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Czech Republic sees surge in new infections

PRAGUE — The Czech Republic and neighboring Slovakia have registered big jumps in new coronavirus infections, setting a new record for the fourth straight day.

The Health Ministry says the day-to-day increase reached 8,618 confirmed cases on Friday, over 3,000 more than the previous record set a day earlier in the nation of over 10 million.

The Czech Republic has had a total of 109,374 cases since the beginning of the pandemic with 905 deaths. Of those, almost 27,000 have tested positive in the first five days of this week while 146 have died this week, according to Saturday’s figures.

The government has responded to the record surge by imposing a series of new restrictive measures. Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Friday he cannot rule out a lockdown of the entire country.

In Slovakia, the health ministry reported 1,887 new cases of infection on Friday, over 700 more than the day before.


Prime Minister Igor Matovic says the government is preparing further restrictive measures that will be announced on Sunday.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Trump says experimental drugs may have saved him from virus

— WHO reports new daily high in global COVID-19 cases

— Trump official says vaccine expected starting in January

— Canada’s most populous province is prohibiting indoor dining in restaurants and bars in Toronto and Ottawa and closing gyms and theaters as Ontario marked a record 939 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday.

— Intensive care wards across France are filling up again with COVID-19 patients. Doctors are scrambling to create new ICU beds elsewhere to accommodate the sick, and asking what went wrong.

— Chancellor Angela Merkel says the federal government will offer the help of soldiers and public health experts to German cities that are seeing a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

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— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

DELHI — India’s confirmed coronavirus cases are nearing 7 million with another 73,272 reported in the past 24 hours.

The Health Ministry on Saturday also reported 926 additional deaths, taking total fatalities to 107,416. The deaths have remained below 1,000 for the seventh straight day.

India is seeing a slower pace of coronavirus spread since mid-September when the daily infections touched a record of 97,894 cases. It’s averaging more than 70,000 cases daily so far this month, while the recovery rate has exceeded 85%.

But health experts have warned that congregations during major festivals later this month and in November have the potential for the virus to spread.

“We have to work aggressively to make sure that during winter months and during the festive season coronavirus cases don’t rise dramatically,” said Dr. Randeep Guleria, a government health expert.

Experts say India’s fragile health system has been bolstered in recent months but could still be overwhelmed by an exponential rise in cases.

Consumer activity is gradually rebounding and millions of factory workers who had fled cities when

Coronavirus live updates: Czech Republic sees record rise in cases for 2nd straight day

An internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Wednesday night shows that the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in the United States and the nationwide usage of intensive care units are both on the rise in week-over-week comparisons.

There were 306,965 new cases confirmed during the period of Sept. 30-Oct. 6, a 4.8% increase from the previous week. There were also 4,860 coronavirus-related fatalities recorded during the period of Sept. 30-Oct. 6, a 4.6% decrease compared with the week prior, according to the memo.

Meanwhile, the national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased from 4.5% to 5.4% in week-to-week comparisons. Currently, 23% of hospitals across the country have more than 80% of beds full in their intensive care units. That figure was 17-18% during the summertime peak, the memo said.

The memo, which is circulated to the highest levels of the federal government and is used to determine daily priorities for the agencies working on COVID-19 response, shows that 32 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of infections, while 8 jurisdictions are at a plateau and 16 others are in a downward trend.

In Florida, 75% of ICU beds statewide are occupied. The number of new COVID-19 deaths doubled in Duval County in week-to-week comparisons, while Sumter County recently reported a single-day positivity rate for COVID-19 tests of over 20%, according to the memo.

Kentucky reported its highest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases on Oct. 3. Nearly half of current cases in northern Kentucky are patients younger than 40, and approximately 40% of them are under 30. The total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has been increasing statewide since the end of September, the memo said.

The seven-day COVID-19 hospitalization rate continues to rise in Minnesota, reaching its highest since June 1 at 9.8 per 100,000 population, according to the memo.

In Ohio, the number of new COVID-19 cases has more than doubled in Muskingum County between the weeks ending Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. Outbreaks have been discovered at four social clubs there, according to the memo.

Wisconsin’s seven-day COVID-19 death rate has increased 139% from Sept. 27 to Oct. 4. The seven-day COVID-19 hospitalization rate also continues to climb, with Wisconsin reporting a peak of 16.4 per 100,000 population on Oct. 4. The state saw a record high of 782 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Oct. 5, more than double the amount a month earlier. As of Oct. 4, 84% of ICU beds statewide were in use. Local health departments in the counties of Fox Valley, Door and Manitowoc report seeing so many new cases that they are unable to conduct tests or

Czech COVID-19 Cases Rising at Fastest Rate in Europe | World News

PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech Republic reported a record 4,457 new coronavirus cases in a single day, Health Ministry data showed on Wednesday, as a spike in infections over the past month is now rising at Europe’s fastest pace.

The daily rise in new COVID-19 cases, recorded on Tuesday, surpassed a previous record of 3,794 to bring the total number of cases recorded since March to 90,022 – a fourfold increase since Aug. 25.

Hospitalisations have soared tenfold in that period to add strain on the healthcare system.

Over the past two weeks, the Czech Republic has reported 326.8 cases per 100,000, surpassing for the first time Spain, which has seen 302.4 cases per 100,000, according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) data collected by Oct. 6.

Graphic: Czech rise in COVID-19 cases fastest in Europe Czech rise in COVID-19 cases fastest in Europe – https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/CZECH/jbyvrmyqzpe/chart.png

The Czech government, like others in Europe, is struggling to contain a rise in infections that is stronger than in March and April.

But the country is looking to avoid the same strict lockdowns that shut shops, restaurants and schools and prompted many factories to go idle, hammering the economy in the second quarter.

Health Minister Roman Prymula said that a tightening of existing measures will be announced on Friday, focusing on past-time activities.

“Let’s assume that just about everything will be tighter for the next 14 days,” he said.

The state has introduced stricter face mask rules and limited bar opening hours and the number of people to a table in restaurants. It has also banned musical performances since Monday for two weeks.

The government wants to avoid putting too much strain on its hospitals and has said enough beds are still available but further increases in infections could require the reorganisation of care and the postponing of non-urgent procedures.

The number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 has climbed to 1,387, of which 326 are in intensive care – more than three times the peak seen when the outbreak first hit.

For interactive graphics, please click on: https://tmsnrt.rs/2SxDhgD

(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Czech health care under pressure; hospitals hit virus record

PRAGUE (AP) — A record surge of new coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic in September has been followed by a record number of virus patients being hospitalized, putting the nation’s health care system under serious pressure for the first time in the pandemic.

After relaxing almost all virus restrictions in the summer, the Czech government has responded to the new spike by declaring a state of emergency on Wednesday. That has been accompanied by strict restrictions ranging from limiting public events to a ban on singing at churches and schools.

The Czech Republic faced a record surge of new COVID-19 cases two weeks ago with more than 3,000 testing positive in one day. On Wednesday, it hit almost 3,000 new cases again.


On Tuesday, 151 COVID-19 patients were admitted at hospitals across the country, bringing the total number of those hospitalized to 976. Of them, 202 needed intensive care. All three categories are records.

“(The outbreak) is not under control at this very moment,” Petr Smejkal, chief epidemiologist at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague, told The Associated Press.

September was by far the worst month for the country of nearly 10.7 million people. The number of all infected went up by more than 46,000 from 24,616 to 70,771, according to government figures released Thursday. A month ago, only 172 virus patients were being treated in hospitals and 35 were in intensive care wards.

“We have quite a robust health care system,” Smejkal said. “But the bottleneck of the system is not the ventilators and the machines. The bottleneck is the staff.”

Hospitals in the country have 6,000 beds assigned for COVID-19 patients and another 1,000 at intensive care wards.

“So, you can estimate that at the end of October, with only 1,000 ICU beds empty, they can easily fill up. (Then) all of the ICU capacity could be filled up and then you won’t have staff and you won’t be able to take care of other things besides COVID,” he said.

Some 1,700 Czech medical personnel have been infected, while others have been quarantined or remain home with their children.

Health care labor unions have urged hospitals to re-employ former staffers and to ask medical students for help. A major hospital in Uherske Hradiste county, the hardest hit area in the country with over 256 people infected per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days, has postponed all non-urgent operations for next week and was planning to send some coronavirus patients to nearby hospitals.

After health authorities acknowledged they could not properly trace the contacts of those infected in Prague, the capital, 250 police officers will be trained to help.

Smejkal said testing also needs to be increased because currently up to 12% of all those tested are positive.

“This should be down to 5%. If not, you’re still missing a lot of people who are positive and who can spread the disease,” he added.

Of the country’s 658 confirmed virus deaths, 217 of them