a live data feed from the Ministry of Health. A regularly updated list of restrictions is available here.

For a more detailed breakdown of Covid hospitalization, vaccination and mortality data for the Czech Republic, see CovData.cz.

December 21, 2021

PREVIEW The fewest new cases of Covid during the week since November 4

There were 8,586 more cases of Covid on Monday, at least one working day since November 4 and around 3,300 less than a week ago. The number of hospitalizations fell last week. Some 4,801 hospitalized care with Covid, including 840 in serious condition, while last Monday 6,367 were hospitalized including 1,028 in serious condition. A total of 32 deaths have been reported. The toll for the last seven days is 591. The toll to date for December is 2,093.

Some 80,423 people were vaccinated on Monday, just over 800 from a week ago. Some 62,241 were booster shots and just over 1,000 were for children aged 5 to 11 years. A total of 14,992,997 doses have been administered and 6.6 million people are fully immunized.

The reproduction number R is 0.81. The number of incidents continues to decrease. In the last seven days, there have been 608 cases of Covid per 100,000 inhabitants, the day before it was 639. The highest remains in the region of Vysočina, with 763, and the region of Liberec with 758 cases. The lowest weekly incidence is still in the Karlovy Vary region, currently 342. For Prague, the incidence rate is 535.

Novavax vaccine approved, expected to arrive in January

The Czech Ministry of Health has so far ordered 370,000 doses of the newly approved Covid vaccine from the company Novavax. Part of the vaccine is manufactured in the Czech Republic. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended the approval of this vaccine yesterday. According to information released by the National Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL), it is a protein-based vaccine, which means a different type from the four already approved. The Novavax vaccine is expected to arrive in the Czech Republic in January, according to previous reports. Two doses are needed. The key component of this vaccine, a recombinant S protein replicating that on the surface of SARS-COV2, is manufactured near Prague. Another component is being manufactured in Sweden and the vaccine is being completed in Germany.

The Minister of Health will propose new measures on Wednesday

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek will present a specific package of anti-epidemic measures at the government meeting on Wednesday, which will apply until the end of this year, Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said after the meeting of the central crisis unit. The end of the state of emergency does not mean that all measures in the Czech Republic would cease to apply. The state of emergency will end on December 25 and the new government has no plans to extend it.

SZÚ: Omicron is spreading in the Czech community

The National Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) expects the Omicron variant of the coronavirus to spread in the Czech Republic as community cases have already emerged, unrelated to travel to Africa, he said. in a press release. Tests have shown that Omicron is present in the regions of South Moravia, Liberec and Hradec Kralove. Suspicious cases have emerged in the Zlín region and in Moravia-Silesia, SZÚ said. As of December 17, six cases of Omicron had been confirmed in the country. But Brno University Hospital announced yesterday that there are 17 other suspected cases of Omicron and new cases have also emerged in other areas. “In view of the community findings of the Omicron variant, it can be expected to spread … therefore it is necessary to maintain all measures to reduce the community transfer”, said Helena Jiřincová, head of the national laboratory of reference.

Some people try to get a callback sooner

Some people in Prague have tried to get a booster before they were eligible based on their age. Over the weekend, information spread on social media that people under the age of 45 can get vaccinated in five months, for example, in the Kotva shopping center. According to a spokesperson for the Prague General University Hospital (FVN), which runs the vaccination center, there have been “a few cases” of people being boosted ahead of schedule, but now it has stopped . Currently, people 45 years and older and the chronically ill can receive a booster after five months, while others must wait six months. People who have received the single dose Janssen vaccine may be boosted after two months.

20 December 2021

PREVIEW The fewest cases on Sunday since November 7

There were 3,740 cases of Covid on Sunday, nearly a tenth less than a week ago. This was the smallest increase on Sunday since November 7. The number of deceased hospitalized people stands at 4,568, including 838 in serious condition. A week ago it was 5,883 with 1,028 severe cases. A total of 22 deaths have been reported. The seven-day toll is 591 and the December toll is 1,981.

About 21,500 people were vaccinated on Sunday, similar to a week ago. Some 17,516 were booster shots.

The reproduction number R is 0.81. The incidence of new cases per 100,000 in the past seven days fell to 639 from 642 a day earlier. The highest incidence number is now in the Vysočina region, at 796. On the other hand, it is still the lowest in the Karlovy Vary region, at 333. For Prague, the incidence number is 562 .

The Health Risks Council will be abolished

The Government Health Risks Council will cease to exist because it distorts the crisis management system, the new Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan told reporters, adding that there had been an agreement with Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek. The council was founded last July. It is headed by the Prime Minister and its members include three ministers and health experts. “It is something outside the system and it was a rival center of decision making and power within crisis management,” said Rakušan. The central crisis unit (ÚKS) must be the institution that decides, he added.

Govt. focus on strengthening PCR testing and keeping children in school

The new government plans to step up PCR testing, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek told CNN Prima News. He also considers it essential to maintain full-time education in schools. He will submit a proposal to the government on December 29. It will focus on three areas: increasing PCR tests, caring for patients in all regions and maintaining full-time education in schools. Regarding the strengthening of PCR testing, Válek intends to negotiate with representatives of the laboratories and has tasked the chief hygienist Pavla Svrčinová to focus on the issue. He expects 600,000 PCR tests a day by the middle of next year, up from 140,000 now.

Minister of Health cancels compulsory vaccination for people over 60

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek will submit to the government an amendment to the vaccination decree by mid-February, so that the decree will no longer include compulsory vaccination against Covid for people over 60 years of age. According to him, the exact wording will also depend on the data on the Omicron variant. The decree on compulsory vaccination against people over 60 and certain professions is applicable from March. Válek has previously said he opposes widespread vaccination of age groups.

Zeman supports compulsory vaccination against Covid

President Miloš Zeman reiterated that he was an advocate for compulsory Covid vaccination on CNN Prima News. He criticized Police Chief Jan Švejdar for raising objections to the compulsory vaccination of the police against Covid. Zeman said he was one of the few to advocate compulsory vaccination against Covid. “At least half of doctors, including the new Minister of Health, are against compulsory vaccination against Covid,” Zeman said. “In our country, there is compulsory vaccination against Covid against a number of diseases. If you add Covid to all the diseases, nothing terrible will happen,” he added. Currently, the Czechs have compulsory vaccination against Covid against 11 diseases, mainly administered at the age of the child.

Travel from Romania to the Czech Republic will become less restrictive

Restrictions for people without proof of vaccination or recovery arriving in the Czech Republic from Romania will ease from Monday as the country moved to the medium-risk orange category in the latest Czech travel card. The Canary Islands restrictions, meanwhile, will tighten as the location moves to the high-risk red category. Other countries have also changed color on the last map, but the travel conditions between them and the Czech Republic will not be affected. Read more in our original story.

Berta D. Wells