The Czech government announced further restrictions Thursday to contain the pandemic in the hardest hit-country in struggling Central and Eastern Europe, where a record surge of infections was also recorded in most other countries.
Calling his country's record spike alarming, Health Minister Roman Prymula said the Czech health care system has been facing a steep increase of people needing intensive care, while more COVID-19 patients have been dying.
We have to limit those increases, Prymula said.
The Czech Republic currently has more people testing positive daily than any other country in Central and Eastern Europe, even neighboring Germany whose population is eight times bigger.
Starting Monday, all theaters, cinemas and zoos will be closed for at least two weeks.
We have to limit the numbers of people who meet each other outside their families, Prymula said.
At the same time, all indoor sports activities will be banned. Outdoors, only up to 20 people will be allowed to participate in competitions, a measure that will badly hit professional sports such as soccer.
Prymula said planned outdoor international games will be allowed to go ahead without fans.
Fitness centers and indoor public swimming pools will be closed for at least two weeks, starting on Friday. Restaurants and bars will have to close at 8 p.m. and a maximum four people will be allowed per table.
All universities and most high schools will offer only remote teaching.
The new confirmed day-to-day increase reached a new record high of 5,335 on Wednesday, almost 900 more than Tuesday's previous record.
Officials said they expect up to 8,000 could be testing positive daily later in October, for which month the overall number of new cases could reach 130,000.
So far 95,360 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, and there have been 863 deaths after a record 41 died on Wednesday.
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