The autumn wave of the coronavirus will certainly come, but it could be delayed. This was reported to Echo24 by the Ministry of Health, saying that the summer increase in the spread of the infection is responsible for the delay in the onset of the wave of the pandemic. However, according to the ministry’s press spokesman Ondřej Jakob, the course of the autumn wave depends on a number of factors, including the weather in September. In connection with a possible high rate of contagion, there is also talk of problems that quarantines and preventive measures could cause for households, or with their energy bills.
“Due to the past summer wave of covid-19 disease, we expect that the onset of the autumn wave could be slightly delayed – of course, assuming that the same variants of the virus remain here as in the summer,” Jakob told Echo24, adding that it is still speculation because the course of the autumn wave will depend on many factors, including the development of the weather in September and how the population will be immunized with timely vaccination.
“At the moment, it is not possible to predict which mutation will prevail here and how it will affect the burden on the health system. Our goal is to make vaccination with bivalent vaccines as accessible as possible during the autumn period and thereby prevent the risks associated with a high burden on the health system. The information system controlling the development of the epidemic is fully functional, we monitor and evaluate it daily,” Jakob told Echo24. He did not add whether the ministry is planning any further measures, Minister Vlastimil Válek repeatedly reminds that the ministry recommends wearing respirators or masks in risky places, such as medical facilities and social care facilities.
According to him, individual cities can also introduce them, for example, in public transport, if there is a higher incidence of infection in the given city. However, the measures should not be blanket. According to Válk, a wave may come in November.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused deep problems for the Czech economy in the last more than two years, but during the coming winter, the biggest problem from an economic point of view will probably be the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Any further shutdown of the economy caused by the coronavirus could be devastating for many businesses.
An analysis by the Institute for Politics and Society, available to Echo24, states that both the global and the Czech economy are experiencing difficult times. “The losses caused by the covid-19 pandemic and the associated disruption of supplier-customer relations were followed by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine. It escalated earlier problems and brought new problems. Concepts such as inflation and the energy crisis are therefore among the most discussed topics not only within the Czech Republic,” says analyst Roman Máca.
“Current predictions of future developments are extremely risky and uncertain. The main variable that can affect developments in the coming months is the development of the situation in Ukraine,” the analysis states, adding that there are three different scenarios, including a long-lasting conflict, which could gradually mean further cooling of the economy and a drop in consumer sentiment. However, according to experts, the new wave of the coronavirus could be critical for many businesses.
“The current inflation that we can observe in advanced economies can clearly be considered as unexpected inflation, so its costs are all the higher. For the global economy, it is crucial for the period ahead that supply catches up with demand and these strong inflationary pressures subside. A politically unreasonable step would be to leave the energy exchange in Leipzig,” said Máca.
A problem for households and schools
However, the new wave of the coronavirus would probably also affect households and schools, because many people would have to work from home due to repeated quarantines, and this would increase people’s energy expenses, as they would have to heat, light or charge their computers during the day. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is preparing for this situation. The head of the press department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for Echo24, Jakub Augusta, told Echo24 last week that the Department of Mariana Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) is preparing an amendment to the Labor Code, which will regulate, among other things, work from home.
“The amendment should contain the terms of the agreement between the employee and the employer on remote work, which should be compulsorily agreed in writing. The Code will now explicitly deal with the terminability of such an agreement. The employer’s obligation to pay the costs incurred by the employee in connection with remote work will also be adjusted (until now it flowed from the general regulation that the employer cannot transfer the costs to the employee),” Augusta told Echo24.
“In order to reduce the administrative burden on the employer, we count on the possibility of a flat-rate payment, for a certain range of usual costs (e.g. electricity). The initial value of the lump sum will be determined by law and then adjusted by decree in regular or extraordinary terms according to the development of specific indicators. An employer in the business sector will be able to provide his workers with a higher flat-rate amount, but the resulting difference will be considered the employee’s income for tax purposes,” added Augusta.
Markéta Seidlová, vice-president of the Czech-Moravian Trade Union of Education Workers, told Echo24 that it is nonsense for schools not to heat up to save gas, because children would be sick and it would be a counterproductive situation for the economy. According to experts, a similar problem also threatens in connection with the new wave of the coronavirus, if children are in quarantine, in many cases their parents will stay at home with them, which will affect their work performance.
Since the beginning of the epidemic in March 2020, over 4.04 million cases of infection with the new type of coronavirus have been confirmed in the Czech Republic. This number does not include 306,800 cases where someone was infected repeatedly. So far, 40,814 people have died with the confirmed infection.
Approximately 6.889 million people in the Czech Republic were fully vaccinated with the vaccine against the severe course of the disease. 4.297 million people received the first booster dose and over 157,000 received the second. On Tuesday, 5,435 doses were vaccinated, of which 97 percent were booster doses. In a week-on-week comparison, the number of people vaccinated on Tuesday was slightly higher.