Daily news summary

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Coronavirus-infected patients reported to have mild symptoms

The two Czechs and one American national who were confirmed to have the coronavirus on Sunday are said to be suffering from a light form of the infection. They remain in isolation in the infectious diseases ward of Prague’s Bulovka Hospital.

Meanwhile, the Czech Hygiene Office is tracing their movements in the Czech Republic in order to locate other individuals who may be at risk.

Over 300 Czechs, most of whom spent time in high-risk areas in Italy, are in quarantine. Thousands of Czechs are believed to have visited Italy during the winter school holidays.

Coronavirus: Czech Security Council announces new travel restrictions, measures

The National Security Council has adopted further travel restrictions and other measures aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus in the Czech Republic. The country’s first three Covid-19 cases were confirmed on Sunday.

The Council announced that flights to and from South Korea would be suspended as of Tuesday and further restrictions on connection with the northern Italian cities of Milan, Venice, Bologna and Bergamo would be put in place following European Commission approval.

Earlier, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš appealed to Czechs not to travel to Italy in the coming days. He also stressed that anyone who has been in high-risk locations and has coronavirus-like symptoms should report their symptoms by phone rather than seeking medical attention at clinics or hospitals.

The Security Council, which will meet again on Wednesday to evaluate the current development around the coronavirus, also decided that World Cup biathlon races in Nové Město na Moravě would take place but without spectators.

The State Health Institute is operating two information lines around the clock. (People who have questions regarding the coronavirus can call 724 810 106 or 725 191 367.)

Coronavirus: 25,400 ‘Czechs’ spent weekend in high-risk areas, mobile operators say

Some 25,400 people with Czech mobile phone numbers spent this past weekend in countries particularly hard hit by the coronavirus.

According to the Czech Association of Mobile Networks Operators, around 23,900 of their customers were in Italy, 400 in China, 420 in South Korea, 250 in Singapore, 390 in Japan and 64 in Iran.

All these travellers received text messages informing them of the risk of contracting Covid-19 and directing them to the Czech Ministry of Health website.

Plans to build Police headquarters in Prague’s Zbraslav district move ahead

The Ministry of the Interior is moving ahead with plans to build a new Police headquarters in Prague’s Zbraslav district, having resolved transport issues, the daily E15 reports.

Up to 1,000 police officers and other personnel will work from the new premises, mainly members of the Central Office against Organised Crime and the Institute of Criminology.

The project, which is being co-financed by the European Union, could be completed by 2024. The estimated cost has risen from 3.3 billion to 5.5 billion crowns, according to E15.

Czech country music pioneer, Greenhorns co-founder Jan Vyčítal dies

Czech country music singer/songwriter Jan Vyčítal died on Sunday at the age of 77. He was a founding member of the sixties-era band Greenhorns and an accomplished cartoonist.

Vyčítal wrote most of the lyrics for the band, which was forced to change its name to Zelenáči during the Normalisation period. He also penned Czech-language covers of scores of American country hits.

Jazz guitarist Rudy Linka named Czech goodwill ambassador

Prague-born jazz guitarist Rudy Linka was named a goodwill ambassador for the Czech Republic on Monday at a ceremony presided over by Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček. Mr Linka has been organising the annual Bohemia Jazz Fest since 2005.

Previous goodwill ambassadors include Lucie Mádlová, founder of the Association of Social Responsibility; seven-time world martial arts champion Martina Ptáčková; and Czech-Nigerian choreographer Yemi Akinyemi Dele.

Prague 5 to erect statute of ‘father of Czech journalism’ Ferdinand Peroutka

Prague 5 councillors have voted to erect a stature to Ferdinand Peroutka, known as the “father of Czech journalism”.

Peroutka was interned in the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald for his democratic convictions. He fled Czechoslovakia after the Communist takeover and went on to lead Radio Free Europe’s Czech service. Today, annual awards to outstanding Czech journalists are given out in his name.

In a speech at a Holocaust conference in 2015, President Miloš Zeman falsely claimed Peroutka had penned a pre-war article titled “Hitler is a gentleman”. The journalist’s granddaughter has waged a protracted legal battle suing for an apology.

Weather

Tuesday should be cool and mostly cloudy with daytime highs of around 7-9 degrees Celsius.