COVID-19 Daily Cases Lowest Since September as Pupils Return to Classroom

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The Czech Republic reported its lowest daily tally of new COVID-19 cases since September on Monday, the same day a six-month state of emergency expired and many pupils return to the classroom.

The central European country was badly hit by the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Czech government managed to slow the spread of infections by imposing its toughest lockdown yet.

Students in grades 1-5 were set to return to school on Monday and restrictions on movement eased with people allowed once more to travel outside their home districts.

The government has kept non-essential shops, restaurants and sport and entertainment centres shut almost continuously since October, except for a brief re-opening in December that was quickly reversed amid another surge in COVID-19 cases.

Czech students have faced the longest school closures in the European Union.

The state is looking to take a slower approach to relaxing measures this time, hoping to avoid a need to return to lockdowns that could punish the economy, which remains buoyed by factories still running under mandatory worker testing.

The health ministry recorded 976 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, the first daily tally below 1,000 since September.

The official death toll has risen to 27,918, rising by 184 over the weekend, which also includes revisions to previous days, according to ministry data.

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