The Czech Republic returned to a state of national health emergency on Thursday amid spiralling coronavirus case counts, according to a report by the CTK news agency citing Prime Minister Andrej Babis.
Enacting a state of emergency gives the government to suspend certain rights, like the freedom to gather in groups. It also allows the government to require medical students to work in hospitals.
The measures are to go into effect on Friday and last for 30 days, following the Cabinet's action.
The eastern part of the country is suffering heavily amid the latest wave of the virus. On Thursday, 19 coronavirus patients had to be airlifted by helicopter from the city of Brno to Prague.
The country's seven-day incidence rate of the virus per 100,000 residents is now at 1,097. About 6.3 million of the country's population of 10.7 million is fully vaccinated. Many hotels and restaurants are now only allowed to cater to those who are either vaccinated or recovered from the virus.
The opposition, which won an election in October and is due to take over the government in a few weeks, complained that it was not involved in the decision.
"No one discussed declaring a state of emergency with us," criticized health expert Tom Philipp. The country was last in a health state of emergency between October 2020 and April 2021.