Daily news summary
Industry representatives call on government to announce plan for lifting restriction measures by Easter.
The Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic has called on the government to present its plan on the gradual lifting of restriction measures for businesses by Easter.
Industry representatives are particularly interested in the conditions the government plans to put in place for companies to start operating again. This, because they need time to prepare, Confederation of Industry Vice-President Radek Špicar said in a videoconference on Friday.
Business activity in the country was hit harder than expected by the government's restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The country's dominant services sector has suffered particularly hard losses
Prague 6 removes controversial statue of Soviet Marshal Konev
Prague 6 has decided to remove the statue of Marshal Ivan Konev located in its Bubeneč neighbourhood, the municipality's spokesman Ondřej Šrámek told the Czech News Agency.
It will be moved into storage and will eventually be placed within the planned Museum of the 20th Century, which Prague plans to open in the coming years. Last year the Council of Prague 6 voted to put a monument to the liberation of Prague from Nazi occupation in place of the Marshal Konev statue.
The statue has been the centre of a heated debate, including protests and international disputes between supporters of the Red Army's liberation of the Czech capital and those who are critical of Konev's repressive role within the Communist Eastern Bloc.
Its removal was described by Communist Party Chairman Vojtěch Filip as disgraceful. Meanwhile, President Miloš Zeman condemned the action and accused the local authorities of abusing the current coronavirus crisis state, according to a tweet by his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček.
Foreign Ministry organises convoy repatriating Czechs from Austira, further transports to take place
Around 100 Czech tourists returned back home o from the quarantined Tyrol region in Austria on Friday morning. Their return trip was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which sent a special convoy composed of a bus and several cars, the Czech News Agency reports.
The Czechs, most of whom seem to have been on skiing holidays, were stranded in and around Ischgl und Sankt Anton, areas which have been quarantined and deemed high risk during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. More Czechs are expected to return from the region later in the day. Further repatriation flights from Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia will take place within the next two weeks.
Nearly 4,500 Czechs have been repatriated through Foreign Ministry organised transports since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček there are still some 2,500 Czech citizens abroad who are asking to be repatriated.
Czech Foreign Ministry: EU’s core values must be respected
The Czech Republic believes that the core democratic principles and values that the European Union was founded upon are implicit baselines for all member states, the Czech Foreign Ministry wrote on its web page in response to some extraordinary COVID-19 measures adopted by the governments of individual countries.
“The situation we find ourselves in is without precedent in modern European history. This makes it all the more important to ensure that our founding values are respected and that unity and cooperation between all nations of the EU continues to be a priority” the ministry said.
The statement comes just days after Hungary’s Parliament approved an emergency legislation enabling Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree for an indefinite period of time.
Large supermarkets could open up for Easter
Supermarkets with a capacity larger than 200 square meters could open to the public during the Easter period, the spokesman of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority Jiří Frölich told news site Lidovky.cz on Friday.
The loosening of the statewide quarantine measures would only be allowed for supermarkets selling foodstuffs.
People in Need launches SOS Czech Republic
The NGO People in Need has launched a public collection to help those hard hit by the economic impacts of the coronavirus epidemic.
The largest charity organization in the Czech Republic is seeking to help single parents, socially disadvantaged people, individuals threatened by bankruptcy or those who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis.
People in Need is reinforcing its team of financial advisors and helpline for people in trouble. It also aims to support school children from socially disadvantaged families who do not have the necessary technical equipment or access to the Internet to continue their education online.
Czechs donate millions through coronavirus crowdfunding
Czechs have donated millions of crowns through crowdfunding schemes aimed at raising money for purchasing medical equipment such as ventilators and facemasks, or to support the hardest hit small time entrepreneurs, who have lost their income due to quarantine measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, news site iDnes.cz reports.
For example, some CZK 14 million were raised to buy 500 ventilators for Czech hospitals on the website Donio. A further CZK 3 million were raised to buy high energy foodstuffs for health care staff.
Czech trust in military and police forces at its highest since 1997, survey shows
The trust of the Czech public in the nation's army and police force is at its highest since 1997 when the data began to be collected, according to a STEM polling agency survey conducted in March.
Some 78 percent of Czechs trust their armed forces, which regularly rank among the country's most trusted institutions. The same ratio of the public expressed their trust in the police this year, the highest score in public opinion for the institution thus far.
The Czech National Bank also ranked high with 72 percent of respondents saying they trust the country's leading financial institution.
More than half of the population, 56 percent to be exact said they trust President Miloš Zeman. Meanwhile the Chamber of Deputies, the government and the Senate ranked in the mid-40s as far as trust was concerned.
Temperatures are expected to rise slightly on Saturday, reaching between 9 to 12 degrees Celsius. Mild clouds are likely over the west of the country, while in the central and eastern regions the sky will be more cloudy. Occasional showers could take place.