Coronavirus cases growth in the Czech Republic slows

The coronavirus cases number in the Czech Republic has risen past 5,000, although a slower growth rate allowed the health minister to say he was confident the state had prevented an uncontrolled spread as it starts easing lockdown measures, news wires reported. 195 new cases were reported on Wednesday, compared to 235 on Tuesday.

The Czech Republic was one of the first countries in Europe to take strict action against the virus’s spread in March when cases start appearing throughout the continent. Health Minister Adam Vojtech said data was showing the uncontrolled disease spread within Czech borders had been stopped. “The Czech Republic has so far prevented the worst,” he told a news briefing. Vojtech predicted the country would have 10,600 cases by the end of April at the current growth rate, down from a previous estimate of more than 14,000.

The country was among the first in Europe to declare a state of emergency and has closed borders, schools, most shops and restaurants, and restricted people’s movement. On Tuesday it was extended by parliament until 30 April. Due to the emergency many factories including the country’s three car plants have gone on hiatus, taking a heavy economic toll. But the country is also now among the first in Europe looking at some easing of measures.

The government on Monday agreed to relax some measures, such as reopening shops selling hobby goods and building materials, and also eased rules on open-air sports activities where people do not congregate, such as running and cycling. More shops may be reopened after the Easter weekend. Like other countries in central Europe, the Czech Republic has seen far fewer cases of the new virus than western neighbours, along with fewer deaths.

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