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Czechs to Tighten Coronavirus Measures as Infections Soar: PM | World News

PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech government will tighten coronavirus measures from Wednesday to curb soaring infections and hospitalisations but will seek to avoid the kind of blanket lockdown imposed in the spring, government officials said on Sunday.

The nation of 10.7 million has recorded Europe’s fastest rate of growth in new cases per capita in recent weeks after authorities eased most restrictions during the summer following a tough lockdown at the start of the pandemic.

“We have to decide on further measures, that will happen on Monday at the government session, and the measures will be effective from Wednesday,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis said in a video message on YouTube.

He did not give any details on the measures.

Finance Minister Alena Schillerova said earlier on Sunday that the government sought to avoid the complete lockdown the country experienced in spring.

“We don’t want to switch off the economy. We want to have it (the measures) more targetted… We will limit contacts and gatherings of people,” she said.

So far in October, the Czech Republic has reported more than 43,000 cases, the same number as for the whole of September. The number of hospitalised patients jumped by 76% to 2,085 in the past week, raising concerns that hospitals may soon be overwhelmed.

Some hospitals have started postponing planned procedures to make space for COVID-19 patients, while the Czech Medical Chamber warned last Sunday that the number of infected doctors, nurses and other medical staff was rising rapidly.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Michael Kahn, Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Quarantined Czechs can vote in drive-in stations

PRAGUE — Czechs are casting ballot from their cars for the first time, a measure forced by the coronavirus pandemic.



An election committee member, wearing a protective suit, holds a ballot box for a man to vote in regional and senate elections at a drive-in polling station in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. Czechs are casting ballots from their cars for the first time, a measure forced by the coronavirus pandemic. A total of 156 drive-in temporary ballot stations have been established by the armed forces across the country for those quarantined due to COVID-19. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)


© Provided by Associated Press
An election committee member, wearing a protective suit, holds a ballot box for a man to vote in regional and senate elections at a drive-in polling station in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. Czechs are casting ballots from their cars for the first time, a measure forced by the coronavirus pandemic. A total of 156 drive-in temporary ballot stations have been established by the armed forces across the country for those quarantined due to COVID-19. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

A total of 156 drive-in temporary ballot stations have been established by the armed forces across the country for those quarantined due to coronavirus infections.



Israeli protesters wave flags and chant slogans during a demonstration against parliament's plans to ban them from protesting during the current nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. The protesters accuse Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of exploiting the coronavirus crisis in order to stop weeks of demonstrations against him. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)


© Provided by Associated Press
Israeli protesters wave flags and chant slogans during a demonstration against parliament’s plans to ban them from protesting during the current nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. The protesters accuse Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of exploiting the coronavirus crisis in order to stop weeks of demonstrations against him. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Those who cannot use a car can ask for a visit of a special electoral committee with a ballot box in their homes.



A teacher leads her students into an elementary school in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, as hundreds of thousands of elementary school students are heading back to classrooms in the city, resuming in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus is infecting a rising number of American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears driven by school reopenings and the resumption of sports, playdates and other activities. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)


© Provided by Associated Press
A teacher leads her students into an elementary school in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, as hundreds of thousands of elementary school students are heading back to classrooms in the city, resuming in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus is infecting a rising number of American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears driven by school reopenings and the resumption of sports, playdates and other activities. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Previously, those quarantined were not allowed to vote because of health concerns. But as their numbers rose, new legislation was passed to make sure their voting rights were respected.

The Czechs are voting in regional elections and the first round of elections for one third of the upper house of Parliament, the Senate, on Friday and Saturday. The second round of the Senate elections is scheduled for Oct 9-10.

The Czech Republic has had 67,843 confirmed cases with 636 deaths.

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Passengers wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus line up to board planes ahead of the upcoming Chuseok holiday, the Korean version of Thanksgiving Day, at the domestic flight terminal of Gimpo airport in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)


© Provided by Associated Press
Passengers wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus line up to board planes ahead of the upcoming Chuseok holiday, the Korean version of Thanksgiving Day,