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Czech Republic reports 7,357 new coronavirus cases, deaths rise by 171

FILE PHOTO: Medical staff members transport a patient infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after transfer from Zlin region to Prague, Czech Republic, November 6, 2020. REUTERS/David W Cerny/File Photo

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic reported 7,357 new coronavirus cases for Nov. 13 as daily infections continued to hold below recent peaks after weeks of tightened measures to combat the spread, Health Ministry data showed on Saturday.

The country of 10.7 million has faced one of Europe’s highest infection rates of COVID-19. Hospitals have been under heavy strain.

The ministry on Saturday reported 171 new deaths, including 104 on Friday and revisions to previous days, to bring the total to 5,926 - a 25% increase in the last week and a tenfold rise since Sept. 25.

In total, 454,030 people have been infected since the pandemic started, including a three-fold increase just in the past month. Friday’s daily total marked the first seven-day period since the first half of October that the country went a week with daily infections below 10,000.

By Thursday, hospitalisations had dropped for a third straight day but remained above 7,000, data showed.

Health officials have said patient numbers will stay high for some time even as the daily case rise ebbs, due to a delay between positive tests and a worsening of symptoms.

The country has started looking at easing some restrictions put in place since October. Next week, first- and second-graders should return to classrooms although other students will stay on distance learning and restaurant dining rooms, non-essential shops, entertainment venues and fitness centres remain closed.

Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Mark Potter