“We are facing a big risk of an exponential spread,” Dusek said.The government has meanwhile closed bars and clubs between midnight and 6am and introduced face masks in classrooms for pupils and students aged over 11.It already reintroduced mandatory face masks on public transport and in hospitals on September 1, before extending the measure to most indoor areas including shops and restaurants on September 10.The recent spike has seen the Czech Republic cut from the so-called “safe countries” lists in a dozen fellow EU countries.After fending off much of the COVID-19 pandemic with timely steps including mandatory face masks outdoors in the spring, the government lifted most of its anti-coronavirus measures before the summer holidays.”Maybe we should have kept face masks on throughout the summer,” populist billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Thursday, adding: “We just wanted life to return to normal.” Data cited by the Czech News Agency (CTK) show the Czech Republic is now the second worst-off in the EU after Spain in terms of daily growth in cases per 100,000 inhabitants.Most of the patients have mild or no symptoms and only 413 people are currently in hospital.But epidemiologist Roman Prymula, a government coordinator, said on Sunday that “if the epidemic keeps growing in this explosive way, we will get to the very limit of our hospital capacity.”Ladislav Dusek, head of the Czech Institute of Health Information and Statistics, said Thursday the epidemic was no longer spreading within closed clusters. Topics : The Czech Republic registered a record high of 3,130 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, reaching in 24 hours a figure comparable with the entire month of March, health ministry data showed Friday.It was the third straight daily record for the EU member of 10.7 million people, which has registered 44,155 confirmed cases and 489 deaths since the March outbreak.And it matches a pattern across Europe of a surge in cases in August-September that has seen many countries move back towards tougher infection control restrictions.
But unlike Stripling, few people are asking Maeda to set aside tickets to watch him pitch. His family and friends are still almost entirely in Japan. That probably won’t change, he said, since it isn’t easy to fly across the Pacific Ocean to watch a baseball game in the middle of a work week.Saho is in Los Angeles, so she’ll be there today. In Japan, they can and will tune in to watch Maeda’s second major league start at 5 a.m. local time. (The NHK broadcast of his first game, which began at 11 a.m. local time, attracted a 2.1 percent rating, about twice as high as an average MLB broadcast.)Maeda’s fans back home are nothing if not well-informed. He didn’t pitch in the Dodgers’ last series against the San Francisco Giants, but no fewer than eight reporters — five with cameras — interviewed him Sunday after Maeda played catch with his interpreter, Will Ireton, at AT&T Park.The novelty of Maeda in America wears off a little every day, but his omnipresent media contingent testifies to his popularity back home. More than every game of catch, every team’s home opener is a big deal in Japan too, so he gets the importance of Tuesday. His fans get it.“I’m very honored to be starting in the stadium opener,” Maeda said. “I’m looking forward to pitching well and hopefully contributing to a win.” Maeda’s debut set a high standard. Even though he didn’t allow a run against the Padres, his dominance was true to the form he flashed in spring training. San Diego made plenty of contact, but all five hits he allowed were singles. Of the 14 balls the Padres put in play against Maeda, their average exit velocity was a relatively harmless 79 mph; only three left the bat at 90 mph or more. He walked none and struck out four.None of that, however, is what anyone will remember about Maeda’s first major league game.Batting in the fourth inning against Andrew Cashner, Maeda powerfully pulled a pitch into the left-field stands for a home run. It was only the third home run he’d hit on any continent as a professional.Confidence, then, will not be an issue for Maeda against the Diamondbacks.“I’m relieved that I was able to get the first win right away,” he said. “Being able to pitch well was important for me.”When he was contemplating the order for the Dodgers’ starting rotation in spring training, manager Dave Roberts considered his second, third and fourth starters — Maeda, Scott Kazmir and Alex Wood — “interchangeable.” So Maeda effectively drew Tuesday’s start by chance. But Maeda has proved himself worthy of the home opener. Roberts and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt have been impressed by Maeda’s command of all four of his pitches (fastball, slider, curve ball, changeup). His home run impressed everyone.In general, Maeda’s transition to America has been smooth. Pitching every fifth day as opposed to every sixth hasn’t been an issue, though he’ll have an extra day of rest between his first and second starts by virtue of an off-day Monday. The options for good Japanese food in Los Angeles aren’t lacking, he said.An eight-year contract, worth a guaranteed $25 million, wasn’t Maeda’s only incentive in coming here.“Here I found it surprising that family can ride on the team bus,” he said. “That’s not allowed in Japan.”Behind closed doors, Maeda continues to observe two quirky traditions that he brought over from Japan. One has been the subject of gifs and Vines for months now: An arm-waving exercise dubbed the “Maeken dance” that Maeda performs before every game. He does it indoors now, after performing the ritual on the field in Japan.The other tradition is common among Japanese players, one Maeda says he picked up a couple years ago. In his locker is a hard black Mizuno bag with his name stitched on the outside in Japanese. His custom glove goes inside.“If I don’t put it in that glove case, if I just put it in the bag, it’s squished on top of other peoples’ bags,” he said. “It just flattens out.”Not many major league players have their own glove case, but then Maeda’s way of doing things seems to be working pretty well here. If it doesn’t, at least people know how to reach him.K-PopWhen Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda homered in his first game Wednesday in San Diego, he became:• The third starting pitcher since 2000 to hit a home run in his major league debut.• The first starting pitcher to do so since Washington’s Tommy Milone on Sept 3, 2011.• The first Dodger to hit a home run in his major league debut since Jose Offerman on Aug. 19, 1990.• The first Dodgers pitcher to do so since Dan Bankhead on Aug. 26, 1947. SAN FRANCISCO >> The phrase “happy wife, happy life” is not common in Japanese. Maybe it should be. Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda read through more than 100 text messages, emails and congratulatory words after his first major league game Wednesday. By the weekend, he’d answered them all. None meant more to the pitcher than what his wife, Saho, said.“She was especially happy with the way it turned out,” Maeda said through his interpreter. “I’m glad she was happy with the way everything worked out in the first game.”Maeda, who will start the Dodgers’ home opener today against the Arizona Diamondbacks, still hasn’t allowed a run in six major league innings. His debut in San Diego was only the second-best by a Dodgers rookie last week; on Friday, Ross Stripling threw 7 1/3 no-hit innings in San Francisco. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error