The Czech Republic will ban travel to several African and South American countries where there is a high risk from new South African or Brazilian coronavirus variants, the government said on Wednesday.
The government is seeking to slow a fast-rising COVID-19 infection rate that has put stress on the central European country’s hospitals. Lawmakers have debated tighter measures to combat the spread.
The health ministry said the travel ban would be in effect from Feb. 26 to April 11, with some exceptions. It includes Botswana, Brazil, Swaziland, South Africa, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, including the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The ministry has reported some new COVID-19 infections suspected to be from the South African variant but has not confirmed those cases.
The health ministry recorded 13,657 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, up from 10,932 cases a week earlier. The official death toll from COVID-19 has reached 19,835, a rise of 153 from a day earlier which also includes revisions to previous days, according to ministry data.
In total, 1.198 million infections have been recorded since March 2020. Current hospitalizations stand at 6,967, more than double the government’s target level, and 1,432 were in serious condition.
The ministry reported 600,429 vaccine shots have been administered.