People wearing face masks on Prague's Charles Bridge during the COVID-19 crisis via iStock / hopsalka

Czech Republic coronavirus updates, June 29: surge in new cases due to blanket testing in Karviná

This weekend's combined 564 cases are largely due to blanket testing at the OKD coal mine, with Prague numbers stable

There were 260 new COVID-19 cases reported in the Czech Republic on Saturday and 304 on Sunday, according to the latest figures from the Czech Health Ministry published this morning.

Sunday’s numbers represent the fourth-highest daily tally for the country since the beginning of the outbreak in mid-March. After 168 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, there have now been three straight days with the most number of COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic since April.

Additionally, this weekend’s high numbers were uncovered despite a low number of tests conducted, with 2,365 tests performed on Saturday and 1,812 tests performed on Sunday.

But there is no need to panic, say Czech officials: the weekend’s surge in new coronavirus cases is largely due to blanket testing in Karviná, the site of the largest outbreak uncovered in the Czech Republic thus far.

“This is no second wave from our point of view,” Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch told reporters yesterday.

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“Since we have been conducting massive testing in the most afflicted area now, the Karviná locality […] It concerns primarily the OKD premises.” Around 1,000 employees of the OKD mine have now tested positive for COVID-19.

Over the past seven days, there have been 181 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Karviná. In Prague over that same span, there have been just 6.3 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republic, which contains Karviná, is now the area of the Czech Republic with the highest number of total COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the outbreak in Mid-March. There have now been 2,644 COVID-19 cases reported in the Moravian-Silesian Region since the start of the outbreak, which exceeded Prague’s 2,506 COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

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There have now been a total of 11,604 COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic since the start of the outbreak in March. There have been 7,710 recoveries and 348 COVID-19-related deaths, leaving 3,546 known active cases.

The number of known active COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic has risen by nearly 1,000 over the past week, but again, is largely due the high number of cases reported in Karviná following the blanket testing.

Numerous updates related to travelling to and from the Czech Republic are expected to be announced or come in effect from this week.

Today, the Czech Foreign Ministry is expected to announce 15 locations outside of the EU where it will be possible for Czech residents to freely travel without restrictions.

Also today, the European Union is expected to confirm its list of countries that will be able to enter EU borders from July 1; the United States and Russia are not on the latest preliminary versions of the list.

From this week, it is expected that the Czech Republic will relax its measures at the borders of the Silesian region with Poland, no longer requiring a negative COVID-19 test for entry.

This morning, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has announced that face masks will no longer be mandatory in Prague trams and buses; they will, however, continue to be mandatory in the Prague metro.

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