Daily news summary
Coronavirus: first death reported in Czechia, confirmed cases reach 1165
The Czech Republic on Sunday reported the country’s first death of a patient with coronavirus: a 95-year-old man with serious existing conditions admitted to Prague’s Bulovka hospital on 18 March.
The man likely contracted Covid-19 in a nursing home, which is now undergoing comprehensive inspections, including testing.
On Sunday, 114 new coronavirus cases were confirmed, bringing the total number to 1165. Six people have been cured of Covid-19, according to the Ministry of Health, and 17,377 people have been tested.
Government to extend restrictions on movement until April 1st
The government is planning to extend the restrictions on movement introduced on March 13th in connection with the coronavirus epidemic until April 1st, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told Czech Television on Sunday. The government should vote on the extension at its session on Monday.
It is also expected to discuss the introduction of a Kurzarbeit program – a short-time working arrangement in which civilian employees agree to or are forced to accept a reduction in working time and pay, usually introduced in times of recession.In this case it would serve to keep the economy going in the face of severe coronavirus restrictions.
The government is also expected to extend the ban on travel to cross-border workers, who thus far has an exemption.
Health Ministry restricts prescription of drug which could help treat COVID 19
The Ministry of Health has taken steps to restrict prescription of the drug Plaquenil, which is used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but has also shown promise of being effective against the coronavirus.
The country’s leading epidemiologist and head of the Central Crisis Staff said on Sunday the drug could be useful in the treatment of Covid-19 as it shortens the time of virus secretion.
The restriction went into force at 6 pm on Sunday to prevent people hoarding it as they have drugs containing paracetamol.
Education Minister outlines plans if schools remain closed past mid-May
Minister of Education Robert Plaga said on Monday that Czech schools will likely not reopen until mid-May. He told journalists that baccalaureate exams should then be held three weeks after schools reopen.
If classes do not resume by the definitive date of 1 June, Plaga said, students’ last three school reports would have to substitute for such exams, which normally must be passed to earn a secondary school leaving certificate (high school diploma).
Czechs sending 40 Italians home along with 100,000 face masks mistakenly seized
The Czech Republic is sending 40 Italian nationals back to their home country by bus today along with 100,000 face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, mistakenly seized last week in a police raid.
Last Tuesday Czech police confiscated 680,000 face masks and 28,000 respirators found in a northern Bohemian warehouse likely intended for re-export by a group illegally trading in protective gear.
Among the supplies seized in Lovosice was a shipment of face masks from the Red Cross of Qinghai City in China intended for their compatriots in Italy.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with other states, commercial carriers and travel agencies, has thus far transported about 2,500 Czechs by air from abroad.
Another 1,850 returned on buses dispatched from European airports, ČTK reports. Buses of returning Czechs are due to leave Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin and Vienna in the coming days.
Czech TV launches temporary ČT3 station for seniors
Czech Television began broadcasting the temporary ČT3 station for seniors on Monday morning to help them better understand the situation regarding the coronavirus and cope with the quarantine.
The station will air regular 15-minute news bulletins for seniors as well as a selection of programmes from the public broadcaster’s archives of likely interest to older generations. ČT3 station will broadcast daily from 9:00am to 5:25pm.
Prague approves Malostranské Square reconstruction project
Prague city councillors have approved a CZK 74 million public works project to reconstruct Malostranské Square to make it more pedestrian-friendly.
The plan calls for removing a car park on the upper square, dominated by the Baroque church of St Nicholas, installing benches, streetlamps and a fountain, and widening pavements leading uphill to Prague Castle.
A car park on the historic lower square was already removed last year to make way for benches and vendors.
Czech Hussite Museum launches ‘Tábor 1420/2020’ outdoor exhibition
The Hussite Museum in Tábor has opened an outdoor exhibition called ‘Tábor 1420/2020’, which commemorates 600 years since the city in southern Bohemia was founded.
Through 16 panels installed at various locations, the exhibition describes the history of Tábor, founded by the Hussites, through texts, photographs, drawings and comics.
The exhibition is set to run through 31 October. Certain aspects of ‘Tábor 1420/2020’ will not be in place until after the state of emergency regarding the coronavirus ends.
Clear skies are in the forecast for Tuesday. Daytime highs should range from 1 to 4 degrees Celsius.