Daily news summary
Smart quarantine project to be extended to Prague next week
The smart quarantine project now being tested in South Moravia will be extended to North Moravia and Prague at the end of next week. After Easter, the project is to be applied nation-wide and should gradually replace blanket restrictions.
The plan involves tracing past contacts of people who test positive for the virus five days back by creating “maps of their movements” with the help of banks and mobile phone operators. All those who they came into contact with are tested and quarantined until cleared. The plan is being implemented with the help of the army in order to speed up testing.
Bishops call on believers to spend Easter at home
Czech and Moravian bishops have called on believers to mark the Easter Vigil this year by lighting a candle in their windows after dark. They have also appealed for believers to respect the government restrictions on movement and watch the Holy Mass online.
The restrictions will also affect the pagan traditions that millions of people observe on Easter Monday. The Central Crisis Staff has asked people to celebrate Easter at home and refrain from carolling, visiting relatives and other community activities which could increase the spread of the coronavirus.
President Zeman meets with advisors over coronavirus crisis
President Miloš Zeman met with his team of advisors on Saturday to discuss the progression of the epidemic in Czech Republic, assess the measures taken to date and the involvement of the police and army in securing the country’s needs. The meeting was attended by the head of the Central Crisis Staff, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, Defence Minister Vladimír Metnar and Police President Jan Švejdar. The police and emergency services have been heavily involved in the operation and the army is reported to be playing a key role in implementing the so-called smart quarantine in South Moravia.
Minister Hamáček told journalists after the meeting the debate had been informative and constructive and had focussed on balancing safety with the need to sustain the economy as much as possible.
The president is expected to address the nation at midday on Sunday.
Authorities report record increase in coronavirus cases in 24 hours
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic reached 4194 on Saturday morning, with a record increase of 332 cases registered on Friday.
359 people have been hospitalized due to complications and 77 of them are reported to be in serious condition.
56 people have died and 74 have fully recovered from the infection. Over 7,400 people have been tested to date.
Health workers to test degree of coronavirus infestation in population
The Central Crisis Staff is planning a representative survey of the degree of coronavirus infestation in the population. Thousands of people are to undergo testing in selected parts of the country: Prague, Olomouc and South Moravia.
According to Ladislav Dušek, head of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics, there could be over 2000 people in the Czech Republic who are not aware of being COVID positive since they have no symptoms.
This is a grey zone in the population which we are trying to map in view of improving out prediction models, Dušek said.
Education Ministry: Teachers should forget about grades during coronavirus crisis
Teachers should not grade pupils at a time when school lessons are being conducted online, the Education Ministry says in a set of recommendations for teachers during the coronavirus crisis.
The ministry suggests replacing grades with a verbal assessment of progress made. It says schools should also take into account the time pressure on parents who are juggling home office duties and supervising the home learning process.
Teachers should focus on key subjects and decide on what can be incorporated into next year’s teaching plan, the ministry says.
It is not clear when children will be able to return to school and in the worst case scenario it may not be until the next school year.
Sunday should be bright and sunny across the country with day temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.