Daily news summary
Coronavirus: ministers call for extending state of emergency, quarantine for arrivals
The number of coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic rose by 262 on Saturday to 2,663, and two more people died of Covid 19, bringing the number of fatalities to 13.
Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said 200 to 250 people are now being treated in hospital for the disease. Around 40 to 50 of them are in serious condition, he said.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and Vojtěch are in favour of extending the state of emergency beyond April 11, for another 30 days. That would require approval from the lower house of Parliament.
Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats), wants to extend the quarantine regime imposed on people returning from countries at risk to all persons entering the country – Czechs, permanent residents and foreigners.
Czechs send Italy and Spain 20,000 protective suits, plus 3D-printed masks
The Czech Republic on Sunday dispatched 20,000 disposable protective suits to Spain and Italy, the European countries hit hardest by the novel coronavirus.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) told reporters that the protective suits come from police deposits in Opočínek near Pardubice. Each country will receive 10,000 of them.
Petříček spoke on Sunday as he helped place labels with the word “unity” and Czech and Spanish or Italian flags on boxes full of the suits, being packed into vans.
The Czech Republic also sent samples of 3D-printed high-grade masks designed by the Czech Technical University and masks by the Czech company Nanologix.
Coronavirus: 20 dementia patients infected in Havlíčkův Brod area facility, 1 dead
Public health officials say 20 residents and 9 staffers of a retirement home for dementia patients in Břevnice u Havlíčkův Brod tested positive for the novel coronavirus over the weekend. One has died and another is in hospital.
According to the Association of Social Service Providers, 90 percent of retirement homes and similar facilities do not have high-standard (FFP3) respirators. Health Ministry Adam Vojtěch on Saturday said the ministry would send 200,000 facemasks to such facilities.
Association of Hospice Palliative Care Providers chairman Robert Huneš warned that staff have not been trained to properly wear protective gear.
Prague Archbishop in quarantine since Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus got Covid-19
Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka is in quarantine as are others who have been in close contact with Karel Herbst, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Prague, who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Herbst is in intensive care in a Prague hospital, but Duka told Czech Radio that he has responded positively to treatment. Both Catholic clergymen are in their late seventies.
Finance Minister to propose moratorium on mortgage, other loan repayments
Finance Minister Alena Schillerová (for ANO) will propose a moratorium on the repayment of mortgages and loans for six months to mitigate the coronavirus’s economic impact.
Speaking on TV Prima on Sunday, Schillerová said she would formally make the proposal on Wednesday. Opposition leaders have backed the idea, which is in line with what they had suggested.
Schillerová suggested that interest on loans should also be reduced to “some symbolic amount”. She will also propose the government abolish the 4 percent acquisition tax on real estate.
Rohlík launches online ‘safe commerce’ platform for businesses without one
Leading Czech online food retailer Rohlík is launching an internet platform for small businesses that don’t have their own. ObchodBezpecne.cz (or “safe commerce”) aims to help them stay in business during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rohlík founder Tomáš Čupr told news server iDnes.cz that in the first phase the platform will focus on small grocery stores, pharmacies and drugstores, all of which provide essentials during a quarantine.
The project is also supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Union of Commerce and Tourism. At the same time, Čupr has started another project, SuchýRohlík, delivering “dry goods” (long-lasting foodstuffs) nationwide.
Monday should be cool and cloudy, with daytime highs of 0 to 4 degrees Celsius. Early spring frosts are expected throughout the week, with temperatures dropping to -5 overnight and to -10 mid-week. Light rain is in the forecast for Tuesday.