The COVID-19 epidemic is starting to slow down in the Czech Republic, the adopted measures are showing an effect

According to the Czech anti-epidemic system 2.0, the summarised risk index for the Czech Republic is at 75. This value corresponds to alert level four. However, a change in the level depends on the current epidemiological situation and the decision of the expert epidemiological group, not just on the score itself.

Classification into the respective levels is based on several epidemiological indicators, such as the share of hospitalised patients not detected in the community in the past 14 days, the 14-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants, a simplified calculation of the reproduction number and the 14-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants focused on groups of senior citizens.

There are several fundamental questions for calculating the risk index: How many people have been infected recently? How many seniors have been infected recently? Is the number of infected persons rising? Are we capable of registering infected individuals effectively and quickly?

“Looking at the epidemiological indicators, we may say that the epidemic situation is not escalating. On the contrary, it is improving slightly and it is obvious that the imposed measures are starting to work and having an effect on the number of newly diagnosed patients. However, to preserve the favourable development, it is essential that we continue observing the valid measures thoroughly,” says Minister for  Health Jan Blatný.

The score is calculated for the entire country. In the Czech Republic, the PES system is classified into five alert levels, which are linked to their respective anti-epidemic measures concerning, for example, the wearing of masks, assembling, shops, culture and education, as well as their easing.

“The daily numbers of positively diagnosed persons correlate to the number of performed tests, of which up to 70,000 a day are performed in total for antigen and PCR tests,” notes Chief Hygienist of the Czech Republic Jarmila Rážová.

The anti-epidemic system 2.0 (PES 2.0) was developed by the Ministry of Health and the Institute for Health Information and Statistics in cooperation with experts from Czech and foreign universities. The score is calculated and implemented into the online IHIS system and published on the website (only in the Czech language).

“The slowing spread of contagion is related primarily to the drop in the reproduction number, which is roughly around 0.8. Its decline is also reflected positively in the other indicators analyzed when calculating the anti-epidemic system,” says the Director of the Institute of Health and Information Statistics, Ladislav Dušek.

“Hospital capacities for patients with COVID-19 are still at their maximum in some regions, due to the infection of staff, especially nurses. All the available personnel support is being maximally employed – the army, students of medical schools, students of medical faculties (on a voluntary basis) and volunteers from the Red Cross. The level of care corresponds to the objective shortage of qualified staff, and in order to maintain the greatest possible scope of healthcare for the largest number of patients in need, the usual organisational, nursing and diagnostic-treatment standards  have been reduced,” notes Deputy Minister for Health, Chairman of the Czech Society for Anesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Medicine and head of the COVID Clinical Group, Vladimír Černý.

“At present, we do not have information about any cases where it is impossible to place a patient in an “appropriate bed, although such situations are mentioned in the media. Should such a situation occur, which is rather unlikely given the declining number of infected persons in the population, healthcare must continue being provided in full compliance with the valid laws and ethical principles of medicine. In these situations, physicians must proceed according to clearly defined rules and principles (Opinion of the ČSARIM 13/2020 committee Decision-making regarding patients in intensive care in situations of shortage of rare resources /only in the Czech language/),” added Deputy Health Minister Vladimír Černý.

The current measures, numbers of positively diagnosed patients and other information relating to the COVID-19 epidemic can be monitored on the special coronavirus website of the Ministry of Health koronavirus.mzcr.cz or on the government portal covid.gov.cz.