Daily news summary
Hamáček proposes lifting of ban on travel in justified cases
The Central Crisis Staff, which is leading the official Czech response to Covid-19, will recommend that the government lift a ban on leaving the Czech Republic from April 14. However, people will only be allowed to exit the country in justified cases, the head of the Central Crisis Staff, Jan Hamáček, told reporters on Monday.
The country’s borders would remain closed under such a change, Mr. Hamáček, who is also interior minister, said, adding that selected frontier crossings would continue to operate. Anybody who leaves the country will need to go into quarantine if they return.
A prohibition (with exceptions) on residents of the Czech Republic leaving and on foreigners entering the country is due to run until April 12. A ban on travel to “risk” states entered into effect on March 14; two days later it was extended to all countries.
Top Czech official proposes herd immunity approach
If vulnerable groups can be protected from Covid-19, a large section of the healthy population should go through the disease or be exposed to it, deputy health minister Roman Prymula said in an interview for DVTV on Sunday evening. Mr. Prymula, who has been a key figure in the government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus, says he came around to the idea of creating herd immunity after it became clear that China had provided incorrect data on the number of people infected with Covid-19 there.
Mr. Prymula said it was not possible to maintain the current tight restrictions in the Czech Republic for another two or three months and that these would be gradually eased. Children should return to school in mid-May, wearing face masks, and some cross-border travel will be allowed soon, he said.
Babiš comes out against “very risky” herd immunity suggestion
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the idea of trying to create herd immunity against Covid-19 in the Czech Republic is “very risky”. Speaking on Czech Radio’s Radiožurnál station on Monday, Mr. Babiš said he disagreed with deputy health minister Roman Prymula, who said he had come around to the idea of such an approach, if vulnerable groups could be protected.
The prime minister said the Czech Republic was pursuing a smart quarantine approach and that he could not envisage the herd immunity policy floated by Mr. Prymula.
France grateful for offer of places for coronavirus patients
France has thanked the Czech Republic for offering to provide medical care to six French people with Covid-19. They had been due to arrive at Brno’s University Hospital on Monday but in the end the French authorities decided not to send the patients, all of whom require artificial lung ventilation.
The Czech Republic has previously provided assistance to Italy, Spain and Slovenia in connection with the coronavirus crisis.
Czech Embassy in Moscow attacked after removal of Prague statue
A group of people wearing masks attacked the Czech Embassy in Moscow on Sunday, days after the removal of a statue of Red Army commander Ivan Konev in Prague. A sign with the slogan Stop Fascism was placed on the fence of the embassy and a number of smoke bombs were thrown into its grounds.
The Russian TV station REN said the incident had come in response to the removal of the statue of Konev.
A group named Other Russia said they were responsible for the attack and declared on their website “Our tanks will be in Prague!”
Prague Spring International Music Festival to be held on-line
For the first time in its history the Prague Spring International Music Festival will be held on-line.
Approximately ten concerts will be streamed on the festival’s web page and a number of selected concerts will be broadcast by Czech Radio and Czech Television, the festivals spokesman Pavel Trojan told reporters.
The 75th Prague Spring International Music Festival was due to open on May 7th and offer audiences 53 concerts altogether.
In view of the volatile situation the festival’s management opted for an alternative format so that even in this difficult situation music can bring people hope, the festival’s director Roman Bělor said.
It should be sunny in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, with temperatures of up to 19 degrees Celsius. More clear skies and warm weather are expected in the following days.