Czech Republic goes back into full national coronavirus lockdown a day after Ireland as second wave smashes Europe

THE Czech Republic has been plunged into a national lockdown to save its health service from "COLLAPSE" as a second Covid wave sweeps through Europe.

This comes after the country saw a record-breaking 12,000 new coronavirus cases recorded in a single day.

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The strict two-week national lockdown means citizens can only meet outside in groups of TWO while most shops and services are being forced to close from 6am tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the second wave of the killer respiratory disease has left Spain on the brink of a state of emergency and forced Ireland into a six week national shutdown.

The Czech government insists the country's health system would have "collapsed" if the new measures were not implemented.

Only grocery shops, pharmacies and other stores providing essential goods will be allowed to remain open.

Restaurants and cafes can still operate take-away windows.

People who are not from the same household can only gather in groups of two including walks in the countryside.

Health Minister Roman Prymula says people should only undertake necessary travel such as going to work or buying groceries.

All companies that can implement working from home are being urged to do so.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said: "We need to protect the health of the people first and foremost.

"If we do not take these measures, the health system will collapse."

The Czechs have a total of 202,787 infections since the start of the pandemic along with 1,719 deaths from the disease.

However, the country suffered a relatively mild outbreak from March until August but has seen an extraordinary surge in cases since the start of September with daily cases now in the thousands.

Elsewhere, Ireland is implementing a nationwide shutdown as Covid-19 cases rocket — in a bid to save Christmas.

From midnight all non-essential retail businesses in Ireland will have to close and bars and restaurants which will be only allowed to offer takeaway or delivery.

The six week lockdown will mean people told to stay within three miles from home.

Schools will remain open and elite sport — like horse racing and Gaelic football — will continue.

The building industry will not be stopped by the clampdown and people will be able to meet one other household outdoors.

While weddings will stay at 25 guests and funerals 10 people until the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Spain could declare a Covid state of emergency and national curfew as coronavirus cases top one million.

More than one third of the country – about 15.8 million people – will be placed under new stricter restrictions from this week, with a nation-wide curfew extension under consideration.

Regional authorities brought in the tougher new restrictions as infections, hospital admissions and deaths surged over the past two months.

With the most confirmed cases in Western Europe, Spain is struggling to manage its second wave.

Official figures suggest Spain has surpassed one million confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began.

More than 34,000 people have died with 459 deaths recorded in the past week and one in five intensive care beds is occupied by a Covid-19 patient, according to official figures.

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