Covid in Europe: Czech government declares state of emergency and Germany’s deaths pass 100,000

·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The government in the Czech Republic have declared a state of emergency for 30 days due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

New rules have been introduced, including restaurants, bars and clubs closing early, limits on attendance to culture and sports events at 1,000 and vaccines required to attend public events.

The state of emergency comes into effect on Friday, said Health Minister Adam Vojtech.

Under the strict measures, all Christmas markets across the country are banned while it’s also banned to drink alcohol in public places.

Bars, restaurants, night clubs, discotheques and casinos will be forced to shut at 10pm, and the number of people at culture and sports events will be limited to 1,000 who are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.

All other public gatherings can be attended by up to 100 visitors, down from 1,000.

“We’re targeting the places that pose the biggest risks,” Vojtech said.

The government’s decision came after the country hit a new record of almost 26,000 cases on Tuesday while the country’s infection rate has risen to 1,097 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, also a record high.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said that it was considering mandatory vaccination for certain groups of people, including the elderly, medical and military personnel and police officers, but has yet to make a formal decision.

“I think it’s inevitable,” Babis said.

Just over 58 per cent of the Czech population has been fully vaccinated.

Elsewhere on the continent, in Germany the number of Covid deaths surpassed 100,000 on Thursday, figures from the Robert Koch Institute showed.

Outgoing German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said it was “a very sad day” for the country.

She has backed calls for more restrictions, after there were 351 deaths in connection with coronavirus over the past 24 hours, taking the total toll to 100,119.

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was “a very sad day” for Germany (Getty Images)
Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was “a very sad day” for Germany (Getty Images)

Germany has become the fifth European country to pass the mark, after Russia, the UK, Italy and France.

“It is of course a very sad day that we have to mourn 100,000 victims of the coronavirus,” Ms Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin.

“And unfortunately, at the moment, more than 300 death s are being added to that each day.”

The spike in Germany comes as Europe battles a fourth wave and re-emerges as the pandemic’s epicentre.

Last week, more than 2.5 million cases and nearly 30,000 Covid-related deaths were recorded in Europe, making it by far the region currently worst hit by the virus, according to a tally by AFP news agency.

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