PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech government will on Wednesday debate whether to tighten measures to curb COVID-19 infections by closing non-essential retail shops or further restricting travel and gatherings from Dec. 25, Health Minister Jan Blatny said on Monday.
The country has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in December and has already toughened up many restrictions that were loosened at the start of the month.
Restaurants are again closed, although shops remain open under reduced capacity for Christmas shopping.
Blatny said the government would debate on Wednesday tightening up restrictions and moving the country back into the highest level on its risk index. Any further restrictions would take effect from Friday, he said.
The country’s seven-day average of daily cases has reached over 6,600, the highest since Nov. 14.
Hospitalisations, which usually lag infections, have stayed steady and Blatny said hospital operations remained stable.
The country of 10.7 million had one of the sharpest spikes in COVID-19 infections at the end of October when weekly case levels were about twice as high as now.
The death toll from the virus has climbed 15-fold to 10,411 since the start of October.
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Mark Potter)