• 04/10/2021

    Friday saw 4,791 people test positive for COVID-19 in the Czech Republic, the lowest number of new cases on a working day since December 7. Meanwhile, the number of patients requiring hospitalisation fell by 400 to 5,861, which is the lowest number since mid-February. A total of 59,463 vaccines were administered on Friday, bringing the overall number of vaccinations in the country over two million.

    Health Minister Petr Arenberger has said that all indicators show the epidemic is losing strength. However, he highlighted that there are still significant regional differences.

  • 04/10/2021

    Health Minister Petr Arenberger told Czech Television on Saturday that he will propose bringing back limitations on the number of people that can gather together in outside and inside spaces at the meeting of the government on Monday. According to the original plans made by his predecessor Jan Blatny, public gatherings could include up to 20 people outside and 10 people inside. However, Mr. Arenberger has since said that it would be better from a medical standpoint to keep the rule that only a maximum of two people can meet together inside or outside.

    The statement comes ahead of the planned easing of coronavirus restrictionsnext week.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • 04/10/2021

    Deputy-Premier Jan Hamáček was re-elected as the leader of the Social Democrats on Friday, on the opening day of the party’s conference. Mr. Hamáček received 170 of the total 240 votes, beating his challengers Tomáš Petříček and Kateřina Valachová. Having reaserted confidence in his leadership, Mr. Hamáček promised to get his party into the lower-house of Parliament in the upcoming elections and told members of the conference that the Social Democrats have much work to do in the six months running up to the October election.

    MP Roman Onderka was re-elected as first deputy chairman. Mayor Jana Váhalová, former Regional Governor Jiří Běhounek, Labour Minister Jana Maláčová and party district leader Jan Tvrdý, were elected as further deputy chairmen.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • 04/09/2021

    HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II, passed away on Friday morning at the age of 99, according to an official statement from Buckingham Palace. Several Czech leaders have since offered their condolences.

    In an official statement, Czech President Miloš Zeman said that he felt “deep remorse” over the death of the Prince-Consort. He mentioned that he had the opportunity to meet with the Prince 25 years ago, when the Queen visited Prague, and he said that he considered Prince Philip to be a “unique personality who used his charm, gravitas and intellect to represent the United Kingdom in the best sense of the word”.

    Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček highlighted that Prince Philip had been the husband to the Queen for nearly 70 years and that “his death is the departure of one of the symbols of the British monarchy”. Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil wrote that, for him, Prince Philip was a “symbol of loyalty and the power of tradition”.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • 04/09/2021

    The coronavirus situation in the Czech Republic is starting to improve, according to the new Minister of Health Petr Arenberger. He told journalists on Friday that a completely new system for evaluating the severity of the epidemic is being prepared to replace the current PES method. Mr. Arenberger said that the new system should be ready in two weeks time and that it will draw from combined expertise of epidemiologists, industrialists and other key groups.

    The PES counter-epidemic system was put in place by Mr. Arenberger’s predecessor, Jan Blatný, in November 2020. It was based on a threat level ranging from 0-100 points. However, the government stopped using the PES system as a guide in February, after it became clear that the far more infectious “British” mutation of COVID-19 had spread massively within the country.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • 04/09/2021

    Saturday should see temperatures rise to an average of 16 degrees Celsius. Meteorologists expect the skies over much of the western part of the country to be covered in heavy clouds, with the rest of the Czech Republic being overcast. Rainfall is unlikely.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • 04/09/2021

    The results of a newly released Ipsos agency poll suggest that the current Pirate Party and Mayors and Independents coalition would win the elections into the Chamber of Deputies with 26.9 percent of the vote. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s ANO party would receive 25.3 percent of the vote. The Ipsos poll is the third recent public survey to show that the opposition Pirate Party and Mayors and Independents coalition is ahead of the ruling ANO party.

    The opposition coalition SPOLU, which consists of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the TOP 09 party, polled third with 20.9 percent of the vote. They were followed by the right-wing Freedom and Direct Democracy party favoured by 9.5 percent of respondents. The major left-wing parties, the Social Democrats and the Communist Party, polled below the 5 percent threshold to get into Parliament.

    Elections into the lower-house of Parliament are scheduled to take place in October this year.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • 04/09/2021

    Thursday saw the highest vaccination rate yet registered in the Czech Republic, with 58.928 jabs being administered in a single day, according to data from the Ministry of Health. Nevertheless, it is still below the 100,000 target set out by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in mid-March, who said that this rate should be reached after the end of Easter.

    Thus far, 1,971,079 people have received the vaccine, 663,000 of whom have been fully inoculated with two jabs.

    Thursday also saw 5,245 people test positive for COVID-19, the lowest number of new coronavirus infections registered in the country since mid-December. The relatively low number is consistent with the trend of the severity of the epidemic decreasing over the past weeks.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • 04/09/2021

    The organisers of Czechia’s largest annual classical music festival - the Prague Spring - are planning to run 23 concerts this year, which will take place in concert halls open to the public. The plan nevertheless depends on whether the government coronavirus measures will allow for this to take place, something that is not yet certain. The director of the festival, Roman Bělor, told the Czech News Agency that the organisers have been following the pandemic closely and that their plans are based on the results of negotiations both with artists and the relevant state authorities.

    Mr. Bělor said that no matter what ends up happening, the concerts will also be available to view online and will take place even if the coronavirus measures end up being too strict to allow the public inside the concert halls.

    The 76. Prague Spring is set to run from May 12 to June 3.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • 04/09/2021

    Prague’s O2 Arena stadium is currently in the process of being converted into a large vaccination centre and will begin service in this capacity from May 3, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Friday. The centre should be capable of vaccinating 7,000 people a day. Originally expected to come into operation this week, the O2 Arena vaccination centre’s launch had to be delayed due to insufficient vaccine doses.

    Mr. Babiš said that the government will also have to prepare its vaccination strategy for the years 2022 and 2023 by October this year, in order to be ready for future mutations of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe

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