PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech Republic reported a record daily tally of new coronavirus cases on Thursday following several days of slowdowns in infections.
Czech laboratories identified 15,729 new coronavirus cases for Wednesday, Health Ministry data showed.
The country of 10.7 million had seen fewer cases on a weekly comparison on a string of days over the past week although it still faces one of Europe’s highest infection rates.
Czech hospitals have felt the strain of the huge spike in cases, which dwarf the rate of infection in the spring.
Hospitalisations have risen by a third to 8,278 over the past week and the patients’ average age grew, as hospitals scramble for personnel with a growing number of infections among doctors and nurses.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Wednesday the spike in cases looked to be easing.
“On Friday, we will get crucial information… The health minister should be informing about the latest predictions,” Babis said.
His government strictly tightened restrictions in October, including shutting restaurants and most shops, along with public places like pools, fitness centres, cinemas and theatres.
Schools have moved to distance learning and the public faces a 9 p.m. curfew.
Total cases have risen to 378,716. The Health Ministry also reported 220 new deaths on Thursday, including 123 on Wednesday and revisions to previous days, to bring the total to 4,133.
(Reporting by Jason Hovet and Robert Muller; Editing by Kim Coghill and Nick Macfie)