A government expert who wishes to remain anonymous sparked the Czech government to take fast action against the coronavirus in a move that likely saved thousands of lives, said Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamáček while discussing the government’s response to the crisis in its early stages.
“The moment I realized that a train was coming at us from the opposite direction was when I saw a mathematical model that, based on the development in Italy and Spain, showed how the number of infected people in our country will rise and when there will be a collapse of the health care system. When the author of the model presented it at the Ministry of the Interior, there was complete silence. We realized that in a matter of weeks, huge trouble will hit us, and I said that the prime minister must see the model,” said Hamáček.
According to the interior minister, the expert in question does not wish to reveal his name as he does not want to be famous.
The Czech Republic was one of the first countries to initiate lockdown measures and close its borders to hard-hit countries like Italy in moves that may account for the country’s comparatively low death and infection rate.
“We’re still working with his team. He has done a huge amount of work for this country. If he agrees, I will thank him publicly, but at this moment, I don’t have his consent,” added Hamáček, who together with this expert, presented the mathematical model to the National Security Council.
At the time, some members of the government, including Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, were hesitant to believe the numbers in the model predicting a catastrophic scenario.
“I kept the numbers on my mobile phone, and every day, I checked the numbers of confirmed cases and it fit the model almost exactly. The prime minister did the same, and when it turned out on the fifth or sixth day that it followed an exponential growth, he understood that we’re in trouble,” said Hamáček, according to whom Babiš reacted “imperatively and quickly.”
Hamáček also said that he was aware that in order to provide medical supplies as quickly as possible, he often had to act regardless of common rules, but he hoped that people would be lenient in judging his actions.
“I admit that I don’t remember much from the period between March 14 and the arrival of the first plane with the supplies. All my co-workers said that I was in a strange state of mind, being on the phone the whole time. It was an unimaginably strenuous period,” Hamáček admitted.
23.00: From Monday, April 27, universities will open for all students.
22.10: The Czech government lifted a ban on its citizens traveling abroad for reasons other than work following an improvement in conditions of the coronavirus outbreak.
21.41: The Czech government will cancel restrictions on free movement as of Friday and allow groups of up to 10 people to meet in public as it scales back measures to fight the spread of the new coronavirus, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said on Thursday
21.12: On Friday, the government will ask the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of emergency until May 25, Hamáček said to ČTK. The state of emergency, set to expire on April 30, gives the government powers to limit people’s movement or close businesses.
20:50: The government did not announce any changes regarding easing the ban on travel abroad apart from business trips and commuting.
“As a government, we are thinking about how the country will return to normal life. But we will get there when we are 100% sure that we have measures against the virus,” said Prime Minister Andrej Babis.
At the same time, he appealed to Czech citizens to observe emergency measures and hygiene.
According to him, the State of Emergency in the Czech Republic will be extended by 30 days. “I don’t think we can avoid it,” added Babis. The news is reported by CT24.
As of Friday morning, there are 2,062 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection in the Czech Republic. Ten patients have fully recovered, nine died. A total of 31,127 tests have been carried out.
The Department of Health has also changed the testing conditions to Covid-19. Either fever above 37.5 degrees, dry cough, or shortness of breath are sufficient.
The Czech Republic declared the State of Emergency on Thursday 12 March 2020, due to health threats related to the occurrence of the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus, for 30 days.