PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech government on Thursday approved new coronavirus restrictions that specifically target unvaccinated people amid a record surge of infections.
Health Minister Adam Vojtech said that most unvaccinated people will no longer be allowed to show negative coronavirus test results in order to attend public events, go to bars and restaurants, visit hairdressers, museums and similar or use hotels.
Only people who are vaccinated and those who have recovered from COVID-19 will remain eligible. There are exceptions for teenagers aged 12 to 18, people whose medical condition doesn’t allow vaccination and people who have received one shot of a vaccine.
Vojtech said the goal of the measures that will come into foce on Monday is to motivate people to get vaccinated.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis said his government was inspired by similar measures imposed in the German state of Bavaria.
“The situation is serious and we again urge everyone to get vaccinated,” Babis said.
A negative test will be enough for visitors to hospitals and nursing homes.
Additionally, the government is imposing mandatory testing for non-vaccinated employees of all firms and companies once a week. Those who are over 60 and have been vaccinated will also have to be tested.
At the same time, the testing at elementary and high schools that was supposed to end on Nov 29 will continue.
The announcement came after the Czech daily tally soared to 22,511 new cases on Tuesday, eclipsing the previous record set Jan. 7 by almost 5,000 and nearly 8,000 more than just a week earlier. The country’s infection rate has risen to 819 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, up from 558 a week earlier.
The Czech Republic has a vaccination rate below the average of the European Union’s 27 nations.
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