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Czech president hospitalized again after testing positive for COVID-19

By Jake Thomas
Czech president hospitalized again after testing positive for COVID-19
Czech President Milos Zeman speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 19, 2017. He was re-admitted to the hospital Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Amid surging COVID-19 cases in his country, Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman was re-admitted to a hospital Thursday after testing positive for the virus.

Zeman, who had just ended a long hospital stay for an unrelated health problem, was quickly re-admitted after taking a COVID-19 test at Lány Castle, the presidential residence, a government spokesman said in a statement.

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Under advice from the attending physician, Zeman was returned to Central Military Hospital in Prague. The 77-year-old had just left the facility hours earlier after a month-and-a-half say for liver problems, Czech media reported.

According to the government statement, the "program of the President of the Republic will be suspended" while Zeman is treated for COVID-19. Previously, Zeman, who uses a wheelchair and has diabetes, was hospitalized in September for exhaustion and dehydration.

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Before his most recent hospitalization, Zeman was scheduled on Friday to appoint Petr Fiala, leader of the Civic Democrats, as the country's new prime minister, Radio Prague International reported.

Zeman's health setback comes as outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš declared a 30-day state of emergency beginning at midnight Thursday in response to a record of nearly 26,000 new daily infections. The emergency allows the government to impose restrictions on bars, restaurants, shopping centers and public gatherings to slow the spread of the virus.

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Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland and Guernsey to its list of high-risk countries that citizens are advised to avoid because of surging coronavirus numbers.

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