Daily news summary
Two suspected case of Wuhan coronavirus reported in Moravia
A patient suspected of contracting the Chinese coronavirus has been brought to a hospital in the Moravian town of Kroměříž, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday.
The man, who has recently returned from China, is under observation at the town hospital’s infection ward. His blood samples are currently being tested in a special lab.
Another suspected case of coronavirus infection is reported from the region of Moravia-Silesia. The Chinese citizen, who came to the Czech Republic 11 days ago, is kept in home isolation. The fast-spreading infection, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms, has killed more than 80 people in China and infected at least 3,000 globally since its discovery in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.
Following a Security Council meeting on Monday to discuss responses to the crisis, the Czech government announced a number of special steps in connection with the virus, focused on people arriving by air on Czech territory.
Government declares day of mourning for Senate speaker Jaroslav Kubera
The government has approved February 3 as a day of mourning for Jaroslav Kubera, the late Speaker of the Senate. On that day, Czech flags on public buildings nationwide will be flown at half-mast to honour the conservative politician, who died suddenly at the age of 72 last week.
A public memorial service for Mr Kubera is due to take place on the same day in Prague’s Rudolfinum and in the north Bohemian town of Teplice, where he also long served as mayor. The funeral will be held for close friends and family only.
A special election to fill Mr Kubera’s seat in the Senate is scheduled for March 27 and 28.
Czech Senate marks Holocaust Memorial Day
An official ceremony took place at the Czech Senate on Monday marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The gathering was attended by politicians, representatives of the country’s Jewish and Roma communities and people who survived Nazi concentration camps.
A speech written by the late speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera and delivered by the Civic Democrat senator Jiří Oberfalzer warned against the rising hatred, fanaticism and antisemitism in Europe.
The event was held on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi death camps, where over 1.5 million Jews lost their lives.
Close to six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, with 250 000 of them from the former Czechoslovakia.
Cabinet approves deployment of Czech soldiers in Mali, Chad and Niger
The government has approved sending of Czech soldiers to the West African countries of Mali, Niger and Chad to serve in counter-terrorist roles. Up to 60 soldiers could be deployed in the three states, if Parliament approves the mission.
The proposal follows an invitation by France to take part in the anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane in Africa’s Sahel region, underway since 2014.
The Czech Republic currently has 120 members of the armed services in Mali and will take over the EU’s local training mission, called EUTM Mali, later this year. Overall, there are some 600 Czech soldiers currently active in 20 foreign states.
PM Babiš to attend ceremony marking Auschwitz liberation
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is travelling to Poland on Monday to attend a commemoration marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Around 30 world leaders, including Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder, are expected to attend the event at the infamous concentration camp.
The ceremony is part of a series of commemorative events taking place over the past days. Last week, top politicians from all over the world, including Mr Babiš, attended the fifth annual World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem.
Around 50,000 Czechoslovak citizens were imprisoned in Auschwitz during the Second World War. Only around 6,000 of them survived the war.
Telecommunications chief resigns over 5G network auction delay
The head of Czech Telecommunications Office Jan Novák handed in his resignation on Monday morning over the postponement of the auction of 5G frequencies, arguing that it will cost the state at least CZK 6 billion lost revenue.
The auction was initially scheduled for the second half of 2019 but was postponed due to an objection by the European Commission over competition concerns.
The government accepted his resignation and appointed Jana Továrková, the current member of the office’s board, in his place.
The Minister of Industry and Trade, Jan Havlíček, announced on Monday that the auction is likely to take place in May or June this year.
Tuesday is expected to be partly cloudy with daytime temperatures ranging between 3 and 7 degrees Celsius.