Czech Republic delays coronavirus lockdown decision, despite Europe's worst infection rate - ABC News

 proxy.yoo.workers.dev  10/18/2020 19:46:16 

The Czech Republic, the nation with the highest coronavirus infection rate in Europe, will wait at least two weeks before deciding whether to order a full lockdown to stem its epidemic.

  • The country's infection rate is more than 10 times higher than neighbouring Germany's
  • The Czech Republic has put some measures in place, but is delaying a lockdown
  • The existing measures have already sparked protests in Prague

On Saturday, the Czech Republic reported 8,713 new cases. Since schools reopened in the country in September, the cumulative number of cases has risen almost seven times.

The growth in cases  almost 100,000 this month in a country of 10.7 million and 1,352 deaths overall from COVID-19  is forcing authorities to seek foreign help and make plans for field hospitals.

The Czech Fire Rescue Service said it had requested more ventilators through the European Union.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said it had registered 828 cases per 100,000 population in the last two weeks, more than 10 times the rate in neighbouring Germany.

However the Government is delaying a full lockdown, instead waiting to see how other pandemic control measures fare first.

"We will not decide this week about a lockdown," Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlicek told Czech Television.

In the past week, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close except for takeout orders, and schools have moved to distance learning.

Sport and fitness clubs, theatres and cinemas had already shut, but shops have remained open.

Water is sprayed at demonstrators protesting against COVID-19 health measures in Prague, Czech Republic.
Police used a water canon against demonstrators who gathered in opposition to the new restrictions.(AP: Petr David Josek)

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said on CNN Prima's Sunday show the new measures should cut the average spread from one infected person by 30-40 per cent.

If the latest restrictions are not effective enough, he said there were few options other than a lockdown.

In Prague, more than 500 sports fans, including militant soccer supporters' groups known as ultras, protested against coronavirus measures, defying restrictions on gatherings.

Police used a water cannon and tear gas, and local media said there had been some injuries.

Reuters

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