Daily news summary
Petříček: Czech borders should fully open to neighbouring countries in July
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček says the Czech Republic’s borders with neighboring countries should be fully open from July.
Negotiations with Slovakia and Austria are the furthest along, Petříček wrote on his blog on Saturday, while negotiations with Poland may prove more complicated and travel to Germany will depend on how the coronavirus develops there.
Petříček said he is hopeful that Czechs will also be allowed to travel to Bulgaria, Hungary and the Baltic countries in the first month of summer holidays, and to Croatia, Greece, Slovenia and Malta in August.
Czech Deputy PM: no plan to expel Russian diplomats for now
The Czech government will take no retaliatory measures against Russian authorities over a reputed plot to assassinate Prague’s mayor and others without confirmation of secret service information, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček said on Sunday.
In late April, the Czech weekly Respekt reported that Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib and two district mayors, Ondřej Kolář and Pavel Novotný, were under police protection because a Russian intelligence agent with diplomatic status had been sent to poison them using ricin.
Speaking during a Czech Television panel discussion, Havlíček said retaliatory moves such as expelling Russian diplomats were not under consideration for the time being.
The Russian Embassy in Prague has accused Respekt of spreading fake news and filed a protest with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The country's foreign minister has said the idea of Russia sending an agent to assassinate Czech politicians is “inconceivable”.
Coronavirus: Czechs receive final Chinese delivery of protective gear
The last plane of protective medical gear bought in China and transported to the Czech Republic landed in Prague on Sunday morning. The so-called air bridge was coordinated by the Ministry of the Interior.
Since March 20, when the Chinese flights began, 52 planes have delivered around 2,000 tons of facemasks, respirators and other material. So far, the ministry has paid almost 4 billion crowns for orders.
Minister of Interior Jan Hamáček said after the state of emergency ends, the State Material Reserves Administration should be the key body responsible for the purchase, storage and distribution of medical supplies.
Coronavirus: Saturday's rise in cases lowest in nearly 8 weeks
Another 18 coronavirus cases were confirmed on Saturday, the lowest daily increase since March 9. However, labs performed only 3,862 tests, compared to 6,515 tests daily on average last week.
To date, 7,755 people in the Czech Republic have contracted coronavirus and 3,471 have recovered from it while 245 people have died, according to the Ministry of Health.
Analysts: Czech central bank set to cut interest rates, maybe to ‘technical zero’
The Czech National Bank board will probably reduce the key interest rate by half a percentage point to 0.5 percent on Thursday (May 7) to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a ČTK poll of economists.
Some analysts polled by ČTK do not rule out a drop in the base rate to ‘technical zero’. The central bank board last cut the key interest rate by 0.75 pp at the end of March, to 1 percent. It had already cut rates by 0.5 pp at an extraordinary meeting on March 16.
CNN Prima News, a 24-hour Czech channel, launches on Sunday
CNN Prima News, a new, 24-hour television channel established by the Czech commercial station Prima and the U.S. cable news giant, begins broadcasting on Sunday evening.
The channel will offer almost 30 shows and feature international news coverage by CNN, dubbed or subtitled into Czech, and national reporting by Prima TV.
CNN Prima News aims to reach 1.5 percent viewership in the 15-69 age group by the end of 2020. Prima TV, established in 1993, is currently the third most-watched TV station in the Czech Republic.
75th anniversary of Pilsen’s liberation celebrated mostly online
Due to the coronavirus, in place of the usual parades and military convoys, Pilsen broadcast a live program online to celebrate the city’s liberation by the US Army and the end of World War II.
Although Pilsen has postponed grand celebrations for a year, a dozen military Jeeps and other vehicles with crews in period U.S. uniforms passed through the city before noon on Sunday, Rudolf Bayer, chairman of the Pilsen Military Car Club, told ČTK.
Monday should be partly cloudy to overcast with occasional rain likely, especially in the afternoon. Daytime highs should range from 14 to 17 degrees Celsius.