Corona pandemic: the fourth wave threatens the Czech Republic

Status: 23.10.2021 5:33 p.m.

The next corona wave is picking up speed in the Czech Republic. Therefore, new regulations will apply from Monday. The parties of the possible new five-star alliance accuse the head of government Babis of withholding data and information.

By Peter Lange, ARD Studio Prague

Radka Lukesova has a pub in Prague. When the landlady thinks about the new Corona rules, she immediately gets angry: “If I have the bar full, I can’t do it at all. They should use the police to check people.” She fears that the guests will be angry and argue with her. “I don’t know how to do this,” she doubts.

Peter Lange
ARD-Studio Prag

What Radka Lukesova brings up: In the hospitality industry, as of November 1st, the owners in the Czech Republic are also responsible for ensuring that the 3G rules are adhered to. So far they have not been obliged to do so. For this purpose, the police and health authorities made random checks.

“We are growing by leaps and bounds”

But that is no longer enough, because the corona pandemic is threatening to get out of control again. Medical statistician Ladislav Dusek says the numbers are not at all gratifying. “We are growing by leaps and bounds. This puts us in a risk scenario.”

The current data confirms Dusek: within a week, the seven-day incidence rose from 90 to over 150. The number of new infections every day was last around 3600, which is over 2100 higher than a week ago.

The hospitals are also filling up again with Covid patients: there are currently 771, 60 percent more than a week ago. 58 people have died in the past seven days. In the whole of September there were 44. For months the number of reproductions remained more or less clearly below one. It has now jumped to 1.8.

New restrictions should help

On Wednesday, almost two weeks after the parliamentary elections, the Babi government announced new restrictions in order to stop or at least level off a new wave. The hospitality industry is held jointly responsible. In addition, according to Health Minister Adam Vojtech, a mask requirement will apply in the interior of companies and authorities in the Czech Republic from October 25th. This does not apply to employees who work alone in an office.

Tests are no longer free for most adults from November onwards. This is to wake up the dormant vaccination readiness again. Because in the Czech Republic only about 60 percent of the population is completely vaccinated.

For Martin Baxa, the deputy chairman of the Democratic Citizens’ Party (ODS), it all comes too late once again. The measures are inadequate, he says, and only demonstrate the chaos in Babi’s government. You have learned nothing in the year and a half of the pandemic.

The numbers don’t bode well

The ODS is currently working with the four other center-right parties on a coalition that wants to replace Babis with its new majority in parliament. The five-part alliance complains about a lack of information and data. Babis has offered her candidate for the office of health minister, Vlastimil Valek, to take over the leadership of the ministry now. Valek declined with thanks. He will not work under a former secret service spy. In any case, the question remains who could appoint him, because the president is known to be ill.

Dusek, the health statistician, is concerned about the development in the hospitals in view of the current situation. “The attack on the hospitals could reach the climaxes we saw last fall and spring this year,” he fears.

Fourth corona wave also on the way in the Czech Republic

Peter Lange, DLR Prague, October 23, 2021 3:25 p.m.

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