Daily news summary
President calls for mutual support and solidarity in Easter speech
In a brief Easter address to the nation President Miloě Zeman called for friendship, love, respect and solidarity in these difficult times. Easter is a time of faith and hope, the president said, expressing the conviction that the nation would come through this test if people helped each other and stuck together.
In an interview for TV Prima the president thanked the government for the measures taken to protect the public and said that he was in favour of maintaining a policy of fairly strict restrictions since they had shown themselves to be effective, unlike the liberal approach adopted elsewhere.
Central Crisis Staff members warn Czechs danger not over yet
The head of the Central Crisis Staff, Jan Hamáček, has expressed concern over the fact that with the Easter holidays and loosening of restrictions people have become less disciplined in protecting themselves against the coronavirus.
Hamáček said that allowing people in certain situations such as biking, running or hiking, not to wear a face mask had been a mistake since it had triggered a more benevolent attitude which could prove to be a serious setback in the fight against the epidemic.
The health minister, Adam Vojtěch, and the country’s leading epidemiologist Roman Prymula have also warned Czechs that the danger is far from over.
The police, who are out in force monitoring adherence to the restrictions, report more people breaking the rules, gathering in groups without masks, eating, drinking or smoking together.
Hobby markets which opened over Easter were also reported to be packed with people.
Prymula: an upsurge in infected persons will bring back strict restrictions
The government will stop easing the coronavirus restrictions if the number of infected comes close to 400 a day, the country’s leading epidemiologist, Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula said on Czech Television.
Mr. Prymula said the government’s plan to gradually ease restrictions and replace them with the smart quarantine plan will only work if the spread of the epidemic can be held in check.
If there is an upsurge of infected persons – and their number rises to around 400 a day – the government would be forced to tighten the reigns once again, Prymula said.
The highest number of infected persons this week was 295,registered on Wednesday.
Number of confirmed COVID 19 cases close to 6,000
The number of people with confirmed coronavirus infection reached 5905 on Sunday morning, according to data released by the Czech Ministry of Health. 132 deaths are reported.
Meanwhile, 422 people have recovered from COVID 19. Over 400 people are currently hospitalized with the infection, 96 of them are in a serious condition. Czech labs have tested over 120,000 people to date.
NGO warns of growing danger of domestic violence
The NGO White Circle of Safety has warned about the growing danger of domestic violence as a result of the ongoing quarantine.
The NGO says that due to the restrictions victims may be in a worse position that usual and virtually unable to call for help.
Police are reported to have barred 344 people from their homes over domestic violence since the start of the year, but experts say the full extent of the problem may only come to light after the crisis ends.
A law clearly defining domestic violence which enables the police to bar abusers from their homes for a certain period in order to give the victim time to consider their situation and act was approved in 2007.
Since then it has been applied in close to 16,000 households.
Parent’s Forum petitions education minister not to re-open schools in May
More than 80,000 people have petitioned the education minister, Robert Plaga, for schools not to reopen until next autumn.
According to the head of the Parent‘s Forum, Petr Chaluš, a growing number of parents do not like the idea of their children having to spend the entire school day wearing masks and do not trust small children to adhere to the many safety precautions.
There is concern that if schools re-open in mid-May, as planned, it will only worsen the coronavirus epidemic in the country, Chaluš said.
Monday should be partly cloudy to overcast in the afternoon hours, with rain and storms in places and day temperatures between 17 and 21 degrees Celsius.