Daily news summary

Over 40 awaiting coronavirus test results with five cases detected to date

More than 40 people are waiting for the results of tests for the Covid-19 virus in the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency reported. The Ústí nad Labem Region in the north of the country is believed to have the highest number of people under observation pending the outcome of coronavirus tests with 14. Two of the five cases of Covid-19 detected in the Czech Republic to date were in Ústí nad Labem.

Some regions are not releasing numbers of people waiting for test results and say they will only issue statements if actual cases are discovered.

A number of hospitals and old folks’ homes in the Czech Republic have barred visitors in view of the coronavirus situation.

Press: Prague Castle computers hacked from abroad for months

Computers linked to the network of the Prague Castle Administration have been hacked by actors outside the Czech Republic, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Tuesday. The newspaper’s IT experts said that data from computers at the seat of President Miloš Zeman had been leaking to IP addresses abroad for at least a number of months. However it is not clear what kind of information the hackers may have acquired.

The network also involves the president’s residence at Laný near Prague. Mr. Zeman’s spokesperson has refused to comment on the case, which is being investigated by the Office for the Protection of Personal Data.

Babiš apologises for dubbing MEPs traitors

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has apologised for calling two Czech members of the European Parliament traitors. He made the apology to Tomáš Zdechovský and Mikuláš Peksa in a radio interview on Tuesday and said afterwards that the accusation had been exaggerated.

The prime minister criticised the two in connection with a delegation of MEPs who visited Prague in recent days as part of investigations of alleged conflict of interest on his part. He told reporters the pair were traitors who should defend Czech interests and described the EP delegation as a political mission.

Mr. Zdechovský said he had received death threats following Mr. Babiš’s allegation and that he was considering taking legal action against the PM.

On Tuesday the leader of the Mayors and Independents, Vít Rakušan, called on Prime Minister Babiš to apologise over a separate incident in which a recording captured him calling the party’s MP Věra Kovářová a “beast”.

Prague agrees proposals to regulate Airbnb-type services

Prague City Council has agreed on proposals regulating short-term letting, most often mediated by Airbnb, obliging them to provide data on rented flats, their owners and middlemen.

Prague councilors want anyone who arranges short-term accommodation via online platforms to provide relevant information to the Municipal Trades Licensing Office upon request.

A property owner not having registered an appropriate a Trade Licence may be liable to a fine of up to CZK 1 million.

For the proposals to become law, Parliament would need to amendments certain acts that would for example allow municipalities to use data to enforce the payment of residence fees.

Regional Pirates angry after candidate removed over "swastika" attack on Israel

Members of the Pirate Party in the Ústí nad Labem Region are up in arms over the withdrawal of Tomáš Tožička as a candidate for Senate elections, Novinky.cz reported. Mr. Tožička quit the Pirates’ ticket at the request of the party’s leadership after an image came to light that he had posted on social media 11 years ago featuring a swastika imposed on the Star of David on the Israeli flag and the words Fascist State.

The leaders of the Pirate Party’s Ústí nad Labem branch passed a resolution saying they backed Mr. Tožička remaining a candidate in a Senate by-election. However, national party chairman Ivan Bartoš said a decision had been made on the matter.

Pollsters: Drought making Czechs more concerned about climate change

The authors of a new survey say the image of Czechs as a nation of climate change sceptics no longer applies. Some 84 percent of respondents in a survey by the STEM polling agency agreed with the statement that climate change caused by mankind threatens the future. The poll released on Tuesday also suggests that nine out of 10 Czechs believe that without a reduction in emissions it will not be possible to save the countryside from drought and the death of forests.

STEM’s Nikola Hořejš said Czechs now view climate change as an urgent issue, in large part because of the damage that drought has done to the country’s landscape.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 7 degrees Celsius. Similar weather is expected in the following days, with Friday also expected to see rain.