Prague, Czech Republic – A set of tough measures and restrictions came into force today in the Czech Republic as authorities struggle to contain one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in Europe.
Announced on Monday evening and taking effect on Wednesday, October 14, the measures are implemented as part of the 30-day state of emergency declared by the Czech government on October 5 to contain the COVID-19 epidemic, and should be revised in two weeks.
As of today, all cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs throughout the Czech Republic are closed until November 3. The Czech government has also introduced a ban on drinking alcohol in public spaces, while indoor and outdoor public gatherings have been limited to a maximum of six people.
Primary and secondary schools also have to close and introduce distance learning for all their pupils until November 1. Only kindergartens are excluded from the measure. Authorities also said that all students with another permanent address in the Czech Republic should leave student dormitories and return home.
It’s now also mandatory to wear face-masks at all public transport stops.
The Czech Republic has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the EU, according to official data, and reported 8,325 new cases of coronavirus infection on Tuesday – the second highest increase after last Friday’s record of 8,500. The death toll stands at more than 1,000 since the start of the pandemic.
“In the coming weeks, we will inevitably see a growing number of people in need of hospitalization, a growing number of serious cases and a growing death toll”, warned Health Minister Roman Prymula. “We must prepare for three exceptionally difficult weeks”, he added, calling on “each and every citizen” to play their part in fighting the virus and bringing the epidemic under control.
Main photo credit: Official Twitter account of Andrej Babis