Thousands attend ‘farewell’ pandemic party in Prague

Thousands attend ‘farewell’ pandemic party in Prague

Prague residents dine on a 500-meter-long table set on the Charles Bridge after restrictions were eased following the coronavirus pandemic on June 30, 2020, in Prague, Czech Republic.

Gabriel Kuchta | Getty Images

Thousands of people gathered in the capital city of the Czech Republic to give the coronavirus a “symbolic farewell,” with a gigantic dinner table set up along a 14th-century bridge to mark the occasion.

Guests on Tuesday were encouraged to sit at a 500-meter-long table on Charles Bridge, a historic landmark in the center of Prague that crosses the Vltava River, and celebrate together without any social-distancing measures.

Musicians performed in the open streets as neighbors shared food and drinks brought from home.

The street party was only made possible because of the lack of tourists in the city, the event’s organizer reportedly said.

To date, the EU state of roughly 10 million people has recorded fewer than 12,000 coronavirus infections, with 349 deaths nationwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Residents sit to dine on a 500 meter long table set on the Charles Bridge, after restrictions were eased following the coronavirus pandemic on June 30, 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Gabriel Kuchta | Getty Images

“Everyone had to do something to be here, bring food or a flower. The idea was for everyone to get involved,” Prague cafe owner and event organizer Ondrej Kobza told AFP news agency.

“We want to celebrate the end of the coronavirus crisis with people meeting up and showing they’re no longer afraid to meet others, that they aren’t afraid to accept a bite of a sandwich from someone.”

“Society mustn’t be afraid. Otherwise, we’ll have an economic crisis, a depression and that will hit society harder than Covid-19,” Kobza said.

The event was held despite an uptick in the number of coronavirus cases reported in the Czech Republic last week and amid warnings from the World Health Organization that the pandemic is speeding up.

Pandemic ‘not even close to being over’

“The worst is yet to come,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said earlier this week.

He has since reinforced this message, saying via Twitter on Wednesday that while we all want the pandemic to be over, “the hard reality is this is not even close to being over.”

“We’ll need greater stores of resilience, patience, humility & generosity in the months ahead,” Tedros added.

Residents sit to dine on a 500 meter long table set on the Charles Bridge, after restrictions were eased following the coronavirus pandemic on June 30, 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Gabriel Kuchta | Getty Images

The Czech Republic on March 12 was among the first countries in Europe to close its borders in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. It ordered the closure of most businesses days later.

The country has since managed to avoid the worst of the pandemic and, last week, the government permitted mass gatherings of up to 1,000 people.

Restaurants, bars and pubs in the Czech Republic have been able to serve customers indoors for weeks, in contrast to some of its European neighbors.

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