Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic soared to a new record high, reaching almost 26,000 daily cases, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
The daily tally hit 25,864 on Tuesday, about 3,000 more than the previous record registered on Friday.
The country's infection rate has risen to 1,061 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, almost twice as many as two weeks ago. As infections soar, the government has been considering mandatory vaccination for certain groups of people, including the elderly, medical and military personnel and police officers. Just over 58 per cent of the Czech population has been fully vaccinated.
Another proposal under consideration is shortening the time between a second shot and a booster from six to five months.
The government is expected to announce its plan soon, possibly next week.
The latest surge has hit the country at a time of political transition following a parliamentary election in October. Some of the proposals and measures imposed by the outgoing government of Prime Minister Andrej Babis are opposed by a coalition of five parties that agreed to form a new government.
The new coalition strictly rejects any mandatory vaccination. Vlastimil Valek, the candidate to be the new health minister, said on Wednesday that “it's not a solution, it only further divides the society.” President Milos Zeman was set to appoint the leader of the new coalition, Petr Fiala, the prime minister-designate, on Friday but it's not clear when the president might swear in his government.
Some new restrictions targeting the unvaccinated already took effect Monday. Most unvaccinated people are no longer allowed to show negative coronavirus tests in order to attend public events, go to bars and restaurants, visit hairdressers, museums and similar facilities or use hotels. Only people who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 will remain eligible. The new coalition said it wants to return to allowing negative tests to act as a pass for those venues and activities.
Overall, the nation of 10.7 million has registered over 2 million cases of COVID-19 and 32,408 deaths.