Daily news summary

Czech auto industry loses CZK 67 billion in month over Covid-19

The monthly revenues of carmakers in the Czech Republic have fallen by an estimated CZK 50 billion since the coronavirus crisis caused shutdowns in production, according to figures released on Tuesday. In the case of suppliers, the estimated figure is over CZK 17 billion lost in one month.

All three of the Czech Republic’s main automakers halted production in the middle of March. Only Hyundai has reopened its plant to date, but Škoda will re-launch production on Monday and TPCA will do so the following week.

Car making is one of the most important industries in the Czech Republic, with Škoda alone accounting for around nine percent of the country’s exports.

Results of cross-sectional collective immunity study due in early May

The results of a cross-sectional collective immunity study that will get underway in the Czech Republic this week will be known at the start of May, the minister of health, Adam Vojtěch, said on Tuesday. Around 27,000 people from parts of the country with different recorded levels of Covid-19 infection will be tested.

The tests will get underway on Wednesday in Prague, South Moravia and around the towns of Litoměřice and Litovel, Mr. Vojtěch told reporters. The results should help better predict the future development of the epidemic.

As of Tuesday morning, 196 people with the new coronavirus had died in the Czech Republic. Over 6,900 cases have been detected to date.

Chamber of Commerce boss says easing of restrictions too slow

A government timetable for easing restrictions linked to Covid-19 could be discriminatory toward many businesses, says the president of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Vladimír Dlouhý. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Dlouhý said that the roadmap for getting the economy going again was too slow.

The head of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants, Václav Stárek, said forcing restaurants to remain closed until the end of May or early June could spell the end for many.

Some businesses were allowed to reopen on Monday as part of a five-stage government plan announced last week. Under the final stage, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls will be allowed to welcome customers again from June 8.

Aktuálně.cz: Draft ministry report warns against Chinese propaganda surrounding Covid-19

A draft Ministry of Foreign Affairs report warns that China kept information about Covid-19 secret and is attempting to divide the West and gain dominance, Aktuálně.cz wrote on Tuesday, saying it had acquired the complete text of the study.

The news site said the report looking at how the coronavirus was changing the world had been commissioned by the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček.

The text, which may be amended, states that China initially denied the existence of an epidemic and persecuted whistleblowers, sells rather than donates medical supplies, some of which are of doubtful quality, and is demonstrably employing propaganda.

The report says that China is attempting to use the fact the epidemic has peaked there to boost its international position, promote its system of governance and crisis readiness and reinforce a narrative of Western inability to cope with Covid-19, Aktuálně.cz wrote.

Zoos demand to be allowed to reopen outdoor parts sooner

Zoos around the Czech Republic are demanding to be allowed to reopen sooner than the May 25 date set by the government, Novinky.cz reported. Only outside areas of such facilities will be initially permitted to welcome visitors.

Eleven zoos, not including the one in Prague, have written an open letter to the government saying there is no difference between walking outdoors at a zoo and in a park, which is permitted.

Admission is zoos’ main source of income and the group estimate their losses in March and April at around CZK 100 million.

MPs unlikely to lift immunity of Okamura party MP over hate speech

The Czech lower house is unlikely to lift the parliamentary immunity of Karla Maříková, an MP with Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy party. Police had been seeking to file hate speech charges against the deputy. However, the lower house’s Mandate and Immunity Committee did not come to a unanimous position on the matter, the Czech News Agency reported.

In a Facebook post in January 2019 Ms. Maříková compared immigrants to invasive species of plants and animals and said they should be banned from entering the European Union.

Weather forecast

It should be sunny in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 16 degrees Celsius. The current period of fine weather is expected to give way to overcast skies from Friday until the middle of next week.