With Easter around the corner and a glorious bout of spring weather belying the gravity of the coronavirus crisis, the government has moved to ease restrictions at least in some small measure which would allow people to get a breath of fresh air and enjoy the spring holidays. However masses and caroling are strictly banned.
The key figure in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic in the Czech Republic, Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula, has made a surprising U-turn in favour of herd immunity as a means of beating the virus. He also indicated that life in the Czech Republic could return to normal sooner than anticipated.
France has thanked the Czech Republic for offering to provide medical care
to six French people with Covid-19. They had been due to arrive at Brno’s
University Hospital on Monday but in the end the French authorities decided
not to send the patients, all of whom require artificial lung ventilation.
The Czech Republic has previously provided assistance to Italy, Spain and Slovenia in connection with the coronavirus crisis.
Obliged to close their doors to the public during the coronavirus pandemic, a wide range of Czech cultural, historical and religious institutions have begun offering an extended range of virtual tours and online programmes. Among the latest to do so is the magnificent St Wenceslas Cathedral in Olomouc – which is developing a 3D virtual reality tour with English-language commentary – while the annual Prague Spring international music festival, whose programme, of course, needs no translation, will broadcast live.
The Czech government needs to invest hundreds of billions of crowns to shore up the economy, with the crucial auto industry particularly vulnerable. Measures being taken now will alleviate the unemployment that will inevitably follow the coronavirus crisis. And the weak crown is of no benefit to exporters if they aren’t producing anything. So says the vice president of the Czech Confederation of Industry, Radek Špicar, who I spoke to late last week.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the idea of trying to create herd
immunity against Covid-19 in the Czech Republic is “very risky”.
Speaking on Czech Radio’s Radiožurnál station on Monday, Mr. Babiš
said he disagreed with deputy health minister Roman Prymula, who said he
had come around to the idea of such an approach, if vulnerable groups could
The prime minister said the Czech Republic was pursuing a smart quarantine approach and that he could not envisage the herd immunity policy floated by Mr. Prymula.
If vulnerable groups can be protected from Covid-19, a large section of the
healthy population should go through the disease or be exposed to it,
deputy health minister Roman Prymula said in an interview for DVTV on
Sunday evening. Mr. Prymula, who has been a key figure in the
government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus, says he came around to
the idea of creating herd immunity after it became clear that China had
provided incorrect data on the number of people infected with Covid-19
Mr. Prymula said it was not possible to maintain the current tight restrictions in the Czech Republic for another two or three months and that these would be gradually eased. Children should return to school in mid-May, wearing face masks, and some cross-border travel will be allowed soon, he said.
Farmers markets began popping up on Czech town squares a decade ago, much to the delight of locals in search of seasonal produce, freshly baked goods, free-range eggs, craft beer – you name it. Along with other ‘non-essential’ businesses, they were ordered to close on March 10 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Farmers’ Market Association says its plea to reopen under strict hygienic conditions has been met with a stony silence, while bankruptcy looms for small, family-run businesses.
Prague City Council, in cooperation with ticket portal GoOut, have launched a new initiative to support theatres, concert halls, clubs and other venues closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. As of April 1, people can buy a symbolic ticket for a non-existent show to help save their favourite culture venues.
As the authorities take restrictive measures to try to get the coronavirus epidemic under control, NGOs are warning that behind the scenes of the evolving health crisis thousands of people could be experiencing their own private hell: the victims of domestic violence who are now trapped at home with an abuser 24 hours a day.
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