Daily news summary

PM denies alleged plans to weaken Parliament in times of crisis

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has sharply rejected claims that the cabinet intended to pave the way for legal changes that would weaken the role of Parliament in times of crisis and put more powers in the hands of the government.

The weekly Respekt and the news site Aktualne.cz wrote on Monday that the Defence Ministry is preparing a draft legislation to that effect to be debated by the government in the coming days. According to Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar the government was only to receive suggestions from a group of experts regarding the possibilities of resolving crisis situations. He said the document had been commissioned as a set of guidelines for crisis situations when the government or Parliament were not action capable.

The prime minister reassured politicians and the public that no such document would be discussed saying that the ministry should have known better than to come forward with such an initiative at the present time.

Government unveils economic aid package

The Czech government has unveiled the detail of an emergency aid package for entrepreneurs and employers to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus crisis. These include a six month moratorium on mortgage and other loan repayments and the sum of CZ 25,000 for all who were forced to close their businesses within the restrictions imposed by the government. The kurzarbeit system, approved by the government earlier to try to prevent massive lay-offs, should be launched on April 6.

Number of coronavirus cases over 3,000

The number of coronavirus cases registered in the Czech Republic crossed 3,000 on Tuesday morning with 184 new cases registered on Monday.

The number of deaths is now at 23 and the number of those who have recovered at 25.

According to Health Ministry statistics 277 people are hospitalized with COVID 19 and roughly a fifth of them are in a serious to critical condition.

The present state reflects the ministry’s projections from last week according to which the number of infected was expected to reach the 3,000 mark by the end of the month. The first case was reported on March 1.

All persons returning from abroad to be placed in quarantine

All persons returning from abroad will be placed in a two week quarantine, in line with a new measure aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus approved by the Czech government on Monday.

The decision was taken in view of the worsening situation world-wide. Up until now only persons returning from 19 countries which are considered high risk were placed in quarantine.

The measure will not affect cross border health workers, fire crews, social workers or diplomats.

Czech singers release video clips for front-line heroes

A group of Czech singers have come together to produce video clips as an expression of gratitude to those fighting the coronavirus epidemic on the front lines.

Ondřej Brzobohatý, Olga Lounová, Marta Jandova and Vojta Dyk created the songs “Life” and “Never give up” for the country’s doctors and nurses, fire fighters, police and social workers.

The video clips have been released with an appeal for financial support to the Czech Association of nurses.

Freezing temperatures breaking records

Freezing temperatures broke records at monitoring stations around the country as night time lows dropped to – 13.7 degrees Celsius on Monday night.

The absolute record of – 14.5 degrees Celsius registered in 2004 was not broken.

According to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute the unseasonably cold weather will continue at least until mid-week with Tuesday night expected to be colder still.

Weather forecast

Wednesday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius.