November 24, 2022

Coronavirus infections hit new record in Czech Republic


FILE – Health workers transport a COVID-19 patient to Ceska Lipa, Czech Republic, Thursday, March 18, 2021. Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have again reached an all-time high, reaching nearly 26,000 cases daily. The health ministry said the daily tally reached 25,864 on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, about 3,000 more than the previous record on Friday. (AP Photo / Petr David Josek, File)

PRAGUE (AP) – Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have reached a new high, reaching nearly 26,000 daily cases, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

The daily tally reached 25,864 on Tuesday, about 3,000 more than the previous record on Friday.

The country’s infection rate has risen to 1,061 new cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days, nearly twice as many as two weeks ago.

As infections skyrocket, the government has considered compulsory vaccination for certain groups of people, including the elderly, medical and military personnel, and police officers.

Just over 58% of the Czech population has been fully vaccinated.

Another proposal under consideration is to shorten the time between a second injection and a booster from six to five months.

The government is expected to announce its plan soon, possibly next week.

The latest wave hit the country at a time of political transition following parliamentary elections in October.

Some of the proposals and measures imposed by the outgoing government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis clash with a coalition of five parties which have agreed to form a new government.

The new coalition strictly rejects any compulsory vaccination. Vlastimil Valek, the candidate for the new Minister of Health, said on Wednesday that “this is not a solution, it only further divides society”.

President Milos Zeman was due to appoint the leader of the new coalition, Petr Fiala, the prime minister designate on Friday, but it is unclear when the president may swear in his government.

Some new restrictions targeting the unvaccinated have already taken effect on Monday. Most unvaccinated people are no longer allowed to test negative for coronavirus in order to attend public events, go to bars and restaurants, visit hairdressers, museums and similar facilities or use hotels. Only people vaccinated or cured of COVID-19 will remain eligible.

The new coalition has said it wants to revert to allowing negative tests to serve as a pass for these places and activities.

Overall, the nation of 10.7 million people has recorded more than 2 million cases of COVID-19 and 32,408 deaths.


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