Vienna, Jan 14 (EFE) .- The Czech Republic faces the third wave of the pandemic with one of the highest infection rates in Europe, a partial shutdown of the economy, a health system that is beginning to be saturated by the lack of beds, staff and even syringes, in addition to a scandal over the preferential treatment of relatives and friends of health officials when receiving the first vaccines against the coronavirus.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the cumulative incidence in 14 days in the Czech Republic is 1,119 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the second highest in Europe, only behind from Lithuania.
As announced today by the Czech health authorities, in the last 24 hours 10,854 new cases were registered, which represents a decrease compared to last week’s data, with numbers exceeding 15,000 new daily infections.
Faced with the increase in infections, the Czech Government, led by the liberal populist Andrej Babis, has extended until January 22 the closure of non-essential bars and shops and restrictions on mobility at night, as well as distance education.
In response to this announcement, last Sunday around 3,000 people demonstrated without masks and without distances in Prague to protest against the COVID-19 containment measures.
However, the increase in infections is leading, according to Radio Prague, to the saturation of hospitals, which are beginning to cancel operations due to the lack of beds and medical personnel.
Currently, 7,182 people are hospitalized, 1,103 of them in serious condition or in intensive care.
In addition, the Czech Republic faces the vaccination campaign with controversy over the forced resignation of the director of the Institute of Public Health, Pavel Brezovsky, announced today, after it was revealed that he used his position to receive vaccines up to a thousand of his employees and relatives, the most of them outside the priority group, according to local media.
This campaign is also faced with a lack of syringes to administer vaccines, pending deliveries of supplies of medical supplies from China.
The Czech Republic has so far registered about 866,500 infections with the new coronavirus, with 13,856 deaths in total.
Thus, the country, of about 10.7 million inhabitants, went from being one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, after having managed the first wave very well, with very few victims.
(c) EFE Agency