While the Czech government keeps relaxing the previously introduced restrictions and countermeasures that were put in place to stop the coronavirus from spreading, it is important to remember that the disease might return and it might return soon. After all, it’s still not even gone in the first place. So what can you expect to happen in the foreseeable future?
The first three cases of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic were recorded on March 1 and less than two weeks later the Czech government declared the state of emergency. It took the country several weeks to get the virus under control until the number of new confirmed cases finally started decreasing in the middle of April.
Once the situation started developing positively, the government began easing the restrictions it had put in place despite concerns of many experts who feared that it was too early for such actions and that the numbers might start growing again as a result. In response to that, the Ministry of Health’s deputy minister Roman Prymula announced that the government was ready to react if the reproductive number of COVID-19 was to cross the number 1. If that happened, lifting of restrictions could be slowed down, some changes could be postponed and some of the previously repealed countermeasures could be resumed. Prymula himself seems to be concerned about the countermeasures being relaxed too soon and too fast as he said that the second wave could hit the country during the time things started getting back to normal.
At the end of April, the reproductive number reached 0.7, which was the lowest value in several weeks, however, at the beginning of May it started increasing again. As of May 19, it already rose to 1.2 and the number of newly confirmed cases of people infected with COVID-19 went up to 111, making it the highest increase since April 21, though this was most likely caused by the virus spreading among miners in the Darkov Mine in Karviná (Moravian-Silesian region). In response to this, epidemiologist Rastislav Maďar confirmed Prymula’s words that if the situation continued developing this way and the numbers kept growing, the government would react. However, the following day, on May 20, the numbers dropped again.
Expecting the 2nd wave
According to most experts from all over the world, people should expect the second wave of the COVID-19 to hit at some time this year. The only thing they cannot agree on is when this would happen – while some experts expect the second wave to come in winter, others think it might happen in autumn already. Many of them are also afraid that this wave could be even worse as it could intersect with the flu season.
One of the few people who aren’t afraid that the second wave could be worse than this one, is immunologist Blanka Říhová who believes that a part of the population is being immunized. She also adds that we already know much more than at the beginning which gives people a great advantage.
Perhaps everyone in the world wants the COVID-19 vaccine to be discovered as soon as possible, but it is obvious that it will take some time as it does with every vaccine. Many companies and institutes have started working on one and the American biotechnological company Moderna has already started testing, however, even its researchers expect the process of developing this vaccine to take several months.
How can you prepare for this?
There are not many ways of getting mentally prepared for something like this, however, you can at least avoid some complications related to traveling, leaving, and re-entering the country, by taking certain precautions.
The best thing you can do is to get yourself a residence permit because, as this wave of the coronavirus has already shown, having a residence permit might be your only chance for entering the Czech Republic. Ideally, you can apply for Czech citizenship, if you meet the conditions (in Czech only).
Another very useful thing is obviously health insurance which everyone should have if possible. Not only will it help you to get proper health care while giving out less money out of your pocket, but it can be also used when trying to travel back to the Czech Republic should the borders be closed again.
Also remember, that wearing face masks is very important – according to the latest study it can reduce coronavirus transmission by 75 %. As Czechia hasn’t experienced a bigger outbreak of the disease, unlike for example USA, Brazil, Spain and Italy have, people might be lulled into the false sense of security that since it was not that bad the first time, wearing a face mask is not as important and won’t make a difference. It is difficult to see that something works if nothing significant changes for you but let’s not allow things to get worse only because we lack the USA’s, Brazil’s, Spain’s or Italy’s experience.
But worry not – every trouble will eventually pass!
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Sources of the information: Aktuálně.cz (in Czech only), CNN.iprima.cz (in Czech only), seznamzpravy.cz (in Czech only), Novinky.cz (in Czech only), dvojka.rozhlas.cz (in Czech only), BBC.com, CNBC.com
Source of the photo: Pexels.com