PRAGUE (AP) — Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have jumped significantly and are at levels close to record numbers seen during previous waves, authorities said Wednesday.
The Health Ministry said the daily tally of new cases reached 14,539 on Tuesday, about 4,500 more than a week ago and the highest number since March 12.
The record daily high of 17,776 was registered on Jan 7.
The country's infection rate rose to 558 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, more than double the figure recorded in neighboring Germany.
“The situation’s not good,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Wednesday. “We again appeal to everyone to get vaccinated.”
Almost 6.2 million people in the nation of 10.7 million have been fully vaccinated. That's below an average among the European Union nations.
The steep rise in new cases has been followed by a rise in patients needing hospitalization. A total of 3,295 patients with COVID-19 were treated in hospitals on Tuesday. That's almost double the figure since the beginning of November.
The Czech Republic has been one of the hardest hit of the European Union’s 27 countries in the pandemic. The country has seen almost 1.84 million confirmed coronavirus infections and 31,229 deaths, 368 of them recorded in November.
Authorities said all medical personnel in hospitals, nursing and pensioner homes will have to get tested on a weekly basis if they’re not vaccinated. All foreigners living legally in the country will be offered vaccination free of charge, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said.
Babis said more measures will be approved by his Cabinet on Friday, but didn't give details. However, he ruled out a strict lockdown.
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