Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Thousands of people protest against coronavirus restrictions in the Czech capital

PRAGUE (AP) – On Sunday, thousands of people gathered in the Czech capital, Prague, to protest government restrictive measures to combat a record surge in coronavirus infections.

The protesters included members and supporters of a number of marginal political parties and groups that failed to win a single parliamentary seat in the October elections. This is their third protest in the past two weeks. Participants did not wear face masks, did not follow social distancing rules, and did not drink beer, despite the ban on drinking alcohol in public.

In Prague’s Letna Park, protesters chanted “Freedom!” and “Enough is enough for us!” when displaying banners that do not encourage vaccination, for example, with the words “My body is my choice.”

The police did not intervene.

The country is setting repeated records for the number of new daily infections, hitting an all-time high of nearly 28,000 on Thursday. The infection rate was 1,191 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days. Overall, the country with a population of 10.7 million has recorded more than 2.1 million cases, of which 32,837 deaths are related to COVID. Here, the vaccination rate is lower than in many other EU countries.

The Czech government declared a 30-day state of emergency and imposed additional restrictions on the coronavirus on Friday in an attempt to contain the surge. Among them, all Christmas markets across the country have been banned, and bars, restaurants, nightclubs, discos and casinos are due to close at 22:00.

The number of people at cultural and sporting events in the Czech Republic is currently limited to 1000 people who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19, while all other social events can only be attended by up to 100 visitors, up from 1000.

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Follow all AP pandemic stories at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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