Daily news summary Daily news summary

19-05-2020

Petříček: Free movement between Czech Republic and Austria from mid-June

The foreign ministers of the Czech Republic and Austria have agreed to allow free movement of people between the two states from mid-June. The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, made the announcement on Tuesday after speaking to his Austrian and Slovak counterparts. Talks on free movement between the Czech Republic and Slovakia will continue, Mr. Petříček said, adding that similar negotiations with the Hungarian government were planned.

The news means that people who cross the Czech-Austrian border will not need to enter quarantine or produce a negative Covid-19 test. The agreement still needs to be ratified at government level, Mr. Petříček said.

Czech PM wants borders between CR, Slovakia, Germany and Hungary to open in June

The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says it would be ideal if the borders between the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Hungary all opened at the same time on June 15. He made the comment after talks on Tuesday with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Mr. Babiš said it would be possible to move between the five states freely, just as before the coronavirus epidemic. However, he said the details had not been agreed.

Speaking after a conversation between Mrs. Merkel and the leaders of the Visegrad Four, the Czech leader said one of the four – Poland – was not yet ready to consider opening up at the same time as the countries envisaged in his plan.

Mr. Babiš and the leaders of Slovakia, Poland and Hungary agreed to hold a meeting in the Czech city of Brno in June. It will be the first such V4 gathering since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in the region. Czech PM wants borders between CR, Slovakia, Germany and Hungary to open in June

The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says it would be ideal if the borders between the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Hungary all opened at the same time on June 15. He made the comment after talks on Tuesday with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Mr. Babiš said it would be possible to move between the five states freely, just as before the coronavirus epidemic. However, he said the details had not been agreed.

Speaking after a conversation between Mrs. Merkel and the leaders of the Visegrad Four, the Czech leader said one of the four – Poland – was not yet ready to consider opening up at the same time as the countries envisaged in his plan.

Mr. Babiš and the leaders of Slovakia, Poland and Hungary agreed to hold a meeting in the Czech city of Brno in June. It will be the first such V4 gathering since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in the region.

Czech Republic to open vast majority of border crossings next Tuesday

The Czech Republic plans to open the vast majority of its border crossings on May 26, the minister of the interior, Jan Hamáček, said on Tuesday. Mr. Hamáček said the current fixed border checks would give way to random checks carried out by the police at some distance from the border.

Virtually all border crossings with the exception of ones on hiking trails will reopen, the minister said.

Mr. Hamáček had previously said that the presentation of a negative Covid-19 test would still be required of anybody entering the country.

Monday sees most new cases of Covid-19 since April

One-hundred and 11 new cases of Covid-19 were detected in the Czech Republic on Monday, the biggest one-day increase since April 21. It was the first time that 100 or more fresh cases were recorded on a single day in May.

No deaths with the coronavirus were registered in the Czech Republic on Monday. As of Tuesday at 2 pm the total number of fatalities had reached 301.

Dozens of miners in Karviná contract coronavirus

Some 53 employees at the Darkov mine in Karviná in the Moravian Silesian Region have contracted Covid-19, Czech Radio reported on Tuesday. A spokesperson for the regional hygiene office in Ostrava said that hundreds of samples had been taken from workers at the mine on Monday night and had not yet been processed.

After the first 11 cases of the coronavirus were registered at the mine on Friday operators OKD ordered tests on nearly 900 employees among a total of 1,800.

An OKD representative said none of the cases to date had been serious. The mine is continuing to operate as usual and strict hygiene conditions are in place.

Government eases regulation on face masks

The government on Monday eased the regulation which obliges people to wear face masks in public. As of Tuesday, May 19, people working in intensely hot environments, as well as office workers will not have to wear masks at the workplace if they observe the social distancing requirements, i.e. maintaining a two metre distance from each other.

Face masks will not be obligatory outdoors after May 25 although people will be required to wear them in shops and institutions and closed public spaces with a high risk of transmission such as public transport.

Government to secure protective gear for potential second wave of pandemic

The government is planning to purchase 3.7 billion crowns worth of medical equipment and protective gear for the country’s State Material Reserves in preparation for a potential second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček told journalists after Monday’s cabinet session.

Individual ministries have been asked to state their requests for protective equipment by June 8. Suppliers will be selected via open tenders according to the Public Procurement Act.

In the first wave of the pandemic the government had inadequate material reserves and the Health Ministry came under fire for purchasing severely overpriced protective gear in an effort to supply hospitals with basic necessities such as face masks and disinfectant.

Individual purchases are now being checked by the Supreme Audit Office.

Slavia player tests positive for Covid-19 days before league restart

A player at Slavia Prague football club has tested positive for Covid-19, a club official announced. Slavia, who are reigning Czech champions, were due to play a warm-up game against Jihlava on Tuesday but it has now been cancelled.

Slavia will now await instructions from state hygiene officials. Under a plan to restart the domestic league, such officials can put a single player in quarantine or order an entire squad to stay home.

Top flight club Mladá Boleslav also have one player with Covid-19. The Czech top division is due to restart this coming Saturday, with Slavia due to face Mladá Boleslav three days later.

Weather forecast

It should be mainly overcast in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 18 degrees Celsius. More cloudy weather is expected through to the start of next week.

19-05-2020