May 19, 2020 / 9:27 AM / 10 days ago

Czech coronavirus cases show biggest rise in 4 weeks, death toll passes 300

FILE PHOTO: People drink beer at an outdoor seating section of a pub, as the Czech government lifted more restrictions allowing restaurants with outdoor areas to re-open amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Prague, Czech Republic, May 11, 2020. REUTERS/David W Cerny/File Photo

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic reported on Tuesday its biggest daily rise in new coronavirus cases in four weeks, at a time when it is relaxing most of its restrictions on business and movement.

The health ministry, reporting data for Monday, said there had been 111 new cases, taking the overall total to 8,604 cases as of Tuesday afternoon.

It also reported three new deaths, putting the toll from the virus in the central European country at 301.

Monday’s rise in new cases was partly due to an outbreak reported by state-owned coal miner OKD at its Darkov mine near the eastern town of Karvina, close to the Polish border, health authorities reported.

The Moravia-Silesia regional hygienic authority said 82 employees had tested positive for the coronavirus by Monday. It was not clear whether all these cases were logged among the nationwide figure for Monday.

“At the moment the problem is only the Karvina region, it is not a reason for concern for the whole country,” epidemiologist Rastislav Madar, head of a coronavirus group at the Health Ministry, told Czech Radio.

The government closed schools, shops and borders soon after the outbreak started in March. But it is eager to reopen the economy and has relaxed many of the restrictions, including on shops, cinemas, theatres and outdoor pubs and dining places.

Some restrictions on cross-border travel have also been opened and the government plans, from next Monday, to allow indoor dining at restaurants, let hotels open, relax rules for wearing face masks and allow younger children to return to school.

** For an interactive graphic on new coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic: tmsnrt.rs/2S2oJ8A?eikon=true

Reporting by Jason Hovet and Jan Lopatka; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Timothy Heritage

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