The Czech Republic has reported a record 4457 new coronavirus cases in a single day, with a spike in infections over the past month now rising at Europe's fastest pace.
The daily rise in new COVID-19 cases recorded on Tuesday surpassed a previous record of 3794 to bring the total number of cases recorded since March to 90,022 - a fourfold increase since August 25.
Hospitalisations have soared tenfold in that period to add strain on the healthcare system.
Over the past two weeks, the Czech Republic has reported 326.8 cases per 100,000, surpassing for the first time Spain, which has seen 302.4 cases per 100,000, according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control data collected by October 6.
The Czech government, like others in Europe, is struggling to contain a rise in infections stronger than in March and April.
But the country is looking to avoid the same strict lockdowns that shut shops, restaurants and schools and prompted many factories to go idle, hammering the economy in the second quarter.
The state has introduced stricter face mask rules and limited bar opening hours and the number of people to a table in restaurants. It has also banned musical performances since Monday for two weeks.
The health minister says tighter curbs will come.
The government wants to avoid putting too much strain on hospitals and has said enough beds are still available but further increases in infections could require the reorganisation of care and the postponing of non-urgent procedures.
The number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 has climbed to 1387, of which 326 are in intensive care - more than three times the peak seen when the outbreak first hit.