On this day one year ago, the Czech Ministry of Health decided to close elementary, secondary, tertiary schools and universities due to the worsening epidemiological situation in the country.
Theatrical, musical, cinema performances and other artistic, sports, and religious events, markets, trade fairs, and other public and private events with an expected participation of more than 100 people were prohibited as well.
Life instantly and inexorably changed.
Yet March 11 was far from the only date of the note, and the first major move in the battle with the novel coronavirus took place exactly one year ago today, even if no one realized it at the time.
As of the 10th of March, 2020, the Czech Republic had 40 cases of coronavirus.
Below is what Prime Minister Andrej Babis said during the press conference on that day:
“We believe that these measures are necessary because, in Europe, several countries do not have the coronavirus under control. The main reason why we decided to do this is the recommendation of regional hygienists and Deputy Minister of Health Prymula,” the Prime Minister added, calling on the public to understand the need for this measure, given the seriousness of the situation.
“We understand that this will be very unpleasant for people, but in all events, we want to prevent what happened in Italy, where the whole country is now under quarantine. This is certainly a very unpleasant situation for the whole of Europe. This is the reason for this measure, which we think is very important, and hopefully, everyone will understand and support it. It really is very necessary,” said the Prime Minister.
One year later, the Czech Republic has one of the highest cumulative per capita death rates in the world.
The official death toll has reached 22,385, 1.351 million infections have been recorded, current hospitalizations stand at 8,618, and 1,853 are in serious condition.