Coronavirus in Prague. Illustrative concept

Czech Republic coronavirus updates, July 23: 247 new cases, government considers nationwide measures

Vojtěch said he may institute nationwide measures against the spread of the virus by Friday

The Czech government is considering reintroducing nationwide measures against the spread of coronavirus, as the number of newly infected people rises once again.

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There were 247 newly confirmed positive cases on Wednesday, according to the latest data released by the Czech Health Ministry this morning. That’s one of the highest daily numbers since June and a sharp rise from the past week and a half. More than 5,000 people remain actively infected with the virus, the most since the start of the pandemic in the country.

Health officials performed 6,089 tests on Wednesday. More than 9,000 people have recovered from the virus, and 364 have died, two of which died on Wednesday, according to official data. In most patients, the virus is mild. However, 141 people are now hospitalized with the virus, and 22 are in serious condition.

In light of rising numbers, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch on Wednesday evening to discuss the latest developments against the virus. Following the meeting, Vojtěch said he may institute nationwide measures against the spread of the virus by Friday. He added that the measures would not be as dramatic as closing entire sectors of the economy.

In the past, Babiš has said that the country expected a rise in COVID-19 cases following the slow re-opening of the country. However, he wanted to act preventatively.

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“But we must not get into the situation as it ended up in Israel, where they have 2,000 people infected every day, we must act quickly,” he added.

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Due to the rising number of the currently ill, Vojtech has ordered a revision of the statistics.

Vojtech said he believes that data for recovered patients is reflected in the statistics with a delay. This is why a revised number of the ill for Tuesday appeared on the website of the Health Ministry. It fell from the original 5,046 to 4,845.

Despite the growing number of cases, Vojtěch told iDnes that he does not consider this to be the second wave of the pandemic.

“It is still true that all regions are not in the same situation. Some of them have a minimum incidence,” Vojtech said.

Many of the new cases originate in one of the worst regions affected, the Moravia-Silesia Region, where the situation has continued to worsen. Nearly 68 people per 100,000 people are infected with the virus. The virus has begun spreading outside of the known clusters, such as the mining outbreak, and to elderly homes and a local hospital, among others.

In the neighboring Frýdek-Místek region, there are approximately 40 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a number that keeps growing.

There are several other regions with clusters of coronavirus cases, including the Mělník region north of Prague, Vlčnov in the Uherské Hradiště region, Jihlava in the Vysocina Region and parts of Moravia, like Znojmo.

The number of people infected in Prague keeps growing as well. In Central Prague, more than 15 people per 100,000 are infected with the virus. In Prague East and Prague West, however, 18 and 16 people respectively per 100,000 are infected.

Several of those cases originated at a party in a Prague nightclub, where 65 people, including several professional football players, were infected with the virus.

Ústí nad Labem has seen a sudden spike in cases in recent days as well. In the past two days, 17 people have become infected with COVID-19; it’s a sharp increase compared to the five cases all of last week. According to reports, the spread started at a wedding located at the farm near the Úštěk in the Litoměřice region last week.

Most of the wedding guests were from Prague, but the bride and 24 other people from the Děčín region. The guests included a football player. The guests have been placed into quarantine, and the region is now considering re-introducing face masks in the city.

The Jablonec region up north has also seen a spike in cases in recent days, leading health officials to make face masks mandatory in Liberec. There are about 100 patients with coronavirus in the region now, including two in a serious condition in the hospital. A sharp increase in their numbers has been mainly recorded in the Jablonec nad Nisou district and its central town, where there are now 24 cases per 100,000 residents. New clusters have appeared in the Ceska Lipa and Jablonec nad Nisou districts as well.

Starting tomorrow, people living in the area will have to wear face masks when visiting all health care facilities, shopping at a pharmacy, visiting selected social services facilities, and, for example, when working in field social services.

Following reports that people in the quarantine may not be able to vote in the fall, the Senate called on the government to prepare appropriate measures to ensure those people could vote come October. According to iDnes, the Ministries of Interior and Health will work to find epidemiological measures that could allow people in quarantine to vote. In the extreme case, Deputy Prime Minister Hamáček did not rule out a possible postponement of the election.

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