Czech President backs finance minister to stay on office
Czech President Václav Klaus has backed Finance Minister Eduard Janota to stay in the government during a meeting between the two men on Friday. Mr Janota is weighing up whether to remain after his 2010 budget package was overhauled by left-wing amendments on Wednesday. Social Democrats and Communists took the lead in pushing through fresh spending of around 12 billion crowns. This would push next year’s budget deficit up to 175 billion crowns or around 5.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product if all the spending is covered by extra borrowing and not taken from other areas. Social Democrats say the originally planned deficit of around 163 billion crowns can be safeguarded.
Mr Janota said he will make a final decision about his government future after a meeting with Prime Minister Jan Fischer on Monday. President Klaus has also condemned the budget changes, saying that they exacerbated the problematic state of public finances. Mr Janota said after the meeting there was no discussion over whether the president would refuse to approve next year’s budget.
Wednesday is set to be cloudy, with temperatures around 11 degrees Celsius. No rainfall is expected.
State of pandemic means Czech schools have to remain closed, says health minister10/27/2020
Czech schools will not reopen at the beginning of next week, Health Minister Roman Prymula announced on Tuesday. This despite an earlier promise that primary schools would definitely re-open from November 2. He said that the government will decide on when it plans to reopen schools after reviewing data towards the end of this week.
Both the opposition and the current Minister of Education Robert Plaga have cticisised the delay, saying that it is necessary to provide information on when schools will reopen now.
Czech schools, including primary education facilities, have been closed in the Czech Republic since October 14, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which is regularly reaching new height in terms of infections and numbers of hospitalised. Classes are currently being taught via distance learning.
Government proposes extending state of emergency to December 310/27/2020
The Czech government will propose that the current state of emergency be extended until December 3, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced on Tuesday. The proposal will have to be approved by the Chamber of Deputies, which is set to discuss the issue on Friday morning.
The prime minister said that the extension was necessary to keep the several emergency measures, that have been put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, in place.
The Czech Republic has been in a state of emergency since October 5. It is currently among the most affected countries in Europe by the pandemic.
Care home residents to receive fast coronavirus tests, says labour minister10/27/2020
Czech social services have successfully tested the use of antigenic COVID-19 tests (sometimes also referred to as fast coronavirus tests), Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jana Maláčová announced on Tuesday. The tests are to be used for wide-range testing of senior citizens in social facilities, such as pensioner homes.
Antigenic tests take around 15 minutes to provide a result. However, they are also less reliable than standard testing. According to Minister of Health Roman Prymula, the tests will be used in social facilities such as pensioner homes, because they will be able to indicate the level of spread faster than normal PCR testing. The second, more reliable wave of tests would then follow.
Hundreds of police to be deployed during October 28 protests against coronavirus measures10/27/2020
Hundreds of police officers are set to be deployed to monitor demonstrations in the centre of Prague, planned on the occasion of the creation of the independent Czechoslovak state on October 28. Protests and associated events are planned on the Náměstí Republiky square, on Old Town Square and in the area of Klárov. Their primary goal is to protest against the ongoing government measures that restrict movement and have closed most shops and restaurants to curb the spread of COVID-19.
A previous protest against coronavirus measures, which took place less than two weeks ago, ended in a violent clash between protestors and the police. However, Prague Municipal Police spokesman Jan Daněk has said that the local police force does not expect this to happen on Wednesday.
Adam Sandler to star in adaptation of Spaceman in Bohemia book10/27/2020
The popular American comedy director Adam Sandler has signed a contract to play the main role in an upcoming Netflix movie based on Czech writer Jaroslav Kalfař’s 2017 book Spaceman of Bohemia. The film is set to be directed by Emmy Award winning Swedish director Johan Renck, with the screenplay being written by Colby Day.
The plot of the book’s story revolves around a Czech astronaut sent on a one-man mission to the planet Venus, where he has to gather “intergalactic dust”. Along the journey he runs into a giant arachnid and a competing Russian mission to the planet.
Czech Centres to stream Dvořák's New World Symphony on Czechoslovak Independence Day10/27/2020
Celebrations of Czechoslovak Independence Day have been severely curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic and events marking the establishment of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918 have had to go online both here in the Czech Republic and abroad.
In a celebration aimed at reaching Czechs and friends of the Czech Republic worldwide the Czech Centres network will stream the historical recording of Dvořák's New World Symphony under the baton of conductor Václav Neumann. The start is scheduled for 6 pm CET. For more information go to www.facebook.com/Ceskacentra.
Slight drop in Covid-19 cases registered on Monday10/27/2020
The Czech Republic registered 10.273 cases of Covid-19 infections on Monday, which is a drop from last week’s highs of 15,000, but is still the highest Monday figure registered since the start of the epidemic in March.
Currently over 162,000 people are fighting the infection. Over 5,600 people are hospitalized, of which over 800 are in a serious condition. 2365 people have died.
The reproduction figure has dropped slightly to 1.3, down from 1.5 at the start of October.
Government introduces night curfew and bans Sunday sales10/26/2020
The Czech government has announced a new set of restrictions aimed at bringing the coronavirus epidemic under control.
As of Wednesday, October 28, people will have to observe a night curfew between 9pm and 5am, employers have been asked to employ home office wherever possible, food and other stores selling essential goods, which still remain open, will have to be closed on Sundays and will have to close their doors by 8pm on weekdays.
People are being encouraged to shop twice a week instead of going out daily and minimize their contacts with others as much as possible.
PM proposes abolishing “super gross” wage10/26/2020
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš proposed the abolition of the “super gross” wage, as the base for calculating employee income tax, in the Chamber of Deputies on Monday.
The proposal would see income tax cut from the present 20 percent to 15 percent for low and medium income groups. People with an income of over 139,000 crowns a month would pay a 23 percent tax.
The abolition would be valid for two years only, allowing for changes depending on the country’s post-pandemic economic development.