“The epidemic is accelerating. We expect that most regions in the Czech Republic will be classified as orange, the second level of risk in the so-called “semafor” light system. It means the beginning of community spread,” said Ladislav Dušek, director of the Institute of Health Information and statistics.
- From midnight on Friday to Saturday, new restrictions will apply to clubs, discos, and bars across the whole country, which will now not be permitted to open between midnight and 6 am.
- As on Friday 18 September from 6 pm, indoor events where more than ten people have to stand will be banned. It will not be possible to sell tickets other than for a specific seat. Exceptions have been made for exhibitions, markets, fairs, and similar events. The maximum allowed capacity of indoor events remains at 500 people.
- It will be mandatory to wear facemasks in all school premises, including during lessons in the classroom, from this Friday. Only the first grades of primary schools will be exempt.
Health Minister Adam Vojtech also cautioned against larger events but did not ban them, adding no blanket lockdown measures were being planned at the moment.
The state is aiming to avoid nationwide shutdowns implemented at the start of the outbreak, which hammered the economy and helped lead to an 11% year-on-year contraction in the second quarter.
The health ministry recorded 2,139 cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, up from a previous record 1,675 reported for the previous day.
Hospitalisations, though, are approaching peaks seen in April, when 422 people were in hospital. As of Sept. 15, 388 patients were reported in hospital, up from 172 on Sept. 1.
According to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control data, the number of deaths over the last 14 days in the Czech Republic was among the eight highest in the Europe Union when adjusted for population.