Daily news summary
PM: Reopening of shops and services could be speeded up
The planned reopening of shops and services in the Czech Republic could be speeded up if the epidemiological situation in the country allows, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told Czech Television on Wednesday.
The prime minister said the government would decide on whether this would be possible after getting the latest COVID 19 data from the Health Ministry on Thursday.
If the results are good, the phased-out reopening process could be shortened by a fortnight enabling all shops and services to open by May 25.
The government has been under pressure from the opposition and entrepreneurs to loosen the restrictions faster in order to minimize the losses.
Social Democrats want state of emergency extended
Jan Hamáček, head of the junior coalition party of Social Democrats, has said the party will defend its position on extending the state of emergency in the country beyond April 30.
He said the state of emergency would allow the government to respond to the country’s needs more swiftly, such as in purchasing protective gear for the state sector centrally, without having to hold an open competition.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Wednesday he was against an extension, arguing that the state of emergency had already served its purpose and the government restrictions were not dependent on it.
However he said the government would take into account the arguments of epidemiologists on the matter before coming to a final decision on whether to ask the lower house for an extension.
The government initially imposed a 30-day state of emergency on March 13 in view of the coronavirus situation. MPs later voted to extend it to the end of April.
Large-scale collective immunity study gets underway in Czechia
A cross-sectional collective study aimed at establishing the level of Covid-19 infection within the population has got underway in the Czech Republic. As of Thursday morning, people can get tested at testing points in Prague, Brno and Litoměřice. On Friday, blanket testing will also be launched in the Moravian towns of Olomouc, Litovel and Uničov.
Altogether, some 27,000 people from all parts of the country with different recorded levels of Covid-19 infection will be tested. While certain target groups have been selected by the Czech Statistics Office and the Academy of Sciences, people have been encouraged to voluntarily take part in the study. The results are expected to be available at the beginning of May.
Predictive model forecasts 7,800 Covid-19 cases by end of April
The Easter holidays appear to have had no effect on the growth of Covid-19 cases in the Czech Republic, according to data from the Institute of Health Information and Statistics presented on Thursday. According to the head of the institute, Jaroslav Dušek, the country can now start a gradual and controlled return to normal life.
The number of people with confirmed coronavirus infection reached 7,136 on Thursday morning, according to data released by the Czech Ministry of Health. 210 people have died and over 2,000 have recovered from the disease. The predictive model suggests there could be around 7,800 coronavirus cases in the country by the end of April.
CNN Prima News to be launched on May 3
A new, 24-news station called CNN Prima News will begin broadcasting in the Czech Republic on May 3, it was announced on Thursday. The platform was established by the Czech commercial TV channel Prima in conjunction with CNN International Commercial, an arm of the U.S. cable news giant. CNN Prima News should combine international news coverage by the CNN, dubbed or subtitled, with national reporting covered by Prima. Prima TV was established in 1993 and is currently the third most-watched TV station in the country.
Czech biathlete Veronika Vítková announces end of career
Czech biathlete Veronika Vítková has announced the end of her career. The 31-year-old Olympic medallist is expecting her first child with her coach Martin Lejsek.
Vítková claimed a silver medal in mixed relay at the Olympic Games in Sochi and a bronze medal in the sprint competition at the Pyongyang Olympics in 2018. She also won the gold medal in the mixed relay at the World Championships in Kontiolahti in 2015.
Friday is expected to be partly cloudy with daytime temperatures ranging between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius.