Social Democrats call on prime minister to apologize for statement regarding direct elections
The Social Democrats have called on Prime Minister Petr Nečas to give them an official apology for his claim that the party, which has a majority in the Czech Senate, would be trying to block a legislative change that paves the way for direct presidential elections. The head of the Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, announced at a news conference on Thursday that what the prime minister had said was not fair towards the party and the country’s citizens. The Social Democrats were long-time supporters of direct presidential elections, he added.
On Wednesday, the Czech Senate had approved an amendment to the country's constitution introducing direct presidential elections. A total of 49 out of 81 Senators voted in favor of the new legislation. Once signed into law by President Václav Klaus, the bill will allow Czechs to elect their president directly for the first time next year when Mr Klaus's second term expires. Among those who said that they would consider running for president are Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, former prime minister Jan Fischer and economist Jan Švejnar.
Friday should be partly cloudy to overcast with rain and day temperatures between 13 and 18 degrees Celsius.
Government meeting to formally approve foreign aid as crisis deepens10/22/2020
The government is meeting on Thursday to give its formal approval to foreign aid in helping to fight the worsening coronavirus epidemic.
A team of 28 doctors from the U.S. National Guard in the states of Nebraska and Texas is expected to arrive in the Czech Republic next week in order to help Czech doctors.
The aid was offered by the U.S. military and agreed on during a phone conversation between the US Ambassador Stephen King and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
The government is also expected to give its formal approval to aid from other allies in NATO and the EU should it prove necessary.
Supreme Court sets limits on concentration of drugs in blood serum of drivers10/22/2020
The Supreme Court has issued a binding legal opinion stating the concentration of drugs in the blood which will allow criminal charges to be filed against drivers without the need for a medical examination to determine the degree of influence.
For example, a person who has 10 nanograms of THC per millilitre or 75 nanograms of cocaine per millilitre their blood serum is considered unfit to drive a car.
The legal opinion, which the court published on its website on Thursday also sets a ceiling on amphetamines and morphine.
Health minister actively fighting coronavirus-related fake news10/22/2020
Health Minister Roman Prymula is concerned about the growing amount of coronavirus-related fake news circulating on social networks, which influence the behaviour of thousands of people.
The fake news currently circulating claim that the pandemic is an international conspiracy, a weapon from a secret laboratory or deny the existence of victims.
Some claim the pandemic does not exist, others question the severity of the virus and the potential risks associated with it, undermining government efforts to bring it under control.
The health minister has started refuting the individual claims on his own social accounts and has appealed to people to use their common sense and protect themselves and others.
Traditional award-giving ceremony at Prague Castle cancelled10/22/2020
The traditional award-giving ceremony held at Prague Castle on Czechoslovak Independence Day, October 28, will not take place this year due to the severity of the coronavirus epidemic, the president’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář said at a press briefing on Thursday.
The chancellor said that the president had bowed to mounting pressure from the health minister, experts and politicians who pointed to the health risks of holding such a ceremony.
Mr. Mynář said the president would hand out the respective state awards sometime next year.
Nation-wide restrictions are currently in place to try to bring the epidemic under control.
Strict new Covid-19 restrictions, including closure of most shops, enter force10/22/2020
New restrictions aimed at curbing a huge increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations in the Czech Republic came into effect on Thursday morning.
Non-essential contact with other people has been prohibited; people are only allowed to go to work and to undertake necessary family visits or to make indispensible purchases.
People are permitted to visit the countryside or parks in the company of no more than one other person.
All shops and small businesses are closed with the exception of food stores, chemists and toiletries stores and some other outlets. Schools, restaurants and bars had already been ordered to shut. Face masks must be worn outside.
Fresh Czech record 14,968 Covid cases registered Wednesday10/22/2020
Some 14,968 new cases of Covid-19 were registered in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, which is a record one-day increase since the start of the pandemic. The total number of active cases in the country now stands at 124,040.
At present 4,417 people are hospitalised with the coronavirus, with 657 of them in a critical condition. To date 1,739 people have died with the virus, with 253 of those deaths coming so far this week and over half occurring since the start of October.
Government to cover wages of companies hit by new Covid restrictions10/21/2020
The Czech government says it will cover the complete wages and contributions of the staff of companies that have been forced to close because of new measures aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19. In addition firms who have been impacted by the restrictions, which come into effect on Thursday, may also apply for their rent to be covered under a government programme.
The impacted sectors may also defer certain tax payments. At the same time the self-employed can apply for compensation amounting to CZK 500 per day. The proposal was approved by the Chamber of Deputies under a fast-track procedure.
Ex-referee Damková quits FA posts after arrest of partner10/21/2020
Former referee Dagmar Damková has resigned from the Executive Committee of the Czech Football Association and as chair of the Steering Committee for Bohemia. The move follows the resignation of her partner Roman Berbr, who was recently arrested in a scandal surrounding alleged match fixing.
Damková had a very successful career as a referee, officiating at an Olympics final and other major games.
Czech government to close most shops among strict new Covid-19 measures10/21/2020
The Czech government has announced strict new measures in response to an enormous rise in the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitaliations in the country. The new measures will take effect from Thursday and will be in place until at least Tuesday November 3.
Non-essential contact with other people has been prohibited; people will only be allowed to go to work and to make necessary family visits or to make essential purchases, the minister of health, Roman Prymula, announced on Twitter.
People are allowed to visit the countryside or parks in the company of no more than one other person. Face masks must be worn outside.
All shops and small businesses will be closed with the exception of food stores, chemists and toiletries stores. Schools, restaurants and bars had already been ordered to close.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said the moves were intended to prevent a collapse in the Czech healthcare system. Minister Prymula denied that the current situation represented a lockdown.