Czech prime minister says country cannot afford another lockdown
The Czech government is planning to introduce new restrictions in an attempt to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control. Ministers were forced to discuss the new measures by the shocking confirmation on Friday of more than 8,000 cases of Covid-19, beating the old record from earlier in the week by more than 2,000. Prime Minister Andrej Babis claims the goal is to avoid a total lockdown by preventing groups of people from gathering as much as possible, especially indoors. Shoppers are not to enter stores in groups of larger than two, while in restaurants, customers will be encouraged to leave once they are done, rather than spending additional time. A ban on serving alcohol is even under consideration. "We want to find a balance between the protection of sick and old people and the economy," said Babis, adding that the spring lockdown had cost the state CZK 200 billion. "We had to provide help to all businesses and entrepreneurs," he said. "We can't afford those kind of measures now." A final decision governing when restaurants will be able to open and what they will be allowed to serve is expected on Monday.