The Japanese flu drug favipiravir is on its way to the Czech Republic where it will be tested on COVID-19 patients, Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petříček tweeted on Thursday. He thanked Japan for making the drug available to Czech patients.
The Czech Republic is one of 20 countries to which Japan is supplying the drug. Tests abroad have indicated that the new flu drug is effective in treating moderately serious cases of coronavirus infection.
Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula says the government will decide in the coming weeks whether to ease the restrictions on travel allowing Czechs to holiday abroad in a small number of countries that are perceived as “safe” destinations.
Prymula said the government was under considerable pressure to open at least a few holiday “channels” out of the country.
The country’s leading epidemiologist said Slovakia and Croatia were being considered as possibilities, adding that this would necessitate an agreement with the respective countries which would have to open their borders to Czech holiday makers.
The situation should become more clear in mid-June, Prymula said.
People who have been placed in quarantine will need to screen negative for the COVID 19 virus before the quarantine can be officially terminated, according to a new regulation passed by the government.
The tests will be conducted by GPs and can only be performed a fortnight after the quarantine has started. The move is to prevent infected people without symptoms spreading the disease.
The new regulation will come into force on April 22.
Czech hospitals on Wednesday reported no covid-19 deaths, for the first time since March 23. As of Thursday morning, 418 people were being treated in hospital for the disease while there were 6,303 confirmed coronavirus cases.
Earlier this week, Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch said the epidemic is under control but urged people to remain vigilant so as not to risk a new wave of infections. He announced Tuesday that hospitals could soon resume performing non-essential operations and other elective treatments.
To date, 166 people have died of Covid-19 in the Czech Republic and 831 have recovered, according to the Ministry of Health. More than 146,000 people have been tested since March 1.
Amnesty International has criticized continuing discrimination against the Romany minority in the Czech Republic.
In its 2020 report on the state of human rights Amnesty points to the discrimination of Romanies in the spheres of housing and education.
It says a new law on housing benefits may put many at risk of homelessness, criticizing the fact that the country lacks affordable and quality social housing.
As regards education Amnesty says that despite some progress made, Roma children are still over-represented in programmes for children with special needs and mild mental disabilities.
Concerns over the use of discriminatory speech targeting migrants and the Roma minority also persist.
However the Czech Republic does not appear on the list of countries where Amnesty fears for human rights due to coronavirus restrictions.
The head of the prison service Petr Dohnal has asked presiding judges not to serve jail sentences for banal crimes under the present conditions in order to prevent the coronavirus infection being imported to the country’s prisons.
Dohnal said that around 500 convicts are placed in Czech jail houses every month regardless of the coronavirus crisis. He said fines and house arrest as an alternative to standard incarceration for banal crimes would help reduce the risk.
No Czech prisoner has as yet been registered COVID 19 positive. Prisoners are currently spending their days sewing face-masks for hospitals, social workers and old age homes.
Friday should be clear to partly cloudy with scattered rain showers in the south-western parts of the country and day temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.