Daily news summary

Smart quarantine project launched nationwide

The smart quarantine project is to be applied actively nationwide as of May 1st after undergoing a testing period in several regions. It should replace the broad government imposed restrictions which are being gradually eased.

The plan involves tracing past contacts of people who test positive for the virus five days back by creating “maps of their movements” with the help of banks and mobile phone operators.

All those who they came into contact with will be tested and quarantined until cleared. The plan is being implemented with the help of the army in order to speed up testing.

Coronavirus cases rise for three days in a row

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen for three days in a row following a period of gradual decrease from April 20 to April 27.

April 27 saw an increase of just 41 cases, but the past three days have brought a daily increase, with 103 new cases registered on Thursday. The daily increase in Covid-19 cases had been below 100 in the previous eight days.

The number of people fighting the disease is 4,138 of which 344 are hospitalized. 237 people have died. Over 249,000 people have been tested altogether.

Political parties mark May Day online

Political parties are marking May Day online this year in place of the traditional public events and gatherings that take place on May 1, a public holiday in the Czech Republic.

Both the ruling and opposition parties have used the occasion to post videos thanking the public and those on the front lines for the discipline and solidarity shown in tackling the coronavirus crisis.

The Social Democrats say it is the common people who are the heroes of the present day.

While the Communist Party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party have focussed on employment and support for workers on International Workers’ Day, the centre right Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents highlight the fact that May 1, is the 16th anniversary of the country’s membership in the EU.

Change in VAT rates on beer as of May 1

A change in VAT rates on beer which takes effect on May 1, will reduce value-added tax on draught beer consumed on the pub premises, which has been moved from the 21-percent to the 10-percent VAT band. According to the amendment, bottled beer or draft beer sold to-go remains in the 22-percent VAT band.

The change, which was criticized for being irrational and confusing, is further complicated by the coronavirus restrictions according to which pubs and food stands can sell beer from take-out windows to be consumed at some distance and will be able to open outdoor premises as of May 11th.

Association of Hotels and Restaurants says government’s reopening schedule is chaotic, aid inadequate

The Association of Hotels and Restaurants has criticized the government for the manner in which it is handling the coronavirus crisis, saying that the easing of restrictions imposed is chaotic and the help given entrepreneurs is inadequate.

The government released fresh details of the reopening process on Friday, specifying the conditions which would have to be met for enterprises which can reopen on May 11.

Pubs and restaurants can reopen their outdoor spaces on condition that tables are placed at least 1.5 metres apart, and chairs and tables are disinfected after every client.

Similar conditions will have to be met by hairdressers who will be required to have plastic face shields as well as facemasks.

Chancellor Mynář denies “excessive” pressure on late senate speaker from Prague Castle

The president’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, has rejected accusations that the Office of the President is withholding information regarding pressure to which the late speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera was subjected in connection with his planned trip to Taiwan.

Mr. Mynář said the matter had been seriously discussed during foreign policy consultations with the president, but dismissed the idea that Mr. Kubera had come under excessive pressure which could have worsened his state of health.

Mr. Kubera’s wife has indicated that the enormous pressure her husband was under, as well as veiled threats believed to have been made by Chinese representatives, led to his early demise due to what is believed to have been a massive heart attack.

Weather forecast

Saturday will be partly cloudy to overcast with rain in places and day temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.