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Czech gov't debates mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, daily cases jump

Czech gov't debates mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, daily cases jump
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By Reuters
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PRAGUE -The Czech government is due to decide on Wednesday whether to retain mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in key professions and people over 60 as the daily tally of new coronavirus cases hit a record high.

Authorities said 28,469 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Tuesday, more than double the 12,371 reported for Tuesday of last week.

Omicron is now the dominant coronavirus variant in the central European country of 10.7 million people and the government expects about 50,000 daily cases by the end of the month.

Fellow central European countries also reported soaring case numbers on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala's centre-right government will consider what further steps to take after shortening quarantine and isolation times as part of new measures, while also launching mandatory testing of employees at companies from this week.

In December, the previous administration ordered COVID-19 vaccinations from March 2022 for hospital and nursing home staff as well as for police officers, soldiers and some other professions and all citizens aged 60 and older.

But new health minister Vlastimil Valek has said he disapproved of the mandate for senior citizens. The government may however uphold the obligation for selected professions, he has said.

As a part of preparation for the Omicron variant, asymptomatic essential healthcare workers and social service personnel who test positive for COVID-19 may be allowed to continue working - a list that businesses have lobbied should be extended to other professions.

Hospitalisations, which peaked at more than 7,000 in early December, dropped to 1,635 on Tuesday from 1,761 reported for Monday.

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