Daily news summary

General practitioners hold one-day strike

Around 7,000 Czech GPs, paediatricians and outpatient specialists went on a one-day strike on Wednesday. The doctors closed their doors in protest at what they say is a lack of funding for their sectors and excessive red tape.

Some striking doctors treated patients with acute problems and others expressed support for the protest without taking part, the Czech News Agency reported. Around 400 pharmacies closed their doors for half an hour in solidarity.

The Ministry of Health said it would not boost funding for GPs next year as its priority was to support hospitals in a bid to stop them losing doctors.

Exporters issue wage growth warning

Czech exporters have warned that excessive wage growth could make the Czech Republic less competitive as salaries are increasing at a faster rate than productivity.

Czech exports from January to August last year grew by 5.9 percent year on year to reach CZK 2.7 billion, which was a record.

Wages have grown by 3.0 percent or more for nine quarters in a row and jumped by 7.6 percent in the second quarter of 2017. Exporters say this rate of increase could impact their ability to remain competitive.

Senators debate call for relaxation of smoking ban

Czech senators have debated a petition signed by over 55,000 people calling for a law banning smoking in restaurants and bars to be modified, Czech Television reported. The legislation came into effect at the end of May this year.

The petition’s authors say that the ban has led to a fall in restaurants’ profits and some closures. They say they fear the situation will get even worse for landlords with the onset of winter and have called for pubs to be allowed to have closed-off smoking sections.

Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula said no changes should be made until there had been sufficient time to evaluate the ban's success, adding that he would oppose any loosening of the legislation.

Plzeň politicians convey disagreement over Crimea to Zeman

Politicians in Plzeň expressed their criticism of comments made about Crimea by the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, when he visited the region on Wednesday. Plzeň governor Josef Bernard relayed a statement from regional councillors denouncing the head of state’s words in Strasbourg last week, when he called the annexation a fait accompli and said Kiev should seek financial compensation from Russia.

For his part, Mr. Zeman reiterated his position in Plzeň but said that his words to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe did not “legitimise” the annexation.

Operators: Prague Metro could get full mobile coverage before 2019

Passengers may be able to receive a mobile phone signal on the entire Prague Metro system including tunnels by the end of next year. However, that date is conditional on the transport authority reaching agreement with a consortium of mobile operators in the near future, said a spokesperson for project heads T-Mobile.

At present there is only a mobile signal between the stations Bořislavka and Motol at one end of the A (green) line.

The mobile operators say they have already been in talks with Prague’s transport authority on delivering full coverage for three years.

Czechs announce two friendlies in Qatar

The Czech national football team have announced two friendly games in November, when they will take on Iceland and Qatar. Both matches will be held in Doha, which will be one of the venues for the 2022 World Cup.

Czech manager Karel Jarolím said he was glad his charges would have the opportunity to play two teams with very different playing styles in ideal conditions. His players failed to reach next year’s World Cup squad and will begin trying to qualify for Euro 2020 in the latter half of next year.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast with some sunny spells in the Czech Republic on Thursday. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 17 degrees Celsius. Friday and the weekend are likely to see rain, forecasters say.