The epidemic situation in the Czech Republic is still unfavourable, the Czech government has restricted movement in the Cheb, Trutnov and Sokolov districts

The situation surrounding the COVID-19 disease in the Czech Republic is still critical.  The healthcare system is under immense strain. The situation is also significantly complicated by the incidence of the British coronavirus variant. Therefore, the government has restricted movement in the Cheb, Trutnov and Sokolov districts.

“Unfortunately, I must repeat that the epidemic situation is still critical. Therefore, we have had to approach the tightening of anti-epidemic measures in three districts, where the free movement of persons had to be restricted beyond the framework of national measures. These are areas where the number of newly-infected persons in the given time unit is three to four times higher than elsewhere,” stated Health Minister Jan Blatný, explaining the reasons for the government’s actions.

The anti-epidemic score is calculated for the entire country and is currently at 71. The Czech Republic is classified into five alert levels, which are followed up by the respective anti-epidemic measures. However, these are also implemented based on other factors, such as the strain on the healthcare system. An expert group decides about these measures, which are approved by the Czech Government.

“In order to improve the current epidemic developments and limit potential escalation, it is very important to observe the valid anti-epidemic rules. Therefore, I would hereby like to appeal to everybody to behave prudently. Observe the 3W rule (wash your hands, wear a mask, watch your distance) and do not travel between the regions unless absolutely necessary,” stated Chief Hygienist of the Czech Republic Jarmila Rážová.

“If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, please avoid places with high concentrations of people and postpone any visits, especially with any vulnerable population groups,” added Chief Hygienist 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 epidemiological indicators we monitor are still at very high levels. The positivity of diagnostically and clinically indicated tests has increased slightly, surpassing the risk level of 30%. The development of the 14-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants is also unfavourable, exceeding 740 among persons over the age of 65. A return to the growth of the epidemic with a negative impact on hospitals would be very rapid in this situation,” said Ladislav Dušek, Director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics, describing certain epidemiological indicators.

“The bed capacity is exhausted at an absolute majority of hospitals, in some districts the system is on the brink of its reserves, in the fullest sense of the word. The inpatient care dispatching system organises transports to other hospitals in the Czech Republic on a daily basis. We are naturally striving to reinforce staffing at the most affected hospitals. At present, three physicians should join the internal ward of the Cheb hospital to provide assistance,”  explained Deputy Health Minister, Chairman of the Czech Society for Anesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Medicine and Head of the COVID Clinical Group, Vladimír Černý.

“The current predictions of the development of the epidemic, given the end of the state of emergency, include an increase of up to 40% in the number of patients hospitalised in the course of 4 weeks as one of the potential variants. The healthcare system must prepare for this variant, although the primary limiting factor is still a lack of qualified staff. The chief measures to secure the necessary number of beds (especially intensive care) would include the further restriction of “deferrable” care and its provision only in life-threatening situations, regardless of the cause (COVID or non-COVID). If the total bed reserve declines to 10%, we will start addressing neighboring countries with a request for potential assistance in placing patients in their hospitals. Negotiations about the conditions for implementation are underway with the care payers. If necessary, staffing would have to be reinforced by declaring the work duty of medics and other healthcare professionals from the outpatient sector,” added Deputy Health Minister and Head of the COVID Clinical Group 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.