Czech Republic's daily jump in COVID-19 cases exceeds 2,000 for first time

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic on Thursday reported more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day for the first time as it battles a surge in infections that is among the fastest in Europe.

The health ministry recorded 2,139 cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, up from a previous record of 1,675 reported the previous day.

The country of 10.7 million has seen a spike in cases this month that has easily surpassed peaks seen during the first wave of the outbreak in March.

Due to the rise, the government has tightened mask wearing rules and restricted bars' opening hours. On Wednesday, the Health Ministry said it would ban stand-up indoor events from Friday evening, also affecting bars and restaurants where customers cannot exceed seating capacity.

The state is aiming to avoid nationwide shutdowns implemented at the start of the outbreak, which hammered the economy and helped lead to an 11% year-on-year contraction in the second quarter.

Since the start of the outbreak, the central European country has reported 41,032 cases. Of those, 22,931 patients have recovered and 482 have died, a lower death toll than in western European states.

Hospitalisations, though, are approaching peaks seen in April, when 422 people were in hospital. As of Sept. 15, 388 patients were reported in hospital, up from 172 on Sept. 1.

Deaths in that time have also climbed by 13%.

According to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control data, the number of deaths over the last 14 days in the Czech Republic was among the eight highest in the Europe Union when adjusted for population.

(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Peter Graff)

09/17/2020 7:42

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