People wearing face masksat Prague's Letna park via iStock / Madeleine_Steinbach

Czech Republic to react if coronavirus reproduction number crosses 1, says Deputy Health Minister

The Czech Republic would react and slow down its easing of anti-COVID-19 restrictions if the reproduction number rises past 1, says Roman Prymula

Prague, May 11 (CTK) – The Czech Republic would react and slow down its easing of anti-COVID-19 restrictions or even reintroduce some of those already lifted if the reproduction number, i.e. the average number of people infected by one patient, rises above 1, Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula told media today.

The reproduction number in the country stands at 0.8 now, according to latest information, which means that the epidemic is receding.

In the neighboring Germany, however, it has risen to more than 1.

“We can see that the situation is much worse in the German regions neighboring Czechia, such as Bavaria, than in our country,” Prymula said, adding that this is also the reason behind the infection’s increased incidence in the relevant Czech border areas of Cheb and Domažlice.

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Prymula said the Czech Republic would cope with the situation using its current instruments if the reproduction number rose to 1.1. However, in the case of steeper increase, the state might postpone the last wave of the restriction-lifting scheduled for May 25, when indoor premises of restaurants as well as heritage sites, and also swimming pools are to reopen after a pause of over two months caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

Prymula said a worsening of the situation would require reinforcement of the smart quarantine project and bigger local interventions. Not that whole regions should be isolated, but only the afflicted facilities, he said.

“At present, the epicentres [of infection] are in the health care, social, and also commercial spheres, but we are capable of isolating them effectively,” Prymula said.

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At the beginning of the epidemic in early March, the Institute of Health Information and Statistics forecast the reproduction number’s increase to up to 2.8. In late March, the number was down to 1.1.

Prymula said that no fears should be linked to the partial reopening of elementary schools as of May 25, since there have been only 250 children among more than 8,000 COVID-19 patients in the Czech Republic so far, which is why the risk posed by schools reopening is minimal.

Children can transfer the coronavirus, but unlike in the case of flu, they do so far less often than adults, Prymula said, referring to foreign studies.

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