Daily news summary

Czech Foreign Ministry: Russia’s decision to file criminal charges over Konev statue inadmissible

Russia’s decision to file criminal charges over the recent removal of a statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev by the Prague 6 district authorities is inadmissible, the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement made available to the press.

The ministry pointed out that Russian legislation is not enforceable in the Czech Republic. It also rejected any attempts by Russia to intervene in the internal affairs of the Czech Republic.

The statue of the controversial marshal who liberated Prague in 1945, but also had an active role in crushing the Hungarian Uprising and building the Berlin Wall, has been at the centre of a diplomatic row between the two countries for some time.

Moscow sees the statue's removal as a diplomatic insult and a dangerous attempt to rewrite history.

The statue has aroused controversy in Prague where it was repeatedly vandalized with red paint on significant anniversaries.

The Prague 6 authorities voted to have it dismantled in order to prevent further controversy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law that made damaging such memorials a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison.

Smallest increase in COVID 19 cases in past week

The number of people with confirmed coronavirus infection reached 5735 on Saturday morning, up by 163 in the last 24 hours, the smallest increase this week. The number of people who have died is now at 123.

Meanwhile, 370 people have recovered from COVID 19. 440 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.

Thousands of believers watching masses online

Thousands of believers around the country are watching Easter masses online this year, in line with restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID 19.

The Czech Bishops Conference has called believers to enjoy the true sense of community that has flourished in the Czech Republic and to strengthen their faith through togetherness and prayer.

Many parish priests will celebrate mass online and Czech public radio and television will feature some of them as well.

The Easter Vigil Mass from St. Vitus Cathedral starts at 8.30pm on CT2.

eRouška app now available on Google Play

As of April 11, people can start using the eRouška app, prepared by experts working on the COVID19CZ platform.

The application is one of the components of the smart quarantine plan and is intended to help hygienists trace people who have come into contact with someone found to be COVID positive.

The program can be downloaded for free on Google Play. The smart quarantine plan is being tested in South Moravia and will gradually be extended to the whole country as a means of keeping the spread of the disease in check.

Health minister says face masks could go in June

Health Minister Adam Vojtech has said it is likely that Czechs will be able to stop wearing face masks in June.

In an interview for Lidove Noviny, Vojtech said shops would gradually reopen in the coming days and weeks with services fully restored within a month.

He said bars and night clubs would not open before the summer, restaurants a bit sooner.

Meanwhile, the country’s leading epidemiologist, Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula expressed concern over the behaviour of certain individuals with the loosening of restrictions over Easter.

He said people were gathering around stalls, eating and drinking fast food without facemasks. He said this risky behaviour could present a dangerous setback in the war against the virus.

Private theatres call attention to their plight

The owners of private Prague theatres are calling for the resignation of Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek for allegedly neglecting the needs of part of the cultural sector.

They are protesting against the fact that the 1.07 billion crown aid package for cultural institutions is to be divided solely among state institutions and those which receive state subsidies.

The owner of the Prague Broadway Theater Oldřich Lichtenberg who is leading the protest claims that the decision will lead to the complete liquidation of the non-subsidized culture segment.

“You will destroy many theaters, festivals, art agencies, organizers, producers and especially tens of thousands of actors, singers and all other professions that are linked to these subjects,” Lichtenberg said in a an open letter to the culture minister.

Minister Zaorálek has rejected the criticism saying that support for private entrepreneurs will also be discussed.

Weather forecast

Sunday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.