Corona wave in the Czech Republic (neue-deutschland.de)

The opposition fears that the Czech Republic is threatened with a new lockdown. Because on Saturday, the health authorities recorded a record increase in new corona infections – 1541 cases were reported. The number is also worrying because there is less testing on weekends than on weekdays.

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said he did not expect these numbers. According to the current Corona traffic light, five circles around the capital have been set to the second highest warning level orange. In the wider area, the traffic light lights up green. However, this is not a reason to calm down, but the attention level: Warning, Covid-19-endangered region! Only a few districts in the north and east of the republic are not covered by any warning level.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Czech government reacted quickly and adopted drastic hygiene measures. The number of infections was at a relatively low level compared to neighboring countries. Since March, 38,900 people have contracted Covid-19, only 476 succumbed to the disease. 14,600 are currently infected, 297 patients have to be treated in hospitals, 69 of them are in critical condition. It was mainly holiday returnees who brought the virus back into the country.

The government must now accept the allegation that the easing measures, which came into force on August 19, were adopted too early. There is fear everywhere that drastic measures will have to be taken again and a second lockdown is imminent. It is said that this would catapult the economy into a desolate state.

It is noticeable that the Prague government disagrees on how to deal with the new situation. While Minister Vojtěch and his party and government leader Andrej Babiš are taking a wait-and-see position and do not want to worry the (electoral) people, politicians from both the opposition and the coalition social-democratic ČSSD declare that we have to act quickly and clearly. Culture Minister Lubomir Zaoralek and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček would like to convene a crisis team again, which can order binding measures to control the pandemic. Hamáček would head such a staff and could thus have a strong influence on current politics. An important factor in view of the district elections starting at the end of the month. The Social Democrats, who lost seven districts in 2016, six of them to the right-wing populist ANO, which ruled Prague, want to regain their former strength in the republic.

The opposition accuses the government of inaction and ineptitude. “She quarantined us all in March, it cost a lot of money. But then they let the reins slip, the prime minister is responsible, «says Miroslav Kalousek, head of the conservative TOP09. He had the impression that the government was not adequately prepared for what was to come. “There are too few staff and too few test capacities,” said the former Minister of Economic Affairs.

But the Babiš administration remains passive. Health Minister Vojtěch last convened the Central Epidemic Commission on May 15 and then sent it into the summer break, although he now called it a “key platform” in view of the newly increasing numbers. The head of government himself is trying to downplay the situation, it just needs discipline and less fear-mongering, he announced, after all, no one has died of Corona in the past two days.

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