Daily news summary

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Fresh coronavirus measures enter force as number infected passes 600

A number of measures came into effect in the Czech Republic on Thursday as part of the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. It is now compulsory to cover one’s mouth and nose anywhere in public while food retailers and pharmacists are only permitted to serve customers aged 65 or over between 10 am and noon every day. Spa facilities have been barred from accepting new clients.

On Thursday early evening the number of registered cases of the Covid-19 disease had climbed to 694. A number of people are in a serious condition and three have recovered. Over 9,400 tests have been carried out.

The head of the Central Crisis Staff, Roman Prymula, says he expects restrictive measures to remain in place in the Czech Republic for around a month. He said the closure of the country’s borders was likely to continue for longer as long as other countries had not dealt with the situation surrounding the coronavirus.

Authorities ask Czechs not to hoard medicines containing paracetamol

The State Institute for Drug Control has called on Czechs not to hoard medicines containing paracetamol, Czech Television reported. There is now a shortage of such drugs in this country. Pharmacies reported on Wednesday that they were running low on the brands Paralen and Ibalgin. They reduce fevers, one of the symptoms of the Covid-19 disease.

A representative of the State Institute for Drug Control said sales of the best-selling medicines of that type had more than tripled in recent weeks. Over 300,000 boxes, the usual number for one month, were sold in only a week.

Man arrested for threatening Prague mayor over coronavirus measures

The police have arrested a man who threatened the mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib, after he introduced measures aimed at curtailing the spread of the coronoavirus. The man has been charged with blackmail over the threats, which were made by telephone on Wednesday afternoon. He could face up to four years in jail if found guilty.

Mr. Hřib has brought in a number of measures linked to the coronavirus, including entering public transport or civic buildings without face cover.

Prague airport flight numbers continuing to decline

The number of flights to and from Prague’s Václav Havel Airport continues to fall. On Thursday there were 110 scheduled arrivals and departures, which is around 70 percent below the usual number, the Czech News Agency reported. While operations at the airport will decline further in the coming days they will continue, an official said.

Since Monday Czechs have been barred from travelling to a number of countries considered high risk by the Prague authorities under measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Foreigners are not allowed to enter Czech territory.

Czech TV starts station for seniors stuck at home due to crisis

State broadcaster Czech Television is set to launch a new channel for seniors forced to stay at home due to the coronavirus crisis. Named CT3, it will go on air for the first time on Monday and run from 9:00 to 5:25 daily.

The move follows the successful launch of UčíTelka, a daily block of teaching programming for the country’s children, whose schools have been closed.

Czech TV director general Petr Dvořák says CT3 is for now a provisional channel, adding that it will be covered by money saved on projects that have had to be halted.

Book World Prague planned for May postponed till October

Book World Prague has become the latest Czech arts event affected by the coronavirus crisis. The book fair had been due to begin in Prague in mid May but has now been postponed until October. Organiser Radovan Auer said even if the authorities permitted the annual event people would be afraid to attend.

The Czech arts scene has been hard hit by restrictions, with numerous events cancelled or postponed and the fates of many others scheduled for the coming months unclear.

Zeman pardons two prisoners to reach 14 in seven years

President Miloš Zeman granted two pardons on Thursday. One was to a man who was serving a jail term for failing to pay alimony and saved somebody’s life by providing first aid. The other was to a man in prison for obstructing the execution of an official decision and making threats while intoxicated who now has severe heart problems.

The head of state has now granted 14 pardons during seven years in office. Before his initial election Mr. Zeman pledged to only use that presidential power for a limited number of humanitarian reasons.

Weather forecast

Friday is expected be overcast in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 15 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs should fall considerably at the weekend and will hover around freezing point on Monday.