UPDATE 1-Czech parliament ends state of emergency for coronavirus; PM fears hospital care 'collapse'

(Adds details on parliamentary vote, coronavirus cases)

PRAGUE, Feb 11 (Reuters) - The Czech government lost a parliamentary vote on Thursday to extend a state of emergency, likely leading to the end of shop closures and curfews from next week and eliminating its main tool against a raging coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers rejected the pleas of Prime Minister Andrej Babis to extend the powers beyond Feb. 14 despite his warnings of a healthcare collapse as infections spread.

Babis’s minority government said it would be unable to extend nationwide limits on movement, including a nighttime curfew and public gathering ban, and the closure of retail stores and services. Pubs and restaurants could stay closed while some other measures could remain under different legislation.

The country of 10.7 million has been in various levels of lockdown almost continuously since October.

In recent days, flare-ups blamed on the UK variant have filled up hospitals in several regions and forced them to transport patients hundreds of kilometres to hospitals with capacity.

Three districts were put into stricter lockdowns on Thursday while German media reported of a likely entry ban on travellers from the Czech Republic.

Czech daily cases were the second highest in Europe in the past two weeks after Portugal, according to European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) data.

The country has reported 17,772 deaths, one of the world’s highest per-capita rates, at 1,647 per million, according to

“For a number of months, hospitals have been on the edge,” Babis said.

“Total easing and the uncontrolled spread of infections, including new mutations of the virus, is a path to further overburdening of hospitals and a collapse of the hospital network.”

The government has said it would reimpose some measures like restaurant and hotel closures under public health legislation but would be unable to provide equipment such as ventilators from state reserves or coordinate patient transfers.

Several regional governments said they would immediately declare lower-level states of danger in their areas.

The opposition has argued the government was acting chaotically and that it refused to accept demands for new pandemic legislation, a review of existing measures, higher compensation for entrepreneurs and people in quarantine, and clearer plans on reopening schools.

The Communist Party, which props up the minority government, withheld support for the state of emergency after its demands to reopen schools and ski lifts were not met.

Reporting by Jan Lopatka and Jason Hovet Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool