Czechs support Georgia, Ukraine bids to join NATO

Four Central and East European NATO members – the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia - on Wednesday backed bids by Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO, taking a clear stand on an issue that has divided the alliance and angered Russia. Germany, France and several other NATO members say neither Georgia nor Ukraine are ready to join. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow might re-direct its missiles at Ukraine if it were to join NATO.

Latest News

  • Head of Czech coronavirus task force Hamáček tests positive for Covid-19

    10/21/2020

    The Czech minister of the interior and head of the Central Crisis Staff, Jan Hamáček, has tested positive for Covid-19. A spokesperson for his party the Social Democrats relayed the news to the Czech News Agency on Wednesday morning. Mr. Hamáček took a test for the coronavirus following a meeting with the minister of agriculture, Miroslav Toman, who himself tested positive on Sunday.

    The spokesperson said other members of the Social Democrats leadership who had come into contact with Mr. Toman on Thursday at the party’s headquarters had tested negative.

    Mr. Hamáček said on Twitter that he was self-isolating but continuing to work, including taking part in government negotiations.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • New Czech record 11,984 Covid cases registered Tuesday

    10/21/2020

    Some 11,984 new cases of Covid-19 were registered in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, which is a record one-day jump. The total number of active cases in the country now stands at 113,219.

    At present 4,065 people are hospitalised with the coronavirus, with 634 of them in a critical condition. To date 1,619 people have died with the virus, with over half of those deaths coming this month.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Prymula says more measures needed ahead of special cabinet session Wednesday

    10/20/2020

    The Czech cabinet will hold an extraordinary meeting at 8 am on Wednesday to discuss the situation surrounding the coronavirus in the country. The minister of health, Roman Prymula, said on Tuesday that further measures aimed at curbing the rapid spread of Covid-19 would need to be introduced soon. He said current restrictions were not doing enough to reduce contact among the population.

    Mr. Prymula had previously announced that face masks would be required in built-up urban areas, if a distance of two metres cannot be maintained, from Wednesday.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • First statue in Czech Republic of Maria Theresa unveiled in Prague

    10/20/2020

    The first statue in the Czech Republic honouring the Habsburg ruler Maria Theresa was unveiled in the Prague 6 district on Tuesday. The local authority paid CZK 3.6 million for the monument to the Holy Roman Empress, who was sovereign of Bohemia when it was part of the Austrian empire.

    The unveiling was deliberately held on October 20, the day when Maria Theresa assumed the Austrian throne in 1740.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Two charged over Old Town Square protest violence

    10/20/2020

    Two charged over Old Town Square protest violence

    Police have charged two people in connection with a demonstration in central Prague on Sunday that turned violent. The two are accused of disorderly conduct and violence against officials, a police spokesperson said on Tuesday. Some 144 people were detained during the events on the city’s Old Town Square, with 14 suspected of criminal actions.

    Hundreds of ultras from Czech football and ice hockey clubs had gathered to protest against the government’s Covid-19 measures. After the official time limit many of them threw cobblestones and other items at riot police, injuring 25.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Reduced hours at public services leading to long queues

    10/20/2020

    Long queues are currently forming at some public services in the Czech Republic as opening times have been reduced in response to the Covid-19 situation, Czech Television reported. Officials at some agencies have called on the public to weigh up whether they really need to visit them in person. They also recommend that people use on-line reservation systems to book specific times. However, these are frequently full for weeks in advance, Czech Television said.

    On Monday police monitored queues at some agencies, following reports of altercations last week. Video footage suggests some people are not maintaining a two-metre distance while waiting in line.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Weather forecast

    10/20/2020

    It should be overcast in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with an average maximum temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. The cloudy and mild weather should then continue for several days.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Experts: Further suspension spells end of electronic cash register system

    10/20/2020

    The further suspension of a system under which businesses must register transactions in real time in a state database means the project is to all intents and purposes over, the Czech News Agency reported, citing tax experts.

    The lower house’s Budget Committee has recommended the system be put on ice until the end of 2022, a move approved by the government last week.

    The electronic cash register system had already been suspended until the end of this year to alleviate pressure on businesses hit by the coronavirus crisis.

    The system was first introduced in 2016 and gradually extended over subsequent years.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Coronavirus cases rise after weekend, but below last week’s record

    10/20/2020

    Monday saw 8,076 people test positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. While this is the highest amount of cases ever recorded on a Monday in the country, it is also 3,000 cases fewer than were recorded last Friday. Ministry of Health Statistics show that 46 people died on Monday as a result of contracting the virus.

    Currently there are more than 105,000 people in the country who have COVID-19, although the majority of the infected have little or no symptoms. Experts predict that around 3 to 4 percent of this number will require hospitalisation, one fifth of which will be in serious condition.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Face mask obligation to be expanded

    10/20/2020

    Starting Wednesday, people will have to cover their face even if they are walking in the open in municipal areas and are closer than 2 meters from each other, Health Minister Roman Prymula has announced. Furthermore, the obligation to wear a mask has also been extended to those inside any vehicle, with the exception of those who are driving alone, or only with close family members.

    Speaking at a press conference on Monday evening, Health Minister Prymula also ruled out that the government is planning any discussion about entering a full lockdown this week. He highlighted that the effectiveness of the measures in place has to be given at least two weeks’ time before it can be evaluated.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe