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COVID-19: Czech Republic mulls easing of restrictions this week

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Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech government will discuss on Wednesday the possible easing of COVID-19 restrictions as the epidemiological situations appears to slowly but steadily improve throughout the country.

COVID-19 figures have been corresponding to the fourth level of the counter-epidemic five-tier system PES for five days in a row.

The government should therefore decide whether or not to ease the current restrictions, in place since late December and which still correspond to PES level five.

Government officials stressed that the decision will be based on how the situation unfolds in the next few days, and whether or not Czech hospitals can cushion the blow.

More than 6,500 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Czech Republic, with over 1,100 said to be in serious condition.

On Tuesday, the Chamber of Deputies is scheduled to hold a debate on the extension of the state of emergency, set to expire on January 22.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Andrej Babis told Czech Television that stationary shops, children’s clothing, shoewear and lingerie stores will be allowed to reopen on Tuesday. The Czech Premier added that while the situation appears to be improving on the COVID front, it might be too soon to relax the major restrictions.

The hardest-hit country in Europe in early January, according to CDC data, the Czech Republic is toeing a fine line, and the government seeks to avoid making the same mistakes as last year, when it reopened shops, bars and restaurants a few weeks before Christmas only to see the number of coronavirus cases skyrocket in the second half of December, forcing yet another lockdown.

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.