• 12/28/2021

    In an interview for the Beijing Daily, Czech Ambassador to China Vladimír Tomšík expressed support for the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. Ambassador Tomšík later said he was acting on the request of President Miloš Zeman, who has expressed regret at not being able to attend the games in person for health reasons.

    The Czech government, which is responsible for setting the country’s foreign policy, has yet to decide whether or not to join a diplomatic boycott of the games in protest of China’s human rights record.

    The president’s efforts to push for a pro-Chinese and pro-Russian orientation has strained relations between Prague Castle and the Office of the Government in the past.

  • 12/27/2021

    Tuesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with day temperatures between 2 and -2 degrees Celsius.

  • 12/27/2021

    A survey conducted for Czech Radio by the Median agency suggests that just over half of Czechs agree with the introduction of compulsory vaccination for selected groups or people in high-risk professions. 51 percent of respondents agree with the mandatory vaccination of certain age groups or people in high-risk professions, 47 percent of respondents are against and two percent are undecided. Those in favor are generally people over the age of 65, who live in bigger cities and have a higher education. Younger people were more inclined to speak out against compulsory vaccination. The former government of Andrej Babiš introduced compulsory vaccination for people over the age of 60 and those in high-risk professions as of March next year. However, the new coalition government intends to scrap age-based compulsory vaccination.

  • 12/27/2021

    Another small energy supplier has declared bankruptcy, further raising the number of clients who have had to switch to a “supplier of last resort” with increased fees.  Františkovy energie had approximately 5,000 customers who must find a new supplier within the next six months.

    Among previous bankruptcies of energy suppliers announced are Bohemia Energy, which supplied close to a million clients, Kolibřík energie with 28,000 clients, Ray Energy, which supplied about 3,000 clients, and Microenergy, which supplied energy to more than 760 clients.

  • 12/27/2021

    Close to 400 people of all ages took part in the traditional Polar Bear dip in the Vltava River on Sunday. The Alfred Nikodém Memorial, held on Slovanský Ostrov every St. Stephen’s Day, is named after a local who popularised ice swimming in pre-war Czechoslovakia.

    The water temperature on Sunday was just 3.4 degrees Celsius, the temperature of the air was - 6 degrees Celsius. The oldest participant was an 82-year-old woman, the youngest a girl of ten.

  • 12/27/2021

    Travel restrictions for people entering the Czech Republic have been tightened in connection with the spread of Omicron.

    As of Monday December 27, even people traveling from countries with a low and medium risk of infection will have to have a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before entry. They will then have to take a second PCR test 5 to 7 days after entering the Czech Republic.

    Travellers with primary vaccination and those who have had Covid-19 will no longer be exempted from this regulation. On the other hand those with a booster shot will only need to fill in a form upon entry.

  • 12/27/2021

    As of December 27 people over 30 are eligible to get a booster shot five months after their primary vaccination. Up till now the booster shot was only available to people over the age of 45.

    The government is scrambling to open up the system to as many people as possible in connection with the looming threat of a new wave of Omicron infections.

    According to epidemiologists Omicron is most likely spreading fast undetected and is expected to be the dominant variant in the Czech Republic by mid-January.

  • 12/27/2021

    The Covid-related state of emergency in the Czech Republic ended at the weekend, bringing to an end the ban on drinking alcohol in public places and the regulation that all pubs and restaurants must close by 10pm. However some restrictions remain under the law on pandemics, in view of the upcoming New Year’s celebrations.

    As of December 29 a maximum of 50 people will be allowed at indoor events, parties and New Year’s celebrations with only four people allowed at one table. Cultural events will still be limited to 1,000 people, but events where people mingle must not exceed 100 participants. In the first fortnight of the New Year schoolchildren will have to undergo tests twice a week.

  • 12/26/2021

    The president’s Christmas message evoked mixed reactions on the Czech political scene. While Prime Minister Petr Fiala welcomed the president’s words about the importance of vaccination as the only way out of the crisis, the cabinet is not inclined to support compulsory inoculation. In fact it has said it will scrap compulsory inoculation for people over 60 introduced by the former government.

    There was sharp criticism from the governing parties regarding the president’s negative attitude to the Green Deal and the idea that the country should try to back out of shared responsibility for the state of the environment. The Pirate Party and TOP 09 said the president’s words regarding the impact of the Green Deal bordered on scaremongering and some of his statements were factually incorrect. The head of the Pirate Party, Ivan Bartoš, said digitization and environmental reform should be viewed as a challenge, not a threat.

  • 12/26/2021

    In his traditional Christmas message to the nation, President Miloš Zeman said 2021 had not been a good year, bringing an increased threat of international terrorism following the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan, a drawn-out global health crisis precipitated by Covid and looming problems relating to the Green Deal.

    With regard to the Covid pandemic, the president expressed support for compulsory vaccination as the only way out of the protected health crisis.

    With regard to the Green Deal, the president said it was responsible for the rising energy prices, and warned that, unless the government backed out of it, it would undermine the economy and lower living standards in the country.

    Mr. Zeman also suggested a solution to the country’s excessive budget deficit, saying that if the new government lifted all tax exemptions it would save 380 billion crowns and give the nation a balanced budget, which would not burden future generations.

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