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World News

Czech Republic's COVID-related deaths double to more than 2,000 in two weeks

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a face mask stands next to an empty beer garden of a closed restaurant, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Prague, Czech Republic, October 20, 2020. REUTERS/David W Cerny/File Photo

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The number of people who have died while infected with the coronavirus in the Czech Republic has doubled to 2,047 in two weeks, Health Ministry data showed on Saturday.

It took the country of 10.7 million seven months to reach 1,000 deaths after the first reported case.

The number of patients in serious state grew to 772 as of Friday, up from 438 two weeks ago. Hospitals were treating 5,314 people with coronavirus in total.

Czech officials have acknowledged that the country needs help.

Prague received the first shipment of ventilators organised by the European Commission on Saturday, when 30 machines arrived. Another 120 ventilators were on the way, the European Union’s executive said.

The government has also agreed a plan to bring a team of 28 U.S. National Guard medical staff to help in Czech hospitals. It was in talks with Germany to possibly provide 100 medical staff to help Czech colleagues weakened by the heavy workload and infections in their midst.

The fight against the resurgence of the epidemic suffered a setback on Friday when Prime Minister Andrej Babis moved to sack his health minister for violating government’s lockdown. The president has yet to decide on the minister’s fate.

The incident may further dent an already lukewarm attitude many Czechs have towards the anti-epidemic restrictions, especially wearing of face masks and social distancing.

Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Alison Williams

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