Czech government plans to end COVID passes, easing measures for unvaccinated

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Medial personnel attend a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Liberec Hospital, in Liberec, Czech Republic, December 8, 2021. REUTERS/Jiri Skacel

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PRAGUE, Feb 3 (Reuters) - The Czech Republic will stop requiring COVID passes for entry to restaurants and other service or entertainment venues starting next week, opening them up to unvaccinated people, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said.

The country of 10.7 million, which was hit hard by previous waves of the COVID pandemic, is seeing a record spike in coronavirus cases as the Omicron variant spreads. However, officials expect an easing of infections this month.

The Health Ministry reported a record daily tally of 57,226 COVID infections on Tuesday, plus nearly 10,000 suspected re-infections. On Wednesday, a further 43,307 cases were reported and more than 7,000 re-infections on top of that.

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But hospitalisations have not yet jumped and are well below peaks in previous waves of the pandemic. The government has sought to end some measures.

From Feb. 9, the need to show proof of vaccination or being recently recovered from COVID-19 to enter restaurants and other hospitality or service venues will end, Fiala said in a statement late Wednesday evening.

The government will also finish mandatory testing in firms and schools from Feb. 18.

Measures requiring mask wearing indoors and limits to the number of people at public events will remain.

The moves follow easing planned in other European countries. Neighbouring Austria will allow shops and restaurants to remain open longer and also ease restrictions on the unvaccinated from next week. read more

On Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Italy would soon announce a timetable to roll back its COVID-19 curbs. read more

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Reporting by Jason Hovet Editing by Raissa Kasolowky

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