Prague, Czech Republic – A total of 186 new cases of Covid-19 infections have now been linked to a recent outbreak in the Darkov coal mine, in the north-eastern part of the Czech Republic.
While the majority of the infected people (139 people) are employees of the coal mine, some cases have also been confirmed among maintenance staff and relatives of the miners.
Since the first cases were reported at the end of last week, six Poles have also been confirmed to be among the infected people from the mine, which borders Poland in the Moravian-Silesian region.
Authorities have launched mass-testing to determine the scope of the outbreak and contain it as quickly as possible. Czech army medics have also been sent to the coal mine to support and boost regional authorities’ testing capacities. Despite the outbreak, the mine is still working, albeit with special health and sanitary measures in place.
According to Pavla Svrčinová, head of the nearby Ostrava regional public health agency (KHS), no serious cases has been detected to date and most patients are only experiencing mild symptoms of the disease. None of them has been hospitalized yet.
Great caution should nonetheless be exercised, she warned in an interview with Radio Prague: “Keep in mind that there are also Poles and Slovaks working for these sub-contractors. each one of them is likely to have been at least in contact with their family, so that is a whole other group we will need to test”.
According to the Czech News Agency (CTK), some 8,400 people work in coal mines in the Karvina region, where the Covid-hit Darkov mine is located.
Although the epidemiological situation is largely positive nation-wide, Czech authorities are closely monitoring the outbreak among miners, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said during a press conference on Friday, which is currently one of the main infection clusters in the country.
The Czech Republic, which will initiate tomorrow its last phase of easing of restrictions, has more than 8,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, while 314 people have died from the disease.
Main photo credit: Michaela Danelová / iROZHLAS.cz