Daily news summary


Deputy minister: School closures and ban on gatherings to last at least month

Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula says school closures and a Czech government ban on gatherings of 100 people or more will remain in place for at least a month. Speaking to the DVTV video site, he said after that period officials would reassess the necessity of the measures aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus.

Mr. Prymula said that the number infected with Covid-19 was likely to reach the hundreds by the end of this week, adding that the compulsory wearing of surgical masks could be introduced if the situation did not improve.

At 4:30 pm on Wednesday the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Czech Republic had reached 75. Around 1,400 people had been tested for the Covid-19 disease by that time.

Prague mayor wants freeze on Airbnb-type services in bid to halt virus

The mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib, says the minister of health, Adam Vojtěch, has assured him that the State Security Council will consider a temporary ban on Airbnb-type accommodation services in the city. The call comes in connection with efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Mr. Hřib said on Twitter that whereas it was possible to trace visitors staying at hotels, this was far harder with Airbnb. He added that hotels were obliged to maintain certain norms and rules. Earlier, the mayor of the city centre Prague 1 district called for a freeze on short-term accommodation, pointing out that two French people who had stayed in central Prague had been discovered to have Covid-19 on their return home.

Prague Castle closes all parts normally open to public

The Prague Castle authorities have closed all the complex’s buildings that are normally open to the public in connection with the coronavirus crisis. The grounds remain open, a spokesperson for the Prague Castle Administration said on Wednesday. The changing of the Castle Guard, which takes place every day at noon, has also been suspended.

Prague Castle is one of the most visited sites in the Czech Republic, attracting around two million tourists every year.

All events attended by 100 people or more have been banned in the Czech Republic, while the Ministry of Culture has closed all state museums and galleries.

Civic Democrats want head of ANO MP over TV council recommendations

The head of the Civic Democrats deputies group, Zbyněk Stanjura, has called on the chairman of the lower house’s Electoral Committee, Stanislav Berkovec of ANO, to step down. If he does not do so, Mr. Stanjura said he would convene a discussion on his removal. This follows the leaking of an email by Mr. Berkovec in which he assessed candidates for the Czech Television Council and their possible political leanings.

Christian Democrats leader Marian Jurečka said candidates could not be evaluated solely in terms of what they could do for the ANO party.

The Electoral Committee headed by Mr. Berkovec is involved in the selection of candidates for the councils overseeing Czech Television and Czech Radio.

Czech Radio airing unique Riedlbauch music archive

Czech Radio has begun broadcasting rare and unique musical recordings from the archive of the late composer Václav Riedlbauch.

The collection includes nearly 300 chamber, vocal and orchestral compositions by 30 composers, including works by Riedlbauch himself, and those of his students and peers.

Riedlbauch, a former head of the Czech Philharmonic, is perhaps best known for his ballet adaptation of Macbeth, which ran for six seasons at the National Theatre.

Football and ice hockey leagues take differing approaches to gatherings ban

Matches in the next two rounds of the Czech football league will take place behind closed doors in connection with efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Those rounds will be followed by a break for international games and at that point the League Football Association will decide on how to proceed further. The head of the association, Dušan Svoboda, said this was the least worst alternative at the present time.

By contrast the organisers of the Czech ice hockey league have put the competition on hold until March 29 as they say some clubs are unable to meet the condition of having no more than 100 persons in attendance at games. If it is not possible to resume the league on March 30 then the current season of the Extraliga will end prematurely, they said.

Wednesday’s decisions followed a government ban announced the previous day on public gatherings of 100 or more people.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast in the Czech Republic on Thursday, with temperatures of up to 14 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs will fall in subsequent days, when it is expected to remain cloudy.