Health Ministry presents central information system as “brain centre“ to combat epidemic

Roman Prymula, photo: ČTK/Ondřej Deml

The Ministry of Health has developed a special information system that delivers complex up-to-date data on the evolution of the coronavirus epidemic and provides prognosis models on possible development. The system monitors the number of infected, their current state and needs regarding medical care, the capacities of hospitals, as well as people tested and quarantined, updated by the minute which should enable faster and coordinated decision making in view of saving lives.

Roman Prymula, photo: ČTK/Ondřej Deml
The central information system presented at a press briefing in Prague on Tuesday is getting minute-by minute input from hospitals, testing centres and hygiene offices around the country, opening the way for what the Head of the Crisis Staff, Roman Prymula described as a “brain centre” for managing the epidemic.

“Our aim is to create a command centre where we will have every relevant piece of information regarding the epidemic at our fingertips. The measures we have taken were not taken at random. We reacted to available data. Now this data is complex and centralized, to enable us to act faster and more effectively. I want to make clear what we are aiming for. We could stop this epidemic very quickly, but it would come at the cost of paralyzing the country and severely damaging the economy. So we want to modify it, we want to regulate it and I believe we can achieve that. We want to create conditions where life can go on in this country and at the same time prevent an overload of the health system.”

According to the long-term prognosis, based of the evolution of the epidemic to date, up to 15,000 people could be infected with the coronavirus in the Czech Republic before the epidemic runs its course. By the end of March the number of infected should reach 3,000.

The proportion of seniors, the most vulnerable group of the population, among those infected so far is 17%. According to experts this suggests that the measures taken to protect them are working.

The model projecting the rise in infections shows that, barring unexpected developments, the country is ready for this number of patients, that hospitals will have enough beds, Prymula said, adding that there are about 4 thousand doctors and over 15 thousand nurses in intensive care.

Photo: ČTK/Luděk Peřina
The head of the Crisis Staff said that although it was early days yet, the figures in the past few days gave reason to hope that some of the restrictive government measures could be called off or modified by mid-April, to be replaced by selective measures. However he made it clear this would not apply to the ban on mass events, a ban on visits to seniors' facilities or the closure of schools. Those measures, Prymula said would be the last to be lifted.

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch highlighted three priorities in connection with the epidemic: to have an adequate capacity of hospital beds ready, to increase the number of people tested, and to speed up deliveries of protective gear to those in need.