The Czech Republic has once again breached the 15,000 level with COVID-19 cases, bringing the country back to the highest level since January 6. 

Vladimír Černý, deputy minister of health, claims that health care facilities are close to being completely exhausted, with only 15% of beds available for new patients.

The government will also be discussing the potential for mandatory testing in the workplace and paying for up to four tests per employee per month.

Interestingly, the state spent 50 million CZK on a field hospital in Prague 9 for the event that regular hospitals overflow, but closed it on January 29 due to “staff shortages.”

The Ministry of Health hopes to raise the PES system, the scale the country uses to determine the severity of restrictions, from the second-highest level to the highest by March 3rd at the earliest. The PES scale was previously moved down a notch because of a reduction in the number of hospitalized patients.

The PES system was created in November, but by January, Health Minister Jan Blatný said that it was no longer relevant for determining restrictions. More important for Blatný and the state was the number of people hospitalized.

Lenka Přibylová, who does the math behind the PES system, says that the whole system needs to be recalculated now that the “British mutation” has arrived in the country.

“We need to rethink the fourth and fifth levels so that they’re as effective as they originally were, and then add a sixth level… The risk index tells us that the situation is very serious. We’re starting the fourth wave with full hospitals.”