Daily news summary
Epidemiology expert Roman Prymula to be awarded Order of the White Lion
President Milos Zeman has said he will award the country’s leading epidemiology expert Roman Prymula the Order of the White Lion on October 28, in recognition of his work in fighting the coronavirus epidemic.
Mr. Prymula, who is the deputy health minister, has led the emergency operation against the spread of the virus from the outset, first as head of the Central Crisis Staff and later as chief coordinator of the Smart Quarantine project aimed at detecting the spread of the infection with the help of mobile phone and bank card data.
In an interview for Blesk TV, the president expressed full support for the government measures taken to contain the spread of the disease in the Czech Republic, including the closure of borders.
He criticized the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen for defending a policy of open borders which he said would only result in an explosion of the pandemic in Europe.
Opposition not willing to extend state of emergency by whole month
The opposition parties in Parliament say they will demand an explanation from the government over its request for the state of emergency in the country to be prolonged by a month. The Chamber of Deputies is to meet to debate the proposal on Tuesday.
The head of the Civic Democrats Petr Fiala and the leader of the Pirate Party Ivan Bartoš have both said they will not support an extension of that length, indicating that a fortnight or until the end of April might be acceptable if the request was properly justified.
The head of the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party and the Communist Party have also said that in view of the impacts on the economy they would prefer shorter terms, with repeated extensions if need be.
According to Interior Minister Jan Hamáček a month-long extension from April 11 is essential for the government to be able to do its job, such as ordering protective gear without the need to hold an open competition for a supplier. He said restrictions could gradually be eased even during the state of emergency.
March unemplyment at 3 percent
Unemployment stayed at 3% in March despite restrictive measures to curb the spread of coronavirus and showed no variations from normal in early April, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jana Maláčová said on Czech Television on Sunday.
The minister said the March figure was good news, but the month of April would be decisive in assessing the damage to the economy caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Trade unions have said that some 400,000-450,000 jobs are at risk. The government’s economic aid package envisages a kurzarbeit scheme for employers to try to prevent massive lay-offs.
Social affairs minister: strong focus on seniors needed
Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jana Maláčová has said it may be necessary to place all seniors who are COVID positive in hospital.
The minister said that if media reports that two seniors with mild symptoms had died of the disease in an old age home proved correct, then it would be advisable to place all infected seniors in hospitals where they would get the best possible medical care.
She also stressed the need for priority, blanket testing of seniors and employees in old age homes and institutions for long-term care.
Patient who received Remdesivir recovering
The patient who received the experimental drug Remdesivir from the US, is said to be slowly recovering. The man was in critical condition for several weeks and was the only patient in the country to receive the treatment.
According to the country’s leading epidemiology expert, Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula, the drug is to be tested in three Czech hospitals: Prague’s Motol and Bulovka hospitals and the University Hospital in Brno.
Coronavirus cases at 4,475 on Sunday morning
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic reached 4,475 on Sunday morning, the Health Ministry reported .383 people have been hospitalized due to complications and 86 of them are reported to be in need of intensive care. 62 people have died and 78 have fully recovered from the infection. Over 80,000 people have been tested to date.
Monday should be bright and sunny with day temperatures between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius.