Conceptual illustration of the coronavirus as if it were observed from a microscope

After 53 tests, Czech Republic still free from coronavirus

Prague, Feb 6 (CTK) – Results of all 53 coronavirus tests performed in the Czech Republic as of 09:00 today were negative, Renata Povolna, from the Health Ministry’s press department, has told CTK today.

The five Czechs who were evacuated over the weekend from the epicentre of the disease, the Chinese city of Wuhan, and who stayed in quarantine at Prague’s Na Bulovce hospital were among the 53 tested people.

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According to the ministry, tests were also performed on several Asian tourists, especially those who arrived from China, who showed flu symptoms.

Together with the five evacuated Czechs, tests were also performed on two Slovak citizens who also tested negative. The infection was, however, confirmed in a Belgian citizen who shared the flight from China with them.

According to information available to experts, the virus is a threat mainly to seniors and people with health issues. From among the victims so far, 80 percent were people older than 60 and over 75 percent had other relevant health issues.

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The coronavirus infection seems to be the cause of death in 2.2 percent of infected people. The number of people who succumb to the virus is only slightly larger than in the case of the seasonal flu.

The five Czechs who have been evacuated from China will be tested for new coronavirus again only if they show its symptoms, Prague chief sanitary officer Zdenka Jagrova and infectious diseases specialist Kristyna Herrmannova, from Prague’s Na Bulovce hospital, told journalists today.

The five, who are staying in quarantine in the hospital, have their temperature measured twice a day.

Pictured: a Czech citizen returning from Wuhan is escorted to a quarantine zone.

Until Tuesday, 50 people were checked for coronavirus in the Czech Republic, including 17 in the Na Bulovce hospital. All 50 tested negative.

In China, over 24,000 have fallen ill and about 500 died since the coronavirus’ December outbreak.

Five Czechs, who were evacuated from China at the weekend, were transferred to the Na Bulovce hospital on Sunday night. Herrmannova said they fare well and have no symptoms

The hospital thus plans their further testing only if symptoms developed in them, such as fever, muscle pains and cough.

In most people infected with coronavirus, the symptoms of illness appear in ten days. “The two [of the five Czechs], who were in China at an internship stay, did not go to work in the last 14 days. The student, too, was isolated,” Jagrova said, commenting on a possible risk.

According to the Foreign Ministry, about a hundred of Czechs would like to return home from China.

The Czech government has banned direct flights between Czechia and China as of February 9.

Jagrova said the authorities have been monitoring the number of Czechs on the still arriving flights.

“Their checks would have sense only if the passengers had health troubles. The checking of all arriving patients, even those without symptoms, would pose the threat of the tests being falsely negative. In two hours, the situation could get different. That is why it is important to inform them [passengers] about the symptoms and risk,” Jagrova said.

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She recommended that the passengers bound for Asia and changing a plane at a Chinese airport should wear a face mask during the transfer.

Herrmannova said the Na Bulovce hospital is prepared for possible further suspected cases of coronavirus. Its clinic of infectious diseases has 100 beds, which, nevertheless, are occupied by other patients now.

Herrmannova’s colleague Milan Trojanek said there is no reason for panic. “It seems that the disease spread more easily than SARS and MERS, but its impact seems softer, since the death rate has been relatively low for the time being. The disease’s course is uncomplicated in a number of patients,” Trojanek said.

In China, the virus has so far killed mainly old and ill people. Out of the victims, 80 percent were over 60 and 75 percent suffered from other health troubles.

About 2.2 percent of patients succumbs to the disease, which is only slightly more than the death toll of flu, Jagrova said.

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