The end of next week will be crucial for the entire Czech Republic.
According to the Minister of the Interior and the Head of the Central Crisis Staff, Jan Hamáček (ČSSD), “the government will wait for five, six days and then declare or not a nationwide lockdown”, reports CNN Prima.
“The key moment will be the end of next week,” he added.
Asked if the government would proceed to total lockdown, he replied: “It’s a very difficult question. If it turns out that the current measures don’t work, then the alternative can be only a lockdown.”
“The numbers are alarming. Local hospitals restrict routine care and surgical plans. We know that the lockdown of the economy is extreme. I would give the government some more time. But I’m not completely optimistic when I see the numbers,” said Mayors and Independents (STAN) leader Vít Rakušan.
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Hamáček admits that the government has made several mistakes. “Especially this summer. I don’t hide it in any way. If the obligation to wear face masks were introduced on August 17, the situation would be much better now. I blame the former Ministry of Health, Adam Vojtěch. But the whole government is responsible.”
The Czech Republic, facing Europe’s biggest surge in new coronavirus infections per capita, reported 8,700 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, Health Ministry data showed.
Read: Czech Republic to Build Field Hospitals as COVID-19 Cases Soar
Health officials have warned that the coming weeks will be difficult but said on Friday the system was not facing collapse. They estimate up to 5,000 patients will be in hospital by the end of the month, with a fifth of in intensive care.
It has also agreed with larger neighbour Germany – which has seen 10 times fewer cases per capita over the past two weeks than the Czech Republic – to possibly send some Czech patients to its hospitals.