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Summary: Coronavirus Developments In The Czech Republic and EU This Week

The Czech government introduces stricter measures against COVID-19, while ordering a new anti-COVID pill from the US. The EU’s dispute with the UK over vaccine orders continues as the UK claims priority. Brno Daily brings you the headlines from this eventful week of coronavirus developments. Photo Credit: Freepik / Illustrative Photo.

Czech Rep., Jan 29 (BD)  – On Wednesday and Thursday, citizens of the Czech Republic were awaiting the announcement of stricter government measures in the fight against COVID-19, after Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stated on Wednesday that there would be no loosening of measures to look forward to, but that the “screws must be further tightened.” Babiš said that while those who follow the rules are complaining about the rules not being enforced effectively, opponents of the existing measures are not obeying them. 

New Measures Effective from Friday Midnight

The government meeting on Thursday evening tightened the rules on free movement. The new rules require limiting contacts with those not from the same household, and recommend meeting only immediate family and using FFP2 respirators when in contact with others. The use of FFP2 respirators remains as a strong recommendation, and not yet an order. 

Another restriction applies to accommodation.  Only business trips are allowed, as before, but ski resorts and hotels must now require a confirmation from their guests’ employer declaring the business-related reason to stay. In addition, family members are not allowed to join for business trips. The operation of cable cars is also banned. 

Antigenic tests will now be available paid by insurance every three days, effective from February 1st. The government did not restrict the movement of people to 15 kilometers from their place of residence, although this was discussed during Thursday’s meeting. The anti-epidemic system (PES) remains at Level 5. 

President Miloš Zeman expressed his frustration at those who are unhappy with the government’s stricter measures to CNN Prima NEWS, saying: “If someone is frustrated by the rules that they cannot travel or shop, they should remember the sick and dying in hospitals and exhausted paramedics fighting for every human life.” The Ministry of Health echoed Zeman’s point on Twitter, noting that there is no apparent improvement in hospitals. 

Czech Republic to Purchase Anti-COVID-19 Drug From The USA

The Czech Republic is considering purchasing pills tested against COVID-19 from the US company Regeneron, according to Prime Minister Babiš. The pill was used in the treatment of previous US President Donald Trump, and the German Ministry of Health has ordered approximately 200,000 doses of the same pill. “We are looking forward to contacting the manufacturer. We are interested in it, we will try to buy it,” said Babiš, as reported by Czech news server Seznam Zpravy. The effectiveness of the Regeneron pills is not yet clear. 

Dispute Between UK And EU Over Vaccines

The high demand for the COVID-19 vaccination has sparked a dispute between the UK and EU. The UK’s current progress of administering the first doses of the vaccine for more than 10% of adults is far beyond the EU’s 2%. AstraZeneca has said that it will only be able to deliver 25% of the doses reserved for the EU, while it can deliver the full agreed number of doses to the UK, which the EU has refused to accept. The EU, on the other hand, has the ability to halt the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines from entering the UK. The European Commission reported that a new mechanism will be introduced to give national regulators the power to block vaccine exports, writes The Guardian. Many EU countries have expressed concern over the delayed AstraZeneca vaccines, and Brussels is threatening to block exports to the UK if delays from the UK persist.

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