PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic reported its biggest single-day increase in new coronavirus infections for a third straight day on Sunday, recording 1,541 cases as the country battles a surge in the virus in recent weeks.
It was the fifth day in a row with new infections above 1,000 for the country of 10.7 million after cases began to accelerate in August.
Adjusted for population, the country has reported 94 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days, according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control data. Only Spain and France have seen a bigger spike in that time.
Czech spike in COVID-19 cases among fastest in Europe https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/CZECH/xklvynyjnpg/chart.png
The Czech Republic came through an initial outbreak of the coronavirus that began in March relatively well compared to western European neighbours and has kept the death toll lower than most peers.
As of Saturday, 453 patients had died out of a total 35,401 cases, with 60% of patients having recovered.
The country was one of the first in Europe to mandate wearing masks, shut schools and retail businesses, and restricted travel to contain the spread of the virus.
But it was also quick to ease measures going into the summer months and aims to avoid repeating the harsh lockdowns that helped lead to a record 11% year-on-year contraction in the economy in the second quarter. Last week, it tightened rules for face mask use across the country to fight the rise in cases.
Interactive Graphic: New coronavirus in the Czech Republic https://tmsnrt.rs/3dIscS3
New coronavirus in the Czech Republic https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/qmyvmgkqovr/eikon.png
The Czech Republic did not report its 10,000th case until mid-June and its 20,000th case until mid-August before quickly surpassing 30,000 cases this past week.
The uptick in recent infections led neighbouring Germany to announce on Wednesday that it would require travellers from the Czech capital Prague to provide a negative COVID-19 test or observe a two-week quarantine period upon entry.
Amid the spike, the Czech government has said hospitalisations remain below peaks of over 400 seen in the first few months of the outbreak, although figures are growing quickly, with 297 patients hospitalised as of Friday, up from 172 at the start of September.
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Susan Fenton)