Senate speaker to take decision on Taiwan trip by end of June
Speaker of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil of the Civic Democrats said on TV Prima he will take a decision about whether to travel to Taiwan at the latest by the end of June. He said he will first discuss the idea with foreign policy experts, economists and human rights advisors.
The trip to Taiwan had been planned already by his predecessor Jaroslav Kubera, who then died suddenly in January. The trip has been heavily opposed by the Chinese Embassy and the Czech president. China does not recognise Taiwan and there are fears, as stated in a letter from the Chinese Embassy, but possibly penned by the Office of the President according to some media reports, that the trip would result in punishing economic measures by China on Czech businesses.
Mr Vystrčil said after a meeting with President Zeman two weeks ago that, if China dictates terms, his trip to Taiwan will become “ever more realistic”.
Smart Quarantine project to cost CZK 400 million next year10/30/2020
The operation of the national Smart Quarantine programme focused on Covid-19 will cost around CZK 400 million next year, the Czech News Agency reported on Friday.
The programme will be operated by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the National Agency for Communication and Information Technologies.
The programme, which was launched in the spring, assists regional hygiene stations in tracing potentially infected people by mapping the contacts of positively tested individuals for COVID-19 with the use of modern information technologies.
PM Babiš asks lower house to extend state of emergency10/30/2020
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has asked the Czech lower house to extend the ongoing state of emergency until December 3. The present state of emergency was announced in the country on October 5 and is in place until November 3rd.
Mr Babiš said the extension was necessary to keep the emergency measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in place.
The new minister of health, Jan Blatný, warned that the infection was now spreading via community transmissions around the country. He said the current government measures could be sufficient, but only if people respect them.
Deputies approve CZK 5,000 bonus for pensioners10/30/2020
The lower house of Parliament on Friday approved a proposal to give pensioners a one-off bonus of CZK 5,000, in view of higher living costs and additional expenses linked to the coronavirus crisis.
The sum is to be added to pensions in December. The bonus should cost the state CZK 15 billion altogether.
The proposal still has to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president.
Mandatory testing of clients in social facilities to start on Wednesday10/30/2020
A mandatory testing of clients in senior homes and other social facilities in the Czech Republic will probably begin next Wednesday, the head of the Czech Association of Social Services, Jiří Horecký, told the Czech News Agency on Friday. The mandatory testing in these institutions was approved by the government on Tuesday.
The first wave of testing will use antigenic COVID-19 tests, which are less reliable, but are able to indicate the level of spread faster than normal PCR testing. A second, more reliable wave of tests will follow.
On Thursday, over 3,000 clients and nearly 2,200 employees of social facilities tested positive for Covid-19.
Saturday is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with daytime highs ranging between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius.
Czech economy mitigates its downturn in third quarter10/30/2020
The Czech economy slightly mitigated its fall in the third quarter of 2020, the Czech Statistics Office reported on Friday. According to its preliminary estimate, the gross domestic product decreased by 5.8 percent year-on-year and by 6.2 percent in quarterly terms.
In the second quarter, the Czech economy experienced a fall of 10.9 percent, the worst result in the history of the independent Czech Republic.
Analysts expect that due to the restrictive measures connected to the coronavirus pandemic the year-on-year fall will again exceed the ten-percent mark in the last quarter of 2020.
Jaromír Alan to become Czechia’s new NATO and EU military representative10/30/2020
Major General Jaromír Alan will be appointed the new NATO and EU military representative of the Czech Republic, the spokeswoman for the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces told the Czech News Agency on Friday. He will replace Lieutenant General František Malenínský in the post.
Major General Jaromír Alan has served as director of the Capability Planning Division of the Ministry of Defence. He has also worked as Chief of Staff, with the Czech Delegation to NATO HQ, Brussels and has combat experience from his deployment in the Balkans operations.
Mixed results for Czech clubs in Europa League10/30/2020
Slavia Prague were the only Czech club to do well in the group stage of football’s Europa League on Thursday night. The Czech title-holders beat Germany’s Leverkusen 1:0 in Prague, with the only goal coming from Peter Olayinka.
By contrast Slovan Liberec suffered a 1:5 away defeat at the hands of Crvena zvezda Belgrade, while Sparta Prague lost 3:0, also away, to AC Milan.
Over 1,000 now in intensive care with Covid-19 in Czech hospitals10/30/2020
Some 13,051 new cases of Covid-19 were registered in the Czech Republic on Thursday. The total number of active cases in the country now stands at 178,578, according to official Ministry of Health data.
The number of deaths with the coronavirus has climbed to 2,862, with 540 of those occurring so far this week.
The number of patients with Covid-19 in a critical condition has passed 1,000 for the first time, reaching 1,031. Some 6,604 people are hospitalised with the virus.
New health minister aims to replace fear of Covid-19 with respect for virus10/29/2020
The new minister of health, Jan Blatný, has outlined his vision for the post his first news conference since being appointed. Dr. Blatný said the main goal for him and his government department would be to change the situation with regard to Covid-19 and the mood in society. He said fear of the virus, which was paralyzing and dividing people, needed to be traded for respect.
The new minister said the current strict measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus would not need to be tightened further in a significant way. However, people need to respect them, he said.