• Government says it will unveil National Economic Strategy in autumn

    07/22/2020

    The Czech government, in cooperation with its advisory team from the National Economic Council (NERV) will devise a National Economic Strategy, which is set to be finished by autumn of this year. The plan will then be presented to the government and Chamber of Deputies. It will be centred around making use of the CZK 182 billion allocated to the country through the EU’s coronavirus recovery fund and focus on investments into areas such as transport and energy, Transport, Trade and Industry Minister Karel Havlíček said at a press conference on Wednesday.

    Around 70 percent of the strategy is already worked out, Havlíček said, and will draw on the findings of the already complete National Investment Plan.

    According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the state will need to prepare for the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the automobile industry, which makes up around 11 percent of the Czech GDP and more than 20 percent of its exports.

    The EU funds should be used mainly on energy efficiency, digitisation, education, child and health care, the prime minister said.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Weather

    07/22/2020

    Temperatures are set to range between 24 to 27 degrees Celsius on Thursday. Open skies are expected above parts of East Bohemia, with the rest of the country set to be partly cloudy. No rainfall is expected.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Applications to Czech Army up by a third in 2020

    07/22/2020

    Interest in serving within the ranks of the Czech Army seems to be on the rise, with applications up by a third during the first half of 2020 when compared to the same period last year. During the COVID-19 crisis interest was even higher, with the number of applications doubling that registered during the same timeframe in 2019. This year’s October starting date for new recruits is therefore already filled up, with the next opportunity to enlist possible in January 2021, Czech Army Spokeswoman Magdaléna Dvořáková told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday.

    She said the army has a continuous interest in new recruits, in part, because new positions are being created as the army seeks to increase its number of service members by 5,000 in the next five years.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Prague Open set to host Simona Halep and Belinda Bencic

    07/22/2020

    The annual Prague Open tennis tournament is set to host some of the leading women in the sport this summer, including Romania’s world number 2 Simona Halep and Switzerland’s world number 8 Belinda Bencic. Canada’s Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard will also be competing for the top prize of USD 43,000.

    The WTA International Tournament is set to run from August 10-16. In total, six players from the WTA world top 20 will be taking part.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Most Czech students want to undertake study abroad semesters despite coronavirus

    07/22/2020

    Despite the coronavirus pandemic, interest in study abroad through the EU’s Erasmus programme continues. Up to 75 Czech students are planning on taking part in the programme, while only 9 percent are in the process of cancelling their Erasmus plans, Roman Klepetko from the Centre for International Cooperation in Education (DZS), which coordinates the Erasmus programme in Czechia, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

    All Czech universities are currently prepared to offer Erasmus semesters to foreign EU member state students, according to Mr Klepetko, who leads the DZS department for higher education mobility and projects. In case the epidemiological situation deteriorated, universities are prepared to switch to online education and could thus continue to provide Erasmus study abroad opportunities, Klepetko said.

    However, in the wider EU, only 63 percent of all universities are currently prepared to accept Erasmus applicants. The DZS recommends students follow the websites of universities closely for future developments.

    Since 1998, 315,000 Czechs have taken part in the Erasmus programme, including students, teachers and craftsmen. Over the past years, the annual intake of Czechs for Erasmus has ranged around 8,000 university students and 2,000 higher education staff, representatives of the DZS said.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Prices of new flats in Prague rose by 6.1 percent in first half of 2020, say developers

    07/22/2020

    The sales prices for new flats in Prague saw a year-on-year increase of 6.1 percent to CZK 108,261 per square meter in the first half of 2020, largescale developers Trigema, Skanska Reality and Central Group announced at a press conference on Wednesday. The rise in prices in the second quarter, which was affected by the countrywide coronavirus lockdown, reached 1.8 percent, developer data shows.

    The predicted impact of the pandemic on the housing market has therefore not yet shown itself to be correct, said Skanska Reality General Director Petr Michálek. He expects prices of flats in good localities will continue to grow in single digit percentage points due to a combination of low supply, high construction costs and the lengthy process of securing building permits.

    Prices for newly built flats in Prague have risen by 95 percent over the past 5 years, according to the Czech News Agency.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Prague party results in 68 new coronavirus infections, including footballers from country’s leading teams

    07/22/2020

    Hygienists have detected 68 new COVID-19 cases as a result of a party that took place in a Prague nightclub on Saturday, July 11. Among those who tested positive are also football players, the director of Prague’s hygienist office, Zdeňka Jágrová, told Czech Television on Wednesday. She said the party resulted in 15 of the 17 attendees contracting the coronavirus. These went on to infect 53 other people, tests have shown.

    Among those infected were football players from the reserve teams of Sparta Prague, Dukla Prague and Bohemians 1905. The later team has decided to cancel their summer preparations for next season. However, none of the three sides’ A-team players have been infected, the Czech News Agency reports.

    More than 120 people connected to the outbreak have since been put into quarantine, according to news site Seznam.cz.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Local mayors call on hygienists to ease COVID-19 measures in Moravian-Silesian Region

    07/22/2020

    More than 60 mayors from the Moravian-Silesian Region have signed a letter penned by the municipal leaders of Bruntál and Opava, which calls on Health Minister Adam Vojtěch and local hygienists to redress the region-wide coronavirus countermeasures that were put in place last week, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday. The director of the region’s hygienic office Pavla Svrčinová reacted by saying that some easing could take place and would be discussed later in the day, but that the mayors should not count on a removal of all measures.

    In the letter, the mayors complain about the flat application of measures to counter the spread of COVID-19 in the region and say that they were bitter about last week’s sudden order issued by the hygienists to implement the tough measures. They said they do not understand why such restrictions were put in place in the north-western part of the region which lies 80 kilometres away from the heavily affected Karviná district and that there are very few cases of the virus in their area.

    The Moravian-Silesian Region has been the hotbed for COVID-19 in the Czech Republic for over a month now, specifically its districts of Karviná and Frýdek-Místek. After cases began appearing in the wider region, hygienists decided to implement a sudden return to face mask wearing and bans on large public events last week.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Current number of known Covid-19 cases in CR passes 5,000 for first time

    07/22/2020

    The current number of known coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic now exceeds 5,000 for the first time, according to official Ministry of Health data. The number of new cases rose by 212 on Tuesday to reach 5,046.

    Since the beginning of March, when the Covid-19 was first detected in the Czech Republic, 14,324 people have become ill. More than 8,900 of them have already recovered from the disease and another 360 patients with coronavirus have died.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Working group to explore possibility of quarantine voting

    07/22/2020

    The interior and health ministries are to set up a working group to address epidemiological measures during the autumn regional and Senate elections and the possibility of voting for people in quarantine, the former said in a statement. Interior Minister Jan Hamáček told CNN Prima News that if the number of people in quarantine in the autumn were in the order of tens of thousands, the postponement of elections could potentially be discussed.

    Mr. Hamáček said on Monday that changes could not be made before the October elections that would allow people in quarantine to vote and at the same time prevent the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

    Author: Ian Willoughby

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