Saturday saw the highest rise in confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic yet, according to the Czech News Agency. The number of cases increased by 39 in the course of Saturday and further by 25 during the night from Saturday to Sunday. Saturday also saw the highest number of individuals tested for the coronavirus in the country so far, reaching 971 tests.
Two thirds of those diagnsoed were infected abroad, one third within the Czech Republic. The most common source of infection is Italy, with 74.5 percent of people who tested positive in Czechia having contracted the disease there.
The whole of the Czech Republic may have to be quarantined, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said in an onterview with TV Prima on Sunday. What that exactly means´will likely be disclosed at a special government press conference at 6pm. Mr. Babiš went on to say that he expects the numer of infected in the country will rise to 300 by the end of Sunday.
Thus far all restaurants, pubs and non-vital shops have been closed, with only grocery stores, pharmacies, drugstores and petrol stations remaining open. A travel ban on Czechs leaving the country and foreigners enetering will begin taking effect on Monday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has begun sending buses to pick up Czechs stuck abroad due to the ongoing emergency measures. Special buses will therefore be transporting Czechs back home from Munich at 1pm as well as Vienna and Frankfurt am Main at 10pm on Sunday, according to the ministry's website.
Czechs abroad who cannot return home due to flight and general travel restrictions are encouraged to contact their embassy to get more details on possible transports.
Many Czech hospitals are lacking facemasks and respirators during the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Health Minister Adam Vojtěch has said that some 50,000 respirators have been delivered to Czech medical facilities across the country. However, he himself admitted that up to a million are needed.
Many of the regional officials questioned by Czech Radio have said that there are cases of only a few dozen or hundred being delivered.
Štěpán Votoček, the director of Slaný Hospital in Central Bohemia, the second most affected region in the country by coronavirus infections after Prague, was very critical of the current situation. Speaking to Czech Television, he said that the hospital has received no respirators thus far and has no information about when the deliveries will come. The hospital staff has therefore resorted to sewing together their own facemasks. Anyone can close schools and borders he said, but when it comes to sorting out infrastructural measures the state is not performing well.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš insisted on Saturday that hospitals are equiped with respirators. Further deliveries are set to arrive next week, the government has said.
A doctor at the accident and emergency department of the Faculty Hospital in Olomouc has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, news site iDnes.cz reported on Saturday. The hospital has since quarantined all of the patients and medical staff who came in contact with the individual. A total of between 72 to 82 people, according to Czech Television.
Whether it is the Red Cross, or just people grouping together on facebook, a new wave of solidarity has appeared in the Czech Republic as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.
The Red Cross is looking for volunteers to put in its information call centers, or to use as assistants for the elderly, those most at risk from COVID-19.
Many groups have also been set up for the purpose of help on Facebook over the past few days, news site Deníkn.cz reports. These include babysitting for parents unable to take care of their children who are now at home due to a closure of schools, or the support of cultural institutions that are unable to generate income as a result of the government ban on public events.
This weekend's open skies are expected to become more cloudy on Monday with the exception of parts of Western Bohemia around Plzeň. Temperatures are set to rise to between 12 to 16 degrees Celsius.