Czech Republic plans to tighten measures

Photo: EPA

The Czech Republic must tighten measures to combat the pandemic and prevent a "catastrophe" in hospitals in the coming weeks as the country faces one of the world's highest Covid-19 infection and death rates, PM Andrej Babis said cited by Reuters.

The country reported over 15,000 new cases on Tuesday, the highest daily tally since 6 January, and has the fastest spread rate in Europe, with per capita infections more than six times higher than in neighboring Germany in the last two weeks. The number of hospital patients with Covid-19 who are in serious condition has risen to a record 1,389, leaving few spare beds. The country has reported a total 1.18 million cases of the virus and 19,682 deaths since the first infections nearly one year ago.

Some hospitals have had to transfer out patients while the health minister has warned hospitals risk being overwhelmed in the coming weeks. The government is looking at asking Germany for help with some patients. According to Babis, the situation was grave. "Hellish days await us," he said at a news conference.

The country has been in some level of lockdown since October as it has battled a much harsher second and now third wave of the pandemic. Industry, though, has remained running unlike early in the pandemic when large factories shut for several weeks, hammering the economy. Restaurants, gyms, theaters and other entertainment venues are closed while only shops selling essential goods are open. Schools are shut except for pre-schools and the first and second grades.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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