Daily news summary
Without special crisis funding large hospitals will go bankrupt, warns hospital director
Large hospitals have to begin operating in the state's crisis financing system, otherwise they will go bankrupt, the director of Prague's General Faculty Hospital David Feltl said at a press conference on Friday.
He said the current "peacetime" model of hospital financing is insufficent to cover the extreme rise in prices for equipment needed to combat the COVID-19 cornavirus.
As far as protective equipment at the Prague General Faculty Hospital is concerned, Mr Feltl said that the hospital is sufficiently equiped. However, it lacks testing equipment.
Increase in COVID-19 infections goes down by third in Czech Republic
Some 259 caes of coronavirus infections were registered in the Czech Republic on Thursday, a decline of around 30 percent as opposed to Wednesday when the number of daily infections peaked.
As of Friday mid-day there were 2,062 cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 10 patients fully recovered and 9 dead.
"Book your return flights now", US Embassy advises Czechs
The United States Embassy in Prague is advising Czech citizens to book their return flights back to Europe, the Czech News Agency reports. A sharp rise in ticket prices is expected as the US plans to limit flight connections in the next few days.
The embassy also confirmed that a special flight will take place next week taking off from Chicago and landing in Prague in order to repatriate Czech citizens who cannot use commercial flights. Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has stressed that this will be the only diplomatically organised flight.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has thus far helped repatriate some 3,500 Czechs during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 patient in Prague began recovering before he took redemsivir drug, hopsital clarifies
A male COVID-19 patient who was taken into Prague's Faculty Hospital folowing lung failure is recovering and has been taken off extracorporeal life support. News appeared that this was a result of him being granted experimental treatment incvolving the drug known as redemsivir. However, the head of the Anastesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Care Unit, Jan Bláha, said on Friday that there was no reason for optimism yet. Furthemore, doctors from the hospital have said that the patient's ilness began improving before he took the drug.
The patient received the medication as part of experimental treatment. However, many others who asked for redemsivir treatment have been declined due to the limited numbers of the drug.
Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula said that the state is negotiating further use of the drug with supliers.
Škoda extends halt on manufacturing until mid-April
The Czech Republic's chief car manufacturer Škoda Auto has announced it will prolong its halt on manufacturing until April 14 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Originally, production was supposed to restart from April 6.
In a letter signed by Škoda CEO Bernhard Meier, the manufacturer says that the move is a reaction to low demand caused by the closure of sales facilities in the Czech Republic and across many other European states.
Employees have been receiving 70 percent of their normal salaries since March 18 as compensation. Next week the sum is to be lifted up to 75 percent.
Czech teachers’ salaries rose by 14.9 pct last year
The average monthly salary for teachers rose to CZK 40,111 last year, up 14.9 percent in annual terms, according to Ministry of Education data. By comparison, the average salary increased by 7.1 percent last year to CZK 34,125 per month.
The average salary of non-teaching staff in the education sector rose by 11.6 percent last year to CZK 21,786. The ministry has not yet published statistics on salary increases according to various types of schools.
In its policy statement, the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) pledged to raise salaries in the education sector to 150 percent of their 2017 level by the year 2021. For teachers, that would be around CZK 47,322.
Baby elephant born at Prague Zoo
Prague Zoo has a welcome new edition: a baby Asian elephant born on Friday morning, to an experienced mother named Tamara.
Zoo director Miroslav Bobek made the announcement on Twitter. He said the elephant calf appears healthy. Its sex is not yet known, and the public will be asked to help choose a name.
Tamara arrived at Prague Zoo from Sri Lanka nearly 12 years ago. She gave birth to her first calf, Max, in 2016. He was one of the first two ever born in the zoo itself. The zoo in Troja is expecting another elephant, Janita, to give birth in a matter of days.
Prague's Letná pendulum returns, bearing special thank you for solidarity during COVID-19 pandemic
After several months of missing from Prague's Letná hill due to repairs, the famous pendulum designed in 1991 by sculptor Vratislav Novák has returned, the Czech News Agency reported on Thursday.
The artwork should start swinging in the next few weeks and will bear a banner with the words "Lidi děkujeme" (People, thank you) as a sign of gratitude to those who are helping in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The "Metronome", as the work is known, stands on the spot where the Communist regime built a massive statue of Joseph Stalin. The statue was demolished in 1962 as a result of the de-Stalinasation process folowing the ascent of Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev.
Temperatures are expected to remain largely the same in the Czech Republic on Saturday with skyes opening up in the central and northern parts of the country. Meteorologists expect no rainfall.