Czech Republic sees further decline in COVID cases, still among highest in Europe

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Prague

PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech Republic reported on Sunday a further decline in the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths from daily highs seen in early November, but the country remains among the hardest hit in Europe during this second wave of the pandemic.

Health ministry data showed 4,199 new cases were reported on Saturday, down by more than 3,500 from the same day a week earlier, amid tough lockdown measures, with 132 new fatalities, which includes revisions to previous days.

The total number of cases in the country of 10.7 million since the start of the pandemic now stands at 458,229. The death toll stands at 6,058, a tenfold increase since late September.

The Czech Republic, like many other countries in central and eastern Europe, weathered the first wave of the pandemic in the spring relatively well but it has suffered badly in this second wave. Despite the current dip in cases, it still has the highest per capita number of deaths in Europe at 26.7 per 100,000.

Czech authorities have shut schools, non-essential shops, theatres, cinemas and gyms, while restaurants have been limited to takeaway service only. Gatherings are limited and there is a nighttime curfew.

Latest data also showed a dip in the number of COVID patients in hospitals to 7,200 as the surge in cases slows. But authorities say patient numbers could remain relatively high for now due to a delay between people testing positive and a worsening of their symptoms.

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