Czech Republic coronavirus updates, September 18: new record with 3,000+ cases, additional restrictions

The Czech Republic is currently the third most-affected country in Europe as COVID-19 cases continue to spike sharply

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 18.09.2020 09:41 (updated on 18.09.2020)

Just a day after hitting 2,000 reported COVID-19 cases for the first time, the Czech Republic has already blown past 3,000 according to data released this morning from the Czech Health Ministry.

There were 3,130 new COVID-19 cases reported in the Czech Republic yesterday, a 46% increase over the previous record-high set on Wednesday at 2,139 cases. The number of new cases reported yesterday roughly equaled the entire month of March, at the previous height of the epidemic outbreak.

Across the EU, the Czech Republic is now the third most-affected state in terms of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days, behind France and Spain. If the number of cases continues to rise as it has the past days, the Czech Republic will surpass those states next week.

Compared to neighboring Slovakia, the Czech Republic is reporting ten times more COVID-19 cases daily.

The number of COVID-19 tests being conducted is also rising, at more than 15,000 through the first three days of this week after hitting a high of 19,000 last Friday; in August, the number of tests conducted never topped 10,000 in a single day. The current capacity of labs in the Czech Republic is about 20,700 tests, with a goal of increasing that to 25,000 tests by the end of the month.

The percentage of confirmed COVID-19 cases per tests performed is quickly rising this week, from 6% on Monday to 10% Tuesday and 12% Wednesday. The number of tests performed Thursday will be released later today, but that ratio will continue to spike given the increase in confirmed cases.

Prague continues to be the most-affected area of the Czech Republic, with 191 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents reported over the past week. Almost all districts across the country have seen a sharp spike in cases over that time.

New restrictions are quickly being enacted to help slow the spread of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Yesterday, Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch announced that face masks would become mandatory for students in upper grades, from the second year of primary school (grade 6) and up, effective today.

Additionally, the requirement for bars and clubs to close from midnight until 6 a.m., which is currently in force in Prague, will be extended across the country from tonight. Also, all indoor events for more than 10 people during which people stand are prohibited from today.

Later today, the Czech Health Ministry will release its latest “traffic light” map of Czech regions, indicating COVID-19 risk levels across the country. Most of the country is expected to be elevated to green low-risk status, with 11 regions including Prague as orange medium-risk.

In an open letter, the Board of the Czech Learned Society has criticized the government’s response to the rise in COVID-19 cases, and insists that the next steps the country takes are based on the recommendation of experts rather than government officials.

A total of 44,155 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Czech Republic since the beginning of the outbreak in March, and nearly 20,000 of those have come through the first 17 days of September alone.

At a press conference yesterday, health officials estimated between 44,000 – 70,000 new COVID-19 cases would be seen in the Czech Republic in September. That would more than double the total number of COVID-19 cases reported in the country during the first six months of the epidemic from March through August.

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There have been a total of 23,377 recoveries since the beginning of the outbreak, and 489 COVID-19-related deaths, leaving a record-high 20,289 active cases.

There are 413 COVID-19 patients currently being treated in Czech hospitals, with 91 of those considered to be in serious condition. Both those numbers have roughly tripled over the past month.

The number of COVID-19-related deaths has also been rising this week, with between four and eight deaths reported daily through Thursday.

Officials stress that hand washing, social distancing, and wearing face masks is required to help curb the spread of the virus.