Nearly 30,000 candles were lit on the premises of Prague Castle to commemorate all COVID-19 victims in Czechia. Czech President Milos Zeman, accompanied by his wife Ivana and daughter Katerina, lit the first candle.
In total, more than 29,700 people have died in the Czech Republic as a result of coronavirus.
At the start of the ceremony, Zeman said that some of these deaths were caused by people’s ignorance, recklessness, and temptation to relax the restrictions sooner. The president expressed his gratitude to healthcare professionals and those who have assisted in the war against the virus. He said they deserved not only gratitude, but also proper recognition for the work they did, which Zeman would advocate for.
Thanks to a huge vaccination program, Zeman believes the outbreak will be over by September at the latest.
Candles also marked a symbolic route from all castle entrances to the commemorative site, where visitors could lay flowers.
Candles placed in plastic cups to shield were criticised on social media, claiming they were neither “honest nor environmentally friendly”.
Using 30,000 single-use disposable beer cups, according to Greenpeace, is insensitive to both nature and survivors, despite the fact that the NGO acknowledges different ways of mourning.
The ceremony was followed by the Prague Castle Guard choir. Many of the lights in the castle area were turned off for a brief moment two hours before midnight.