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Crosses mark a year of Czech COVID deaths on Prague square

Thousands of crosses drawn in chalk appeared on Prague’s Old Town Square on Monday (March 22) to represent the country’s COVID-19 death toll a year after the first patient died of the disease. Million Moments for Democracy, an anti-government protest group, said they drew the crosses to commemorate the people who died in the pandemic and to encourage people to vote against the governing coalition in elections later this year. Prague resident Jakub Pavelec said the protest made the number of people who had died of coronavirus easier to imagine. “If they stood on the crosses next to each other, then it is a huge crowd of people,” Pavelec said. The Czech Republic suffered one of Europe’s worst COVID-19 epidemics with peaks in October and again in January and February, with daily deaths around 200 in recent weeks. A number of hospitals had also run out of beds and personnel. Earlier in March, the Czech government asked Germany, Poland and Switzerland to take in dozens of COVID patients as its hospitals reached capacity and tightened restrictions further, banning people from leaving their home districts except for essential purposes. The country of 10.7 million has seen 1,467,333 infections and 24,810 coronavirus-related deaths so far.

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