Daily news summary

Mayor of Sokolov regrets removing US flag from war memorial during ceremony

The mayor of Sokolov in western Bohemia, Renata Olulehlova, has said she regrets removing the American flag from a WWII monument and final resting place of Soviet soldiers who died in the liberation effort during a commemorative ceremony marking the end of the war.

The mayor, who faced a barrage of criticism from locals and politicians, told Novinky.cz she regretted the decision which had been spurred by the fact that only the remains of Soviet soldiers were buried on the spot. No offense was intended, she said.

Outraged citizens pointed out that it was the US army which had liberated Sokolov and given the Soviet soldiers there a decent burial.

Face masks outdoors may soon disappear

The government will consider downgrading the regulation on compulsory face masks in public to a mere recommendation, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told Prima Television on Sunday. Face masks would remain obligatory in closed public spaces with a high risk of transmission such as public transport.

The debate on when Czechs will be able to stop wearing face masks has gained intensity with the warmer weather.

According to health ministry officials the plans were to lift this restriction in mid-June, but experts have increasingly criticized the order for people to wear masks outdoors.

The prime minister also said the government was not planning to ask the lower house to extend the state of emergency beyond May 17.

Daily increase of 18 new cases of COVID 19 on Saturday

Eighteen new coronavirus cases were registered in the country on Saturday, bringing the overall number of confirmed cases to 8,095, according to Czech Health Ministry statistics.

The number of newly registered cases per day has remained under 100 for nine days now. 276 people have died, 4,447 have recovered from the disease. 258 people are currently hospitalized with COVID 19, 46 of them are in serious condition.

Ruling ANO party would win general elections by large margin

The ruling ANO party of Prime Minister Andrej Babišs would currently win general elections, with 34 percent of the vote, followed by the centre right Pirate Party with 16 percent and the Civic Democrats with 11.5 percent of the vote.

Five other parties would cross the 5 percent threshold needed to get seats in the lower house; the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party would get 7 percent, TOP 09 would get 6.5 percent, and the Social Democrats, a junior party in the ruling coalition, the Communist Party and the Party of Mayors and Independents would each get 5.5 percent of the vote.

Parents want lessons out in the open where possible

Several hundred parents have signed a petition for lessons to take place out in the open whenever possible when schools reopen on May 25th.

Schools have been closed since mid-March and it will be up to parents to decide whether they will send their children to school when they reopen on May 25.

School attendance is not compulsory for the rest of the school year and only some classes will reopen with a maximum of 15 students in the classroom. Ninth graders who face school leaving exams are returning to school on Monday.

High winds expected to batter parts of the country on Monday

Meteorologists have issued a wind warning for parts of the Czech Republic on Monday afternoon when they predict strong winds and a twenty-degree drop in temperatures.

The warning, which does not include Prague and the western parts of the country, says there is danger of damage to forests, roofs and gardens.

People have been warned to expect possible power fallouts and complications in transport. Higher altitudes may see up to 10 centimetres of snow.

Weather forecast

Monday should bring overcast skies with rain and day temperatures around 13 degrees Celsius. High winds and a further drop in temperatures to 0 degrees are expected in the afternoon and night hours.