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Czech Republic announces new restrictions as daily COVID cases top 2,000

Prague, Czech Republic- The Czech government has unveiled new restrictions to come into force this week after a record surge in the number of new COVID-19 cases, the Czech News Agency (CTK) reported.

Yesterday, the Czech Ministry of Health had already announced that indoor events of more than ten people where participants have to stand will be banned from Friday, September 18, at 6 pm. The measure also applies to bars, nightclubs and restaurants, who will be prohibited from accepting more customers than the number of seats available.

“The purpose of the measure is to reduce the close contact of standing people in bars, clubs or restaurants”, explained Roman Chlibek from the Health Ministry after the measure left many people baffled. “The allocated place for each participant in the event means creating a certain distance from others”.

A few exceptions apply, however, including public exhibitions and markets.

While small seated events remain allowed, venues and organizers will have to assign a specific marked seat to everyone who purchases a ticket.

But worsening COVID-19 outbreaks prompted Czech authorities to announce additional restrictions earlier today. On Wednesday, the Czech Republic reported 2,139 COVID-19 cases, by far the biggest single-day increase since the start of the epidemic. The country now has one of the highest infection rates in Europe.

There are currently more than 17,500 active cases of COVID-19 throughout the Czech Republic, with 388 people hospitalized, and more than 80 of them in serious condition, according to official data. Some 482 people have died from the disease since the beginning of the pandemic.

Following an emergency government meeting this morning, Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech announced that all bars and clubs will have to close at midnight – a measure already in place in Prague.

As part of the country’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus, he also announced that pupils studying at elementary and secondary schools – excluding the first five grades – will have to wear face-masks in classrooms starting Friday.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.