The Czech government has imposed a night-time curfew between 9 pm and 5 am in an effort to help control a dramatic spike in Covid-19 infections.
The announcement was made by Health Minister Roman Prymula after a cabinet meeting late Monday. He said the restrictions put in place so far have not been enough to blunt the wave of cases.
The curfew takes effect on Wednesday and puts strict limits on the reasons for which people are allowed to leave their homes.
The Czech Republic officially declared a state of emergency on October 5. The government has already shut restaurants and schools, and face masks are mostly mandatory, indoors and outside.
Most shops, except supermarkets and pharmacies, have been closed. The new curfew further curbs personal movement and night-time activities.
The Czech Republic has recently been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with 1,284.4 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants recorded in the last two weeks – the highest incidence among EU members, according to EU health authorities.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 263,572 coronavirus infections and 2,337 deaths have been registered.
Traditional Christmas markets in Prague have been cancelled this year due to the pandemic, the operator Taiko announced earlier on Monday.
Only a large Christmas tree – a 19-metre spruce – is to be set up in the old town to spread seasonal cheer, albeit with modest decorations, according to a statement.
The decision, made together with the Czech capital’s local administration, comes one month before the markets were due to open.
Normally, around 700,000 people come and stay in the city to visit the famous markets every December.