The waxing and waning of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe shows new danger areas emerging

Europe has seen major changes in coronavirus case rates over the last two months. In many areas of Europe covid case rates have dropped sufficiently to allow restrictions to be eased, but there are notable exceptions. The Covid-19 rate in Spain now appears to be as bad, if not worse, than two months ago, and the Netherlands has seen a dramatic increase in numbers recently.

In the case of both Spain and the Netherlands, the rates increased following the decision to unlock their countries too quickly, and in both cases those decisions have had to reversed within weeks.  Greece too appears to be seeing a new wave, and these areas now represent the largest threat to Europe’s strategy to keeping infection rates down.

Data maps courtesy of ECDC


Spain: 5th wave of coronavirus storms across the country, curfews set to be reintroduced


Netherlands: the reproduction R rate is now 2.17 – the highest since February 2020

EU: ECHR throws fuel on the #coronavirus vaccination fire – backs mandatory jabs for kids

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that democratic governments can make vaccinations obligatory, in a landmark judgement rejecting complaints brought by Czech families penalised for refusing compulsory jabs for their children.

“The… measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic society'” the court ruled, saying that the Czech health policy was consistent with the “best interests” of children.

Our opinion: ** Is there an easier or quicker way of antagonising parents in the middle of a global viral pandemic than encouraging mandatory vaccinations? We can’t think of one. Expect severe blowback ** report


Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Joint Statement on the WHO-Convened COVID-19 Origins Study signed by 14 countries

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom.

The Governments of Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the World Health Organization (WHO), international experts who have a vital mission, and the global community to understand the origins of this pandemic in order to improve our collective global health security and response. Together, we support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China, while at the same time reinforcing the importance of working together toward the development and use of a swift, effective, transparent, science-based, and independent process for international evaluations of such outbreaks of unknown origin in the future.

The mission of the WHO is critical to advancing global health and health security, and we fully support its experts and staff and recognize their tireless work to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, including understanding how the pandemic started and spread. With such an important mandate, it is equally essential that we voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples. Scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings. We share these concerns not only for the benefit of learning all we can about the origins of this pandemic, but also to lay a pathway to a timely, transparent, evidence-based process for the next phase of this study as well as for the next health crises.

We note the findings and recommendations, including the need for further studies of animals to find the means of introduction into humans, and urge momentum for expert-driven phase 2 studies.  Going forward, there must now be a renewed commitment by WHO and all Member States to access, transparency, and timeliness. In a serious outbreak of an unknown pathogen with pandemic potential, a rapid, independent, expert-led, and unimpeded evaluation of the origins is critical to better prepare our people, our public health institutions, our industries, and our governments to respond successfully to such an outbreak and prevent future pandemics.  It is critical for independent experts to have full access to all pertinent human, animal, and environmental data, research, and personnel involved in the early stages of the outbreak relevant to determining how this pandemic emerged. With all data in hand, the international community may independently assess COVID-19 origins, learn valuable lessons from this pandemic, and prevent future devastating consequences from outbreaks of disease.

We underscore the need for a robust, comprehensive, and expert-led mechanism for expeditiously investigating outbreaks of unknown origin that is conducted with full and open collaboration among all stakeholders and in accordance with the principles of transparency, respect for privacy, and scientific and research integrity. We will work collaboratively and with the WHO to strengthen capacity, improve global health security, and inspire public confidence and trust in the world’s ability to detect, prepare for, and respond to future outbreaks.

Joint Statement on the WHO-Convened COVID-19 Origins Study

Image by Philippe Delavie from Pixabay

70% of Czechs do not believe that the #coronavirus pandemic will end in 2021

7 out of 10 Czechs do not believe that the pandemic will come to an end in 2021. More than half of the Czech population does not even believe that the pandemic situation will have improved by the end of this year, and opinions are divided regarding vaccinations.

The IPSOS research, which took place between October and March, was conducted in 31 countries around the world, including China, Russia, Germany, Poland, and the USA, with the participation of more than 15,500 respondents globally, and approximately 1,000 in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic was among the less optimistic countries included in the research. 33% of Czech respondents expect a return to pre-crisis life conditions by the end of 2021, compared to the global average of 41%. Germany and China are the most optimistic countries by this measure, with 43% and 90% respectively. report


 Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Number of #coronavirus reinfections in Czech Republic up ninefold to 1,400

One year after the first confirmed case of coronavirus infection, experts in the Czech Republic recorded 1,400 cases of reinfection, in which people in both cases had symptoms of Covid-19. In the last month, the number of reinfections increased ninefold, a month ago the SZÚ registered 158. According to the SZÚ, the increase is related to the large number of those infected in the autumn wave. report



Image by Lubos Houska from Pixabay

Czech president blames country’s #coronavirus deaths on refusal to use Sputnik V and Sinopharm vaccines

President Miloš Zeman is calling for the county’s health minister and state drug agency director to be removed from office for rejecting the use of the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, which has not yet received EU approval. In an interview on Wednesday, the Czech head of state also advocated not waiting for Brussels to act before using the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm.

Full Radio Prague International report


Image by Jakub Hruška from Pixabay

More than 200 children in the #Czech Republic have been diagnosed with #coronavirus related PIMS

More than 200 children in the Czech Republic have been diagnosed with a rare condition that can occur several weeks after Covid-19, known as paediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome or PIMS-TS. If untreated,it can cause tissue damage, poor function of vital organs or potentially even death.

The PIMS-TS syndrome first appeared in the Czech Republic in the autumn during the second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic. According to the head of the paediatric clinic in Prague’s Motol hospital, Jan Lebl, most doctors had not previously encountered such a medical condition.

Full Radio Prague Intenational report


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EMA: If you have these symptoms after vaccination with AstraZeneca #coronavirus serum seek medical help immediately

“Wheezing, chest or stomach pain, swelling or coldness in an arm or leg, severe headache or worsening or blurred vision after vaccination, persistent bleeding, small multiple bruises, reddish or purplish spots or blisters of blood under the skin” – if you have these symptoms after vaccination against Covid with AstraZeneca serum seek medical help immediately and report that you have recently been vaccinated.

Il Giorno report


Image by Usman Yousaf from Pixabay

EMA: Anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity reactions should be included in the list of possible side effects of the Astrazeneca vaccine

European Medicines Agency (EMA), the corona vaccine from the manufacturer Astra-Zeneca can cause severe allergic reactions. Anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity reactions should be included in the list of possible side effects of the vaccine citing , the EMA said on Friday, several such cases in the UK. report


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#Czech hospitals in #coronavirus crisis “Each vacated bed fills up immediately”

Medical facilities in Prague are reaching the limit of their capacities – personal and inpatient. According to statistics, 1,171 covid patients were hospitalized in Prague on Wednesday, of which about a quarter are in serious condition.

“Every bed that is vacated is immediately occupied. We accept patients in an acute condition, but we must consider very carefully every free bed that occurs, “said Sulek.

Currently, the hospital is mainly looking for paramedics and general nurses, but they have been in short supply for a long time. “Every free hand fits. The duty to work would help us a lot,” says the spokesman. report


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Czech Republic makes #coronavirus testing #compulsory for companies with 50+ employees

From March 12th, all employees at companies with over 250 staff must test negative for coronavirus once a week to continue going into work, and this will apply to all companies with over 50 employees from March 15th. Around 2.1 million employees will be tested in the next two weeks. Photo: Ministers at the press conference after the government meeting on March 1.

BRNODaily report



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Three cases of South African coronavirus variant B.1.351 confirmed in Czech kindergarten

Elisabeth Pharmacon laboratory in Brno, Czech Republic has detected three cases of the South African mutation of the coronavirus, in samples taken in a local kindergarten. Neuroscientist and molecular biologist Omar Šerý, Director of Elisabeth Pharmacon.

“Elisabeth Pharmacon’s laboratories have just confirmed the South African mutation by sequencing in all three of the flagged samples from the Brno nursery. At the same time, it was confirmed that we have a quick way to detect the South African mutation within two hours by multi-point analysis of suspicious samples,” said Šerý.

Brnodaily report


 Image by _Alicja_ from Pixabay

Gorillas and lions infected with #coronavirus in #Prague zoo

A gorilla and two lions have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Prague Zoo, which is closed amid lockdown restrictions in the country.

The animals were mostly likely infected by staff and other animals will be tested, Bobek said. Prague Zoo was in touch with other zoos that have seen COVID-19 cases.

Reuters report



Image by Alexandra ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

B.1.258∆, a #SARSCoV2 variant with ∆H69/∆V70 in the Spike protein circulating in the #Czech Republic and #Slovakia

We analyzed SARS-CoV-2 samples collected from various regions of Slovakia between November and December 2020 that were presumed to contain the B.1.1.7 variant due to traveling history of the virus carriers or their contacts. Sequencing of these isolates revealed that although in some cases the samples were indeed confirmed as B.1.1.7, a substantial fraction of isolates contained another ∆H69/∆V70 carrying mutant belonging to the lineage B.1.258, which has been circulating in Central Europe since August 2020, long before the import of B.1.1.7. Phylogenetic analysis shows that the early sublineage of B.1.258 acquired the N439K substitution in the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the Spike protein and, later on, also the deletion ∆H69/∆V70 in the Spike N-terminal domain (NTD). This variant is particularly common in several European countries including Czech Republic and Slovakia, and we propose to name it B.1.258∆.


 Image by LionFive from Pixabay