Immunity to the novel coronavirus is building up very slowly in the Czech Republic, with likely no more than 4-5% of the population covered, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, after mass testing for antibodies that started last month.
Overall, it found 107 positive cases after testing 26,549, making it one of the largest studies in Europe.
The study result is slightly higher than a European average of 0.2-3%, shown in 16 studies underway or completed, the ministry said.
“The positivity of antibodies ranges from zero to three percent, depending on the location,” said Ladislav Dušek, director of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (ÚZIS).
The study estimated the number of people infected by the virus but not showing symptoms could range from 27-38%.
According to Vojtěch, it is necessary to focus on local outbreaks, such as Cheb or Prague in recent days. “We no longer have a general problem, but we have to solve it locally,” he added.
The highest incidence of infections (less than 5 percent) was recorded in the Moravian town of Litovel, which had been under quarantine several weeks ago, and the lowest in the regional capital, Brno.
Testing within this study was designated only for healthy people, i.e. people with no symptoms of upper respiratory disease and who have not previously tested positive for COVID-19.
“The aim of the study was not to determine the number of infected people but to generate hard data about how many people in the population have had COVID-19 with mild or no symptoms,” said Dušek.
Overall, about 27,000 people in 4 geographical areas with various COVID-19 disease caseloads have been tested, namely in Prague, Brno and its surroundings, Olomouc and its surroundings, and Litoměřice.
In Prague, 5,000 people have been tested, including 1,500 between the ages of 8 and 17, 1,500 between the ages of 18 and 39, 1,500 between the ages of 40 and 59 and 1,000 more between the ages of 60 and 89.
On Tuesday, there were 77 new infections, the highest number in the last five days. The Czech Republic has 7,896 confirmed cases of coronavirus. So far 4,006 people have recovered and 257 people have died.