Czech Republic coronavirus updates, September 16: record-breaking 1,677 new cases, further EU travel restrictions

As the number of cases in the Czech Republic continues to surge, additional European states are placing the country on their lists of risk areas, which either bar general travel or require quarantine or a negative COVID-19 test upon entry

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro
Published on 16.09.2020 12:03 (updated on 16.09.2020)

There were a record-breaking 1,677 new COVID-19 cases reported in the Czech Republic yesterday, according to the latest data from the Czech Health Ministry posted this morning.

After a dip on Sunday, the number of new cases rose above 1,000 for the eighth time in the past nine days. Monday’s number is the highest-ever total of new daily cases following a series of record-breaking days last week. Residents should expect more cases in the future, according to Roman Prymula, the government commissioner for science and research in healthcare, and the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (UZIS).

The reproduction rate now stands at 1.59, and there’s a risk of exponential spread if additional measures are not taken, according to Prymula.

However, some of those new regulations to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic are now in effect. Face masks are required in most indoor spaces, with some exceptions. Bars and clubs must close between the hours of midnight and six a.m. In Prague, all clients must disinfect their hands when entering restaurants, shops, and other public buildings.

Speaking at a press conference following a Government Council for Health Risks this week, Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said that further measures may be imposed based on the ratio of new cases by tests performed, including lockdown measures similar to the ones taken earlier this year. He added that they would be targeted locally, however, not nationwide.

New changes regarding the quarantine process will also come into effect next week, according to the Health Minister. Those include self-reporting, where COVID-19 patients fill out a list of possible contacts themselves rather than through health officials. Quarantine will not be needed for all of those contacts, provided both parties wore a face mask when they met.

Vojtěch also stated that the country’s hospitals are still able to deal with considerably more cases now.

There are currently 333 patients with COVID-19 being hospitalized in the Czech Republic. Of those, 78 are considered to be in serious condition. Those numbers have both roughly tripled over the past month.

In total, there have now been 38,896 COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic since the start of the outbreak earlier this year. There have been 22,613 recoveries and 476 COVID-19-related deaths in that span, leaving 1,807 known active cases, the highest that number has been.

Prague continues to be the country’s most-affected locality, with about 142 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days.

Plzeň-South (129 cases), Beroun (123), Kladno (109), Prague-West (117), Prague-East (119), Uherské Hradiště (134), Benešov (104), Cheb (105), Svitavy (101) and Plzeň (106) have all reported more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the past week.

As the number of cases in the Czech Republic continues to surge, additional European states are placing the country on their lists of risk areas, which either bar general travel or require quarantine or a negative COVID-19 test upon entry.

Last week, Germany and Belgium placed Prague on their red list, but not the rest of the country, requiring quarantine (Germany) and a negative test (Belgium) for travelers coming from the Czech capital. Germany plans to update their risk map today and may include other regions in the country.

Denmark has placed the Czech Republic on its orange list, prohibiting general travel from the Czech Republic with some exceptions. Slovakia placed the Czech Republic on its red list, requiring a negative COVID-19 test or 5-day quarantine for travelers coming from the Czech Republic.

Yesterday, Cyprus and the Netherlands added the Czech Republic and Prague, respectively, to their high risk lists. From September 18, Czech residents as well as anyone who has visited the Czech Republic within the past two weeks will be barred from entering Cyprus. This includes those who have only been traveling through the Czech Republic to other destinations. Previously, entry was possible but only with a negative COVID-19 test, submitted before travelers boarded a plane for Cyprus.

Travelers coming to the Netherlands from Prague, and those who have recently stayed in the Czech capital, will needs to enter a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival in the Netherlands. The move takes effect immediately.