Daily news summary

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All coronavirus tests in Czech Republic so far negative, says health minister

All of the 48 individuals thus far tested for the coronavirus epidemic in the Czech Republic have tested negative, Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch tweeted on Tuesday.

The number includes five Czechs who returned from China on Sunday night. These will however remain in quarantine for two week’s at Prague’s Na Bulovce hospital.

A further 100 who are in China have until the end of the week to return to the Czech Republic, after which all direct commercial flights will be cancelled. However, Prime Minister Andrej Babis has promised that a special government plane will be sent for those who do not manage to get back home before the deadline.

Study: Majority of Prague Marathon participants suffered heart damage

Some 70 percent of the people who took part in last year’s Prague Marathon suffered heart damage while one-quarter sustained damage to their livers, suggests a study by Prague’s Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine published on Tuesday. Most of those problems were temporary, the study’s authors said.

The doctors said that amateur runners are frequently unprepared for the marathon and could therefore seriously damage their health. Frequent problems include dehydration, some runners collapse after they reach the finish line and dangerous overheating can occur, they added.

Prosecution of PM’s son over EU subsidies case halted

State attorney Jaroslav Šaroch has halted the prosecution of Andrej Babiš Jr., the son of the Czech prime minister, in connection with a case of alleged misuse of EU subsidies. A spokesperson for the Prague state attorney’s office said the decision was made in line with the shelving of the main part of the case on the grounds that it did not constitute a crime.

The PM’s son’s case was hived off from the main case last spring.

Mr. Šaroch halted the prosecution of Prime Minister Babiš and a number of others in August. However, the supreme state attorney, Pavel Zeman, said in December that the investigation of Mr. Babiš and a one-time advisor would continue.

The matter centres on the Stork’s Nest complex near Prague, for which CZK 50 million was received in EU subsidies. Mr. Babiš and family members were accused of manipulating the facility’s ownership to win the grants, a charge he has consistently denied.

Minister: MPs should discuss new construction law after July

The minister for regional development, Klára Dostálová, says the Czech lower house should begin to discuss a new construction law after July. Officials at her ministry said the legislation had received 4,500 remarks during a consultation period, with the large number putting the whole process back by two months.

The construction law is intended to accelerate and simplify the acquisition of planning permits and in turn allow the building of more new apartments. Under Ministry of Regional Development plans it ought to come into effect at the start of 2021.

Well found in East Bohemia confirmed as oldest known prehistoric wooden structure

A wooden well uncovered by archaeologists near Ostrov in the Pardubice Region has been confirmed as the oldest known prehistoric wooden structure found anywhere in the world, the Czech News Agency reported on Tuesday. Dendrochronological and radiocarbon dating show that the well dates from 5256 or 5255 BC.

The discovery was made during a dig at the site of a future motorway. Once the research has been complete the well will be put on display at the Museum of East Bohemia in Pardubice.

Benny Cristo to represent Czech Republic at this year's Eurovision Song Contest

Singer, dancer and former Czech Pop Idol finalist Ben Cristovao has won the national round and will be representing the Czech Republic at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Czech Television announced on Tuesday. The 32-year-old of Czech-Angolan heritage who was born in Plzen has changed his name for the competition to the shorter Benny Cristo and will be performing the song Kemama, which he co-wrote with Osama Verse-Atile, Charles Sarpong and Rudy Ray.

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest 2020 begins at 9:00 PM on Tuesday, May 12 and ends on Saturday, May 16. It will take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands following the country's victory in last year’s competition.

Tennis ace Kvitová receives Věra Čáslavská Award

Tennis star Petra Kvitová has been given the annual Věra Čáslavská Award for extraordinary contribution to women's sport and the Olympic movement. Kvitová said it was a great honour and that the late gymnast had been an inspiration for how she fought both within and outside sport. The two-time Wimbledon champion, who is 29, said Čáslavská was very energetic, adding that that was a trait they shared.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 2 degrees Celsius. The following days are expected to see similar weather.