Czechs lit candles at Prague Castle as the hard-hit nation pays its respects to the nation’s nearly 30,000 dead
Prague – Czechs lit around 30,000 candles at Prague Castle, the seat of Prague, to pay their respects to victims of the epidemic on Monday evening.
The hard-hit European Union nation of 10.7 million people has recorded at least 29,711 virus-related deaths.
After a minute of silence, President Milos Zeman first lit a candle. In his brief speech, he thanked medical personnel and anyone who fought the epidemic.
Zaman said that some of those people died because “we succumbed to the temptation to reduce the premature (restrictive measures).”
The latest infection had fallen to levels last seen in August after new infections, at which time the government failed to respond rapidly to a growing number of infections, which subsequently contributed to a record number of deaths.
People in Prague’s capital built lines on Monday before all stores opened and shopping malls returned to business.
“It’s a relief that they are open,” said shopkeeper Dan Cooper. “I think I have a long list of things I need to buy now.”
In a visual change, the Czechs were allowed to remove face masks in all outdoor locations if they were left at least two meters (6 ft) with others.
Reopening on Monday were car dealerships, tanning salons, shooting ranges, travel agencies, shoe repairers, tattoo parlors and many other services.
Children returned to all primary schools in the most difficult areas, even in the harshest conditions. Everybody has to wear a face mask and get tested twice a week. They are also returning on a rotating basis, with attendance one week at school and distance learning the next.
Schools in seven of the 14 regions of the country, including Prague, will be able to drop the rotating principle on May 17, the government announced on Monday.
The daily number of new infections fell from around 17,000 in early March to 381 on Sunday as a waiver of restrictions, while the number of infected fell to 100,000 people per 100,000 in the last seven days.
But in some counties, the number of cases still exceeds 180 per 100,000 people, prompting experts to warn against lifting the ban there.
“If the situation remains unfavorable in some counties and regions, there should be no resting there like in other parts of the country” Czech public radio.
At one time, the Czech Republic topped the global per-capita mortality rate due to early waiver of per-virus death restrictions.
Also, on Monday, the government approved a plan to allow 700 spectators to attend outdoor ceremonies and events starting next week, and will open bars and restaurants for outdoor dining. People will be allowed to attend events and visit the bars and restaurants at which they have been vaccinated, presented a negative coronovirus test or recovered from COVID-19.
High schools and universities in the Czech Republic are still closed.
Adam Pembe contributed to this report.
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